Evaluation of the Attention and Love of Crime Fiction
“Drawn to Aberration: Why Deviance in Crime Fiction Fascinates the Reader”
There are many reasons to why crime fiction is appealing to those who read it. One of these key reason is the deviance of a character in a crime fiction novel. A deviant character is one who does a certain thing against the standards of his or her society. Therefore, “deviance” doesn’t necessarily mean good or bad behavior, it all depends on a society’s particular norm. The short fiction novels “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates all contain a deviant character. Additionally, the short non-fiction articles “A Taste for Murder: The Curious Case of Crime Fiction” by Rachel Franks and “Why Crime-Thriller Fiction?” by Mark Rubinstein explain why crime fiction appeals to those who read it. Deviant characters in crime fiction fascinate the reader because these characters challenge the norms of a society, give the reader suspense of what they will do next, face a negative consequence that they had probably deserved, and do certain things that can likely occur in reality that lead the readers to question why these things were done. These concepts are supported by these crime fiction article as well as the non-fiction articles.
It is compelling for a character to make a stand for what he or she believes is immoral. This gets the reader’s attention because this type of deviance in a character makes the character stand out and gives the reader something to look forward to in the story. In Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s “Harrison Bergeron” the deviant character, Harrison, went against society’s norms by taking off the handicapped helmet that he was supposed to wear at all times by the control of Diana Moon Glampers, the Handicapper General of the United States. Harrison Bergeron had lived in a society where everyone was equal by the forces of the anarchy in which they had lived in. As the author put it: “Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody is better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. (Vonnegut Jr.)” Unfortunately, Harrison was killed by the Handicapped General herself for attempting to challenge her authority. Likewise, in Ray Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian”, the deviant character, Leonard Mead, enjoys taking long walks during the night, which is considered to be deviant in the society that he lives in since everyone is expected to be in their homes at night. The voice of a police car, who stopped Leonard on the street, considered his activity suspicious and abnormal. The voice asked Leonard questions such as “Why are you walking?” and “Walking where? For what? (Bradbury)” After the police voice told him to get into the car, Mead resisted at first, stating that he did nothing wrong. This is vivid evidence of Leonard challenging the norms of his society because he feels that what he did was harmless although it was viewed as crime in his society. Overall, the reader will anticipate the actions of a deviant character fighting against the norms of an adverse society.
Secondly, the reader develops a sense of uncertainty for the future actions that a deviant character will do. In “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates, the story’s most deviant character, Arnold Friend, was attempting to lure the protagonist, Connie, out of her house and into his car. As Connie resisted, Arnold began to appear menacing to her and Connie started to feel nervous. The tension of the passage and suspense of the reader grew larger throughout the conversation between the frightened Connie and the intimidating Arnold. Evidence of this growing tension can be observed particularly after Arnold says to Connie: “Soon as you touch the phone I don’t need to keep my promise and can come inside. You won’t want that. (Oates)” This leads the reader to anticipate what Arnold will do or say next. This short fiction story, as Rachel Franks stated in “A Taste for Murder: The Curious Case of Crime Fiction” is one that will “make us hold our breath until the very last page. (Franks)” In general, the reader feels suspense for what a deviant character will do in the future in relation to what the character is doing in the present.
In addition, the reader anticipates a misfortune of a deviant character. In the crime fiction article, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, consists of Bailey and his deviant mother, who is referred to as the “grandmother.” The grandmother displays very tenacious and racist behavior, behavior divergent of an elderly woman. For example, she vulgarly refers to a young black child as a “nigger boy” when she tells a story to her family during a family road trip (O’Connor). A racist grandmother is a deviant grandmother, one that expresses abnormal and unusual behavior. Additionally, she makes her son drive to a house that she assumes is in Georgia but is actually in Tennessee and she does not inform those in the car. Soon after, Bailey crashes the car and during the aftermath of the accident, the grandmother spots a passing car and successfully attracts the attention of those who were in the car. Beforehand, after the accident had occurred, it is revealed that the grandmother was “hoping she was injured so that Bailey’s wrath would not come down on her all at once. (O’Connor)” This proves the deviance of the grandmother because she would rather experience physical pain than to have her son be upset at her. It turns that an escaped murderer, known as “The Misfit”, and his two henchmen were in the car and they ended up killing all of the members of the family, including the grandmother. To sum it up, the grandmother was the cause of her family’s death. With a deviant character like the grandmother, the reader would anticipate that something unfortunate would happen to her, only because it is what she had probably deserved. Overall, the reader anticipates the misfortune for a deviant character, one that the grandmother encountered.
Lastly, deviant characters in crime fiction commit crimes that are common in reality, ones that are often reported on news stations and likely to draw the attention of those about to hear about it, mainly because these potential viewers want to learn more about why a crime was committed. Oftentimes, there are stories and news reports about homicides, similar to the ones that the Misfit as his two henchmen committed in “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” and the reader gets to learn about the deviant Misfit and why he chooses to commit murder. After reading this short story, the reader learns that The Misfit is obstinate and peevish, especially from the ending quote: “Shut up, Bobby Lee, it’s no real pleasure in life. (O’Connor)” It is also revealed to the reader the things he used to do prior to his murderous life. Shortly afterward, the reader learns The Misfit’s thought process after he states: “I found out that crime don’t matter. You can do one thing or you can do another, kill a man or take a tire off his car, because sooner or later you’re going to forgot what it was you done and just be punished for it. (O’Connor)” The reader than understands why The Misfit commits crimes with no remorse, similar to how people want to understand more about why criminals in real life commit the murders that they do. Additionally, in the non-fiction article “Why Crime-Thriller Fiction?” the author Mark Rubinstein relates crime fiction to crime in reality, claiming that crime fiction is “gripping because the events they describe could actually occur. (Rubenstein)” This quote relates to the idea of the reader wanting to learn why a fictional criminal committed a certain realistic crime, the same way he or she would want to learn why a real life criminal committed a crime.
Crime fiction is appealing to its readers for various reasons. One key reason is because of the deviant characters that are found in crime fiction stories. A deviant character does certain actions that are against the norms of his or her society. These actions aren’t necessarily good nor bad, it just depends on the society in which these action are done and how these actions are viewed in the society. The popular crime fiction novels “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury, “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates all contain at least one deviant character. Moreover, the short non-fiction articles “A Taste for Murder: The Curious Case of Crime Fiction” by Rachel Franks and “Why Crime-Thriller Fiction?” by Mark Rubinstein help in explaining why crime fiction appeals to its readers. Deviant characters in crime fiction fascinate the reader because these characters challenge a society’s norms, give the reader suspense of what they will do in the future, face a negative consequence that they had probably deserved, and do certain actions highly likely to occur in reality that lead the readers to question why these things were done. These concepts are clearly supported by the crime fiction articles and the non-fiction articles as well.
Analysis of Vladimir Nabokov’s Book, Lolita with Regards to the Explanation of the Role of Humbert
How does Nabakov use this chapter to develop the reader’s understanding of Humbert Humbert’s character?
Nabakov unveils in chapter 13, Humbert Humbert as the devious predator, a paedophile convinced of his own cunning genius. Through his narrative voice can we, the reader, be both sickened by his perverse insanity and perplexed by our own advocacy of his pursuit of Lolita. When stripped of linguistic and significant embellishments, this chapter perpetuates a lewd account of masturbation and sexual exploitation, through Humbert’s confused and romanticised perception. Humbert becomes the soapy-eared intellectual and the ravenous beast simultaneously, as his sexual corruptions surface.
Humbert Humbert is both an ironic conglomeration of all duplicitous heroes and an anomalous mess of sexual iniquity and false pretentions. The crux of his foggy character is manifested in chapter 13, in an erotic account of his masturbation over his ‘little maiden’ Lolita. Unbeknown or not to Lolita, Humbert hunts her sexuality in an attempt to consummate his desires, transforming himself into a beast in the process, ‘while I crushed out against her left buttock the last throb of the longest ecstasy man or monster had ever known’ (page 61). The study of his character becomes one of moral contention, should we trust Lolita as ‘safely solipsized’, or should we, as the reader stop the progression of the narrative and put down the book? In Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell Tale Heart, in which the protagonist is comparable to Humbert, the unreliable narrator is again encouraged innately by the reader to carry out his murder by the mere turning of the page. Nabakov is aware of this, and the metafictional role the reader plays, ‘we should ponder the question how does the mind work when the sullen reader is confronted by the sunny book. First, the sullen mood melts away, and for better or worse the reader enters into the spirit of the game’ . Nabakov disregards the ‘truth’ that is searched for in fiction, like he disregards psychoanalysis, both being distillations of human conceptions and ideas, which he believes should stay deceitful and therefore magnificent. Humbert’s narrative perspective in this particular chapter is accentuated by the excitement of the language. Rather than an objective account of his sexual encounter, wonder prevails through the run on sentences and erotic language, ‘and all the while keeping a maniac’s inner eye on my distant golden goal, I cautiously increased the magic friction that was doing away, in an illusional, if not factual, sense, with the physically irremovable, but psychologically very friable texture of the material divide (pajamas and robe) between the weight of two sunburnt legs, resting athwart my life, and the hidden tumor of an unspeakable passion.’(59). His inability to state, without adornments, the reality of his sexual perversions shows an awareness of his wrong doings in moral perspective. He constantly refers to Lolita as Eve, or a temptress, and at one point likens her to a snake, ‘She twisted herself free, recoiled, and lay back in the right-hand corner of the davenport’ (58).
Regardless of Nabakov’s disdain towards symbolism, the apple in chapter 13, as in the existence of Christian faith, becomes an emblem for corruption. By likening himself and his experiences to those of the divine, Humbert Humbert aggrandizes his base desires into a spiritual pursuit of his nymphet. If Lolita is Eve, she eats the fruit and thus renders Humbert as the blameless Adam, ‘she had painted her lips and was holding in her hollowed hands a beautiful, banal, Eden-red apple. She was not shod, however, for church’(58). Humbert’s profane referencing excuses his acts on the grounds of Lolita as the temptress and not the vulnerable girl. Humbert manifests his sexual desires through biblical allusions, playing into humanity’s innate blame of women. His woman hating attitude is most prevalent in his approach to Lolita’s mother, and his licit lover, Charlotte Haze or, ‘big cold Haze’ (57). The apple becomes ‘Delicious’, a named facilitator for sexual feeling in Humbert’s attempt at a surrealist representation of his ‘unspeakable passion’. Lolita is an ancient projection of femininity, for Humbert she is Eve, a nymphet, a surrealist Venus, Carmen, the illusion of a half-woman to the erudite man.
In chapter 13, Humbert declares himself a man turned monster, filled with clandestine sexual gratification by the will of God, ‘Blessed be the Lord, she had noticed nothing!’ (page 61). Humbert’s euphoric achievement becomes his defining characteristic, his ‘cunning of the insane’ and his further quest for the nymphet who exists in his minds’ eye.
A Review of the Character of Micheal As Portrayed By Bernard Schlink in His Book, The Reader
Examine the view that Schlink presents Michael as a selfish lover
Arguably, Schlink presents Michael as a selfish lover as he conveys a feeling of secrecy and deceit and that he is unhappy with the life he has and no longer wants it. Schlink uses the short sentence of ‘I did not tell her about Hanna’ to imply that maybe he was very happy with her and doesn’t want his wife knowing about her because then it would no longer be their secret, which makes him a selfish lover because he is hiding a very important part of his past and hiding it from her. However, another interpretation could be that he may be ashamed of what he did and who she turned out to be and so is trying to hide his wife from the truth which would make him a selfless lover.
