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I like to read and sometimes smoke. 'Although you know what happened was tragic the fact that it happened was wonderful'

How might we interpret Sylvia Plath’s symbolic portrayal of a father figure in ‘Daddy’

Sylvia Plath throughout Daddy employs a range of symbolism in order to create a persona through which to project her feelings, by divulging the most intimate parts of her psyche. Through the use metaphor, the persona may purge herself of the emotions felt by her father’s untimely death. David Lodge asserts that ‘Literary symbolism tends towards a rich plurality, even ambiguity’ the symbol of a father figure is employed to reveal the nature of the persona’s relationship with her father and expand on the reality of her experience. There are many ambiguous images injected throughout the poem as the persona reconstructs her father’s image and reconnects with society.

Firstly, a sense of traumatic childhood experiences are invoked as we witness nostalgic tones and a sense of oppression through the child-like language of the poem. The innocence and childishness of the persona is presented through the peculiar vocabulary the persona uses throughout the poem: such as onomatopoeia in ‘Achoo’ and ‘Chuffing.’The sense of the childhood melds into a suggestion of Jewish persecution and terror as shown through the line: ‘It stuck in a barb wire snare.’ It is through this that the child’s feelings of intimidation become clear as the persona’s imagery frequently alludes to the Holocaust to symbolize the fear and pain she endured during this time. The atrocities of Nazi Germany are used as symbols of the horror of male domination as the Germanic ‘Daddy’ makes himself felt by his authoritarian aura. By accentuating linguistically using the heavy cadences of nursery rhyme such as ‘I could never talk to you,’ the persona is insinuating the innocence of youth torn quickly apart by the images and language of Nazism as the next line reads ‘the tongue stuck in my Jaw.’ By retracing her infantile traumas through the use of symbolism, the persona is conveying to us the yearnings of a young tortured woman trying to escape from the mental abuse and corruption of a dominate father. The persona wants to recreate with immediacy the child’s view by outing a simple perspective reflected through facile language.

Moreover, continuously throughout the poem, phallic imagery in Daddy is implied. First of all, the poem title preference of choice being ‘Daddy’ rather than the more mature expression of ‘Father,’ sets up a direct address from the persona to the character of the father she has created. This gives an ambiguous expression of a child wishing to be dominated. Daddy is a depiction of feminine and masculine energy, where the persona mythologies the figure of her father.In the fifth stanza when the persona states ‘Put your foot, your root’ the foot is a symbol for a threatening, suffocating object, symbolizing that her father is sexually brutal. Thus conveying to us that the persona is powerless to stop his overriding authority as she asserts ‘I could never speak,’ a structural echo linking to the previous stanza where she utters ‘I could never talk to you.’ Unresolved and paradoxical feelings of pain and love about the persona’s parent, Otto Plath, who left her at a young age, are the sole reason she enforced himself on her memory–to perpetuate his image and continue her sexual longings. These lines express the constant and crippling manipulation of the father figure, as he introduces oppression and hopelessness into her life. A father’s authority is intertwined with the abuse of power as it occurs in the real world and the persona’s feelings of abandonment and despair are mirrored with those of Nazi’ as she states ‘I thought every German was you.’As the poem progresses, it is symbolic of the transgressions of the poet’s life as she grows older, the persona moves from desiring her father: ‘I used to pray to recover you’ to fearing him: ‘I have always been scared of you’ to hating him: ‘brute heart’. The gentle nature of the poem title ‘Daddy’ juxtaposed with these violent images shows the persona’s internal struggles with her father’s subconscious, arrogant and dismissive nature. Eventually, the sexual pull and tug of the absent figure from her childhood allows us to grasp that she is sexually obsessed with her father.The suggestion of incest is embellished in the poet’s implication as she allows herself to develop sexually aggressive feelings as she says ‘I made a model of you..And said I do, I do, I do.’

