The modern age

Numero di pagine:8
Formato di file:.doc (Microsoft Word)
Download   Anteprima (Dimensione: 9.29 Kb)
trucheck.it_the-modern-age.doc     39 Kb
readme.txt     59 Bytes


• Dubliners is a collection of 15 short stories, divided according to the age of the protagonists: there’s a group of stories which talk about childhood, others talk about adolescence, others about adulthood and others about public life, where people are adult and have a public rule, more or less important.
• All the stories have in common the ideas of paralysis and epiphany. Paralysis is a feeling of being physically and morally paralysed. It’s physical because linked to something external and psychological because of the idea of the duty. Religion, family, job or relationships can make a person unable to decide of his own life. Paralysis is the lack of action and Dublin is the centre of paralysis; Dubliners can be divided into 2 groups: some accept their condition because they’re not aware of being paralysed, they don’t realize it, and some others are aware of their paralysis but they lack the courage to break the chains that binds them. There’s a way not to feel paralysed, that’s escape, go away from Dublin, but people in Dubliners are not able to go away. The characters feel the impulse to go away from Dublin, impulse derived from the sense of being a prisoner. This impulse is always linked to failure. Escape is rare and difficult because Dubliners aren’t strong enough to succeed cutting the bonds which tie them to their world. In this sense, epiphany, caused by something trivial, unimportant which happens in your life, which has the power to wake you up and makes you aware of your condition. It could be a gesture, an object or a song which shows the character that his life is not as he would like it to be. Coming to awareness is the climax of the stories of the Dubliners.
• The protagonists all share some features: they are all weak, fearful, afraid of what changes and they’re slaves of their familiar, moral, cultural, religious and political life.
• The rule of the author is very important in these stories, because Joyce compels the reader to go beyond what can be seen, beyond the usual aspect of things and to discover the hidden meaning which is deep inside, not on the surface. For example, he wants to discover why Dubliners are paralysed.
• Joyce uses a mixture of realism and symbolism: we can use Dubliners as a map of Dublin, because the places are well described in every detail, but, in the meantime, the details haven’t got just a descriptive function, but also a further meaning, like the snow that cover everything in The Dead, that seems even like something that levels everything.
• In order to narrate his stories, Joyce uses a non-omniscient external narrator and the story is told from the point of view of a character. He uses narrated monologue, free direct speech (not using inverted commas or “he said”) and he uses the direct thoughts, the first step towards the stream of consciousness. The language used by people corresponds to the age and to the cultural level of the characters: for example, a child’s language is simple, with slang expressions or grammatical errors.
• The Dead: the dead is the last story of Dubliners. The protagonists are Gabriel Conroy, a teacher, and his wife Gretta. During a party, Gretta hears a song, which reminds her of a young man, Michael Furey, who used to sing it and who died for her love when he was just 17. He becomes aware of his condition because he understands that Michael Furey is still alive in Gretta’s mind and through the feeling for her he can be even more alive and present than him, who is his husband. Thinking about life and death, Gabriel understands that sometimes living people are alive but spiritually dead and the dead ones can be alive in the living’s minds. He’s imagining to be surrounded by dead people and he can’t distinguish them from alive ones. In this sense, we can understand the symbolical meaning of the snow, that cover everything so that we can’t distinguish anything. Snow gives the idea of living people who sometimes live like the dead. It’s both symbol of death, because cover everything, the dead and the living, and of life and purification, because it’s clear, white, pure. We can see the symbolism also in Gabriel’s name, that’s a name from the Bible, indicating the prince of fire but also of the angels. There’s a third person narrator and the language is very similar to the poetical one with many alliterations and repetitions.
• Evelyne: it is a story from the “adolescence” group. She’s a 19-years-old young woman, who lives with her father, getting old. Her mother died and when she heard the organ player, he reminds her of the day she died, but her father got angry and made him go away. She’s planning to leave Dublin and to go to Buenos Aires with her boyfriend Frank, who her father doesn’t approve. He’s a sailor and tried to convinced her to elope. She doesn’t say that she loves him but Frank can help her find a new life and he loves her. Evelyne is torn inside because she’d like to go away but she’s tied to her life, she can’t break the ties which oblige her to live her life with her father, because she made a promise to her mother (to take care of him). When she’s about to leave with Frank, she can’t move, she’s paralysed physically and psychologically because she can’t even express her feelings. Frank is on the ship calling her but she can’t answer. She doesn’t go because she’s tied to her father through the promise she made to her mother. She sacrifices her happiness to duty and memories. Joyce wants to show the sense of paralysis, the inability to act and decide for your own life, and he also want to show that sometimes people are able to change. Evelyne, like some other characters, is aware or her condition and has got the desire to escape, but she couldn’t.

• The central character is Leopold Bloom, a common man who leaves his home in Dublin at 8 o’clock on a Thursday morning in June and returns finally at 2 o’clock the following morning. The author tells every single moment of the day of Mr Bloom and everyone of the 18 chapters has got a title that reminds us of a character, a scene or a place of the Homer’s Odyssey.
• The narrative technique is based on the stream of consciousness, which works with associations of ideas. Joyce write every little thought of Mr Bloom and so the reader knows everything passes in his mind. The author doesn’t translates it in a correct language, but he just write down what Mr Bloom think as it passes in his mind. All the story is a mixture of narration and free thoughts, but without any introductions we pass immediately from narration to stream of consciousness.
• Sometimes Joyce uses words in a particular way, merging two words (groanmother, smellsipped) in order to indicate that two actions are contemporary.

