Within the two novels Colonialism, and Catholicism run as underlying metaphors throughout. Within Ishiguro’s novel the use of the “country house” detective genre creates a both gripping narrative and an extended metaphor for the effects of colonialism. Greene uses a third person narrative and looks at the effects of a loveless marriage and pity on one individual. Control is imposed by the locations of each novel, they cause the protagonists to be disconnected from society; it is stated in Greene’s novel that there is “no particular interest attached” to the protagonist. In Ishiguro’s novel the protagonist is described to be a “miserable loner” by his peers. The effects of control are imposed by an ignorance Christopher has (the protagonist) to the factors that gave him his class status, as a result he has a disillusioned nature causing him to act without extensive thought, putting himself in danger. In Greene’s novel Scobie has spent “fifteen years” in the country due to his job, his loveless marriage causes him to pity himself and his wife, this pity grows to such an extent he commits suicide. Through using the location, relationships and events going on around them as symbols, the authors show the effects of control through the protagonist’s actions.

In When We Were Orphans Ishiguro points at the class gap in Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s when the novel is set. He focuses on the international settlement in Shanghai at the time but in particular the ignorance of the bourgeoisie. Christopher is given higher education at Cambridge University, which means he is conditioned to think and act like a bourgeois man. Here the theory of ideological status apparatuses can be applied to the protagonist’s actions. Christopher’s education, and upbringing around wealthy people causes him to be oblivious to how the working class live. Within him, as a result an arrogance develops. Christopher Fixates on “Shanghai”, not for the reason of solving the causes of a war affecting thousands of lives, but to solve his own problem of his missing parents. His education and exclusion from working class society makes him blame his problems on “Shanghai”, when the problems are actually caused by people. Blaming the location represents his ignorance and vulnerability because he doesn’t have the knowledge that he thinks he does of who caused his own problems.

The location of Shanghai represents class disparity, symbolising the arrogance of the bourgeoisie. Dining in the “Palace Hotel” juxtaposed with living in conditions that are like an “ants nest” in the same city at the same time, highlights this. The arrogance within the protagonist who despite actually going behind enemy lines and putting his and his taxi drivers life at risk states his case is “urgent”. The element of control can be read here to be the protagonists will to solve his own mission, caused by the ideological status apparatus of education. The problem within Shanghai is so great that the constant message in the protagonists mind to “return to Shanghai” is used by Ishiguro to symbolise how arrogant, and oblivious Christopher is to the war going on around him, caused by his education.

Within the country itself the foreigners alien presence isn’t defined, their higher living standards cause bewilderment, and confusion in the form of a war. The war it can be said even symbolises the shame the nations feel of themselves, as they have allowed the settlement to gain such power within their homeland.

It can be said then that Christopher in Ishiguro’s novel is lives in a dreamlike world. Christopher finds a wounded Japanese soldier who he who he claims to be ‘Akira’, his childhood friend. The soldier never admits to be Akira, meaning he most likely isn’t. This highlights Christopher’s disillusioned and immature attitude in a situation that could cost him his life. The fact that he convinces himself to believe that it is his friend highlights a theme that recurs in both novels, there is a longing in both protagonists to be connected with their previous unbroken selves. Christopher longs to be reunited with his family as his childhood wasn’t lived out properly. Scobie longs to be reunited with himself to the time before he was married.

 

The effects of control can be seen in the way Scobie arranges his office, “A table, two kitchen chairs, a cupboard, some rusty handcuffs… a filing cabinet”, the description used is in a list format, the numerical way in which the things are ordered, are as if when walking into the room, they are seen in that particular order. This resonates two recurring themes within the novel of routine and order.

Scobie’s relationship with his wife has developed a routine. “Comfort, like the act of sex, developed a routine”, this description of how he interacts with his wife illustrates his lack of compassion, that the love he had is gone, and a routine has developed for showing affection. This implies that no thought or emotion goes into the act of intercourse, and that it is an act to ensure his mind is at ease knowing his wife feels like she is loved.

