The Representation of Perpetrators in Time’s Arrow and The Reader
In order to analyse the representation of perpetrators in Holocaust literature, I am going to be looking at Martin Amis’ Time’s Arrow and Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader. I would argue that both authors treat the perpetrators in a very measured manner, meaning that the reader can to a degree understand them and their actions, which in turn help us to learn, but never completely feel sympathy for them. This is important because of the ethical questions surrounding the representation of the perpetrator within Holocaust literature: “how does one depict the correlative element of the atrocity, that of the perpetration of the suffering?”  Erin McGlothlin argues, “…there is a sense that to focus on critically on the perspective of the perpetrator would at best be unseemly and at worst a betrayal of the memory of the victims…” , which is why the ways that both Amis and Schlink construct their perpetrators is so fundamental.
It is first important to establish what exactly a perpetrator is- Raul Hilberg in Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe 1933-45 defines the perpetrator as anyone who ‘played a specific role in the formulation or implementation of anti-Jewish measures.’ 
When first considering the evidence within both texts that shows the authors creating a character that can be understood, in both The Reader and Time’s Arrow, we are given the image of a perpetrator who is an every-day person, not a psychopath, as we would naturally expect. This can first be seen when considering the protagonist of Time’s Arrow, a simple doctor, who is described by his own conscience as follows: “I’ve come to the conclusion that Odilo Unverdorben, as a moral being, is absolutely unexceptional, liable to do what everybody else does, good or bad, with no limit, once under the cover of numbers.”  Here Amis’ use of the adjective “unexceptional” is striking as it subverts the readers natural expectations of what a perpetrator is, someone who is highly exceptional and evil. In addition to this, Amis allows his perpetrator to assume many different, normal identities and names throughout the novel, for example “Tod T. Friendly”  and “John Young” . More convincingly, the backwards structure of Time’s Arrow emphasises a feeling of lack of control, suggesting that the novel’s protagonist has had to act in such a way. This highlights the idea that the perpetrator can be an ordinary person who has become part of the genocidal machine. Comparatively, in The Reader, Schlink’s description of Hanna’s exterior makes her seem like a normative every day woman. Hanna is described in the novel as follows: “Her shoulder-length, ash-blonde hair was fastened with a clip at the back of her neck. Her bare arms were pale…High forehead, high cheekbones, pale blue eyes, full lips that formed a perfect curve without any indentation, square chin. A broad-planed, strong, womanly face.”  Here Schlink’s lack of spirited or dynamic adjectives convey Hanna’s exterior as rather unremarkable, allowing us to view her as an unextraordinary, conventional human being. More convincingly, because of her job as a Tram conductor, Hanna is often presented to us in a uniform, which further familiarises and standardises her character.
Additionally, in both texts, the reader is able to understand the perpetrator more and begin to accept that they are not necessarily the worst kind of people, because unlike characters such as “Uncle Pepi” , a representation of Nazi psychopath Josef Goebbels, who is shown to revel in the mass violence and destruction of the Holocaust, our perpetrators are both shown to have coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms convey the idea that Hanna and Unverdorben do not actually enjoy or want to be a part of the perpetration of the innocent. This can first be seen when considering the doctor in Time’s Arrow, who develops a split personality to cope with the shockingly brutal and inhumane nature of his own actions. In her essay The Powers of Horror, Julia Kristeva discusses the Holocaust, stating “The abjection of Nazi crime reaches its apex when death, which, in any case, kills me, interferes with what, in my living universe, is supposed to save me from death: childhood, science, among other things.”  This abjection of doctors killing instead of saving lives caused the doctors to develop split personality disorders as a coping mechanism, and Amis’ exploration of this can be likened to that of Robert J. Lifton. In Nazi Doctors Lifton argues, ““Splitting” or “dissociation” can thus denote something about Nazi doctors’ suppression of feeling, or psychic numbing, in relation to their participation in murder.”  Amis is able to embody the split personality disorder within his text, by his use of inverted temporal narration, which means the narrator is separate from the character of the doctor. However, at the beginning of the novel’s fifth chapter the previously separate narrator becomes temporal with the doctor: “Now. I, Odilo Unverdorben…”  Due to the fact that the overall narrative of the novel is backward, we can interpret this joining of the two selves as the splitting of the two selves that arguably occurred amongst Nazi doctors. Sara Horowitz argues: “Amis’s device gives symbiotic existence to Robert J. Lifton’s idea of the Nazi doctor’s second self…the normal and the Auschwitz self.” 
