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Symbolism In the short story Repent Harlquin Said the Ticktockman - Essay Example

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No. Instructor Date Symbolism in “Repent Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman ‘“Repent, Harlequin!’’ Said the Ticktockman” is a surreal story by Harlan Ellison that depicts the future of human society. A future that will be controlled by time and for every second lost, one will have to pay for it…
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Symbolism In the short story Repent Harlquin Said the Ticktockman

Download file to see previous pages... The symbols discussed in this essay are in consideration to Ellison’ story and three other sources. In a society where everyone is a conformist to the set rules and codes of conduct, Ellison’s first symbol is the protagonist, the Harlequin. The Harlequin is a defiant character who refuses to conform to the rules and regulations of the society. According to Bresin (2006, p.1) the Harlequin is a symbol of individualism against a backdrop of bureaucracy and totalitarian rule. The Harlequin is an allegory of disobedience and dissent in a utopian society, who incites the citizen against the regime. As White (pp. 1) writes that the Harlequin symbolizes the efforts of a few people in the society trying to save fellow men from historical equilibrium. The aim of such men is not to dislodge the state from power rather; it is to urge the people to act freely and let their conscience rule over their actions. In this regard, therefore, White (ibid) sees the Harlequin as a symbol of morality, when he chooses to follow his conscience and rebel against oppression. In a society controlled by the ticking of the clock, the Harlequin has no regard for punctuality, a fact well known by state apparatus. As Bresin (pp.1) illustrates, the Harlequin is a threat to the culture of the Ticktockman society. ...
Rather, the citizens should come out and enjoy the sunshine and life in general. While the people are busy listening to his defiance of the Ticktockman and watching his antics, a lot of time is lost. In an effort to curtail the activities of the Harlequin, the Ticktockman orders all the at the construction site to stop their work and hunt down the Harlequin. The construction workers waste a lot of time looking for the harlequin, time that would have been used to build the economy of this authoritarian society. This is an achievement for the Harlequin who has managed to make people shift away from the ideals of the society, even if it is to hunt him down. In addition to his antics, the Harlequin has a dress code distinct from everyone else’s in the society. He dresses in colorful costumes, themselves a symbol of forgotten times when society was not so grey and mechanized. He uses these costumes to attract the attention of the law-abiding citizens, causing them to listen to him and fail to carry out their duties. Obviously, the Harlequin’s actions and costumes do not amuse many of the conformists, such as Alice, Everett’s (the Harlequin’s real name) lover. Alice is displeased with Everett’s actions, when she asks him why he is always outdoors at night “in the ghastly clown suit, running around annoying people” (Ellison, pp.220). The Ticktockman, the antagonist, is an image of civil suppression in a tyrannical society. It is hard to tell whether the Ticktockman is a real man or a robot since he is always wearing a mask Bryant (pp.163). At the end of the story, however, the Ticktockman appears to be more of a robot than a human being as he breaks down into a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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