On the other hand, as David Lodge states, symbolism is a ‘nice balance between realistic description and symbolic suggestion.’ As a result, Robert Phillips claims that the persona‘frequently uses elements from her experience as the starting point for imagistic and thematic elaborations.’ The ‘black shoe’ the persona refers to is an example of these imagistic elaborations. The use of the colour ‘black’ connotes death and darkness intertwined with a bind of claustrophobic suffering and suffocation. This kind of ethereal and dark imagery arrives as the poem progresses and the colour palette suggests that the poet has a cage of suppressed emotion. The ‘black shoe’ is a metaphor to express how her life is trapped in sorrow like a foot is trapped in a shoe. However, by also mentioning later in the poem controversial Nazi imagery ‘every woman adores a Fascist,’ it symbolises the persona’s reliance but also fear of her father; the persona is at first desperately seeking a return to the traditional roles of father and daughter. As demonstrated, the ‘foot’ is ultimately a metaphor for the feelings weighing the poet down in all her years of being unable to express her anxieties and communicate with her absent father figure. This view is further highlighted through the line ‘the black telephones off at the root.’ The persona begins to realise the need to reject the traditional roles and her desire for emancipation from her father is the reason for the denouement of the poem: ‘daddy, you bastard, I’m through.’ This line is ambiguous in its interpretation: It is symbolic of the fact that the persona has severed ties and is ‘through’ with ‘daddy.’ Yet, the use of the communicative device of the ‘telephone’ and the repetition of the colour ‘black’ suggests that the persona is actually through to him. So, in substance, although the poet begins to shrivel emotionally by being unable to come to terms with her father’s death, the ‘telephone’ is symbolic of how the persona leaves the imagistic elaborated world she has created and reconnects with reality.

Alternately, one would argue that in Daddy the persona finally castrates the image of her father’s memory and becomes an independent self. It is in ‘Daddy’ that through a metaphorical murder ‘Daddy, daddy you bastard, I’m through,’ she breaks completely free from being a perceived victim and from the power and influence of men. By branding herself as a ‘Jew’ the persona is dramatizing the war in her soul in addition to appreciating as well as accepting her submissive position. This position intensifies her emotional paralysis before the image of an ‘Aryan’ father with whom she is both connected and at enmity. The persona transcends this by ceremonially killing her father: ‘There’s a stake in your fat black heart and the villagers never liked you. They are dancing and stamping on you.’ This killing is not just an individual one, but is part of a ritual joined in by the ‘villagers.’ When the persona drives the ‘stake’ through her father’s heart; she is not only is exorcising the demon of her father’s memory, but metaphorically is killing him also.The process of doing away with ‘Daddy’ in the poem represents the persona’s attempts at psychic expurgation of ‘the model’ of the father she has constructed. The lines serve as a way of describing the ability of her father’s influence to strip the persona of her own sense of consciousness. The poet employs what Freud would call after-effect – she kills her already dead father again in the mental world in order to accept his death and free herself. Therefore, ridding him is a symbol for the empowerment of the persona and the strength she establishes as the poem progresses.

Word Count: 1,531

N.B: I am still alive, I apologize for my lack of posting.
I have always wanted to explore Sylvia Plath, so here you are (whoever you maybe) There is a bibliography/webography so ask if there are any concerns about copyright etc I just didn’t want to bore you with names of texts you will properly never read. Thanks for your time, I will still continue to post, promise.

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Gothic Conventions Used in Frankenstein: Volume one

In my English course we specifically must focus on three schools of thought whilst constructing an essay: Marxist, psychoanalysis and feminist readings. I’ve nearly always grasped the concepts of psychoanalyst with novels such as ‘The Kite Runner’, with ‘Death of a Salesman’ I studied Marxist readings and with ‘King Lear’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ I combined the two elements, only really dabbling my hand in the feminist school of thought. But none the less, this year, it being presumably my last as an English student, I’ve decided to get off my stubborn backside and write this set essay on ‘Frankensteins gothic conventions’ with the view of a feminine light. At first, admittedly I was weary, however, I’ve interlinked the views of feminist critics with other interpretations involving sexuality and fate. Frankenstein is a very interesting novel to search upon if reading into the role of woman in novels. I even found myself enjoying writing this little dissertation, this essay is only brief, there was no formal examination so I spent less time on it as I would normally, but nevertheless I am pleased with roping down from my high horse to ponder upon another view-point. You never know, i might just do some more feminist readings. Enjoy!

Frankenstein is often portrayed and glamourized by critics as the ‘ultimate gothic novel’ however; we must delve into Shelly’s exact use of gothic conventions in order to understand exactly how Shelly utilizes simple gothic motifs to create a world so tantalizing and elusive.