• In this work, set in the future because written in 1948, Orwell imagines that world had been divided in three parts: Oceania (which consists of England, North America, South Africa and Australia), Eastasia and Eurasia. The three powers are always at war, but people don’t know why. In Oceania everything is forbidden, even love, and there’s a total control of everything so that people can’t act freely, they live without any freedom.
• The story is set in Airstrip One, what we know as England.
• The protagonists of the story are Winston, his lover Julia and O’Brien. There are also other people, but they’re not important, so that we can say that there are no other characters. This is important because Orwell want to say that there’s no individuality.
• We have a third person narrator, external and omniscient.

At 49 Winston decides to take a little piece of freedom and to buy a book to use it as a diary. But having a diary was a crime, as individual expression. All over the pages he writes the sentence “Down with Big Brother”, but it’s very dangerous because of the telescreens that control everything. Another very important entry that he writes in his diary is that freedom is to say that two and two is four. During a walk, he meets Julia, a member of the Outer party working at the Ministry of Love. She tells him she’s attracted by something in his face which shows that he’s against the party, that took the power after World War II. Winston and Julia begin having a love affair, but this was forbidden, and when they’re discovered, they’re made prisoners. They’re tortured teaching them the Doublethink and they’re obliged to accept that two and two makes five. The torturers make them a brainwash and after that they accept all the lies of the Party. Then they’re ready for the last part of the reintegration in the system: Winston is taken to Room 101, where there is a cage containing two rats into which the face of the victim is strapped.
We can divided the plot into 3 parts: the first describes a totalitarian world where the Party tries to control everything, including thought and emotion. The second part tells the development of the love story between Winston and Julia and the friendship with O’Brien, while the last one deals with Winston’s punishments. Finally he comes to love Big Brother.

People in Oceania are divided into 3 social classes: the Inner and the Outer Party and the Proles, which corresponds to the 85% of the population. Proles live in a different part of the town, called Proles area, that seems like a different world, and live in a normal way. The Proles area is not controlled by the telescreens, because Proles are ignorant and non considered as dangerous because they’re unable to react. There are different Ministries: the Minitrue (Ministry of Truth), the Ministry of Peace, the Ministry of Love (Miniluv) and the Miniplanty.
Children are instructed to be little spies: family is not seen as a group of people who live together in harmony and love each other. Every value is destroyed in this world of no freedom.

Newspeak is the official language of Oceania but there’s nobody who really uses Newspeak in speech or writing, only the leading articles are written in this language. The purpose of Newspeak is not only to provide medium of expression for the world-view, but to make all other methods of thought impossible. It’s a new vocabulary created from the idea that if you don’t have words to express a thought, then it’s eliminated from your brain in a certain way. Another reason for developing Newspeak is to make old books unreadable. The new vocabulary is done partly by the invention of new words, and partly by eliminating undesirable words. Generally Newspeak words are divided into 3 groups: the A, the B and the C Vocabulary. The A-Vocabulary consist of the words needed in business and everyday life, for such things as drinking, working and the like. The words of this group are that of the Oldspeak, but their number is very small and the meaning of these words is much more defined. The B-Vocabulary consists of words deliberately constructed for political reason: they’re in all cases compound words, and they consists of two or more words merged together in a easy pronounceable form. The C-Vocabulary consists of technical and scientific terms.

It’s a kind of manipulation of the mind. Generally one could say that Doublethink makes people accept contradictions, and it makes them also believe that the party is the only institution that can distinguish between right and wrong. This manipulation is mainly done by the Minitrue, where Winston works. When a person recognizes a contradiction or a lie of the Party, then the person thinks that he’s remembering a false fact. With the work of the Minitrue, it’s not only possible to change written facts, but also facts that are remembered by the people. This is the last control that the Party has on the citizen.

A part from Julia, Winston and O’Brien there are no other important characters.
• Winston: The protagonist is Winston Smith, a member of the Outer party, who works at the Ministry of Truth, where his job is to rewrite documents and newspaper articles, because the Big Brother Government must never be in contradiction. His name can say something about the idea Orwell wants to give of him: “Winston” in an important name and reminds to Winston Churchill, England’s great leader during World War II, but the last name “Smith” is very common in England. Orwell’s Winston is a hero but also a antihero, a common person, also a little naïve, because he opens his mind to O’Brien before being sure that he’s also against the Party. We also have a physical description of him (he’s middle-aged and physically weak) but the most important thing is his idea that Government wasn’t something good. He’s the last humanist, because he is the last man believing in human values in that totalitarian age.
• Julia: her name suggests Juliet, a Shakespearean character, connected with romantic love. She’s around 25 and works at the Ministry of Love, producing cheap pornography for the proles. Unlike Winston, she’s a simple woman, who uses sex for fun and not for rebellion, as Winston does. She’s not interested in what Government does, she just uses sex to react, but just because she likes it, not because of a political aim, and this is the deep difference between her and Winston.
• O’Brien: he’s a member of the Inner Party and he’s often near Winston, showing him to be his friend and to be a rebel. He tries to gain Winston’s trusting and before Winston’s capture he helps him in his rebellion, teaching him something about the secret organization of the Party. The relationship between O’Brien and Winston seems always like a relationship between a father and a child, and just at the end of the story the reader discover the real intention of him.
• Big Brother: he’s not a real person and he’s only seen on TV or on the posters where is the sentence “Big Brother is watching you”. He stands for all dictators everywhere and he looks like Stalin. For the Inner party, he’s a leader, someone they can use to frighten people and justify actions.