Scobie’s job as a policeman maintains order within Scobie’s actions. The job causes him to lose compassion for others and only care about his own interests. Scobie’s duty is to inspect ships and retrieve illegal documents, because of this he doesn’t show any emotion toward a Portuguese Captain of the “Esperanca”. The ship’s name translates to ‘hope’ in English, Greene uses this device to illustrate divine intervention, in itself an element of control as God’s power is far superior than mans. As the novel is set in wartime, procedures must be followed correctly. The ship, and the Captain who is a fellow Catholic of Scobie’s act as symbols of God’s hope to test Scobie’s Faith against his duty, and highlight which factor is the most controlling. The captain has a hidden letter written to his daughter. The phrase “it’s a formality” said by Scobie ties both routine and order as his job requires him to search, recover, and abolish anything illegal found aboard. This phrase foreshadows how the conversation between the two men will result. “It can’t be done” said again by Scobie to the Captain. This shows his lack of compassion toward a “fellow countryman” even though it says in the bible “if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”, he is caused then by his duty to his work to go against his religion completely, which questions his morals as a “man of God” [1] .  

The idea of Scobie’s job requiring him to follow the law links to why he logs in a diary, as it constantly means he can be called to account for his own actions. He claims he does not lie in the diary, because of this a sense of vulnerability is formed. He talks of his mistress in the book which increases his accountability for committing adultery. His wife admits at the end of the novel that she knew of his mistress “It’s why I0 came home”, not from the diary, but from “Mrs Carter” through a letter. This sense of having no privacy within the town, forms the comparison between the town and a prison yard, a place where different inmates, who symbolise the British within the town talk of each other’s problems as it is the only thing they can talk about in a foreign country. The sense of isolation only becomes greater because people watch what they say, and how they act more closely.

  

 

The structure of the Heart of the Matter is made up of three books, with a varying number of parts, and chapters in each. Greene’s regimented style, is perhaps itself a symbol of his own life, where he worked for the Foreign office in Sierra Leone during World War 2. An informative and accurate way of writing is used by the protagonist within his diary. Posted abroad with an army rank and a code to live by can be said to have been an element of control upon Greene, influencing how he wrote the novel. Scobie logs down minor details in his diary. The details can be deemed pointless from the readers, or another characters perspective, but the date, time and temperature however all imply a sense of entrapment. “November 3…Temperature at 2. P.M. 91o”, these three factors can be said to be the only factors in his life he has control of, as they change each day he writes new ones. The metaphor here being colonialism, and the sense of entrapment it imposes on the British who had to live in colonial towns. This caused them to become mentally isolated and ostracised from British culture. Scobie is in the country for “fifteen years”, he describes white people as looking like “albinos” in the first part of the novel. Fifteen years ago he says “he had thought his wife beautiful.” To say he ‘thought’ gives the idea that he no longer loves her, and from being stationed there for so long he has formed a hatred to the British white people who sent him there, and he no longer feels part of British society. A sense of regret resonates within Scobie’s character as he states “fifteen wasted years”, implying he has a longing for change, and with a tone of despair foreshadows his suicide at the end of the novel.

 

In Ishiguro’s novel the narrative is in the form of a dramatic monologue. Told to the reader in a clipped and restrained style; “It was an accepted feature of our lives to be visited from time to time by an official from Morgan Brook and Byatt”. The phrase does not indicate, and isn’t justified why it is “an accepted feature”, from the exposition to the end of the novel it is never explicitly said why the protagonist expects the reader to have a knowledge of prior events. In all of Ishiguro’s writing this is a recurring theme, most of his novels use this of style of language, it highlights a denial within the protagonist that isn’t faced and as a result forms of a sympathy within the reader for Christopher. The book reads as a murder mystery, key facts are withheld from the reader and are gradually revealed piecing together a story that seems increasingly irrelevant in the light of war. The protagonist’s innocence allows a murder mystery novel to accompany a piece that is a metaphor for colonialism.