Such use of gothic conventions are used during the creation of the monster, it is through this, that Victor erodes the role of woman in society; he has broken down social barriers and fails to see the implications of the consequences, he flees from the monstrosity he has created and attempts to suppress the blame from himself by citing that the monsters birth was from ‘a workshop of filthy creation’ this quote is a direct allusion to the woman’s womb. Victor is subtly mocking woman’s place in society as beneath a man by branding their internal organs as ‘dirty.’ Victor tries to usurp the role of Woman in the novel;Feminist literary theory would claim that Frankenstein’s act of creation is not only a sin against God and the force of nature. It is also an act against the “female principle”, which includes natural procreation as one of its central aspects and as a result, The Monster then seeks to destroy womankind as a vengeance against woman principles as Victor has deprived woman of their natural function in society.Mary Shelly’s mother was a founder of the feminist movement, a liberal thinker with forceful philosophy who no doubt influenced this rational and predominant theme within the novel. Instantly, this recalls the much broader implications of the human condition and the relationship between man and God. The relationship between Victor and the monster raises many questions as to the meaning of humanity and existence. In his corrupting pursuit for the ‘thirst of knowledge’ Victor Frankenstein is frequently compared to Prometheus, as the novel’s subtitle “The Modern Prometheus” suggests. Prometheus stole fire from the Gods whereas in a bid to create the monster, Victor harnessed the power of electricity and became ‘beheld’ by a ‘most violent and terrible thunderstorm’ it is Frankenstein’s most terrific mistake in presuming that he could displace God, Victor tries not only to find the secret of life but also to remove life’s defects by rebelling against natures natural order and selection. But it is unlike God, that Victor fails to nurture the one thing that he produced. The ‘secret toils’ that he endured suggest that he has been the victim of a shameful ploy. It is by this, that the novel can be viewed as a mock of religion, it is fact his rash, impatient and stubborn desire to create life that the horrible physiognomy of the Monster is a direct result of Frankenstein’s hurry and anxiety caused by his awareness of committing a sin against God. Victor then tries to surpass the blame upon destiny as he describes it as ‘too potent’ Victor’s futile plead is attempting to convince us that destiny is predetermined, and fate is premeditated and that there might be a higher power after all, men are corrupted by the preconditioned aspects of the world, and free will is only a limited scope and far limits Victors scientific desires. It is Victor’s fixated desire only to rid of the ‘distant species’ that he regards as woman who implies he fears also his own sexuality.

As Victor describes the ‘dreary night of November that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils’ it is the pivotal moment of horror as Victor arrives at a climax of his anguished trepidation. Pathetic fallacy is then used to set an appropriate bleak and depressing atmosphere as the ‘dismal rain’ bellows down from above. Victor envisions his mother’s dead corpse. He has an unwillingness to embrace his mother or the face of Elizabeth that he first thought he sought. This could be a deliberate link back to when Victor describes Elizabeth as his ‘more than sister’ and this reveals his fear of incestuous desire, however, by juxtaposing the creating of the monster with this most terrific vision, the void between illusion and reality is opened up as it is blurred in Victors mind, and we can start to trace his descent into madness and deliberate isolation. By creating the monster Victor has destroyed female persona, as previously discussed, however, it is as if he has effectively killed his mother, she is nothing more than a rotting corpse. It is also suggestive that he sees sex as destructive and ‘hideous’. This chapter in volume one involves the three elements of sex, death and the monster. They are thus linked in a single image; this dream episode establishes a clear link between Victor’s avoidance of sexuality. Further regards to sexuality can also be found in the isolation of The Monster–he destroys the female creature horrified upon thinking another could tread upon the earth. The frequent motif of fear of sexuality could also be similarly found in Walton who ‘desires the company of a man whose eyes would reply to mine’ Duality is often a gothic convention and a frequent motif in gothic fiction.

