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The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance - Book Report/Review Example

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The American author Bernard Pomerance (born 1940) was the brain behind the play "The Elephant Man", based on true-to-life events in the life of Joseph (sometimes John) Carey Merrick (1862-1890), the Englishman who was the subject of all the sympathy of Victorian Era England because of the tremendously severe deformities in his body…
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The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance
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Download file to see previous pages Joseph Carey Merrick, the elephant man, he was born normal, yet developed the deformities when he was about five. "Having lived a tumultuous childhood, his mother passed away when he was just eight and was left under the care of his father who remarried a woman who disliked the young Joseph." (WhoNamedIt 2007) He was nicknamed John when he starred at the freak shows. Joseph Merrick left home when he realized he could no longer resist the consistent berating her stepmother directed towards him because of the fact that he could not contribute money for the expenses at home. He took in odd jobs when he left home, and prior to taking a job as a sideshow attraction, Merrick was virtually unemployable for the most part of his life. (Amazon 2007). When he was making a living out of selling haberdashery on the streets, he endured persistent taunts and insults to his appearance by local children and adults alike. "There, never a day passed without him having treated indecently." (Rotten 2000).
Society, both of its sides, have had its demands on Joseph Merrick. His sideshow manager Ross from the very beginning of the story, had always demanded for Merrick. Ross represented the mean side of society. Being a sideshow manager, Ross was not concerned with the feelings of people, all he cared about was the patronage of his talents, Merrick being one of them. He handles unfortunate people who were herded to become attractions for fee-paying people, to see the "freaks of nature." And the evil demand of the society, as exemplified by the mistreatment of Merrick in the hands of Ross was cemented "when he robbed Merrick of his earnings." (Amazon 2007). The people who did not care for Merrick, those who threw laughs and insults at him are in one with the evil side of society. They saw Joseph Merrick only as the circus attraction, the sideshow freak, a man whom a curse had victimized, a deformed man who caught all the ugliness in the world. They did not see that Joseph Merrick was not just "The Elephant Man. He was a man. He was human. He too, has feelings and emotions." (Rotten 2007).
Society, in general had neither been overly rude nor deeply sympathetic towards the plight of Merrick. His stay at the hospital was marked by the understanding of people, upstanding people, to be exact. "Carr Gomm, the hospital administrator who had been very accommodating to Merrick and his doctor, the kind Dr. Treves, Princess Alexandra, the Duchess, and Mrs. Kendal," (Wikipedia 2007), they all represent the society which had been very kind to Merrick, and the component of society whom he never despised, for he was showered with understanding by these people and treated him like a normal person, and their demands was only utmost concern for Merrick, the reason "being was because he is getting worse by the day, and that alarmed them, for they had treated Merrick like family." (Rotten 2000).
The good of society in the story was personified above all by Dr. Frederick Treves, the physician of Joseph Merrick. He was a "young, brilliant and up-and-coming physician who risked his job at London Hospital just to give Joseph Merrick a real home, for Merrick, when he was first seen by Dr. Treves, was unemployed, fooled by his manager, distraught and untrusting." (Bookrags 2007). Dr. Frederick Tre ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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