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British Fiction - Essay Example

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Summary
What is British about contemporary British Fiction Discuss with reference to any two authors from the second half of the course. Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Harold Pinter's The Caretaker.
The question of "what is British about contemporary British Fiction" is an interesting one in a number of ways…
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British Fiction

Download file to see previous pages... Both of them are distinctive, and in many ways ground-breaking plays written by playwrights who are , in their way, regarded as quintessentially 'English' or 'British' in nature: if such as thing as British literature exists, it would be found within their work.
First of all is there such a thing as "being British" At the most basic level "being British" would be someone who is born, raised or who hold British nationality. In this case both Pinter and Stoppard meet this crude "British" definition. Being British is also essentially an idea rather than a reality. It can be seen as adherence to a number of supposed national norms that the British display. Eccentricity, independence, an indomitable nature, reserve, politeness, intelligence, genius, empire, arrogance are all characteristics which can be said to be 'British', and thus it can be seen to be a number of often contradictory things.
'Contradiction' is one of the hallmarks of Absurdist Theatre and thus it is apt that The Caretaker is one of the first works of drama to be written within the genre called The Theatre of the Absurd. What can be said to be particularly 'English' about this work. ...
mixture of threat, comedy, hopelessness and an ironic commentary upon working class lives that are based often upon endless combative exchanges of words. The characters make fun of their situations in a manner that is both vaguely threatening and funny.
For example, Mick gives an exaggerated description of what the hopelessly run-down house could be:

MICK: We could turn this place into a penthouse. For instance this room. This room could have been the kitchen. Right size, nice window, sun comes in. I'd have I'd have teal-blue, copper and parchment linoleum squares. I'd have those colours re-echoed in the walls. I'd offset the kitchen units with charcoal-grey worktops. Plenty of room for cupboards for the crockery. We'd have a small wall cupboard, a large wall cupboard, a corner wall cupboard with revolving shelves. You shouldn't be short of cupboards. You could put the dining-room across the landing, see Yes. Venetian blinds on the window, cork floor, cork tiles. You could have an off-white pile linen rug, a table in... in afromosia teak veneer, sideboard with matte black drawers, armchairs in oatmeal tweed, a beech frame settee with a woven sea-grass seat... (sits up) it wouldn't be a flat it'd be a palace.
(Pinter, 1998)

Mick is making fun of his brother's (as well as the tramp's) ridiculous plans for the house, and goes from the reasonable to the absurd in his descriptions. Take the description of the cupboard, which soon turns into a "large wall cupboard" and then on to the absurdly ambitious "cupboard with revolving shelves" (Pinter, 1998).
Pinter is also commenting upon the pretentious of the English middle-class, and those such as his brother and new 'caretaker' who would want to be one of them. The details of this pretension, seething with sarcasm as they ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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