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The Story of An Hour and In the Lake of the Woods - Essay Example

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This paper shall discuss two works of literature and how they can be called works of protest art. The paper shall look into The Story of An Hour, a short story by the American author Kate Chopin and In the Lake of the Woods by another American author, Tim O’Brien. …
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The Story of An Hour and In the Lake of the Woods
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"The Story of An Hour and In the Lake of the Woods"

Download file to see previous pages Art and protest are linked together, intrinsically. Even in ancient times when art would be about the glory of kings and religious verses, writers would manage to intersperse their lines with feelings of protest about social conditions that existed during a particular period of time. The importance of art in the success of certain social movements and in attaining for certain social ills the attention that they deserve cannot be stressed too much. Artists in every age have been the torchbearers of change and have managed to communicate the sentiment of the downtrodden in forms of protest, to the rulers of a community or nation. Forms of such protest can be directed against what an author feels is a social malaise-racial discrimination, discrimination based on gender, corruption, human trafficking and so on and so forth. The manner in which such issues are perceived by the world at large depends greatly upon the way in which they are represented in works of literature by an author.
In In the Lake of the Woods, the author Tim O’Brien relates to the reader the story of a man named John Wade. The story revolves around the mystery of the murder of John’s wife and how he himself is suspected to have a hand in the murder of his wife. His wife, Kathy Wade, is found to be missing and the quest for the missing wife who is suspected to be dead forms a major part of the novel’s plot. Another important aspect of the novel’s plot is the political career of the protagonist. John Wade loses an election to the U.S. senate by a huge margin after his involvement in the massacre of an entire village is made public. This turns the tide of public sentiment against him. The issue of public perception is thus introduced at a very early stage in the novel. The novel also explores how the childhood of a person can influence the life of a person at every stage. John Wade is shown to have been very close to his father when he was a child despite his father’s physically and emotionally abusive nature. His father’s death is shown to have been a major event in his life. His childhood sufferings led him to take refuge in an alter-ego, the “Sorcerer” (O’Brien, 1995). This helped him to escape the mundane sufferings of his life. Here, O’Brien makes his readers aware of the escapist attitudes of his protagonist Wade achieves this escape through a repression of his emotions. This aspect of his personality is very important from the novel’s point of view, especially on the thematic front. Later in his life, he is adept at hiding his emotions and feelings from other people, including his own wife. Many of the torments that John faces in his life are put down to the traumatic events that he had to face while he was a soldier in Vietnam. The incident where an entire village is wiped out is based on a true incident that happened during the Vietnam War where the residents of a village named My Lai were massacred. Everybody, including women and children were killed in an inhumane assault that left the international community in shock. The people of Vietnam and the American soldiers who were a part of the operation were left scarred for life in an operation that was the result of a war that stretched on without an end in sight for either party. The tactics that the Vietnamese adopted made it difficult for the American army to pinpoint the enemy to a particular ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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