The framed narrative used in Frankenstein is a complex structure; it involves embedded narratives of stories upon stories within stories. The narrative first begins through Walton sending letters to his sister, this approach is commonly known as an epistolary style is a novel in which a character (or characters) tells the story through letters. In Frankenstein, Captain Robert Walton writes letters to his sister. Walton sets the frame and the scene of the novel up, he begins to recount about Victor, the narrative is then given wholly to Victor, presumably to increase our understanding of the character and to increase our paths and awe, before Victors catharsis is then given back to Walton as the novel ends on a denouement. Shelley did not insert the letters by chance; they are purposefully added to provide a deeper dimension to the novel. Walton first allows us to channel a way to suspend our disbelief as with him the novel becomes more plausible as there are now two men seemingly hell-bent on a pursuit, Walton to ‘tread a land never before imprinted by the foot of man’ and Victor to ‘make the secrets of heaven and earth known to me’ It is because of this framed narrative structure that the voices, the stories given to us become blurred as to whom is speaking them and we ask ourselves who exactly is recounting their narrative. A deliberate ploy, perhaps used by Shelly, as traditionally gothic ghost tales are orally given and it was the night previous to writing Frankenstein that her and Lord Byron, along with Percy Shelly told such stories in order to ‘make the blood curdle and quicken the beatings of the heart’ The narrative also involves the role of a listener and each narrative allows the reader to carefully consider the narrative of before and draw upon certain aspects of each one before they are drawn and tied together in a single continuum. We can also consider the reliability of the narrator as a whole, their interpretations, specifically Victors, serves for us to look for parallels and echoes within the plot. Therefore, it is important to behold an open mind whilst reading Frankenstein, otherwise self-absorbance is imminent. Its intention as a cautionary tale is applied as Walton, upon hearing Victor’s narrative on the destructiveness of knowledge and power, turns away from his perilous mission to the North Pole and we see Shelly’s gothic conventions all lay out. Victors attempt to eliminate God and the woman race, carried with it implications that he could not fathom, he rebelled against the laws of nature and is therefore condemned, he is, like Prometheus punished for dabbling in the arts of something far beyond what he academic achievements could possibly behold.

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To what extent does the past have upon the future?

I have always been interested in History, and it particularly angers me when people refer to the subject as ‘dry.’ Tell me, what can possibly be dry about History? The foundations of our countries, nations, even the world were founded generations and generations ago by our fathers, our ancestors, and built up from nothing more than ash and dust into solid brick and mortar. Monarchies have been built, empires destroyed, countries and regimes lost and democracy established. Wasn’t it said that we must know the past to understand our future? However, I have been considering for a considerable amount of time now, to what extent does the past directly make an impact on the decisions of the impending future? Of course this question can incorporate a wide variety of responses. If we were to simply ask the question in relation to a wide political and social issue such as The Holocaust or even further back to The Slave Trade, then of course the implications of those fateful days, those haunted years, have made are making an increasing amount of change on issues this current day, and will for years to come. So, in order to engage correctly with this question, you need to inject into yourself a degree of sensibility and almost dumb yourself down and ask it on a superficial note.
You see, dear, dear readers is that when it comes to the past I’ve always preferred to ignore its foreboding presence, I do not wish it to cling on in such a rapacious manner to me like a slave oppressing my constant rioting emotions. But then why am I so dedicated to learning about History, about the foundations on which our glorious, corrupted world was built upon? Graham Swift (hats off to this remarkable novelist) did once state that “often the future we dream of is built upon the dreams of a long imagined past.” In essence I agree with him, but I think a whole part of it comes down to manifesting your misguided fantasies and facing up with blinding reality, to let go of your aspirations, how cruel and cold it may seem. We can hide behind the past, if you so wish it, but Charles R. Swindoll once wrote “We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” Granted what you decide to do with your time and life is up to you, I often base my decision based upon snippets of prose and monologue I read in a novel and I do wonder to myself if it is credible to allow what some author inked down over 100 years ago to allow my actions to be as ripe today. You can let go of the past, eventually, as long as you make peace with it first only then can L.P Hartley’s famous line “the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there” (taken from The Go Between, absolutely fantastic novel, go and buy it if you haven’t already obtained a copy) come into play. I do not understand people, therefore, who hide from their past, it is only what you do with the time now that you can be judged, what we are never changes but who we are does.
I apologize that this isn’t literary criticism, if you look at who’ve I’ve quoted you could say that I am potentially scrutinizing their works, but I have nothing negative to say in particular regarding the authors that I have mentioned.
So, to close, in general, face up to your past, buy Waterland and The Go-Between and then live a peaceful and ideal existence not getting caught up in your own self-conscious dreams that might not even happen.