Schlink uses the repetition of the word “wrong” to describe Gertrud as Schlink chooses to make Michael compare her to Hanna which could be seen as selfish as Gertrud will never be Hanna and it is unfair of him to compare the two when they are so different. Also, the word ‘wrong’ connotes to the idea that she is not how he wants her to be and so she is ‘wrong’ in his eyes and implies that she is imperfect to him.
Schlink uses the first person to show how Michael feels and to show his inner thoughts as can be seen when he goes to see Hanna and Michael feels that he ‘had disappointed her before’ and that he wanted to be a better person and ‘make up for it’. These quotations imply that he is aware of his faults and the way in which he has hurt people, or disappointed people in Hanna’s case, and that he perhaps wants to change his ways to be better, and that maybe he wants to be a better person for Hanna. This could therefore imply that he still feels an emotional connection towards her and that he is trying to be a selfless person by becoming a better person. Although the character of Michael appears to have feelings for at the start of the extract, when he goes to visit her, he internally questions ‘why should I have given her a place in my life’ which could be seen as a selfish thought and attitude as although his romantic feelings towards her are changing, possibly diminishing as he sees how much she has grown older and changed, it is still selfish as she made a place for him in her life and it seems as though he is not reciprocating that. Furthermore, Schlink describes Hanna as having an ‘old woman’ smell and ‘grey hair’ and uses a rhetorical question as though Michael can hardly believe that is her. Schlink portrays Michael as not only a selfish lover but also a selfish person as this description and questioning thoughts from Michael imply that he has put her on a pedestal and that he has created an idealised, perfect view of Hanna in his mind that when he sees her in real life, she does not match up to what he expected and is therefore selfishly judging her although it is his own fault as she is not and cannot be perfect but that is how he created her in his mind.
Although there is some evidence to support the view that Schlink portrays Michael as a selfish lover, it is harder to believe this as this extract has an unreliable narrator of the character of Michael himself and so tries to avoid conveying a selfish attitude.
Overall, Schlink uses the first person to successfully show Michael’s inner thoughts and true feelings to portray him as both a selfish character and selfish lover although Michael’s actions and thoughts could also been seen as selfless by some critics as he is trying to protect his wife from the truth and spare people’s feelings.
How to combine and merge files into one PDF
PDF files are often used as official documents on the Internet. For this reason, it is important to know how to convert a file format to a file format. Place several PDF files in a document. Regardless of the platform you are using, we will tell you how to perform the following two tasks and it will not cost you a dime.
Far from the windows
The following method uses Adobe Acrobat DC, the best PDF editor you can download. Acrobat DC is an excellent program, which means you must pay for it. Fortunately, there is a free trial that you can use. This feature is useful if you want to combine several PDFs at the same time or plan all consolidations in the near future. In addition, there are many alternatives that will be sufficient.
Step 1. Download and install Adobe Acrobat DC Trial.
Step 2: After installation, open the program and click on the Tools tab in the upper right corner.
Step 3: Click on the Merge Files button.
Step 4: Click on the Add File button and select the PDF documents that you want to merge. It should be noted that this method works for all types of files, not just PDF files.
Step 5: After selecting the selected PDF files, click on the Combine Blue button in the upper right corner.
Step 6: combine your PDF files. It is only necessary to save it in a new place, “File” and then “Save as” click, then you can specify the name and location of the new file.
If you do not like Adobe (or have already approved the free trial course), there are many third-party options designed specifically for Windows. There is a lot that merge the PDF and you want to target the applications, which can be very useful Perfect PDF Combine is a cheap and effective option.
Also, take a look at some of the options on the web in this guide. All these applications are free and equally effective when combining PDF files.
In the latest versions of MacOS, you can use previews to merge PDF files, as long as you know what you are doing. This is a completely organic process, especially if you are taking the next step step by step.
If you want to speed up the process, learning these keyboard shortcuts really helps MacOS.
Step 1. Open the Finder and select all the PDFs you want to merge.
Step 2. Open the files (yes, everything). This will give a simple preview. If you have a large screen, it is convenient to place these preview windows so you can see them immediately. At least, you want to see the preview windows at the same time.
Step 3: in each window, go to the View menu and select “Thumbnails”. This will open the sidebar that shows the thumbnail of each page in this particular PDF file.
Step 4. Drag and drop the thumbnails of the pages you want to create a PDF file by dragging it to the other one to drag a specific order or merge PDF.
Provide visual suggestions that you can see when you click, drag and slide pages (you may be familiar with PowerPoint). It includes a truncation line that indicates whether the page is above or below the current page. Use these indicators to avoid errors in the configuration of the main document. You can also change pages and rotate them as needed.
Step 5: When you are finished, always change the name of the newly merged file.
This, MacOS will be the main version until 2018 fall, although users who are part of the Apple Developer Program, a new feature that will help the integration of PDF files with MacOS Mojave will have early access. This is part of the redesigned search tool. It offers a preview of almost everything you choose. Even better, the content menu on the page allows you to perform several quick operations, such as combining PDF files. Two PDF file or you can choose two completely different files and you can join them by right clicking on the sidebar only a single PDF file.
Below the individual properties of the selected files, you will find the quick menu on the left. If the Plus feature is not available, click on the Other icon.
There are many free web tools that you can use to integrate PDF files; This is good news for you. If you need to combine files quickly, this program is that you really care about your PDF source or where to go, this may be your best choice is yours. In addition, they do not require additional software. However, there are strict size limits.
These are some of the most common tools for merging PDF files, but remember that all the basic concepts are the same. If you have format problems with just one tool, try another.