Within both novels the life of each writer can be seen in the narratives. In Greene’s writing he explores the theme of religion. Greene himself was a Catholic, the theme of religion can be said to be a controlling factor in his novels. Scobie questions his own morals throughout the novel, this can be said to symbolise the challenges Greene faced when he converted to Catholicism. Within the novel the themes of chaos, adultery, and illegal deals symbolise factors Catholicism, as it states within the bible, aims to control. The book then being a metaphor for the control imposed by religion on an individual’s life.

In all of Ishiguro’s writing a clipped and restrained prose is used. This makes the narrator innocent, naïve and unknowing. Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Japan and moved to England very young. The character in When We Were Orphans is described to be a “miserable loner” by his peers. The novel portrays a man coming to terms with a new sense of reality in a different country. It not only acts as a metaphor for the effects colonialism has on a country, and how it causes disillusionment and denial within the colonialists, but also acts as a symbol for Ishiguro’s upbringing and how he adapted to foreign life.

How do the authors use metaphor to show the effects of control in Graham Greene’s “The Heart of the Matter” and Kazuo Ishiguro’s “When we were orphans”?

Within the two novels Colonialism, and Catholicism run as underlying metaphors throughout. Within Ishiguro’s novel the use of the “country house” detective genre creates a both gripping narrative and an extended metaphor for the effects of colonialism. Greene uses a third person narrative and looks at the effects of a loveless marriage and pity on one individual. Control is imposed by the locations of each novel, they cause the protagonists to be disconnected from society; it is stated in Greene’s novel that there is “no particular interest attached” to the protagonist. In Ishiguro’s the protagonist is described to be a “miserable loner” by his peers. In Ishiguro’s novel effects of control are imposed by an ignorance Christopher has (the protagonist) to the factors that gave him his class status, as a result he has a disillusioned nature causing him to act without extensive thought, putting himself in danger. In Greene’s novel Scobie’s job, duration of time spent in the country, and his relationships with others cause him to pity himself and those around him, because he feels after fifteen years of spending time in the country he hasn’t earned any money or risen above his station at work.   Through using the location, relationships and events going on around them as symbols, the authors show the effects of control through the protagonist’s actions.

In When we were Orphans Ishiguro points at the class gap in Shanghai in the 1920’s and 1930’s when the novel is set. He focuses on the International settlement in Shanghai at the time but in particular the ignorance of the bourgeoisie. With constant reference to “Shanghai” by the protagonist, we as the reader only have to look Christopher’s social class to understand why this repetition occurs. Christopher is part of the bourgeoisie implying immediately he has an ignorance to how the working class live because of his academic upbringing compared to having had to endure hard labour. When the protagonist is in Shanghai, Ishiguro points at the fact that Christopher does not acknowledge the war going on around him as much as his concern to solve his own interests, being the case of his missing parents. Dining in the “Palace Hotel” juxtaposed with living in conditions that are like an “ants nest” in the same city at the same time, highlights the arrogance in the bourgeoisie and within the protagonist who despite actually going behind enemy lines and putting his and his taxi drivers lives at risk states his case is “urgent” The element of control can be read here to be the protagonists will to solve his own mission, or, the problem within Shanghai is so great that a message resonates in the mind of the protagonist, a lead detective, to solve the problem of the class gap. His ignorance however doesn’t allow him to see it. The protagonists “mission” is a symbol for the ignorance and arrogance of the bourgeoisie. The taxi Christopher is in gets lost when it goes behind enemy lines, this represents how oblivious the bourgeoisie are to the problems of the working class, so much so that they are unable to navigate through them and be able to help.

Within the country itself the foreigners alien presence isn’t defined, their higher living standards cause bewilderment, and confusion in the form of a war. The war it can be said even symbolises the shame the nations feel of themselves, as they have allowed the settlement to gain such power within their homeland.

It can be said then that Christopher in Ishiguro’s novel is lives in a dreamlike world. Christopher finds a wounded Japanese soldier who he who he claims to be ‘Akira’, his childhood friend. The soldier never admits to be Akira, meaning he most likely isn’t. This highlights Christopher’s disillusioned and immature attitude in a situation that could cost him his life. The fact that he convinces himself to believe that it is his friend highlights a theme that recurs in both novels, there is a longing in both protagonists to be connected with their previous unbroken selves. Christopher longs to be reunited with his family as his childhood wasn’t lived out properly. Scobie longs to be reunited with himself to the time before he was married.

 

The effects of control can be seen in the way Scobie arranges his office, “A table, two kitchen chairs, a cupboard, some rusty handcuffs… a filing cabinet”, the description used is in a list format, the numerical way in which the things are ordered, are as if when walking into the room, they are seen in that particular order. This resonates two recurring themes within the novel of routine and order.

Scobie’s relationship with his wife has developed a routine. “Comfort, like the act of sex, developed a routine”, this description of how he interacts with his wife illustrates his lack of compassion, that the love he had is gone, and a routine has developed for showing affection. This implies that no thought or emotion goes into the act of intercourse, and that it is an act to ensure his mind is at ease knowing his wife feels like she is loved.

The order element is shown through Scobie’s occupation as a policeman. The job causes him to lose compassion for others and only care about his own interests. Scobie’s duty is to inspect ships and retrieve illegal documents, because of this he doesn’t show any emotion toward a Portuguese Captain of the “Esperanca”. The ship’s name translates to ‘hope’ in English, Greene uses this device to illustrate divine intervention, in itself an element of control as God’s power is far superior than mans. As the novel is set in wartime, procedures must be followed correctly. The ship, and the Captain who is a fellow Catholic of Scobie’s act as symbols of God’s hope to test Scobie’s Faith against his duty, and highlight which factor is the most controlling. The captain has a hidden letter written to his daughter. The phrase “it’s a formality” said by Scobie ties both routine and order as his job requires him to search, recover, and abolish anything illegal found aboard. This phrase foreshadows how the conversation between the two men will result. “It can’t be done” said again by Scobie to the Captain. This shows his lack of compassion toward a “fellow countryman” even though it says in the bible “if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?”, he is caused then by his duty to his work to go against his religion completely, which questions his morals as a “man of God” [1] .     

 

The structure of the Heart of the Matter is made up of three books, with a varying number of parts, and chapters in each. Greene’s regimented style, is in itself a symbol of his own life, where he worked for the Foreign office in Sierra Leone during World War 2. An informative and accurate way of writing is used by the protagonist within his diary. Posted abroad with an army rank and a code to live by can be said to have been an element of control upon Greene, influencing how he wrote the novel. Scobie logs down minor details in his diary. The details can be deemed pointless from the readers, or another characters perspective, but the date, time and temperature however all imply a sense of entrapment. “November 3…Temperature at 2. P.M. 91o”, these three factors can be said to be the only factors in his life he has control of, as they change each day he writes new ones. The metaphor here being colonialism, and the sense of entrapment it imposes on the British who had to live in colonial towns. This caused them to become mentally isolated and ostracised from British culture. Scobie is in the country for “fifteen years”, he describes white people as looking like “albinos” in the first part of the novel. Fifteen years ago he says “he had thought his wife beautiful.” To say he ‘thought’ gives the idea that he no longer loves her, and from being stationed there for so long he has formed a hatred to the British white people who sent him there, and he no longer feels part of British society. A sense of regret resonates within Scobie’s character as he states “fifteen wasted years”, implying he has a longing for change, and with a tone of despair foreshadows his suicide at the end of the novel.

 

His job as a police officer requires him to follow the law, and log down minor details to be accountable for his own actions. He claims he does not lie in the diary and because of this a sense of vulnerability is formed. He talks of his mistress in the book which increases his accountability for committing adultery. His wife admits at the end of the novel that she knew of his mistress “It’s why I came home”, not from the diary, but from “Mrs Carter” through a letter. This sense of having no privacy within the town, forms the comparison between the town and a prison yard, a place where different inmates, who symbolise the British within the town talk of each other’s problems as it is the only thing they can talk about in a foreign country. The sense of isolation only becomes greater because people watch what they say, and how they act more closely.

In Ishiguro’s novel the narrative is in the form of a dramatic monologue. Told to the reader in a clipped and restrained style; “It was an accepted feature of our lives to be visited from time to time by an official from Morgan Brook and Byatt”. The phrase does not indicate, and isn’t justified why it is “an accepted feature”, from the exposition to the end of the novel it is never explicitly said why the protagonist expects the reader to have a knowledge of prior events. In all of Ishiguro’s writing this is a recurring theme, most of his novels use this of style of language, it highlights a denial within the protagonist that isn’t faced and as a result forms of a sympathy within the reader for Christopher. The book reads as a murder mystery, key facts are withheld from the reader and are gradually revealed piecing together a story that seems increasingly irrelevant in the light of war. The protagonist’s innocence allows a murder mystery novel to accompany a piece that is a metaphor for colonialism.

Within both novels as a result of being controlled both protagonists are forced to become unintentionally self-centred.

To class the quote as an accurate assessment can be questionable, as the narrator Nelly admits that she has a dislike towards other characters such as Catherine, the language she uses to describe her can be potentially bias. The majority of the novel is told by Nelly in retrospect and the accounts we get of all of the characters are of her own view. However, it can be argued that Nelly does state that she is fond of Heathcliffe, and she is the one who refers to him as being “a ghoul”. Earlier on in the novel Nelly refers to Heathcliffe as the “devil’s incarnate”, showing that throughout she has had a consistent view of Heathcliffe. Apart from being referred to as “evil” Heathcliffe is described to be in love with Catherine, meaning that he could be misinterpreted by other characters. Dramatic fits of passion could be misread by other characters as devilish, as they aren’t exposed to the world outside Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights for the most of their lives. It can be argued that for not understanding the outside world they cannot understand Heathcliffe for he isn’t born at either of the two locations, therefore classed as different, and hard to understand.

 

 

‘Burmese days’ portrays the expansion of the British Empire into the third world during the 1930s presenting Colonialism’s constraints through the protagonist “Flory”. Orwell uses a third person narrative to explore themes of desolation, despair, love, and oppression. In a Marxist reading, Flory fails to revolt against the Capitalist hegemony that conditions him; this eventually causes a dialectic to occur which results in his own suicide. “It is never right to kill myself in order to relieve my own suffering because I am then using myself as a means of achieving my own ends – the relief of the suffering”. Kant’s quote illustrates Flory’s cowardice. He has the tools to cause a vanguard of the proletariat, but his failure to voice his consciousness of the “slimey white man’s burden” and friendship with a native to the ruling class shows his confinement and downfall.

 

Orwell refers to the British factor as The Club, here Flory is conditioned to exploit ‘the natives’ against their will. Flory is forced to contradict his egalitarian beliefs because he expropriates the natives through his vocation as a timber merchant. Flory says “The British Empire is simply a device for giving trade monopolies to the English”. This shows his opposition to Capitalism as it highlights the disregard the British have for the natives, and are only in it for the economic benefit. It is phrase that damns Flory as he has spent “fifteen years” in the country and is part of the controlling hegemony over the natives in “Kyauktada” which means he is unwillingly advocating the Capitalist ideology.

 

Flory attempts to fuel a vanguard of the proletariat by attempting to appoint his friend Dr. Veraswami to the Club. This will cause conflict to arise between himself and the British members of the Club, as they are against the appointment of a native, resulting in a possible revolt led by the doctor. However, Veraswami holds the British in a degree of veneration calling them “pukka sahib” and “honourable English gentleman!” highlighting a respect which forms a barrier to any revolt occurring. Flory’s egalitarian nature means he disagrees with “More banks and more prisons” because they expand Capitalist control over the economic progress of the proletariat, and the threat of imprisonment forces them to act within the law. Veraswami believes “The mighty-master mind” has brought “law and order” to the natives, transforming them into a civilised nation, improving the way people live. This shows the impact the British has had on the Doctor and how it has alienated him from the traditional Burmese culture of Paganism. It also increases Flory’s alienation from society, as his attempts to fuel a revolt can be deemed pointless because he and the doctor share opposing views on the Empire, sustaining a class divide and foreshadowing a climax to occur.

