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Presentation on theme: "THE BIRTHDAY PARTY JADE, NISHTA, DEBORAH, KELLIE."— Presentation transcript:


2 Q5. Write a critical appreciation of the following extract, paying particular attention to its significance to the play as a whole. GOLDBERG: A reception committee! (70) MEG (vaguely): I won’t be long (71)

3 SIGNIFICANCE OF EXTRACT Reveals to the audience Stanley’s fate after the birthday party Reinstates the authority’s coldness and reaffirms the significant importance of family as part of society Highlights the futility of the individual’s resistance against the authority

4 REVELATION OF STANLEY'S FATE GOLDBERG: A reception committee! “Reception” plays up the idea of a new Stanley, Formality of “committee” seems to suggest the authority’s coldness in doing their “job” Act 1 (30) GOLDBERG: The main issue is a singular issue and quite distinct from your previous work… the assignment will be carried out and the mission accomplished with no excessive aggravation to you or myself. Satisfied?

5 REVELATION OF STANLEY'S FATE GOLDBERG: Of course he’s coming down Element of menace, due to the double meaning of “coming down” – Goldberg seems to reveal what happens to Stanley GOLDBERG: He’ll be up and about in next to no time. Refer to Act 1 – Meg needs to wake Stanley up Act 2 (45) “GOLDBERG: Some people don’t like the idea of getting up in the morning” – referring to the likes of Stanley

6 REVELATION OF STANLEY'S FATE MEG: Tell him I won’t be long. MEG (vaguely): I won’t be long. Meg constantly raises questions about Stanley She seems to prefigures what happens to him – heightens the audience’s expectations of Stanley’s tragic fate

7 REVELATION OF STANLEY'S FATE MEG. Are you going to go for a ride? GOLDBERG does not answer, drinks his tea. “A ride” implies that Goldberg will return – by ignoring Meg’s questions it suggests that he will not come back The casualness of “drink(ing) his tea” amplifies the menace The audience’s suspicion of Stanley’s fate as absolute seems to be confirmed by his lack of response

8 GOLDBERG: A reception committee! Enthused, bold, declarative proclamation “reception committee” to welcome the new Stanley is grossly misplaced Petey & Meg do not directly respond – reflective of absurdity Overtly presents Goldberg’s comment as his attempting to arbitrarily redefine and impose his agenda upon the kitchen setting UTILITARIAN SLANT OF ESTABLISHMENT

9 MEG: Oh, I thought it was Stanley. GOLDBERG: Different build, of course. Comparing Goldberg and Stanley highlights the eventual similarity after Stanley’s transformation Air of surety, and short, declarative, punctuated structure reveals an attempt to redefine reality to suit his agenda Lack of an affirmative response reflects the stark obtuseness of the state’s perceptions Goldberg established as the agent of the state – his veiled intent represents the way the state infiltrates and attempts to redefine the everyday to suit its needs

10 PERVASIVENESS OF ESTABLISHMENT MEG: Are you going to go for a ride? GOLDBERG (to PETEY): A smart car, eh? MEG. Are you going to go for a ride? GOLDBERG does not answer, drinks his tea. Individual is presented as subservient and powerless in the face of the larger forces of the establishment Goldberg’s blatant choice to ignore Meg’s repeated questions creates a sense of urgency, and his seemingly unimportant questions controls the turns of conversation

11 INSIDIOUSNESS OF ESTABLISHMENT Recycled use of phatic language, raises audience awareness of the deeper layer of malice that they might not have noticed in earlier scenes which creates a menacing effect at the possible unknown Illuminates the insidiousness of the state in its deliberate masking of its malevolent intent Goldberg’s shrouded manipulation reinforces the insidiousness/utilitarian slant and ultimate pervasiveness of the establishment

12 ESTABLISHMENT AS WARNING TO REBELS GOLDBERG: Your wife makes a very nice cup of tea, Mr Boles, you know that? Goldberg changes the stop from Stanley which unsettles audience “You know that” serves more as a directive than a question to Petey to be content with what he has Formally addressing “Mr Boles” shows lack in interpersonality between state and individual

13 ESTABLISHMENT AS WARNING TO REBELS GOLDBERG: (He strokes the teapot.) Teapot is a symbol of the Boles; quotidian, mundane, everyday object Act of "stroking" is also very menacing itself Underscores the underlying power which the state wields The tea is contained in the teapot just like how the car later contains Stanley The state reaffirms the importance of society within the family

14 ESTABLISHMENT AS WARNING TO REBELS GOLDBERG: There’s room there. Room in the front, and room in the back. Act 3 (85) “GOLDBERG (insidiously): Why don’t you come with us, Mr Boles?” and (86) “GOLDBERG: Come with us to Monty. There’s plenty of room in the car.” Sense of caution is evoked in both Petey and the audience through repetition – any potentially deviant individual is at risk of being persecuted by the state “Insidiously” sub-textually underscores the sinister reality that the individual is undermined whether he/she conforms to society or not

15 ESTABLISHMENT AS WARNING TO REBELS Both the family unit and the individual have no real control of their lives Their obedience and conformity (or the lack of) would only see them experiencing the ensuing oppression that they are subjected to


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