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Critical Lens Essay Short Stories By Delmore Schwartz

1304 words - 6 pages

“All literature is protest. You can’t name a single literary work that isn’t protest” was a quote said by Richard Wright. My interpretation of this quote is that through all of literature, there is protest. There is protest from the protagonists and even the antagonists. I agree with this quote because in every piece of literature there is a conflict that one faces, and characters show their dislike towards something in different forms of protest. This quote is proven to be true in “Screeno” and “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities”, both of which are short stories written by Delmore Schwartz.
One way that this quote is portrayed is by using symbolism. In the short story “Screeno”, written ...view middle of the document...

The old man was trying to protest against this Lotto case, because he knew it was unfair, so he was the victim of the corrupt government. Another way this quote is shown is through conflict. The old man and Cornelius are both having a conflict of Man vs. Society, which is when the values and customs by which everyone else lives are being challenged. Cornelius and the old man are both protesting against the assistant manager, because he was saying the old man had a misprint on his Lotto card. Cornelius wants the assistant manager to give the old guy his money so he could just leave and not worry about him anymore. However, Cornelius saw that the old man wasn’t giving up, and neither was the assistant manager, which led to a conflict of Man vs. Self. This is an internal conflict, which Cornelius then “consider[ed] matters with himself again and came to a decision” (pg 200) to give the old man all of his jackpot money. Another way this quote is portrayed is by point of view. The point if view in this story was written is 3rd person objective, which is when the narrator is an outsider who reports on what he/she sees and heard. The narrator tells us what is happening, but he can’t tell us the thoughts of other characters in the scene. The narrator lets the readers be part of the story too, and be a jury, just like the people in the theatre. We could ‘judge’ the assistant manager, the old man, and Cornelius as much as we wanted to. Setting also lures the readers into being a part of the audience and judging the audience that are in the theatre because in a theater, people observe the events on stage and judge them how they want to. Since 3rd person subjective is just like “Tell it how you see it”, this protest is real and thus supports the quote.
Another way this quote is portrayed is in the short story “In Dreams Begin Responsibilities”, also written by Delmore Schwartz. The speaker in this story has a conflict of Man vs. Man, which involves a struggle, (mental or physical) between two characters in the story. The speaker doesn’t want to grow up to be like his father and make the same mistakes he has. His father put too much value in money. “My father tells my mother how much money he has made in the passed week” (page 4) shows readers that his father made his finance public, which wasn’t necessary. The author also writes that the amount of money had “been exaggerated”. The father also seems pessimistic on page 4, when he makes an announcement to the mother that ‘you have to die sooner or later anyway”. If the couple...

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