Whilst this is not as strong of a concept in The Reader, I would argue that a coping mechanism for Hanna could be having the young girls read to her. This is something that we learn during the court scene, when the victim says: “Yes she had her favourites, always one of the young ones who was weak and delicate, and she took them under her wing and made sure that they didn’t have to work, got them better barracks space and took care of them and fed them better, and in the evenings, she had them brought to her. And the girls were never allowed to say what she did with them in the evening. And we assumed she was… also because they all ended up on the transports, as if she had had her fun with them and then had got bored…one day one of them finally talked, and we learned that the girls read aloud to her…”  Here Hanna is described to take on the familiar maternal role, feeding, protecting and caring for the girls, the embodiment of Hanna as a mother here makes it almost impossible for the reader to imagine her intentions are ill, as we are all familiar with the positive connotations of motherhood and mothers. The argument can be made that this ritual of having the girls read aloud to her becomes a coping mechanism for Hanna because throughout the novel we see just how much pleasure she gains from being read to and we understand that the world of literature is an escape for her. There is evidence of this when Michael recounts reading War and Peace to Hanna: “I read her War and Peace… Again, Hanna became absorbed in the unfolding of the story. But it was different this time… she didn’t make Natasha, Andrei, and Pierre part of her world, as she had Luise and Emilia, but entered their world the way one sets out on a long and dazzling journey…”  More convincingly, Michael later justifies this argument: “Ask her if she chose the weak and delicate girls, because they could never have stood up to the work on the building site anyway, because they would have been sent on the next transportation to Auschwitz in any case, and because she wanted to make that final month bearable.” 
In contrast to this, Amis and Schlink both also use techniques to detach the reader from their perpetrator characters. In this way, the sexual power of the perpetrator is something which is prominent in both texts. I would argue that this is a technique that the authors use to distance the reader from the perpetrator, as in this way they are presented in a predatory manner, making them seem more capable of their later horrific crimes in the Holocaust. In Time’s Arrow power forms one of the novel’s persistent motifs, associated with not just doctors but also sex. This can be seen because the first time that Tod has sex with Irene he experiences a compelling sense of power: as he “loomed above her” , he is “flooded by thoughts and feelings I’ve never had before. To do with power.”  In this way sex offers the protagonist “instant invasion and lordship” , a feeling he also gets when carrying out surgery. The lust for power that Unverdorben shares with his Nazi comrades also epitomises his relations with his wife, Herta, who is harshly described as “his chimpanzee required to do housework naked, on all fours.”  The intrinsic link that Amis sets up between his perpetrator and the act of sexual power is most strikingly displayed to the reader through the highly caustic fact that as soon as Unverdorben acquires heightened physical power rounding up the Jews for the Waffen-SS Unit he joins, he becomes sexually impotent. This is overtly crystallised by Amis’ use of the two short and harshly clarifying sentences in the line, “I am omnipotent. Also impotent.” 
In The Reader we see the exploration of the sexual power of the perpetrator in the taboo older woman/ underage male relationship that “fifteen”  year old Michael and thirty-six year old Hanna share. Hanna’s domination over Michael is immediately shown to us in their first meeting, Michael describes her helping him as an “assault”  as she “seizes”  his arm, which instantly foreshadows the attack on his masculinity that this subversive relationship will cause. This, teamed with his description of himself as “being so weak” , in contrast to his likening of Hanna to “a horse” , an animal synonymous with strength and physical power, confirms their roles within the relationship with Michael yielding to Hanna’s sexual ascendency. We are most overtly shown the full extent of Hanna’s sexual power over Michael, when he describes the physical act of sex between the two: “…she looked me over calmly. I turned red…” , “…and then she was on top of me, looking into my eyes until I came…”  Michael goes on to say, “When we made love, too, she took possession of me as a matter of course. Her mouth took mine, her tongue played with my tongue, she told me where to touch her and how, and when she rode me until she came, I was there only because she took pleasure in me and on me.”  Here the repeated image of taking makes Hanna seem like a predator devouring her prey, highlighting the dangers of her sexual power. Michael goes on to confirm the assumption that Hanna’s sexual power makes her different, distancing her from the reader, when he says, “Years later it occurred to me that the reason I hadn’t been able to take my eyes off her was not just her body, but the way she held herself and moved.” 