 

Orwell uses U Po Kyin to symbolise the proletariat who are bound by the Capitalist ideology. Saying that the proletariat are alienated into believing the Darwinian philosophy of the “Survival of the fittest”. Animalising U Po Kyin as a “crocodile” Implies a lack of human reasoning, and an immediate binary of Flory’s character who’s egalitarian nature means

and how with it progression is possible. U Po Kyin highlights the mane applying it that competition among human beings for one’s own success is just.

U Po Kyin mirrors the destructive nature of the ideology, he is compared to a “croco

Called “the crocodile” it is implied that U Po Kyin has a destructive nature. “His people were no match for this race of giants” implies he has a disregard for others’ lives. Orwell uses U Po Kyin’s take down of Flory, a British man (for his own appointment to the club) to show how Capitalism has stretched into the third world and alienated them. U Po Kyin’s actions however can be deemed paradoxical because the Club state they are “The last club to hold out against ‘em”, referring to the natives. Meaning Capitalism not only forced a native to alienate himself from his own culture, but also caused the needless targeting and destruction of Flory to occur. Showing that when the proletariat achieve consciousness, they will switch class roles with the bourgeoisie, and oppress them. This highlights that classes will remain, and Capitalism will progress further. After Flory’s death U Po Kyin gets appointed to the Club, providing evidence that Capitalism succeeds through the destruction of a man’s life.

 

 

The character Ellis is a parallel opposite to Flory, with a “spiteful cockney accent” and a hate toward the natives “with a bitter, restless loathing” he states that “I’ll rather die in a ditch before I see a nigger in here”. This opposes Flory’s nature of accepting the natives as equals. “Though by nature anything but a silent man”, Flory’s voice has “a way of trembling”, suggesting low confidence, and inability to express views against the racist Ellis. The friction between the two characters foreshadows a revolt, the revolt occurs when Flory announces his proposal of “Dr. Veraswami as a member” of the Club. Up until the proposed appointment Flory fears siding with the natives will jeopardise his freedoms as a British man. It is implied when Flory goes against the hegemony that he will justify his reasons for appointing a native because he “seldom found much to say in club conversations”. He fails to do this, and he commits suicide before the appointment is complete. Without the words of a British man (the bourgeoisie) the power of Veraswami’s words (the proletariat) do not carry enough weight to get him appointed to the club. Orwell implies that to rise above ones class, it is only possible with the help of the ruling class. With this in mind, it can be said a revolt is impossible because Flory was the only willing British man to suggest a native’s appointment but committed suicide.

 

 

Orwell uses Flory’s “birthmark” to represent a difference Flory has from the British, symbolising his alienation from them. His “birthmark” also alienates him from the Burmese, excluding him from both societies and making it inevitable for him to reach a dialectical moment. He fears the cost of being further isolated within society, causing an inability to live with the freedoms of the bourgeoisie. This causes him to put on an “incomprehensible dumb-show” [1] infront of the British which proves his actions to be contradictory as he shows an awareness of his own oppression yet “Turns away” showing the hierarchies conditioning.

 

Flory sees that Burmese culture is far superior to the British as it involves relationships formed from emotions, and the respect of nature.

 

An exchange value that creates surplus value through production costs and the distribution of wages forms the proletariat and the Bourgeoisie. Capitalism causes judgments of another person to take place on the amount and quality of material assets they own. This forces Veraswami, a native, to state he has “whisky, beer, vermouth and other European liquors”, the capitalist ideology alienates him into believing that the more material objects owned, increase the status of himself among the British. This ownership of material objects and status dictate relationships. “He felt stiff in her presence” shows the barrier formed between Elizabeth and Flory. Elizabeth is a petty bourgeois character who ends up marrying “A rather old perhaps but a Deputy Commissioner” Macgregor for the economic stability and status she’ll have “For which Nature had designed her from the first, that of a burra memsahib”, showing her disregard for equality in the household. This highlights the inevitably damning actions Flory commits to winning her hand in marriage. Orwell deliberately diverts expectations of a happy ending in marriage to highlight Capitalism’s destructive nature. Their ideologies oppose each other presenting forth a struggle within the same class.