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My year in ‘philosophical’ quotes

I’ve decided to put every single quote that I considered to be quite insightful into this blog post, a few of these are provided by my delightful friend Shannon (who didn’t mean to become so quizzical about everything she came into contact with) A few are provided by me (a lot were uttered whilst I was either drunk or high, don’t take some of these too literally for the sake of your good sense)

‘I don’t think love is difficult to understand, you know when you’re in love, lust is the most deadly of all emotions, it combines elements of everything you wish to escape Gluttony, want, sin and of course: Love.’

‘They call it the future because it’s not happening now, it’s neither the past nor the present, it’s the future’

‘Contrary to popular opinion life is the longest thing you will ever do, if you don’t like it, then you can remove yourself from it. But it is eternity that I am afraid of, forever; you can’t remove yourself from that, no matter how harsh it may seem’

‘I find the concept of time extremely puzzling. Take John (our history teacher) he has taught for 35 years, I haven’t even been alive that long. It is all very fascinating’

‘I’m pro-choice and the reason that I’m pro-choice is because I’m protecting the value and sanctity of human life, a penis belongs in the vagina: The opinions of men, religion and others do not’

‘I often try to forget the past, but sometimes I can’t help but cling on to it, I may have my future ahead of me, but the past will always look more convincing when it comes to being happy’

‘The reason I first tried drugs is because I was curious, the reason I continued to try drugs, was because I became even more curious of my limitations and boundaries involved with the trip. The reason I stopped doing drugs is because I ran out of money’

‘People in comas may as well be cauliflowers or some other form of vegetable and everybody hates vegetables’

‘People disgust me, but then I realise that Jesus died for them as much as he did for me and then I feel like I’m the unclean one’

‘If religion is so great why does it cause so many wars? But if Jesus is so great then why do so many people die because of these wars?’

‘Of course I’m still in love with them, have you ever seen somebody else’s heart beat so heavily with a suppressed aching? There must be a limit to how much the human heart can endure!’

‘Every time I fornicate it is fucking but I don’t give one’

I apologise for the ramblings of the inner workings of my mind.

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A personal response to ‘Waterland’

If you have never heard of Graham Swift or his fantastically riveting book ‘Waterland’ you must stop what you’re doing and go and buy it, now. Seriously. I was a bit apprehensive at first, especially when a stoner recommended this novel to me (he probably made spliffs from it or something, I’m not sure I didn’t hang around to ask) but I found myself at the end of ‘Julius Caesar’ (another beautifully written play) and decided to give this novel a go not really sure what I was expecting, providing I’d never heard of Graham Swift before and I was somewhat diversifying from my classic literature (I define this from around 1520-1960’s, many inspiring works were written before of course I’m just merely summarising the bulk of literature in to these years) to a ‘new breed’ of Literature. This novel was first published in 1983 how ‘old’ you class literature is I guess up to you but I am actually begging you to read this novel.

When I enjoy a novel I usually ponder over it for a few hours and mull over it in the confines of my mind but yet, only this book and ‘The Great Gatsby’ have captivated me so much into propelling me to actually translate my thoughts into words. ‘Waterland’ is apparently best known for its setting ‘the fenland’ Swift lyrically takes us on a journey upon these mournful uncertain lands and we are submerged into his imagine. ‘Tom Crick’ a history teacher at a school in London is losing his post for reasons that will later become clear and we are sent on a voyage in to his haunting melancholy past, this quickly becomes a novel of both political history, family and personal history. I must say there is a lot of history and my respect for the subject has increased since reading this.

The prose is constantly lyrically, but yet subordinate clauses riddle their way through and loop their way back to earlier clauses and points, whilst each one maintains its own agenda, its own history within the book. The narration can be cause confusion but once you get to grips with the structure we see the overwhelming sense of powerless mankind faces when faced with reality and the concepts of morality. Needless to say this book explores the past on a level in which I have never experienced before. Not only has this but it contained one of the most though provoking lines I have ever stumbled across:

‘often the future we dream of is built upon the dreams of a long imagined past’

My God that is one of my favourite quotes, only beaten by self-conscious narratives of D.H Lawrence F.Scott Fitzgerald and Arthur Miller. Not that this book is without its faults it does sometimes lose its direction and aimlessly wander, however I compare this to Dickens and Melville, the description is lively, poignant, sometimes even beautiful. The novel forces us to look into our own lives, our own past and question our mental state. Swift forces us on an exploration of uncertainty. The uncertainty of history and of storytelling and the ultimately unfathomable nature of the motives of others. I don’t wish to give too much of this plot away, anything at all in fact I want you to pick up the book! But the chapter with the witch is certainly worth the 200 plus page wait (only spoiler you’ll be getting) it is a mystical tale filled with suspense and a shockingly heightened realism.