The most convincing way that Amis and Schlink create disassociation between the reader and the perpetrators of both texts is by of the fact that we do not hear either story from the point of view of the perpetrator. In the case of Time’s Arrow we are told the majority of the story from the perspective of the doctor’s conscience: “Something isn’t quite working: this body I’m in won’t take orders from this will of mine. Look around, I say. But his neck ignores me.”  In The Reader we are told the whole story from the perspective of Michael, who at the commencing of the story is just fifteen years old: “When I was fifteen, I got Hepatitis.”  The use of having a separate narrator to the perpetrator is primitive, as it enables the author to pass moral judgement on the actions of the perpetrator. There is evidence of this in Time’s Arrow for example when the conscience speaking of John’s ill-treatment of Irene, admits: “I can’t stand the way he treats her. To him she is- how can I put this?- Soon assimilated.”  Similarly, in The Reader when Michael learns of the true horrors of Hanna’s crimes during her trial, he feels overwhelming guilt and questions whether he is a bad person for falling in love with someone capable of such evil: “…then I was guilty of having loved a criminal.”  Therefore, having a separate narrator keeps us a reader on the outside looking in, we are not connected with the perpetrator and thus, like the narrators we are able to see their actions as overwhelmingly unacceptable and horrific. In the case of The Reader many critics have discussed this technique, with Kristina Brazaitis noting, “Hannah remains remote, ambiguous, impenetrable and mysterious”  and Heidi M. Schlipphacke remarking, “The reader never gains access to Hanna outside the gaze of the protagonist Michael.” 
In conclusion, I would argue that the perpetrators of the novels Time’s Arrow and The Reader: Unverdorben and Hanna are extremely three-dimensional, well developed characters. This is a technique used by Amis and Schlink to enable us as readers to understand and comprehend the capability of their actions, but also be distanced from them so that we do not fully sympathise with them, ensuring that we cannot betray the actual victims of the holocaust. This enables the morality and ethical concerns of representing the perpetrator to be quelled, but at the same time allows us all to be greater educated on the subject of the holocaust. After all, how can we as individuals change for the better or prevent such an abomination from happening again, unless we hear about the perpetrators. This argument is shared by many modern Holocaust critics, and is expressed by Tim Cole and Robert Ehrenreich in their work, The Perpetrator- Bystander- Victim Constellation: Rethinking Genocidal Relationships: “it is through the study of those responsible for the instigation and implementation of the destruction process that the reasons for its occurrence may best be understood.”  I would contend that the most successful way Amis and Schlink allow us to understand, but not fully sympathise with the perpetrators is through their foregrounding of the everyday image of the perpetrator. As this is something which really confronts the reader, making us assess our own behaviour, as we question whether in that position could we to have been a perpetrator. As Bauer put it in his speech to the German parliament in 1998: ‘the most horrible thing about the Shoah is in fact not that the Nazis were inhuman, the most horrible thing about it is that they were indeed human, just as human as you and I are.’ 