Pdfmerg to open: PdfMerge and you will see a simple window with bars to drag and drop multiple PDF files. You can select up to four files at the same time and you can add more files if necessary. The program offers a simple “Unite”! – Combination option. However, services are running only 15 MB or less, keep in mind that at a relatively low level. After that, you will be asked to pay, so you can not have large brochures and letters.
PDF Joiner: PDF Joiner is ideal for all types of transition and file format changes. Yes, you can combine PDF files, but you can also change the wrapper in a text file or JPG (or vice versa). If you are trying to combine many different formations, this tool is the perfect alternative to prolong your hair. However, with the program you can work with 20 files at the same time.
Smallpdf: Smallpdf, you can download files directly from Dropbox or Google Drive, so you do not have to waste time to download the files you download. In general this is ideal for collaborative projects, integration tool Smallpdf is working hard to become a more professional option. For example, the program clearly defines security and allows you to see the new PDF document when it is created. This is an absolutely excellent option to combine work. The options are “Convert” and “Share”, as well as add Chrome and the desktop application.
Foxyutil integration for PDF: Foxyutil has a sweet charm. If you combine PDF files, you support the tree planting project. Perfect for green businesses: very bad, the maximum file size is limited to 50 MB.
Positivity is Key: Comparing the Rez Sisters and Les Belles Soeurs
The plays The Rez Sisters and Les Belles Soeurs both deal with groups of women, united in sisterhood, who experience social challenges within the story. Through a comedic lens, we accompany the characters in both stories as we are given insight into their social dynamic which both prove to be hostile, competitive and jealousy-fueled. However, despite the similarities shared between these two social scenarios, Highway’s The Rez Sisters provides a much more positive look on the women’s situation than does Tremblay in his respective story line because of a substantial feeling of hope embedded throughout the play. This notion of hope amongst Highway’s sisters exists due to the essence of genuine cooperation, the existence of positive attitude and determination and the natural human sympathy for the disadvantaged.
Firstly, Highway demonstrates a situation where the sisters participate in genuine cooperation. Although there exists a superfluous amount of argumentative bickering in both stories, the sisters on the reserve inevitably join and formulate a set plan. They ultimately recognize that despite how much they would enjoy simply criticizing and cursing at one another for the remainder of their existence, they remain dependent on each other for almost everything on the reserve. They must exist as a tightly knit community in order for any sort of progress to be made. When the the bingo scenario comes into play, this truth becomes even more important. A significant example is when Pelajia first discusses how they would convince the chief for a loan to travel to Toronto for the bingo. She plans on convincing the chief of her good intentions with the prize money, in the odd event that she actually wins. She elaborates by stating: “I’ll tell him we’ll build paved roads all over the reserve with our prize money…..There’s enough money in there for everyone, I’ll say”(p.59). Here we witness a true sense of community cooperation by prioritizing the needs of the whole before the self. Although each sister’s dream is to win the bingo, they understand the importance of a functioning community on the reserve.
By contrast, despite Tremblay’s women arriving with a preconceived plan to paste stamps, their evening collapses simultaneously with their relationships between one another. What was intended to be a cooperative activity inevitably results in trickery, stealing and eventual chaos. As a result, the women attempt to work against one another rather than for each other.
Secondly, the essence of positivity is enforced by the fact that the characters on the reserve continuously maintain a sense of positive attitude and determination. Although these feelings are often disguised by offensive language and name calling, their spirit of togetherness as well as their passion and obsession for the World’s Biggest Bingo prevents them from descending into anarchy. Even though they face significant obstacles that would prevent them from accomplishing their mission, they somehow manage to simply border on the delicate line between cooperation and chaos, without in fact fully crossing that line.
Inversely, Germaine and company are overtaken by negative attitude as a result of their cumulative jealousy. Consequently, there is a constant negative relationship instilled from the beginning. Unlike their comparative counterparts, they are unable to gain composure enough to accomplish anything significant; their own criticism and jealousy of one another leads to their combined downfall. Even from the beginning of the story when we are still learning of the different character’s qualities, this essence of detrimental selfishness is present in Marie-Ange’s monologue: “The ones with all the luck least deserve it. What did Mme Lauzon do to deserve this, eh? Nothing. Absolutely nothing! She’s no better looking than me. In fact, she’s no better period!… And now, I’ll have to live next door to her…It burns me up. I can’t stand it…It’s not fair!”(p.11). Her jealousy is so deeply rooted in her mind that she severely distorts her views of her sisters and eventually compromises their friendships together. In short, instead of a healthy amount of competition and jealousy binding them together, an excess of those emotions rather serves as a division and pushes them even further apart.
Another aspect of this positive outlook and determination lies in the fact that the women on the reserve have an actual goal set in mind for themselves. When the negativity of their seemingly senseless arguments reaches a high, Pelajia often reminds the group of the greater issue at hand: The Bingo. Despite the obstacles set in front of them, they continuously pursue their mission towards Toronto. Although none of the characters wins a large prize, the essence of positivity exists from the fact that they had actually reached their location, something that was glorified so much over the entire story. Tremblay’s women had the vague and selfish goal of helping Germaine post stamps, however their jealousy and negative nature tore them apart before they could achieve any significant results.
Finally, the essence of positivity stems from the aspect of human nature that sympathizes for the dispositioned. Naturally, these women are inherently placed at a social disadvantage; their daily life entails a struggle on such a reserve. It is simply human nature for one to hope for the less fortunate to achieve something greater and beyond what they have been dealt. For the reader, it provides a sense of hope that these underprivileged women may receive a chance at something they actually deserve. An excerpt that demonstrates this clearly is when Emily describes her past life of being in a gang, and says to her friends: “And talkin’ about bein’ a woman. An Indian woman. And suicide. And alchohol and despair and how fuckin’ hard it is to be an Indian in this country…No goddamn future…”(p.97). In case the reader cannot infer from the text the struggles of living in a reserve, Emily explicitly states the difficulties in her rant to the other sisters. In a ‘root for the underdog’ spirit, one surely hopes for the main characters’ success. Therefore, the entire morale of the story is uplifted when the reader learns the women have successfully made it to the Bingo.
