Discuss the significance of seemingly Essay
Essay Topic: Literature
Paper type: Essay
Words: 814, Paragraphs: 7, Pages: 4
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Discuss the significance of seemingly “unrealistic” or apparently implausible characters, places or events in literature you have studied. Unrealistic or implausible characters are often used literature to aid in transmitting the author’s intention and are usually of crucial conceptual significance, this is to say, that they are vital in the development of ideas that the author wants to express. Two of the forms that the writer might choose to give his implausible character are, for example, a glaring contrast with other characters in order to convey a moral message by means of conflict, or the personification of an abstract and specific human quality in order to symbolically express his views about that given value.
These devices can be observed in Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, in the character of the Savage, and in Alekos from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Berniï¿½res respectively.
In Brave New World, the Savage is the main means of the author to create a clash with the Utopia portrayed: since absolutely everyone in the new society is conditioned to be entirely happy with it, it is only a foreigner to those ideals who can confront them.
This is obvious from Chapter XVII in which John and Mustapha Mond have an intense discussion about the nature of their whole world, passage that sums up and develops all of the main ideas exposed in the preceding chapters and acts as a climax too.
Judging from the content of the ideological battle portrayed we may say the Aldous Huxley’s intention was to convey a moral message, a warning to what uncontrolled human development may produce: a degenerated society according to our standards (note that during the novel Huxley’s tone when describing the world is largely subjective and tilted towards our opinion of their moral and social values, reinforcing the argument of Huxley’s intention) and ultimately the lack of choice between insanity and sanity, as indicated in the suicide of the Savage. It is important to say that the romantic and idealistic role played by John is that of greatest proximity to our common beliefs and using this device Huxley desires to stress the correctness of our morality and the “immorality” of theirs as seen in the emotive ending of chapter XVII:
” ‘All right, then,’ said the Savage defiantly, ‘I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.’ ‘Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer (…) ‘I claim them all,’ said the Savage at last.” The reader feels deeply identified with John in this passage, mainly because of his rebellious and courageous tone, whereas Mustapha Mond represents domination and lack of freedom; Huxley uses the common device of the conflict between seemingly oppressed individuals and the organized, cold and analytical oppressor, usually an institution, in a subjective manner, thereby touching the inner fibres of human idealism for freedom and making the reader be in the part of the Savage. In this level the Savage should be the most familiar and realist character of them all, and is probably the level at which Huxley worked more in his development of the message, yet an implausibility in the situation is found in an underlying plane: the philosophical training of the Savage.
It is hardly believable that a person that has only read Shakespeare in his life and has had no real education in order to understand literature’s intentions as such and therefore the matters of human nature, consciousness, life, etc., can hold such an elevated discussion, and finally, in the eyes of the reader as portrayed by Huxley, win the argument, with a man as thoroughly educated as Mustapha Mond. Given the many other incongruencies and small mistakes found in the novel (which have been recognised by Huxley himself) it seems that this implausibility was not deliberately planned in order to convey some message, but was an inevitable result of the author’s method of exposing the central argument.
It may be however that this is a device used to transmit an opinion about human nature and its inherent spiritual tendencies to romantic values and actual morals (as these cannot be genetic or even so mental due to the genetic engineering and the conditioning suffered by the Alphas themselves which are those who show the relative desire for these). Even though the Savage has lacked the sufficient instruction to uphold such a discussion, “human sprit”, which is in every case expressed through the mind, (this would be why castes lower than Alphas cannot express this spirit) tells him certain things that are right and wrong which are subsequently the themes of discussion with Mustapha Mond. However this interpretation seems somewhat to forced and does not connect completely well with Huxley’s pessimistic view of the future evident in the ending, as the concept of the inherent quality for freedom in human spirit has something of an optimistic connotation.