- McGlothlin, E- Theorising the Perpetrator in Bernhard Schlink’s ‘The Reader’ & Martin Amis’ ‘Time’s Arrow’. From: Spargo, R.C. & R.M. Ehrenreich (eds)- After Representation: The Holocaust, Literature and Culture, New Jersey & London, Rutgers University Press, 2010, p,.210-230. Pg. 210
- McGlothlin, E- Theorising the Perpetrator in Bernhard Schlink’s ‘The Reader’ & Martin Amis’ ‘Time’s Arrow’. Pg 213
- Hilberg, Raul, Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe 1933- 1945, New York, Aron Asher Books/ Harper Collins, 1992, Pg. ix
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Vintage Books, London, 2003. Pg. 164-5
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Pg. 14
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Pg. 107
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Orion Books, Great Britain, 1998, Pg. 10
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Pg. 128
- Kristeva, Julia, Approaching Abjection, from Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, Columbia Press, New York, 1982, 1–30. Pg. 13
- Lifton, Robert J. The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, Basic Books, New York, 1986. Pg. 419- 420
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Pg. 124
- Horowitz, Sara R. Voicing the Void: Muteness and Memory in Holocaust Fiction, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1997. Pg. 193
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 115
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 68
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 116
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Pg. 45
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Pg. 45
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Pg. 59
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Pg. 159
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Pg. 148
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 13
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 2
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 2
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 2
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 69
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 22
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 23
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 31
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 13
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, Pg. 13
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 1
- Amis, Martin, Time’s Arrow, 95-95
- Schlink, Bernhard, The Reader, Pg. 133
- Brazaitis, Kristina, On Re-reading ‘The Reader’: An Exercise in Ambiguity.- From: Journal of the Australian Universities Language and Literature Association 95, 2001, p. 75-96. Pg. 90
- Schlipphacke, Heidi M., Enlightenment, Reading and the Female Body: Bernhard Schlink’s ‘Der Vorleser’, Gegenwartsliteratur 1, 2002 Pg. 314-315
- Ehrenreich, Robert M. & Cole, Tim, The Perpetrator-Bystander-Victim Constellation: Rethinking Genocidal Relationships.- From: Human Organization, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Fall 2005), pp. 213-224, Published by: Society for Applied Anthropology, http://www.jstor.org/stable/44127316 [Accessed 09/01/18] Pg. 6
- Bauer,Yehuda, Rethinking the Holocaust, United States of America, Yale University Press, 2002, Pg. 26
Reader & Writer Relationship: Why They Need Each Other
The Reader and Writer Relationship
The Connotation Bond of the Reader – Writer
“Life is all about relationships”. Even before birth human creates a relationship with his or her mother inevitably. To human’s relationships just happen, even thought that they aren’t looking for it because humans are meant to create relationships with others surrounds them. Love is an important emotion for humans and a great builder of relationships. People try really hard all the time to relate this emotion to others; however, not always it is well received or accepted or even is not sufficiently valued by others thereby causing different open forms of interpretations and prompting numerous issues and misunderstandings. This concept can be applied not just for love but also to different relationships that can be created by humans like the reader and writer relationship is a great example since not always isn’t easy as love. The reader and writer confront different levels of communication and expectation issues that lead it to have uncountable discrepancies that may result in advantages or disadvantages to the relationship between the two.
Men and women are different in so many aspects that are hard to list all the differences but if the focus remains in one of the important problems that men and women have it’s easier to point out some facts and explanations. Communication is the main problem and hardest issue that men and women have. Men and women are taught in different ways to be and becoming completely different cultures. In this scenario “Louise and Jake are having an argument “It can’t be simple because Louise and Jake are responding to different levels of communication” (Tannen 131). Neither aren’t paying attention nor listening to each other concentrating on their own ideas. They can’t have an agreement because meanwhile Jake is focusing on what he considers is the main point of the argument Louise is on another level of communication trying to explain another part or point of the issue. This conversation shows how Louise is trying to make Jake understand the main or ‘real’ point of why they are having this argument. Readers sometimes as well focusing another part, piece or issue presented on what he or she is reading maybe not paying enough attention to the point that the writer is trying to make. On the other hand, the writer should be able to make his or her point of view as clear as possible and the reader should read deeply and try to interpret better what they are reading. For example, if the writer is using metamessages to hide a deeper meaning for the reader but doesn’t use the right words or enough explanation will be hard for the reader to identify that message.