Contrarily, Tremblay’s play seems doomed from the start; without any real motivation for the characters, a hopeless, gloomy air sets in from the beginning. Although these sisters are not very wealthy or privileged, they hardly seem grateful for the commodities they do in fact possess. Intuitively, they all seem to envy the other women for some material possession. As the play progresses, their mutual jealousy does not give the reader a sense of sympathy for the characters and in the end, their fate seems deserved.
On an overall note, it is clear that Highway’s play demonstrates certain important qualities that render it a significantly more positive play than Tremblay’s. Regardless of its realm of positivity, both plays effectively convey the emotions of the women involved while providing insight into the dynamic of sisterhood.
Highway, Thomson. “The Rez Sisters”. Markham: Fifth House Limited, 1998.
Tremblay, Michel. “Les Belles Soeurs”. John Van Burek, ed. Vancoucer: Talonbooks.
Reading the Proviso Scene of Congreve’s The Way of the World in the 21st Century
The proviso scenes in Restoration dramas depict a legal negotiation or “bargain” that takes place between the hero and the heroine of the play. In William Congreve’s comedy, The Way of the World, scene V of Act IV plays a significant role but “plays with the Restoration convention of proviso scenes”. According to Richard W.F. Kroll, the scene is symbolic of a social agreement with only “potential” legal force (“Discourse and Power in The Way of the World”, 749). It cannot be wholly agreed that the scene in the play facilitates a progression towards equality and liberation for women in the modern sense as there are several limiting instances that occur throughout the scene which have repercussions in Act V as well.
The proviso scene appears to have a subversive intent in that it allows for certain prenuptial proceedings to take place between Millamant and Mirabell. Yet, this notion is deconstructed by the fact that it is only the female character who needs to set down certain terms and conditions to safeguard her independence after marriage. Mirabell, being a “patriarch”, does not need to do the same and instead lays down any terms only to regulate and counter those proposed by Millamant. The rights and privileges of the man in a conjugational union is a given and reflects the privilege that Mirabell comes from. This destabilizes the façade of the equality of the sexes.
The scene is better interpreted as a “battle of the sexes” where the power struggles between both parties are quite evident. Kroll notes that it is Millamant who is at the centre of Congreve’s masterpiece as she confronts the reality of losing her “natural power over men”-her beauty, which shall fade away as she “grows old” in a “man’s world” (741). He states that the central significance of the proviso scene lies in the “careful orchestration” of Millamant’s “withdrawal from the monopoly of knowledge” and allowing hherself to be “read and obtained” (749). The “chase”, as put by Mirabell, does come to an end as Millamant accepts the impending “loss of her power” and agrees to negotiate the term of marriage. The transgressive stance taken by the character of Millamant in voicing her opinions and dismay is not seen through to an appropriate conclusion by Congreve. She is at first portrayed as an “intense” woman whose “delicate intelligence” peculiarly enables her to deal with her passions as well as the legal realities of marriage. As claimed by Alan Roper, she may “laugh aggravatively” and use “defensive” language, yet, she does not isolate herself completely from that social reality. Millamant comes to terms with the fact that the “price of even partial social and political freedom is the ability to negotiate according to contracts that maintain the fabric of society” (Kroll 741). Kroll also describes the proviso scene as accommodating Mirabell’s obedience to Millamant without compromising the former’s autonomy.
Congreve has fashioned this scene on the basis of the Lockean view of “Conjugal Society”, according to which, marriage is seen as a “voluntary compact” between a man and a woman. According to Locke (1688), a husband and wife can lay claim to each other’s bodies only for “procreational purposes” and must draw on “mutual support”, “assistance” and “communion of interest” to nurture their offspring until maturity is attained. Thus, the “compact” stands for the “forging of all ties” and not just personal gratification. This take on marriage as a “social contract”, although seen by some critics as liberal, is discarded by others such as Pateman, in favor of interpreting marriage as a “sexual contract”. Mary Wollstonecraft agrees with this idea in her Vindication of the Rights of Woman where she explicitly describes marriage as a form of “legal prostitution”.
Vivian Davis believes that the “conventions of the stage are traded in for a round of legal bargaining” in the proviso scene. In other words, the insecurity and anxieties of Mirabell are laid to rest by the “surety of the law” (523). It is through these legal procedures that Mirabell is finally able to “extricate” Millamant from Lady Wishfort’s “vicious circle” and settle the terms of their pending union. Thus, law in the form of the marriage contract, helps reassert control over a “volatile female subject” (Davis). Pateman complies with this idea as she interprets the contract as a means through which “modern patriarchy is constituted”. As the negotiations continue in the scene, we notice that Millamant is no longer just the “negotiator” but also that which is “negotiated”. On looking closer, we see that except for a claim to her life, the husband has claim to the wife just as the other property, by natural order (Davis 525).
While some critics justify the limitation of Millamant’s freedoms, although problematized by voicing her dissent, as a necessary to maintain “emotional authority” and “social/moral order” in the play, Pateman exposes the ploy of the objectification of women through the marriage contract in which the wife is, both, the “subject” as well as the “object”. Thus, this scene emphasises a loss of autonomy and independence for women and blatantly appropriates patriarchy rather than propelling the status of women towards a liberal and progressive state.