 

Camus stated “At the end of the awakening comes in time, the consequence: suicide or recovery” [2]. Implying that the ‘truth’ of the capitalist superstructure can be damning, or cause a revolutionary change that enlightens one of their own standing in society.

Orwell shows how Flory is alienated from society by being born with a “birthmark”. Flory was never a suitable character to lead a revolt, his inability to accept his own appearance, his disagreement with his own class’s ideology, and his inability to voice his own opinions freely to his own class foreshadows a dialectical moment, “suicide or recovery”[3]? Flory upholds a false consciousness as a façade to keep intact his own freedoms as a bourgeois man. This shows a failed class struggle because he cannot communicate freely with his own class, he cannot educate his own class on the control the capitalist hegemony as they are content with a false consciousness. Being forced to live a secret life, discarded by Elizabeth, and taken down by U Po Kyin, his isolation from society in his opinion is finalised. Despair in being able to revolt and educate the bourgoisie leads him to take his own life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1], [2], [3] – The Myth of Sisyphus – Albert Camus

‘Burmese days’. A novel portraying the expansion of the British Empire into the third world during the 1930’s presents Colonialism through one protagonist named “Flory”. In a third person narrative Orwell explores themes of desolation, despair, love, and oppression. In a Marxist reading, “Flory” fails to revolt against the Capitalist hegemony that conditions him. “The Club” condition Flory to exploit ‘the natives’ whom against their will are being exploited. “Flory” against his own beliefs carries out the exploitation through his vocation; a ‘timber merchant’. This eventually causes a dialectic to occur which proves to be his own suicide. “It is never right to kill myself in order to relieve my own suffering because I am then using myself as a means of achieving my own ends – the relief of the suffering”. Kant’s quote illustrates Flory’s cowardice. He has the tools to cause a vanguard of the proletariat, but his failure to express his consciousness of the “slimey white man’s burden” and friendship with a native to the ruling class shows his confinement and downfall. In a society with racist ideological views Flory an antihero is caused to remain mute. “Ill rather die in a ditch before I see a nigger in here”. This quote illustrates an indirect threat from the hegemony to those who wish to revolt, causing Flory to live a secret life which results in his suicide.

Flory is victim to the idea that he can educate ‘the natives’. Orwell uses a barrier of differing languages to increase Flory’s alienation, and outline the impossibility of a revolt occurring.

Racial remarks voiced by ‘Ellis’ toward the ‘natives’ form a class divide. This shows Flory’s mental isolation because he is friends with ‘Dr. Veraswami’ and cannot admit it. Through the intention of appointing a ‘native’ to the ‘Club’ Orwell highlights Flory’s attitude to accept the ‘natives’ as British equals. On opposing the ideology of the capitalist hegemony ‘Flory’ remains silent, “Though by nature anything but a silent man”, symbolising his alienation form his own class. He is unable to verbally oppose the capitalist hegemony as his freedoms as a “British” man will be jeopardised.

The phrase “Pukka sahib” resonates ‘British’ control over the ‘natives’. The fear and respect imposed through Imperialism sustains a class divide. Implying the impossibility of the destruction of social classes.

Orwell uses the friendship of Flory and Veraswami to represent an element of despair about Flory’s character as Veraswami holds the capitalist ideology in a degree of veneration. “The slimey white man’s burden humbug” implies his disagreement with the Capitalist ideology. However, he carries it out, and shouts at Veraswami infront of the British because he is afraid of being cast from his own class.

Orwell uses Flory’s “birthmark” to represent a difference Flory has from the ‘British’ symbolising his alienation from them. Veraswami due to the colour of his skin shares a difference with Flory. Flory verbally abuses Veraswami, his friend, infront of the British. This Highlights the extent the Capitalist hegemony has conditioned Flory because he contradicts his egalitarian nature by reinforcing a class hierarchy. An advocate of the Capitalist ideology unwillingly leads to his suicide.