Society has design specific tasks and behaviors to separate males and females making them two completely different individuals. “These cultural differences include different expectations about the role of talk in relationships and how it fulfills that role” (Tannen 125). Men and Women are expressed as different worlds or as different cultures as the passages convey, so they might have different expectations of every aspect of life because they are taught to think and to aspire to different things making their achievements follow a different path in life. Writers sometimes concentrate so much in the topic and facts that they are writing about that they forget what type of public or audience they might have and then their metamessage or literal message is misunderstanding because maybe the reader is not at the same level of communication as the writer is. So, to the writer should be a goal to fulfill the readers expectations or the needs they have as well as the reader who sometimes choose an author a little bit up than what hey are costumed to is basically just to know their limits. For example, a third-grade child can’t read a calculus book from high school because is inappropriate to their intellect, experience, and age. The writer should make sure to whom he or she is referring to using appropriate vocabulary and assumptions and phrases that the future reader will agree with.
In life, there’s so many occasion and situations and it defers how everyone reacts but the way that men and women react to those moments are it is quite a huge difference. As already explained women tends to use metamessages to communicate their points and men use literal messages creating an imbalance between the two. “The men were focusing on the message the cake as food. The women were thinking of the metamessage: Serving a special cake frames an occasion as a celebration” (Tannen128). The women were reacting to the occasion symbolizing the cake as part of her vision and expectation of the moment meanwhile the men was focusing on the fact that the cake, in this case, was useless because of the circumstances. Readers and writers have similar issues when the writer is unaware of their own public or their own weaknesses for sorting topics or also when the writer isn’t communicating his point clearly that maybe might be her or he blind spot making really hard to reader to achieve the main point or idea and sometimes just the reader can notice those weak spots. For example, is hard when a professor use a high level of communication or words to speak to their students who maybe are not enough prepare to understand that level of communication, so then his point will be unclear and misunderstand; however, he won’t notice that this is happening just the student who is paying attention is the one who concern. Therefore, the writer should pay more attention to those weaknesses in a topic or be aware or the type of audience he or she will present their work making as clear as possible and the reader at the moment to pick a writer should be aware of the type of communication of level that the writer might have and get prepared or have a source to get help.
Peggy McIntosh explains in her essay “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” how society hide direct examples of racism making them invisible or noticeable to everyone showing how she as withe person had been benefiting from the system showing and untaught journey to show how this is real and affects everyone and she point out how being white it is a privilege and unearned power putting others on disadvantages before they even born basing just in the color of their skin. “Privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate” (McIntosh). Power is always related to dominating or control over others. Power it shows strength, so I’m strong over others when privilege reflects on sort situations when I look bigger than I am. Readers or writers might have different privileges among them that are their advantages when the moment arises and can look like are their strength. It seems that they dominate every aspect looking like they cannot give any chance among them to take advantage among the other advantage; for example, the writer can choose the shape of their writing or choose their public that’s a privilege that they own that looks like their strength over the reader, but the reader can also choose the author and the content they are interested in being an advantage over the writer. Always there will be moments where either one the reader or the writer will have their advantage; however, both should be on the same level of communication to understand either assumptions or opinions but is each to take advantage of the other advantage because is hard to change diverse situations so is better to take the positive part of every aspect.
When something is been part of someone it’s challenging to express what’s right or wrong because people just been there they are just growing on that system. “It is hard to disentangle aspects of unearned advantage” (McIntosh). When it comes to explains something to someone who has grown in a determinate situation is hard to express those aspects or ideas that maybe they haven’t seen before especially because how they couldn’t notice it before if they been on it probably their whole life is simple because they are the system; for example, how to teach a children about peace and fearless when the children has been exposed their entire life to bad habits and domestic violence. Readers and writers might have the same problem its hard to tell the weaknesses of either one when maybe they had been practicing the same scheme for a long time are something that they are used to it so is hard to point out facts that are not right or they are committing a huge or small mistake. It’s possible that they didn’t notice it before and maybe if they change the way they know maybe will change them completely. The writers and readers should be an open-minded is a crucial thing nowadays. Open to different possibilities can come from just one aspect like what’s the real position someone takes the front of something or how to express accordantly to situations.