Purposefully Imprecise: Specificity in Relation to Power in ‘Oleanna’
In the play Oleanna by David Mamet, knowledge is power. The ability to be the more intellectually adept individual in a room allows for both John and Carol to capture and lose the role of teacher in their student-teacher relationship. John, the literal teacher, begins the play by employing this knowledge and subsequent power through vague rhetoric such as noun clauses and indefinite pronouns. Vague language is the currency with which John and Carol trade power, as it signifies knowledge without specifying the exact nature of that knowledge. When John purposefully fails to give exact definition of a word he is enacting his role as a teacher, the authority, whose job is to maintain student interest and inquiry. However, John unknowingly and ironically succeeds at “teaching” this power skill to Carol, allowing the power dynamic within the student-teacher relationship to fluctuate. Ultimately, Carol gradually grows to be even more adept at using intentionally vague language to demonstrate her power and Carol eventually holds power over John. Intentional vagueness, a tool often employed by teachers, exemplifies the power held by John or Carol as it ironically is a sign of intelligence and it reveals the changing nature in the power dynamic between John and Carol: who is vague, and who is forced to clarify.
In the first act, John’s demeaning tone paired with noun clauses and general nouns establishes his role as the teacher; the one who exercises power. John carries himself with authority and superiority, and he feels that his vagueness is justified by his supposed preeminence. One of the questions John first asks Carol is “what” she wants “to talk about” (8). This mundane and superfluous question consists not only of a patronizing tone, but also a noun clause. The vagueness of the noun clause allows for John to simultaneously control the discourse while also invest minimal person effort and attention into the relationship which he considers beneath him. John continues this trend in the purposefully imprecise pronoun “something” in order to leave Carol uneducated and less informed on the subject matter than he is (14). Every time John uses an imprecise word, he coerces her into asking a question in order to understand John’s meaning. This leads to John becoming the sole influence on her opinions, as John’s ambiguity requires a definition only John can explain, allowing him to be the instructor. This vagueness even carries over into “what [Carol] thinks” (21). The use of a noun clause to describe Carol’s thoughts not only means that they are undefined and obscure, but also that those thoughts will ultimately be defined and explained by John, her teacher. The power John attains through his unclear rhetoric provides for his facile mastery of the direction of the dialogue and also ironic success in his greatest love: teaching.
By the second act, Carol has begun to learn from John’s skillful and power-wielding vagueness and attempts some teaching of her own. As John recognizes Carol’s growing disposition for the role of the teacher, he attempts to reassert his superior role. He strains to accentuate his power through ambiguous pronouns such as “it” and “that”, using the obscurity of those pronouns to distort his true craving for power and disguise that craving (28). Indefinite pronouns become even more vague and complex in order to elicit a question, or sign of dependence from Carol. However, Carol also begins to employ a vagueness of her own. By not specifying the identity of “that word”, Carol coerces John to ask for specification (29). The roles of teacher and student are now beginning to blend together and the power dynamics seem to reach equilibrium. In this act, the relationship between Carol and John seems relatively equal; a relationship between two peers instead a student and teacher. Both Carol and John attempt to exercise power through their vagueness and these attempts begin to come into conflict with each other. When John intends to establish power by the usage of a noun clause, “What wrong have I done”, Carol responds with the equally enigmatic pronoun “whatever” (30). As John continues to practice esoteric rhetoric, Carol only continues to learn and improve from him, and this is ironically the exclusive skill which John is able to teach her. Carol’s finesse and ingenuity with intentional vagueness persists to develop exponentially, and by the third act, she has surpassed John, both as a teacher and as an equal.
In the final act, Carol is finally able to engage her power, as she is able to transform into the role of a teacher, becoming the dominate and proficient master of vague language. Paired with a consistent use of action and command verbs, Carol is able to demonstrate her capability of using her acquired knowledge, which she ironically absorbed from John, to replace and surpass him in the role of the teacher. Carol states that “it is not for [John] to say” (43). Carol’s strong verbs allow her to demonstrate her ability to take action with the knowledge she has attained. The indefinite pronoun “it” only allows for her statement to become more powerful, as “it” can be construed as anything, negating any voice that John retained. Carol not only embodies the idea of power through vagueness, she uses it more effectively than John ever did. Carol is able to proclaim that “what [she] says is right” and allows the undefined meaning of “what” to inscribe an infinite number of possible arguments. Through the use of increasingly strong verbs and intricate ambiguity, Carol masters the art of teaching by leaving John in the position where she started: undefined and asking questions.
The proportional relationship of vague rhetoric and power, along with knowledge and specificity, highlight the ironies in the poignant relationship Mamet invented. In this ironic world, the more ambiguously a character speaks, the more power he or she possesses. The more knowledge a character acquires, the less he or she exhibits it. With the teacher as the securely more powerful person, both John and Carol fight to say less, and define even less of what they do say. The world of Oleanna ultimately reveals one simple truth: the power of a character is fundamentally established by what she or he does not say.
Opportunity to Lead in World of No Conflict
In “Master Harold”… and the Boys, black Africans are treated as though they are not as important as the white Africans. Fugard represents black Africans as people who have been disenfranchised, segregated, and less privileged in an attempt to show the struggles involved with apartheid. Fugard does this through the symbolism of the bench and the ballroom dancing as well as through the conflicts between characters.
In the beginning of “Master Harold”…and the Boys, Sam is trying to teach Willie how to dance. Ballroom dancing symbolizes a world without conflict. Sam says, “it’s beautiful because that is what we want life to be like. But instead like you said Hally, we’re bumping into each other all the time” (Fugard 46). Sam believes that apartheid is the result of people bumping into each other, which leads him to say that ballroom dancing, is like a world without collisions; when two people dance, they do not bump into each other, but simply dance. Because Sam is dreaming of a world without the collisions, which in this case refers to apartheid, it suggests that Sam has had a hard time as a result of apartheid.
Sam’s dream not only suggests how Sam feels about apartheid, but also causes conflict between Sam and Hally, as Hally doesn’t agree with Sam’s idea of ballroom dancing. Because of the way Hally delivers his argument, he suggests that Sam is less educated than him, which furthers the idea of black African disenfranchisement within the education system during apartheid. Here, Hally is suggesting that Sam is less educated, stupid, and dumb which may be contributed to what Hally has been taught to believe. Even though the author shows the readers that Sam is educated through Sam’s reading of comic books and his conversation on the Men of Letters, the idea persists within Hally’s mind that Sam is uneducated. The educational disenfranchisement of black Africans led to a shift in public opinion about the education levels of non-whites, as demonstrated by Hally’s misconstrued perception of Sam’s education.
