Eng12.FinalPaper - ANALYSIS OF"THE PRISONER WHO WORE...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
A NALYSIS OF “T HE P RISONER W HO W ORE G LASSES BY B ESSIE H EAD R ESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED M AY 23, 2007 E NGLISH 12B P ROFESSOR S MITH
Image of page 1

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Our culture takes tremendous pride in upholding liberty and contempt of oppression. But oppression and liberty are not always as clearly defined as misty-eyed philanthropists would prefer and the worst crimes are only rarely found – not to mention committed – on our shores. Bessie Head explores complexities of freedom in “The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses.” She demonstrates that the obvious agents of oppression are not always the most important, or even as oppressive as other subtler mechanisms within an environment. The story does not make any effort to follow the Freytag pyramid structure. Via narrator, Head delivers exposition then action, then exposition then action again, and then after a series of intermittent conversations between Brille and Warder Hannetjie, the text addresses the following action in the past tense, and continues the description until the story ends abruptly. Attempting to depict the plot of “The Prisoner Who Wore Glasses” in the linear fashion of a Freytag pyramid is to discredit the efforts of the author by applying a general and simplistic theory to a specific and intricate plot design. There is a clear presentation of actions in the present, but latent expository details are interspersed, to drive the story forward and accentuate the current action. The ending is so abrupt that one might feel that a page was missing from the text; the startling truncation of the story forces the reader to reflect on the story and attempt to comprehend the author’s intent. The story is very concise; it retains its effectiveness without verbosity through this structure. To discuss the setting as representative of imprisonment is redundant: the setting is a prison. Obviously, this entails elements of oppression and lost freedom. However, while a prison may be a conventional metaphor for restriction, it need not take on any metaphorical value beyond the most basic understanding. Furthermore, the setting of oppression is most important for the environment it creates. Without the setting of a prison, as well as the apartheid regime, it 2
Image of page 2
would be ineffably more difficult to create in the story the ironic freedom earned by the men who are prisoners. The nature of the freedom and discussion of the irony follows. Head’s eponym character and protagonist is Brille, a bespectacled prisoner in Work Span One. He is the one of only two characters named or described with any detail in the story, and if one were to name a protagonist of the story, it would certainly be Brille. Brille is an older man who utters the first dialogue of the story. He stares at the clouds and the direction they sail, and wonders if it is a sign that he should send a message to his children. It is Brille who looks into the sky blue eyes of Span One’s new warder and warns his comrades ominously, saying “[Hannetjie] is not human.” He does not send the message, as his “shortsightedness” causes
Image of page 3

Info icon This preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern