Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA)

Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA)

The goal of feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA) research, therefore, is to appear the complicated, simple, and sometimes not so simple, methods in which regularly obtained-for-allocated gendered presumptions and hegemonic energy interaction are discursive created, continual, mentioned, and pushed in different situations and cultural contexts.
Such a new is not merely an educational de-construction of text messages and discuss for its own benefit, but comes from a recognition that the concerns addressed (in perspective of affecting public change) have content and phenomenological repercussions for categories of men and women in particular cultural contexts. A feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA) viewpoint is obviously interdisciplinary in characteristics. On the one side, it plays a role in (critical) terminology and discussion research a viewpoint advised by feminist research, and however, it indicates the effectiveness of terminology and discussion research for the research of feminist concerns in sex, gender and women research.

Why Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA)?

For over a several decades, in several divisions of linguistic and discussion research, there has been a serious shift towards clearly such as the phrase ‘feminist’ in various sub-fields by feminist experts managing in these places, such as ‘feminist stylistics’ (Mills 1995), ‘feminist pragmatics’ (Christie 2000), and ‘feminist discussion analysis’ (e.g., Kitzinger 2000). In all these places, the popular research has been recognized by an apparently impartial and purpose questions, which feminist experts managing within have pushed. Composing more usually about feminism and language concept in 1992, Cameron described that one of her primary aims was to ‘question the whole scholarly purpose tendency of linguistics and to prove how presumptions and techniques of linguistics are suggested as a reason in patriarchal philosophy and oppression’ (1992: 16). The need to declare and find a feminist viewpoint in linguistic and discussion research is of course part of what feminists in academie have for many decades belittled and desired to change beyond male-torrent restraints in the humanities, public sciences, and sciences (Gordon 1986; Harding 1986; Spender 1981).

But remain, one might quite reasonably ask, ‘But why a feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA)?’ – for Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), as a research system, is known for its brazenly governmental place and is worried with research of various kinds of public inequality and disfavor. Furthermore, the tab Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) bounds to feminist techniques in female’s research, which offered an inspiration to the new area in the Nineteen-eighties, has also sometimes been freely recognized (Van Dijk 1991). Needlessly to say, therefore, feminist speakers have managed quite gladly under the prescript of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) without requiring to banner a feminist viewpoint clearly.

Then a need for a particular feminist brand now, Why? First, the most straightforward reason is that many research in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) with a sex or gender concentrate embrace a crucial feminist view of sex or gender interaction – they are inspired by the need to change substantively the existing circumstances of these interaction. This said, it is value emphasizing that not all studies that cope with sex or gender in discussion are actually feminist in this critical feel.

More other, concerns indicated by some feminist experts about Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) invite pause for believed. Cameron wrote: ‘[CDA] is one of those broadly modern tasks whose creators and major results are nevertheless all immediately white-colored men (1998: 969–70), and Wilkinson and Kitzinger (1995) particularly review on these male’s failing to prefer feminists by stating their work.’ Free from doubt, most feminist research in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is not performed by ‘straight white-colored men’, but by a variety of feminist females in a variety of regional places, not all of whom are white-colored and heterosexual. With respect to Wilkinson and Kitzinger’s statement, one might see that more latest theorizing in some places of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) does recognize and consist of, among other crucial public systematic research, feminist performs (e.g., Chouliaraki & Fairclough, 1999). With regards to a feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA), however, we might imagine more than details of feminist experts, essential as that is. It is necessary within Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to find a clearly ‘feminist policies of articulation’ (to lend a expression from Wetherell, 1995, p. 141), by which I mean the need to be advised by feminist concepts and ideas in theorizing and examining the apparently innocent yet oppressive characteristics of sex or gender as an omni-relevant classification in many public techniques. Eckert, such as, has mentioned how sex or gender functions in a more persistent and complicated way than other techniques of oppression:

Whereas the energy interaction between men and women are just like those between taken over and subordinated sessions and cultural categories, the day-to-day context in which these energy interaction are performed out is quite different. It is not a social standard for each managing classification person to be joined up for life with participant of the middle-class or for every dark-colored person to be so paired up for lifestyle with a white-colored person. However, our conventional sex or gender ideology dictates just this type of connection between men and women (1989: 253-54).

