Essay on Dione Joseph

Essay on Dione Joseph

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Assignment 2: Discuss the theme of entrapment and desire for freedom
in the Bird in the House by Margaret Lawrence

Margaret Laurence’s A Bird in the House, is a collection of short
stories that chronicles a young girl’s journey from the innocence of
childhood to the experience of adulthood. The daunting world of
knowledge, pain, turmoil, injustice and cruelty is revealed by slow
degrees to finally unveil existence as we know it. Existences that we
willingly embrace yet are simultaneously repelled by. A number of
themes and sub themes are established in the novel, but perhaps the
most prominent is the theme of entrapment and the desire for freedom.
Physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually we are all bound by
certain laws – but the desire for freedom can only arise when we allow
either a certain laxity or an additional rigidness to the boundaries
that define our very being. We can be free only if we have been
trapped – in order to appreciate the liberating nature of freedom we
must be pushed to the most extreme of our entrapment, and this is what
Laurence aims to do in A bird in the House.

The Brick house is a central metaphor for physical and emotional
entrapment. It is a monument to Grandfather Connor, the lad who walked
300 miles “without a cent in his pocket” to Manawaka. His house is
described as “A crusader’s embattled fortress in a heathen wilderness”
where even the flowers have adopted a nature congruent to the house:
“the helmeted snapdragons stood in precision.” The military language
employed reflects Grandfather Connor’s attitude towards others,
towards himself, towards life. Harsh and temperamental he tells his
brother Dan: “Ill be anyway I please in my own house”. The “Brick
Hous...


... middle of paper ...


...iew of God she has since her father’s death:
Distant, indestructible, totally indifferent. The bird trapped between
the two layers of her window is not simply an omen of death but an
image of trapped humanity, apparently capable only of meaningless
movements. The empurpled religious visions of Noreen are as
unacceptable to Vanessa as the rigid Puritan code of Grandmother
Macleod. Vanessa reacting to her father’s death by striking Noreen is
also the bird, blindly battling to get out.He is not in heaven because
there is no heaven.And it doesn’t matter, see? It doesn’t matter?
However she says later’ itmattered bu there was no help for it.” As I
watched the smile of the girl turn into scorched paper,I grieved for
my father as though he had just died. She grieves for her Grandmother
and wonders whether her ‘ransomed soul’ ever did find rest beyond the
river.

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