During an argument, Hally demands that Sam call him Master Harold and to refer to his father as his boss: “He’s a white man and that’s good enough for you” (Fugard 53). Fugard uses Hally’s language and tone to convey Hally’s superiority over Sam. Although Hally’s father is cripple and an alcoholic, Hally views him as better than Sam because he is white. The narrative of whiteness trumping every other personal characteristic further paints the picture of the limited privileges black Africans had during apartheid. Black Africans also recognize the power disparity that is dictated by skin color. Sam tells Hally, “because you think you’re safe in your fair skin” (Fugard 56). Here, Sam implies that Hally is protected because of the color of his pale skin and further elucidates Fugard’s demonstration of black African disenfranchisement.
The symbolism of the park bench may be one of the most important literary elements used in this play, as it symbolizes apartheid. When Sam and Hally fly a kite together Hally sits down on a ‘whites only’ bench, forcing Sam to leave the area. Later Sam says, “I couldn’t sit down and stay with you. It was a ‘Whites Only’ bench” (Fugard 58). This shows segregation as well as suggests that blacks are seen as less than whites. Sam’s departure also examines the effect of segregation on Sam and Hally’s relationship, which represents the larger problems of relationships between blacks and whites. The existence of segregation put a strain on their relationship, which ultimately led to a major argument and the end of their relationship.
Fugard portrays Black Africans as less than their White counterparts to show the effects that apartheid had on different relationships. The author uses the symbolism of the ballroom dancing to demonstrate that black Africans, such as Sam, dream of a world without conflict because of how they have been treated under apartheid. The bench symbolizes apartheid as well as demonstrates how blacks are less privileged by showing that they cannot share a bench with whites. This too damages the relationship between Hally and Sam. Fugard uses these symbols to demonstrate the ways that apartheid can affect people and their relationships, as well as show his negative viewpoint upon the subject of apartheid.
The system of values Homer imposed on the readers
Humans are complex beings, each with individual traits, and an individual set of traits that they value in others. Despite this individuality, cultures are formed, in part, by the values they possess and nurture in their society as a whole. In the Homeric society, two qualities in particular are appreciated in men, as they lead to honor: The rhetoric to connect with others in the society and the strength with which to carry out courage and strong words, while only one truly reigns as most important in women, as this will allow the man in possession of her to be honored by her in front of others: beauty.
The Homeric society seems to admire glory and other similarly vain things based off of the opinions of others. Success and honor run side-by-side. All other values bridge off of this need for it, including what people value. Men view women as possessions to be had and trophies to be won, and even though a wealthy and beautiful woman is intrinsically worth no more than an ugly one as far as her ability to complete her duties go, there is more distinction in owning a beautiful ‘prize.’ Achilleus shows this need when he considers it to be a dishonor for a woman won in war to be taken from him, not because of any love for her, but because she venerates his ego (The Iliad 1.161-71). After all, even the elders consider the Trojans and Achaeans to be blameless “if they suffer hardship for a woman like this one” because of Helen’s great beauty (The Iliad 3.156-60). But if men value women for vain and useless reasons, so, too, are men valued for qualities that will not matter past this life, though they are aware that there is more required of them to a good afterlife than beauty and honor.
People admire men for any trait which brings them success in war, especially strength and rhetoric. People often glorified the powerful and rich. Men used strength to determine the outcome of contests, depicted in The Iliad as Helen was forced to marry to the man who won the duel- not the smarter man, the better man, or the man whom she chose, but the stronger, as this was what truly mattered to the people (The Iliad 3.136-8). When asked by Priam to speak about the men of her own city, Helen does not define them by their personalities or deeds, but again by their strength, as both her and Priam care about this in particular and so expect that type of response from the question, even without specifying (The Iliad 3.225-40). Valor is an important trait which Paris does not possess and Helen calls him out on for the absence of, but can be easily made up for out of the public eye by charm and power (The Iliad 3.447-8). This appreciation of charismatic speaking goes well beyond just Helen. It proves to be a necessary skill to have in order to command, and is valued throughout as skill in war leads to honor.
People sought after honor, and so what must be done to achieve it is to win. To do this, one must be able to speak well in order to encourage troops to do well, to get them to follow orders, or to rise in the chain of command. People strive to be liked, or at least respected, as they greatly value the opinions of others. The public sees Odysseus as an admirable and cunning public speaker, as seen when he gives respectful messages to those of power, asking them to not run away from the war, while belittling those below him to give the same message. The people see one of his later speeches, degrading an old man, to be the best thing he has ever accomplished, over even “bringing forward good counsels and ordering armed encounters” and the other “thousands” of “excellent things” he has accomplished (The Iliad 2.272-7). The persuasive speaking used by Odysseus brought him honor, but those speaking in public without such a skill, authority, or thought are looked down upon. When Thersites spoke out against Agamemnon, Odysseus greatly rebuked him and beat this ugly, old man for what he had said, leaving him wiping away his tears on the ground (The Iliad 243-69). Had the use of persuasive speaking not been viewed as important and able to change things, surely he would have been disregarded and not publicly humiliated by those in power there, no matter how “disorderly, vain, and without decency” he may have been (The Iliad 2.212-5).
Homer shows throughout The Iliad the value of strength, the effectiveness of speaking, and the destructive power of beauty when used to further oneself. He shows that these are the main qualities valued in humans, whether truly beneficial to society or not: Strength, power, wealth, or charm with which to act upon courage, however far that may take the one acting. Rhetoric, the speaking and convincing others of personal beliefs as propaganda, motivation, and a way to bring together a community. And lastly, beauty as a means for gaining pride and honor from those around when people view beauty as a possession. The people from the Homeric society value these, and have built their cultures around such.