And the twist. The twist. I had to sit in a darkened room and almost cry.


If nothing I have said intrigues you just think to yourself that I have enjoyed this book too much that I actually want somebody else too as well.

P.S.  Apologies if found in my other blog I posted it there first by accident.

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Death of a Salesman- My analysis

I apologize for my lack of posts this past month, or two, you would not believe my work load! Here is a critical analysis of my DOAS essay, it is only a first draft, but already 200 words over the word limit. I decide to do this question as I could generally avoid a political regime and debate as that does not even remotely interest me. I will possibly post a critical interpretation upon the character of Willy Loman at a later date, but for now:

‘There are no flashbacks in this play but only a mobile concurrency of past and present.’ Discuss Miller’s dramatic methods in presenting the past and the present in the play and their contribution to the overall tragedy.

Within Death of a Salesman, Miller incorporates a range of techniques to enhance the tragic genre of the play, including one of expression. Expressionist dramatists were concerned with presenting the inner psychological reality of a character and expression is shown through ‘flashbacks’- ones in which realism and reality play a vital role. By trying to forge his past dreams into present day reality, Willy’s past experiences are acted out; thus destroying the fragile boundaries between the past and present, the two exist in parallel as Willy’s mental state deteriorates. Miller’s tightly compressed, intensely composed scenes were therefore sown into sequential inevitability: past and present are drawn together in a single continuity, hereby exposing Willy’s mental inability and capacity. ‘Flashbacks’ would show objective images of the past, however, Miller’s mobile concurrences, show highly subjective memories. The infiltration of past scenes allows us to witness Willy’s futile pleas for humane treatment. Willy’s mindset is the fore-stage for the majority of action in the play and I’ll be assessing to what extent is the play merely a representation of his fragmented delusions.

Miller breeds a plethora of subjects into this play; Willy Loman’s last twenty-four hours are depicted to the audience as they watch a grief stricken man, one who is constantly ranging from one emotion to the other. As the play seemingly transitions from past to present, Willy is left distorted, his perspective confused. Miller uses this technique to combine elements of social and personal tragedy within the same framework. Miller interpositions the theme of madness firstly and we see this in Act I as Willy switches between morbidity and optimism. Willy’s nihilistic ‘I am tired to the death’ quickly develops into mental hyperactivity ‘God dammit’ such an abrupt change represents a man whose mindset is not coherent with his actions. Miller uses the tone of action as a generic convention in order for the audience to view Willy as a character; he is inconsistent, blind to his own foolish vanities and unsympathetic to those who ‘more than love him’ such as his wife Linda. Death of a Salesman hinges on classic Greek tragedy, Miller dared to take on an epic form of synchronizing cause and effect, Willy’s contradictions ‘Biff is such a lazy bum’ to ‘such a hard worker’ and weakness are exhibited, his implications embrace societies characteristics, humanity with all its vices and virtues.

By acting out upon stage the appearances of such characters as Ben and The Woman, the play shows the internal turmoil and psychological breakdowns that Willy is experiencing. The appearances of these two characters in Willy’s ‘present’ means that while the audience participate in sharing the nightmare experiences of Willy’s breakdown, they never lose touch with the real events. Willy perceives reality in a distorted way and the continual reappearances of characters emphasizes Willy’s recognition of reality and illusion, as it is blurred in his mind. The structure of the play resembles a stream of consciousness: Willy drifts between his living room, to the apron and ‘flashbacks’ of an idyllic past. When action is set in the present, the characters abide by the rules of the set, entering only through the imaginary wall lines and stage door to the left; however, when we visit the “past” these boundaries are broken, rules are removed, with characters openly moving through walls onto the fore-stage. Scenes in Mielziners’s Broadway adaption could easily help the audience understand Miller’s idea of Willy living in the past and present at the same time: Mielziner showed the present on stage by representing by house surrounded by tower blocks and the past showed a house surrounded by open land and trees, the set he used was described by Miller as ‘an emblem of Willy’s intense longing for the promises of the past, which indeed the present state of his mind is always conflicting’ The houses skeletal framework shows us that the sense of fragility the house carries. The play’s use of trees represents the rural way of life; the tower blocks represent how commercialism is choking these trees. Willy himself remarks on how ‘the grass don’t grow . . . you can’t raise a carrot in the back yard.” Demonstrating not only the barren landscape, but how fruitless his life has become. The more relevant commercialism becomes, the more brutal the play becomes. Willy confuses his metaphors exclaiming to Howard you ‘can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away’ Willy himself is the fruit as critic Cairns states, he is stripped of his layers, maimed and mutilated.