Lastly, an end result of the insufficient self-naming has intended that increasing amounts of feminist crucial discussion experts spread across the planet have not completely structured them/ourselves to come together in a typical community. The concerns of collectivity and of getting team exposure are now essential for another purpose. Although Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) in its beginning decades had a minor place within the more founded popular places in linguistics, its reputation over the decades has led to a switch towards the center and, as some have suggested, has itself become an orthodoxy (Billig 2000). Composing in the beginning 90’s, van Dijk, one of the primary experts in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), remarked:

For Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to become a popular strategy in the humanities and public sciences, we should expect a multitude of guides, thousands of content and meeting documents, and unique symposia or meeting sections on yearly bases’ (1991: 1).

After a several decades later, all these have been obtained and more: this publication is testimony to that, along with the increasing number of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) guides, content, and worldwide conventions, as well as CDA’s (Critical Discourse Analysis
) addition as a trained topic on many linguistics applications globally. Feminist exposure and speech in ‘mainstream’ Critical Discourse Analysis CDA scholarships then, remarkably, also has a appropriate political work.

Why a feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA)?

The ‘discursive turn’ in much public medical and humanities research, as we know, has given reputation to concerns of terminology and discussion. poststructuralism provides a seriously useful perspective of discussion as a site of battle, where causes of public (re)production and contestation are performed out. Within feminist scholarships, the discursive convert is shown in guides outside linguistics (e.g., Weedon, 1997; Wilkinson & Kitzinger, 1995) as well as within linguistics under the rubric of ‘gender and language’ research (e.g., Baxter, 2003; Area & Bucholtz, 1995; Wodak, 1997). Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA), with its concentrate on public rights and change of sex, is a appropriate participation to the increasing body of feminist discussion literary performs, particularly in sex and terminology where feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA) has filled a amazingly minor place.

Wilkinson and Kitzinger (1995, p. 5) have mentioned that there is really ‘no necessary coincidence between the passions of feminists and discussion analysts’, even though the likelihood for successful involvement prevails. With regards to feminism and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) in particular, however, there is actually much overlap in circumstances of public emancipatory goals. Indeed, as opposed to feminist techniques that use illustrative discussion analytic techniques, feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA) has the benefits of managing, at the beginning, within a politically spent, informative system of discussion research. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA provides a regarded theorization of the connection between public techniques and discussion components (see, e.g., Wodak & She 2001, for various kinds of theorization), and a variety of resources and techniques for particular studies of contextualized uses of terminology in text messages and discuss. Further, under the offset umbrella of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) research, particular studies of various kinds of wide spread inequality have been designed (refer, e.g., to content in Discourse and Society). Feminist discussion college students can understand much about the interconnections between and the particularities of discursive techniques used in various kinds of public inequality and oppression that can nourish back into crucial feminist research and techniques for telecommuting saves gas. The wedding of feminism with Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), in sum, can generate a wealthy and highly effective governmental check for activity.

Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis (FCDA) as a governmental viewpoint on sex, worried with demystifying the interrelationships of sex, energy, and philosophy in discussion, is to the research of text messages and discuss similarly, which provides a remedial to techniques that give preference to one language use over another (see Lazar, 2005a). Frameworks for research of discussion in Critical Discourse Analysis CDA also, much, recognize a multimodal aspect (e.g., Kress & van Leeuwen, 1996; Scollon, 2001) that is usually losing in other techniques in linguistics. Significantly in Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) research, terminology is seriously evaluated together with other semiotic techniques like creation, templates, actions, and appears to be, which creates for an enhancing and informative research. Clearly, a multimodal perspective of discussion has great value for a natural feminist check of discursive designs of sex (Lazar, 1999, 2000).

Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis
English: One of the symbols of German Women’s movement (from the 1970s) Deutsch: Ein Logo der deutschen Frauenbewegung (aus den 70er Jahren) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Caretaker

The Caretaker is a play by Harold Pinter. It was first published by both Encore Publishing (publisher of Encore Magazine) and Eyre Methuen in 1960. The sixth play that Pinter wrote for stage or television production, it was his first significant commercial success. The play was first performed on stage at the Arts Theater, London, on 27 April 1960; it transferred to the Duchess Theater the next month. Its first run included 444 performances.

 

Origins and contexts of the play

Pinter’s own comment on the source of three of his major plays is frequently quoted by critics :

I went into a room and saw one person standing up and one person sitting down, and few weeks later I wrote The Room. I went into another room and saw two people sitting down, and a few years later I wrote The Birthday Party. I looked through a door into a third room and saw two people standing up and I wrote The Caretaker.

According to his official authorized biographer, Michael Billington, Pinter “talked in detail about the play’s origins” in images from his own personal experience and observations for the first time with him (in the mid 1990s), when Pinter told Billington that he wrote the play while he and his first wife Vivien Merchant

“were living [… ] in this first-floor flat in Chiswick: a very clean couple of rooms with a bath and kitchen. There was a chap who owned the house: a builder, in fact, like Mick who had his own van and whom I hardly ever saw. The only image of him was of this swift mover up and down the stairs and of his van going . . . Vroom . . . as he arrived and departed. His brother lived in the house. He was a handyman . . . he managed rather more successfully than Aston, but he was very introverted, very secretive, had been in a mental home some years before and had had some kind of electrical shock treatment . . . ECT, I think . . . Anyway, he did bring a tramp back one night. I call him a tramp, but he was just a homeless old man who stayed three or four weeks.” […] Mick, as he says, was the most purely invented character of the three. For the tramp [Davies], however, he had a certain fellow feeling. […] “It [the Pinters’ life in Chiswick] was a very threadbare existence . . . very . . . I was totally out of work. So I was very close to this old derelict’s world, in a way.”(Harold Pinter 114–17).”

For earlier critics, like Martin Esslin, The Caretaker suggests aspects of the Theatre of the Absurd, described by Esslin in his eponymous book coining that term first published in 1961; according to Esslin, absurdest drama by writers such as Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, Jean Genet, and Edward Albee, and others was prominent in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a reaction to chaos witnessed in World War Two and the state of the world after the war.

Billington observes that “The idea that [Davies] can affirm his identity and recover his papers by journeying to Sidcup is perhaps the greatest delusion of all, although one with its source in reality”; as “Pinter’s old Hackney friend Morris Wernick recalls, ‘It is undoubtedly true that Harold, with a writer’s ear, picked up words and phrases from each of us. He also picked up locales. The Sidcup in The Caretaker comes from the fact that the Royal Artillery HQ was there when I was a National Serviceman and its almost mythical quality as the fount of all permission and record was a source.’ To English ears,” Billington continues, “Sidcup has faintly comic overtones of suburban respectability. For Davies it is a Kentish Eldorado: the place that can solve all the problems about his unresolved identity and uncertain past, present and future” (122).

About directing a production of The Caretaker at the Roundabout Theater Company in 2003, David Jones observed:

The trap with Harold’s work, for performers and audiences, is to approach it too earnestly or portentously. I have always tried to interpret his plays with as much humor and humanity as possible. There is always mischief lurking in the darkest corners. The world of The Caretaker is a bleak one, its characters damaged and lonely. But they are all going to survive. And in their dance to that end they show a frenetic vitality and a wry sense of the ridiculous that balance heartache and laughter. Funny, but not too funny. As Pinter wrote, back in 1960 : “As far as I am concerned The Caretaker IS funny, up to a point. Beyond that point, it ceases to be funny, and it is because of that point that I wrote it.”

Characters

  1. Mick, a man in his late twenties
  2. Aston, a man in his early thirties
  3. Davies, an old man

Synopsis

This three-act play involves interactions between a mentally-challenged man, Aston; a tramp, Davies, whom Aston brings home to his attic room; and Aston’s younger brother (Mick), who appears responsible for the house.