Grasping the Readers Attention: Suspense and Tension in In Cold Blood and Plot Driving Factor
In modern literature, suspense and tension are almost essential in producing works that are both successful and interesting to the reader. These two aspects of literature are especially important in Truman Capote’s novel, In Cold Blood, which delineates the story of how a mere robbery attempt concludes in the death of four well-respected and affable family members. Although the reader is cognizant of various outcomes in the story beforehand, Capote effectively retains the reader’s interest through suspense and tension. Capote particularly engenders this suspense and tension by shifting between simultaneous events, waiting to disclose the details of the murder, and suggesting fallacies in America’s judicial system.
Suspense proves to be an essential aspect to this novel, particularly in the way in which it proves to be a new plot mechanism. For example, one way Capote introduces suspense is through the short segments within each chapter. He constantly switches back and forth between Dick and Perry and the people in Holcomb, leaving the reader longing to discover what happens on both perspectives of the story. More importantly, he ends many of the segments with surprising and suspenseful actions and thoughts. For example, when Nancy broaches her suspicions about the smell of cigarette smoke, Capote cunningly ends with this thought: “Before she could ask if this was really what Nancy meant, Nancy cut her off: ‘Sorry, Susie. I’ve got to go. Mrs. Katz is here’” (22). This ending leaves the reader wondering whether Mr. Clutter, who possesses a strong aversion toward such matters, would actually take part in smoking. This suspected, sudden change in the daily habits of the family allows Capote to stir up a suspenseful atmosphere in the reader’s mind because these details seem to foreshadow the murder. In addition, Capote amplifies the suspense by ending the section on this note, leaving the reader at a climactic point. Furthermore, as Capote switches back to the murderers, he describes their preparations in a casual manner. The tensions thus increases as the reader becomes upset at the lack of morals of the murderers and the total obliviousness of the Clutter family toward the upcoming events. The constant switching also serves another purpose by bringing the reader into the actual story as he or she tries to keep up with simultaneous events as they occur. Furthermore, Capote presents many of the unfolding events through the testimonies of various citizens, which gives more credibility to the story.
In addition to the timely shifts in the novel, Capote engenders suspense by waiting to disclose various details of the story, most importantly of the actual murders. Capote chooses to stop the description of the “score” just as the murderers approach the house: “Dick doused the headlights, slowed down, and stopped until his eyes were adjusted to the moon-illuminated night. Presently, the car crept forward” (57). After this passage, Capote skips straight to the discovery of the dead victims. Capote utilizes this very effective tactic of skipping ahead in order to build suspense. He surprises the reader and leaves him or her with the desire to continue in order to unearth the facts and details of that hideous night. In addition to building suspense, this method again places the reader in the eyes of the bemused Holcomb citizens, as they are equally clueless on the details surrounding the murders. Similarly, Capote does not explicitly introduce the murder plot: “Still no sign of Dick. But he was sure to show up; after all, the purpose of their meeting was Dick’s idea, his ‘score’” (14). Referring to the murder plot as the “score” serves various purposes. First, this reference adds to the suspenseful ambience because the reader cannot decipher its exact meaning; he or she can only construe that the term refers in some manner to the murder. Secondly, it puts the reader in the eyes and thoughts of Perry because he too appears incognizant of the actual plan before meeting Dick. Finally, during the period between the meeting and the murders, Capote adheres to using the reference “score” so that he may keep any motives and details mysterious and suspenseful. Again, Capote masterfully puts the reader into the eyes of the curious Holcomb citizens because neither the reader nor the citizens become aware of the motive until much later in the novel.
In addition to using suspense as an efficacious tool in retaining the reader’s interest, Capote also brings into play an aspect of tension during the court trials and psychiatric evaluations. Capote commences to impose his own thoughts and beliefs into the story during the court trials. He lucidly demonstrates his condemnation of the M’Naghten Rule due to its tight strictures and inflexibility: “But had Dr. Jones been permitted to discourse on the cause of his indecision, he would have testified: ‘Perry Smith shows definite signs of severe mental illness’” (296). By including the statements of Dr. Jones, if he would have been allowed to speak further, Capote evinces his concern and frustration over the utilization of the death penalty when dealing with the insane. A one word response to a question dealing with whether or not a person is insane is, of course, hardly sufficient to convey the full scope of the evaluation, especially if the subject’s life depends on this evaluation. Capote also probes the inner mind of Perry Smith during his incarceration: “Eventually he wondered if perhaps he had invented them (a notion that he ‘might not be normal, maybe insane’ had troubled him ‘even when I was little, and my sisters laughed because I liked moonlight. To hide in the shadows and watch the moon’)” (265). This passage creates tension and the reader’s mind vacillates on whether or not Perry experienced schizophrenia. Moreover, by including this passage, Capote foments a feeling of sympathy for the murderer. Throughout the beginning of the novel, the reader feels animosity towards Perry, but as Capote discloses these new details, the reader begins to reevaluate his or her previous convictions. Thus, Capote again allows the reader to see things through Perry’s perspective. Once more, tension arises from a sudden shift in the mindset of the reader. Nonetheless, Capote leaves the reader with an ambiguous ending. Only the reader can decide whether Perry could acknowledge his actions as wrong on that horrific night or if the emotional and physical scars created by Perry’s childhood drove him insane.
Thus, because Capote effectively uses tools of suspense and tension, he retains the reader’s interest throughout the entire novel. The simultaneous shifting between events, delaying of crucial facts and details till later in the story, and the questioning of the court’s laws on cases dealing with the insane and the death penalty are only some of the mechanisms Capote utilizes to conceive an extremely powerful and intriguing novel.