English 1102 Research Paper.docx - Mitchell 1 Ethan Mitchell Professor Elaine Stephens English 1102 24 April 2017 Desperation in the Face of Change A

English 1102 Research Paper.docx - Mitchell 1 Ethan...

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Mitchell 1 Ethan Mitchell Professor Elaine Stephens English 1102 24 April, 2017 Desperation in the Face of Change: A Critical Review of Downwind by Sarah Alisabeth Fox, Trifles by Susan Glaspell, and Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Discussing the way America’s rapid development as a world power has affected its people, Philip Abelson writes, “Each generation of humans is confronted with new challenges and new opportunities – some that affect our life-styles and even our continued existence” (17). When someone faces change in his or her life, it can give rise to a wide range of thoughts and feelings which depend largely on what exactly is changing and what its effect will be. Throughout history, individuals from all walks of life have been faced with adjustments to their lives that could have a positive or negative result for them and those they love. While many changes, whether they are of the technological, legal, or some other sort, have been embraced with open arms, there have also been many instances where potential change inspired strong negative reactions from lone figures and large groups. In fact, some men and women have been so deeply troubled at the prospect of deviation from what they considered normal that they have gone to extreme measures to ensure that life remain the same. Overflowing with characters driven by such blinding despair, literature has made excellent use of the fear of change as a plot
Mitchell 2 device. Overcome by desperation in the face of dramatic changes in their lives, the characters populating Harrison Bergeron , Trifles , and Downwind subvert morality as they seek to preserve themselves and examine what causes them to become so desperate, how that desperation manifests itself, the actions resulting from those feelings, how the characters are affected, and the way their actions affect those around them. What causes someone to become desperate? In Harrison Bergeron , Trifles , and Downwind , the characters are anxious over some perceived change in their environments, but it is not the change itself that triggers action. Binding the inhabitants of these stories together is fear, and, more than that, the fear of destruction. For some of the people in these narratives, power is nearly nonexistent and changes they are grappling with threaten their dominance over themselves. Men and women in the narratives make drastic attempts to stop what is happening. An essay discussing symbolism in “ Trifles ” included this passage, Those who are repressed seek expression; those who are trapped… freedom. The human spirit rebels against dominance, propelling those effected into action,” (Dalton 1). From the beginning of Harrison Bergeron, it is established that the power over him or herself each person possesses is severely limited. Taking place in a society where all citizens are forced to wear handicaps, such as headphones that emit jarring noises to keep smarter people from thinking, in order to make everyone equal in appearance, intelligence, and talent, those who are born with any of these in abundance are punished for it. Such is the case with the titular

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