Commercializing in Death of a Salesman is one of many elaborate fables that define ‘The American Dream’, the future Willy wants for his boys is one built through hard work, courage and determination. He lays his ideals for the future upon his boys, especially Biff. When hostility mocks his every pursuit, Willy cannot fathom what went wrong, how ‘a young man with such-personal attractiveness, gets lost’ Willy is constantly demoralized and can only cling to idyllic fables that baffle and allude him as the dreams unwind out of themselves. Willy is constantly plagued by these daydreams and illusions; he owns nothing and makes nothing. He builds a life for his boys by building lies; illusions that replace reality in his mind, the yearning for the dream took everything Willy owned, except his fond memories of the past. He is a man completely immersed in memories, constantly reminiscing, telling Linda to ‘remember those days’ Willy is controlled by his fears for the future.

The Loman’s are entrapped in an illusionary environment, filled with deception and deceit. The stage directions indicates the house is “a dream rising out of reality” Arthur Miller’s ‘Timebends’ further depicts the house as one ‘trembling with resolution and shouts of victories that had not yet taken place but surely would tomorrow’ This reflects Willy’s longing to fulfill himself in a world where material wealth is the only acceptable goal in society. It is because of this reason, that religion is absent from the play, as religion isn’t compatible with capitalism and materialism. A sense of this environment is accentuated through the nostalgic music of the flute which is sporadically played through moments of mobile concurrency, symbolic of the illusionary environment which surrounds them.

This is a play about violence, the inadequacy of the American lifestyle and dream. Willy helps us to understand human condition in general; his issues are alienation, consumerism and its enduring appeal seems to lie in the fact that Miller tapped into the hopes and fears of not only an American but a global public. Universal human questions about the nature of happiness and success, of aging and of family responsibility are tackled. Willy Loman has the quality of an everyman, whose struggle to obtain his dreams of success resonates within us all. But, according to historic legends such as Aristotle this doesn’t make him a tragic hero. Although, ultimately Willy was responsible for his own downfall, Willy found he couldn’t control the world and instead choose change his own destiny, by ending his life. Willy demonstrates hamartia through his inability to accept the truth of any situation and success ‘I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in the year of 1928’ he is merely ‘a dime a dozen’ and his sons exhibit his flaw too, but Willy never has an anagnorisis. Willy’s death is not as tragic as his reason for dying. He died for his boys, hoping that the money they receive would set them a foundation to build themselves a business empire. The tragedy in this is that he never learned the truth that his sons were never going to be ‘big shots’. Willy blurred the boundaries between past dreams and future hopes, between illusion and reality; in death as he did in life, in is a horrifying indictment of the world we live in and the future we are striving for.

As critic Pete Bunten once asserted: ‘Genres need not be seen as watertight categories. Texts do not have to be definitely placed into genres, nor firmly allocated to one genre or another; we see the fluidity of the genre through the lens of tragedy.’ This play interconnects with several genres and tragedies. In fact, it was Arthur Miller himself who declared that there are no flashbacks in this tragedy, describing these experiences as ‘literally at that terrible moment when the voice of the past is no longer distant but quite as loud as the voice of the present’. He therefore did not view Willy’s internal sequences as ‘flashbacks’. The underlying plot structure enriches the inevitability, the abstract context is accessible so Willy’s thoughts can be viewed by the wider audience and the maximum degree of pathos can be set into motion. The past and present flirt and mingle with Willy inextricably; the future Willy lusted for was one built upon the dreams of a long imagined past. A debate can be constructed around the degree to which Willy’s expectations of a future full of hope and prosperity were satisfied, but his constant hallucinations elude him. Willy cannot escape from the past, it lies heavily upon the present and the audience earnestly learns that a play without a past is merely a shadow of a play.