 

Act I

(A night in winter)

 

[Scene 1]

 Aston has invited Davies, a homeless man, into his apartment after rescuing him from a bar fight (7–9). Davies comments on the apartment and criticizes the fact that it is cluttered and badly kept. Aston attempts to find him a pair of shoes for Davies but Davies rejects all the offers. Once he turns down a pair that doesn’t fit well enough and another that has the wrong color laces. Early on, Davies reveals to Aston that his real name is not “Bernard Jenkins”, his “assumed name”, but really “Mac Davies” (19–20, 25). He claims that his papers validifying this fact are in Sidcup and that he must and will return there to retrieve them just as soon as he has a good pair of shoes. Aston and Davies discuss where he will sleep and the problem of the “bucket” attached to the ceiling to catch dripping rain water from the leaky roof (20–21) and Davies “gets into bed” while “ASTON sits, poking his [electrical] plug (21).

[Scene 2]

(The LIGHTS FADE OUT. Darkness.)

(LIGHTS UP. Morning.)

As Aston dresses for the day, Davies awakes with a start, and Aston informs Davies that he was kept up all night by Davies muttering in his sleep. Davies denies that he made any noise and blames the racket on the neighbors, revealing his fear of foreigners: “I tell you what, maybe it were them Blacks” (23). Aston informs Davies that he is going out but invites him to stay if he likes, indicating that he trusts him (23–24), something unexpected by Davies; for, as soon as Aston does leave the room (27), Davies begins rummaging through Aston’s “stuff” (27–28) but he is interrupted when Mick, Aston’s brother, unexpectedly arrives, “moves upstage, silently,” “slides across the room” and then suddenly “seizes Davies’ “arm and forces it up his back,” in response to which “DAVIES screams,” and they engage in a minutely-choreographed struggle, which Mick wins (28–29), ending Act One with the “Curtain” line, “What’s the game?” (29).

Act II

 

[Scene 1]

(A few seconds later)

 

Mick demands to know Davies’ name, which the latter gives as “Jenkins” (30), interrogates him about how well he slept the night before (30), wonders whether or not Davies is actually “a foreigner”—to which Davies retorts that he “was” indeed (in Mick’s phrase) “Born and bred in the British Isles” (33)—going on to accuse Davies of being “an old robber […] an old skate” who is “stinking the place out” (35), and spinning a verbal web full of banking jargon designed to confuse Davies, while stating, hyperbolically, that his brother Aston is “a number one decorator” (36), either an outright lie or self-deceptive wishful thinking on his part. Just as Mick reaches the climactic line of his diatribe geared to put the old tramp off balance—”Who do you bank with?” (36), Aston enters with a “bag” ostensibly for Davies, and the brothers debate how to fix the leaking roof and Davies interrupts to inject the more practical question: “What do you do . . . when that bucket’s full?” (37) and Aston simply says, “Empty it” (37). The three battle over the “bag” that Aston has brought Davies, one of the most comic and often-cited Beckettian routines in the play (38–39). After Mick leaves, and Davies recognizes him to be “a real joker, that lad” (40), they discuss Mick’s work in “the building trade” and Davies ultimately discloses that the bag they have fought over and that he was so determined to hold on to “ain’t my bag” at all (41). Aston offers Davies the job of Caretaker, (42–43), leading to Davies’ various assorted animadversions about the dangers that he faces for “going under an assumed name” and possibly being found out by anyone who might “ring the bell called Caretaker” (44).

[Scene 2]

 

(THE LIGHTS FADE TO BLACKOUT.

THEN UP TO DIM LIGHT THROUGH THE WINDOW.)

A door bangs.

Sound of a key in the door of the room.

DAVIES enters, closes the door, and tries the light switch, on, off, on, off.

It appears to Davies that “the damn light’s gone now,” but, it becomes clear that Mick has sneaked back into the room in the dark and removed the bulb; he starts up “the electrolyte” and scares Davies almost witless before claiming “I was just doing some spring cleaning” and returning the bulb to its socket (45). After a discussion with Davies about the place being his “responsibility” and his ambitions to fix it up, Mick also offers Davies the job of “caretaker” (46–50), but pushes his luck with Mick when he observes negative things about Aston, like the idea that he “doesn’t like work” or is “a bit of a funny bloke” for “Not liking work” (Davies’ camouflage of what he really is referring to), leading Mick to observe that Davies is “getting hypocritical” and “too glib” (50), and they turn to the absurd details of “a small financial agreement” relating to Davies’ possibly doing “a bit of caretaking” or “looking after the place” for Mick (51), and then back to the inevitable call for “references” and the perpetually-necessary trip to Sidcup to get Davies’ identity “papers” (51–52).

[Scene 3]

(Morning)

 

Davies wakes up and complains to Aston about how badly he slept. He blames various aspects of the apartment’s set up. Aston suggests adjustments but Davies proves to be callous and inflexible. Aston tells the story of how he was checked into a mental hospital and given electric shock therapy, but when he tried to escape from the hospital he was shocked while standing, leaving him with permanent brain damage; he ends by saying, “I’ve often thought of going back and trying to find the man who did that to me. But I want to do something first. I want to build that shed out in the garden” (54–57). Critics regard Aston’s monologue, the longest of the play, as the “climax” of the plot.[5] In dramatically terms, what follows is part of the plot’s “falling action”.

Act III

 

 

[Scene 1]

(Two weeks later [… ]Afternoon.)

 

Davies and Mick discuss the apartment. Mick relates “(ruminatively)” in great detail what he would do to redecorate it (60). When asked who “would live there,” Mick’s response “My brother and me” leads Davies to complain about Aston’s inability to be social and just about every other aspect of Aston’s behavior (61–63). Though initially invited to be a “caretaker,” first by Aston and then by Mick, he begins to ingratiate himself with Mick, who acts as if he were an unwitting accomplice in Davies’ eventual conspiracy to take over and fix up the apartment without Aston’s involvement (64) an outright betrayal of the brother who actually took him in and attempted to find his “belongings”; but just then Aston enters and gives Davies yet another pair of shoes which he grudgingly accepts, speaking of “going down to Sidcup” in order “to get” his “papers” again (65–66).

[Scene 2]

(That night)

 

Davies brings up his plan when talking to Aston, whom he insults by throwing back in his face the details of his treatment in the mental institution (66–67), leading Aston, in a vast understatement, to respond: “I . . . I think it’s about time you found somewhere else. I don’t think we’re hitting it off” (68). When finally threatened by Davies pointing a knife at him, Aston tells Davies to leave: “Get your stuff” (69). Davies, outraged, claims that Mick will take his side and kick Aston out instead and leaves in a fury, concluding (mistakenly): “Now I know who I can trust” (69).

[Scene 3]

(Later)

 

Davies reenters with Mick explaining the fight that occurred earlier and complaining still more bitterly about Mick’s brother, Aston (70–71). Eventually, Mick takes Aston’s side, beginning with the observation “You get a bit out of your depth sometimes, don’t you?” (71). Mick forces Davies to disclose that his “real name” is Davies and his “assumed name” is “Jenkins” and, after Davies calls Aston “nutty”, Mick appears to take offense at what he terms Davies’ “impertinent thing to say,” concludes, “I’m compelled to pay you off for your caretaking work. Here’s half a dollar,” and stresses his need to turn back to his own “business” affairs (74). When Aston comes back into the apartment, the brothers face each other,” “They look at each other. Both are smiling, faintly” (75). Using the excuse of having returned for his “pipe” (given to him earlier through the generosity of Aston), Davies turns to beg Aston to let him stay (75–77). But Aston rebuffs each of Davies’ rationalisations of his past complaints (75–76). The play ends with a “Long silence” as Aston, who “remains still, his back to him [Davies], at the window, apparently unrelenting as he gazes at his garden and makes no response at all to Davies’ futile plea, which is sprinkled with many dots (“. . .”) of elliptical hesitations (77–78).