The system that runs on society never tells directly to everyone that they haven’t tried enough to eradicate racism because they need racism to work. “I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group” (McIntosh). People knows that racism is there and society lets everyone to knows is still among us and that there are slightly different forms of dealing and work with it because society taught that just in specific moments when the racism appears or when we should call a specific acts racism because everything besides that is just the only way everything works and it should be the normal way to run the system. Readers and writers, in the same way, they won’t be able to recognize their advantage or privilege on present situations because they had been taught that it is acceptable and normal or abnormal sort things they don’t have that specific options to decide on their own. Things happen all the time in specific situations where a necessary action is needed. At the moment the writer composes their writing or the reader decides to take any work to read the writer as well as the reader should try to recognize by their own when they are on an point where their power that maybe might control at the moment of any taken decision or in a situation where they are able to see how they advantage over the reader trying, at least, to be fair or create a balance where both parts are benefit; in fact, the writer can understand and have a full idea of their main point of their writing considering that maybe the reader might not have the same understanding so the writer is ahead over the reader so is the writer provide enough examples, information and explanations to at least make the reader understand the central point and to guide the reader.
Society has taught the important fact that everything and everyone can be separate it by solid hierarchy nothing never can cross that invisible line; always there something or someone below and above. “We can handle things physically and mentally on the same level as men” (Zissou 4). Since society had created a solid barrier in our thinking is easy to relate things or people to sorting stereotypes or actions, and women are the biggest example of this hierarchy being below men all the time. Readers and writers follow the same type of rules because readers are underestimated all time in front writers; however, to be an excellent writer goes hand in hand be an excellent reader. “To be a significant writer you have to be a significant reader” (Darden). Readers and writers complement each other all the time because without one of them cannot have the other. For example, if the writer doesn’t have firm shape of background of information about the topic they want to write they won’t be able to write something completely valid because it does not know with certainty or precision what he or she is writing about and to get that information is by reading others work and reading about others experiences so at the end the writers must read to be a good writer. The writer should considerate always that the skill of write needs to be nurtured all the time with new fresh information by reading that the fact that readers and writers complement each other is important and is also important to know that reader also needs the writer.
Absolutely nobody is really prepared for life. The system that surrounds us is premade to those who are luckily chosen and design to belong in the upper class of the hierarchy of our society. Bryant Quinn highlight in her essay what involves she had learned and how it became her passion:
Every day, hardworking people were making mistakes and losing money, not because they were careless or dumb but because the system was designed to delude them. The massive unfairness of it all burned into my bones. I’ve lost that sense of outrage – my desire to help consumers make their way safely trough the jungle of Big money. (32)
She expresses the fact that most of the time the people who work the most and maybe does have the abilities and knowledge to manage themselves and their money are a knockout because they are no enough prepared to combat the system society have created. The system is created to take people money because of foolish reasons being unfair to those who really deserve not to lose. ”Finding good answers is one of the most satisfying things that I’ve ever done as a reporter” (Bryant Quinn 33). Occasionally is necessary to have a hint is this jungle of “Big Money” sort like a guide someone or something who has being through this situation had overcoming it. Sometimes the writer does not lack passion or abilities when she or he writes but maybe the system that they are exposed to or from where they learned wasn’t the best a make then confuse the way they place everything together or just doesn’t have the right guide to make them follow the right way; for example, in high school they teach students how to write a basic essay but in college you can’t even use that as a base because most of what the student is being taught are useless. The system should be fair and solid taking one step to another teaching to the student always the right way even though college is a higher level of education high schools should teach the premature writers the right base. The writer should be learn everything surround them and keep what’s more likely to be the right path as well as the reader should narrow all the knowledge they had and keep the basics and what’s really important.
To conclude, the reader – writer confront many issues having different expectations on meeting different advantages and disadvantages in their relationship. Any type of relationships is never easy. The reader and writer relationship also isn’t easy. But when the reader and writer don’t try to understand that before them are others the relationship between them just can fail. It is important to have many strategies when problems present. The reader and writer relationship may get better always if both try to meet the other needs on their relation. When the reader know and use their advantages over the writer and use them to complete the writer weaknesses the reader is trying to improve the relationship or when the writer understands he or she needs to read and to have a high background of information, vocabulary, and understanding about their topic to produce an exemplary job and about the audience the might have the writer then is thinking about the reader. The reader and writer need each other because without one or the other there’s no relationship.
1984 by George Orwell and Its Influence on The Reader
Kyrra McClintock challenges her readers to reconsider their position on mendacious language in the 21st century in relation to George Orwell’s novel, “1984”. She provides an in depth view of the different types of language that are used to manipulate an audience. Throughout history, the English lexicon has changed dramatically and become complex through the advanced expansion of words, expressions and phrases. Many words have positive connotations and are used in a way that excites and illuminates the reader; however, sometimes words are used negatively by people of power to manipulate the readers into a certain way of thinking. In recent times, with the rise of social media, specific terms have arisen to define words that institutions like the government, the military and political parties use on a daily basis to manipulate society.
George Orwell’s novel “1984”, is based around a totalitarian government presented in a dystopian future where only one leader has freedom of speech or even thought. Big Brother, who controls everyone, uses language to manipulate society. In every edition of the ‘Newspeak Dictionary’ more and more words with negative connotations are removed. Newspeak is used to manipulate and control the people of Oceania. The use of mendacious language in everyday life is parallelling the dystopian world that Orwell created, this is quite prophetic as this type of words and grammatical construction are similar to Orwell’s future. This language manipulation is happening right now. Orwell takes the meaning out of the English lexicon by writing about a society that has changed the purpose of language all together.
Within the novel, Orwell continuously shows how openly deceitful and dishonest language can be. The “Ministry of Love” is truly a place for torture, almost the complete opposite meaning of the ministries title, similarly, the ministry of Peace controls war. “Joy Camps”, which were camps that people were forced into hard labour, are an example of some of the contradictory language the ministries and parties used to manipulate and control their audience. Newspeak is the official language of Oceania in “1984”. It was designed to remove the possibility of negative thinking by creating a language where there are no negative connotations, how can anyone go against the party without the words to describe their rebellion? Instead of the word “bad”, the term that is acceptable would be “ungood”, as it has less negative connotations and the prefix produces the exact opposite of the meaning so there is no uncertainty in its context. Orwell explored the ideas of truths contradicting each other by the concept of “doublethink”.
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s head simultaneously, and accepting both of them” (Orwell, G. 1949). Newspeak also removed any synonyms, antonyms and inadmissible phrases. “In the year 1984 . . . it was expected that Newspeak would have finally superseded Oldspeak (or standard English, as we should call it) by about the year 2050. Meanwhile it gained ground steadily, all Party members tending to use Newspeak and more in their quite everyday speech.” (Orwell, G. 1949). Insidious euphemistic language was not just created by George Orwell, it has been used throughout history countless times.
The language Nazis used not only concealed reality from their victims, it also eased the truth about the Nazi involvement in mass murder. They used words like “resettlement, bath houses, final solution and cleansing” instead of using words like “murder, gas chambers and genocide”. In the novel, the political party essentially did the same thing with their “joy camp” euphemism. Euphemistic language can be found essentially anywhere. The language used in war is a good example of how euphemisms can mask the depressing truth. The government has used this language technique many times in the past, notably after 9/11. “Extraordinary Rendition” which sounds like something positive with the use of the word “extraordinary”, is quite the opposite in fact. This term is used when the CIA kidnaps suspects of terror activities and later tortures them. As America continues to hide behind these acts by using more anodyne language, it makes America more self-conscious and creates a country of doubt and recession instead of stability and certainty. “In George Orwell’s classic 1946 essay ‘Politics and the English Language,’ he noted that his era’s equivalents for ‘collateral damage’ were ‘needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.’” (Astore, W. 2016). “Orwell explored the ideas of truths contradicting each other by the concept of ‘doublethink’.” A term that is commonly used around social media is ‘fake news’. Its purpose is to use misleading information to gain profit or political power. It can be very deceitful as it is created to look like as many credible sources as possible. It has become a large issue on social media in the last couple of years especially with the rise of Donald Trump into presidency.