There is a bibliography, I cannot be bothered to post it.

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Just why exactly the kite Runner is the worst novel the 21st century has born

Okay, before I start I would like to say this: I do change my mind, it doesn’t even take much persuasion for me too either, I just do, but I guarantee that once I’ve changed it, I stick to my second opinion.
So now that’s off my mind, I can crack on with slating a book, loved by all, or nearly all, but not me.
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseni: I know, I’ve already published a post on this certain novel, except that was an essay I was rapaciously forced to complete in class, otherwise I probably would have refused, but two formal warnings two months into the year is enough to convince me not to challenge the system this one time. But it doesn’t stop me from relieving my pent-up feelings I’ve been told to keep private in lessons.
I don’t how to say this without sounding so frank so instead I’ll demonstrate a lexical set of demonic language: The Kite Runner, is to be blunt, fucking shit.
First of all, Khaled Hosseini is described by my teacher as a ‘genius’ she frequently tells us that ‘he’s a doctor you know, he’s not a novelists, he’s a doctor, just goes to show how good he is!’ To which I roll my eyes and bury my face behind my hardly annotated copy, cursing under my breath as to why we have to study this post modernized book.

I don’t even know where to start, I guess with the unreliable narrator, unreliable plot and unfeasible characters make me so vehement.
First and foremost, I have to credit Hosseini his first novel does give an insight into the vibrancy of Afghan culture before it was ruthlessly penetrated by Russian soldiers. Unfortunately for Hosseini, the only good thing (bar the ending) is the fact that you actually have to be an Afghan to appreciate the book, I don’t care about the streets of Kabul, I don’t care about what the houses looked liked or the shop where you bought naan bread. I care about Amir and Hassan and the redemption of Amir after witnessing his best friend get raped in an alleyway by the future head of the Taliban (it makes me laugh to even type it, what was Hosseini thinking!?)

Hassan is only young when he gets molested by Assef that one winter day, I don’t know how old, I wasn’t that bothered whilst reading and I can’t be bothered to check the plotline it bored me until my eyes bleed a little. However being young (let’s say ten, I like that number) In the alleyway in those fateful moments, Assef gives Hassan a choice..The kite or his..virginity. Oh Hassan, why did you just stand there, why did you keep hold of the kite? Hosseini was trying to create a sacrificial lamb, one comparable to Jesus! He failed in every aspect, no-one is that faithful, that vigilant in their respect and guileless devotion for someone who they’d endure the worst kind of suffering to protect them. Later Hassan even leaves Kabul after admitting to ‘stealing’ the watch that Amir plants under his pillow. Betrayal, rape, ignorance and love is what Hassan endures for Amir, at ten? Bullshit.
Wait, that isn’t the icing on the cake- it’s the sheer ridicule that years into the future, he bears a son to a woman- I know a victim of sexual abuse she can’t even look at a man or engage in physical contact in fear, but to give yourself to someone *cue ghetto voice* Oh hell no! Plus, when Hassan is merclessly shot (I was disappointed at this I expected him to go in a more heroic, tearshedding, attention whoring way) his son is then taken by Assef to be. you guessed it, subjected to horrific violence and abuse.
Plus Assef thrives as a homosexual in an all male dominated society, I’m pretty sure in that culture he wouldv’e been discovered and stoned.
I would continue, say how futile Amirs redemption is, how much I hate him from running, how much I hate Hosseini by spending a whole chapter describing to us a love tale between Amir and Soranya.
I’m sorry I can’t go on, it brings tears to my eyes that I’ve read this ‘novel’, makes me want to bang my head agianst a door until my brian swells to think that it’s still on my bookshelf! But mostly, it makes me sigh that I’ve just spent the past half an hour rapidly typing away when I could’ve been reading some real literature instead of wasting my precious spare time furiously slamming Hosseini, all I have to say is, please for the good of us all stick to your day job. Save lives and spread messages that way, don’t waste a year of my college life on your pathetic stories.
Oh how I am bitter about the standard of modernized books,Twilight, The Kite Runner, just what will the 21st Century throw upon us next? I dread to think, I honestly do.


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