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The Elephant Man Essay

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The Elephant Man


John Merrick, a man so pathetic and helpless because of the curse of his extremely disfigured body he carries around with him. Lots of people are born with some deformity or another, but none such as the case of John Merrick, in other words, ‘The Elephant Man’ who was given this name because he was so deformed he resembled an extremely ugly elephant. The movie shows how John Merrick is marginalized not only by the general public, but also the poorest of people to such an extent that his life was a misery. This movie shows how cynical people can be towards fellow human beings. His abnormalities did not even allow him to take a walk in the garden by day light as the common society looked at him with complete disgust. Although John suffers much, he manages to win a few hearts with the help of his ‘friend’, Dr. Frederick Treves, and when he was content with his life he commits suicide.

     In this story the darker side of society is witnessed and their utterly cynical behaviour is practiced on John, for one reason only – he does not look like any other normal human being. It is seen how the general public reacts in the very beginning of the movie, when Mr. Bytes presents him in the carnival just like an animal would be presented in front of an audience in a circus. In addition to this injustice Mr. Bytes brutally beats him which further disfigures him and then calls him as a ‘freak’. When Dr. Treves takes John to the hospital, a dispute brakes out whether he should be allowed to stay in the hospital, for no other reason, but only because he was so ugly. In one part of the movie it is shown how one nurse is upset with another nurse because the latter had her involved in the care of John Merrick which she did not like, because he was so ugly that it scared her. Amongst all the negative people in John Merrick’s life, the night porter who in one part of the movie refers to himself as ‘Sunny Jim’ is the most cynical character in the entire story. His vile and selfish behavior tempted him to earn an extra income at John Merrick’s expense. He would take money from people and expose them to John, where the women would look at him with awe and fear while the men literally played around with him as if he were nothing but some broken toy. It is noticed how John was marginalized even by the lowest of classes even thought they themselves were amon...


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...rson on a bed, which he was not supposed to because of his head being too large, which in turn would kill him. Yet he decided to sleep like a normal person, so he arranged his bed and went into the blanket and slept…forever. He committed suicide.

     ‘The Elephant Man’ is what John Merrick is referred to due to his physical abnormality which was close to that of an elephant. John had lots of people in his life that looked at him with an evil, selfish and cynical eye thus marginalizing him to the extreme. Due to his pathetic and out of place facial features he was not accepted by society thus he was always indoors unable to have an independent life. Besides all of this John still achieved some happiness with the help of Dr. Treves who helped him to gain the hearts of many people and when he felt that he had lived his life to his heart’s content he committed suicide. John Merrick went down in history books as a legend, because he led a life of extremes, which was filled with sorrow, but happiness towards the end of his life. When he was tired of being pushed around and had achieved sufficient love and happiness he slept to his death thus ending the curse of ‘The Elephant Man’.


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