 

 

 

Flory achieves the consciousness that money has alienated the Burmese. He sees that Burmese culture is far superior to the British as it involves relationships formed from emotions, and the respect of nature. As opposed to a ‘man made’ object dictating social classes, and creating a hierarchy within the household. This hierarchy dictates Flory’s and ‘Elizabeth’s’ relationship as he is deemed the ‘breadwinner’. This artificial idea made by Capitalism as a means of concentrating capital and increasing competition makes women classed ‘inferior’ to men as they could, not compete.

Acting on behalf of human survival through reasoning and teamwork has been a primal instinct to survive. Flory’s an egalitarian who believes this. He cannot voice it because the idea of competition has been created by money, Flory is bound by the Capitalist hegemony as their main aim is to get more money and gain more power. Contradicting his own beliefs, and inevitably causing him to ask questions about the system which he doesn’t reach, due to the fear of risking his own freedom.

 

 

 

“They talked- so long as they talked of trivialities – with the utmost freedom, yet they were distant like strangers. He felt stiff in her presence, he could not forget his birthmark.”

Through ‘Elizabeth’s’ status of an orphan Orwell presents a character who has aims for going to Burma. Flory preys on the girl’s youthful façade and is bound by the societal institution of marriage. Flory shows desperation which becomes a disturbing fetish he cannot control. Orwell deliberately diverts expectations of a happy ending in marriage to highlight Capitalisms destructive nature. That without marriage a man is worthless, to some extent empowering women, but contradicting himself as he presents ‘Elizabeth’ as a person in feminist terms as someone who will settle for what is deemed as “legal prostitution” becoming an object of man. Highlighting the corrupted nature of society and damning Flory to isolation.

A ‘timber merchant’ suggests Flory’s lack of control. An egalitarian with a job that entails destruction of another’s country, suggests the oppression the hegemony has over him. Orwell does this to foreshadow a climax, where Flory will somewhat revolt against his oppressors because he is a slave to society. Carrying out the demands of a capitalist who is not even present proves his alienation to sustain his ‘freedom’ at the expense of an inferior class’s freedom. Inevitably damning an egalitarian toward a dialectical moment.

Notes on Never let me go

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Without giving it away to those who haven’t read it it explores ideas of isolation, desire but mainly despair. A book that follows the life of a woman who throughout reminisces the good times she has had from when she was a little girl to the present day.

I am going to use this book in my coursework and apply it to marxism.

Notes I made were mainly marking down page whilst reading and taking notes as I went on.

Donations:

 

  •  donating to allow the rest of civilisation to carry on.
  • They were created for a purpose -relating to the human race but in particular the working classes. As they are from a young age encouraged to go down a path of hard labouring they have no choice once they are put into knowledge based groups from a young age. this then leads them to not having high aspirations and settling for the route that is presented to them.
  • Cogs of society to allow it to carry on breathing and stay functioning.

The idea of being monitored relates to ISAs. The people who created them are the teachers (upper/middle classes), they teach them how to speak and act properly and tell them that how they are accepted into the world is based on how much they can produce and not who they are. This then strips them of any life and forces them to stick together otherwise they’ll strive to exist.

The idea of not being able to progress within society as you are kept in one place:

-Can’t have babies  -arent allowed out

The world they live in is an illusion of an ideal world within walls which relates to class barriers. How if you settle for a working class job you can only rise to the top of that station. In todays society the advance in education and the number of people who have the opportunity to use it to their advantage has removed class barriers to some extent leaving it to peoples aspirations to do well. if they want to they can simply choose to learn using the education system and progress themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

Notes on Never let me go

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These are some of the notes I have been taking whilst reading ‘Never let me go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

Dystopia

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a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.

The abyss, the void, the unknown.

Let the blogging begin…

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Welcome to your student blog, where you will be able to use the power of technology to display the power of your mind. I cannot wait to read your postings and to communicate with you about your work. All the best, Ms Turner.

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