With the 2016 election there were many ‘Fake News’ statements and articles circulating the media about the candidates. For example, “Hillary Clinton is running a child sex ring out of a pizza shop” was one story that had been “leaked”. Although this was obvious it was fake news, many people believed it to be true. This proves society can be manipulated into believing any rumour on the internet or in the media. There has always been fake news circulating around the world; however, with social media growing at a rapid rate, fake news and other mendacious language like ‘buzz words’ and ‘weasel words’ etc. have been shared liked and commented on, all over social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Fake news inventors
gained so much attention they realised they could make money off the lies, this just advanced the growth of fake news throughout our society. As a society we are powerless against Trump and other political leaders. In relation to fake news they have basically said that the people cannot take any action against this mendacious language even if society did, our actions would not have any consequences. The government has used ‘post truths’ multiple times in the past. Instead of using facts to persuade an audience, by using post truths a leader can appeal to an audience’s emotions instead. Trump used people’s emotions of insecurity to promote his idea on building a wall to keep trespassers out of the country. Similarly, Big Brother manipulated the country by compelling them to react to violently to footage of their enemy during their “Two Minutes Hate”.
A cartoon of Donald Trump surrounded by a small selection of the “Trumpisims” he has stated.
It is not only leaders who use this vague and deceitful language, it has entered a wide range of institutions. Schools use this language to comfort a parent about their misbehaved child. Businesses use ‘weasel words’ to misinform people about their products. People who are ‘poor’ are classified ‘low socioeconomic class’, we accept these titles because just like the party in “1984”, they are of higher ranking than the rest of society, therefore; it is easier to believe them.
Should the links between now and Orwell’s “1984” be concerning? Although we have not quite reached the extent of Orwell’s “1984” totalitarian society, we are not far off. There continues to be more cameras on the streets, thoughts being manipulated and leaders taking whatever action they please. The term “Big Brother is watching” used to be a joke, however; it is very rapidly becoming a reality. Euphemisms are used absolutely everywhere and are continuing to grow at an exponential rate. Society should doubtlessly be concerned about our future becoming “1984”.
Reader’s Involvement with Characters’ Lives in John Steinbeck’s Literary Works
How does Steinbeck take you into the lives of the characters?
After reading a novel by John Steinbeck, you feel as though the characters have been thoroughly described. One of Steinbeck’s tools to accomplishing this is by illustrating the setting through his words. He is also very strong when it comes to characterization, and dives right into the character’s life. By putting you in their shoes, you start to think through their perspective. By the time you’re at the ending, you feel much acquainted with the lives of the characters.
Through out his stories, Steinbeck uses setting to describe what the character is going through. In The Pearl, he writes about one scene where Kino tries to block the path of the ants, but they crawl over his foot. This represents how Kino and his family were overcoming obstacles and fighting higher powers (the Spaniards). John Steinbeck also makes the reader utilize the setting to get a better understanding and vision of the story. An example is when in Of Mice and Men he explains the barn very descriptively, giving you a better idea of how the character lives. It’s as if you can picture the story in your head, while the story goes on. Lastly, the setting represents the changes that the characters have gone through. Kino starts off in a hut with just enough to get by, but near the ending ends up in cave with much less than what he started with. Instead of moving forward, he took a step backwards.
By using characterization, Steinbeck portrays his characters more easily to his readers. He makes you feel as if you really know them. As the story progresses you start to learn how these everyday characters struggle so much. In Of Mice and Men, you see what George has to go through because he sticks around with Lennie. Not only do you see the struggles, but you also see their dreams. George and Lennie planned to get their own ranch and, “live of the fatta’ the land.” These dreams are never accomplished, but are effective in making the characters seem realistic and hopeful.
“What if that was me?” That is one question that Steinbeck brings to your mind, whether or not you notice it. When George works up the guts to shoot Lennie in the back of the head, you can’t help but wonder what you would do if faced with that situation. Or what if you were given an opportunity like Kino and were determined for a better life? Would you hold onto that even if you watched that chance slowly tear you apart and destroy you? However, you are sometimes given a stereotypical view of characters. Throughout Of Mice and Men, Crooks is called the nigger multiple times, but you never get to see how he thinks until Chapter 5. He just seems like another person that you forget about until you get inside his head. In that same chapter you realize that he feels inferior due to the way he’s treated. Curley’s wife isn’t the only one that treats him bad either. Empathy is definitely one word that you feel for Steinbeck’s characters. When you reach the last page of Steinbeck’s stories, you know that you’ve been given a 360° view on the lives of these characters.
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.