Analysis of the characters

Aston

When he was younger he was given electric shock therapy that leaves him permanently brain damaged. His efforts to appease the ever-complaining Davies may be seen as an attempt to reach out to others. He desperately seeks a connection in the wrong place and with the wrong people. His main obstacle is his inability to communicate. He is misunderstood by his closest relative, his brother, and thus is completely isolated in his existence. His good-natured attitude makes him vulnerable to exploitation. His dialogue is sparse and often a direct response to something Mick or Davies has said. Aston has dreams of building a shed. The shed to him may represent all the things his life lacks: accomplishment and structure. The shed represents hope for the future.

 

Davies

Davies manufactures the story of his life, lying or sidestepping some details to avoid telling the whole truth about himself. A non-sequitur. He adjusts aspects of the story of his life according to the people he is trying to impress, influence, or manipulate. As Billington points out, “When Mick suggests that Davies might have been in the services — and even the colonies, Davies retorts: ‘I was over there. I was one of the first over there.’ He defines himself according to momentary imperatives and other people’s suggestions” (122).

 

Mick

At times violent and ill-tempered, Mick is ambitious. He talks above Davies’ ability to comprehend him. His increasing dissatisfaction with Davies leads to a rapprochement with his brother, Aston; though he appears to have distanced himself from Aston prior to the opening of the play, by the end, they exchange a few words and a faint smile. Early in the play, when he first encounters him, Mick attacks Davies, taking him for an intruder in his brother Aston’s abode: an attic room of a run-down house which Mick looks after and in which he enables his brother to live. At first, he is aggressive toward Davies. Later, it may be that by suggesting that Davies could be “caretaker” of both his house and his brother, Mick is attempting to shift responsibility from himself onto Davies, who hardly seems a viable candidate for such tasks. The disparities between the loftiness of Mick’s “dreams” and needs for immediate results and the mundane realities of Davies’s neediness and shifty non-committal nature creates much of the absurdity of the play.

 

Style

The language and plot of The Caretaker blends Realism with the Theater of the Absurd. In the Theater of the Absurd language is devalued.

 

The play has often been compared to Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett, and other absurdist plays because of its apparent lack of plot and action.

The fluidity of the characters is explained by Ronald Knowles as follows: “Language, character, and being are here aspects of each other made manifest in speech and silence. Character is no longer the clearly perceived entity underlying clarity of articulation the objectification of a social and moral entelechy but something amorphous and contingent (41).

Language

One of the keys to understanding Pinter’s language is not to rely on the words a character says but to look for the meaning behind the text. The Caretaker is filled with long rants and non-sequiturs, the language is either choppy dialogue full of interruptions or long speeches that are a vocalized train of thought. Although, the text is presented in a casual way there is always a message behind its simplicity. Pinter is often concerned with “communication itself, or rather the deliberate evasion of communication” (Knowles 43).

 

The play’s staccato language and rhythms are musically balanced through strategically placed pauses. Pinter toys with silence, where it is used in the play and what emphasis it places on the words when they are at last spoken.

Mode of drama: Tragicomedy

The Caretaker is a drama of mixed modes; both tragic and comic, it is a tragicomedy. Elements of comedy appear in the monologues of Davies and Mick, and the characters’ interactions at times even approach farce. For instance, the first scene of Act Two, which critics have compared to the hat and shoe sequences in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, is particularly farcical:

 

ASTON offers the bag to DAVIES.

MICK grabs it.

ASTON takes it.

MICK grabs it.

DAVIES reaches for it.

ASTON takes it.

MICK reaches for it.

ASTON gives it to DAVIES.

MICK grabs it. Pause. (39)

Davies’ confusion, repetitions, and attempts to deceive both brothers and to play each one off against the other are also farcical. Davies has pretended to be someone else and using an assumed name, “Bernard Jenkins”. But, in response to separate inquiries by Aston and Mick, it appears that Davies’ real name is not really “Bernard Jenkins” but that it is “Mac Davies” (as Pinter designates him “Davies” throughout) and that he is actually Welsh and not English, a fact that he is attempting to conceal throughout the play and that motivates him to “get down to Sidcup”, the past location of a British Army Records Office, to get his identity “papers” (13–16).

The elements of tragedy occur in Aston’s climactic monologue about his shock treatments in “that place” and at the end of the play, though the ending is still somewhat ambiguous: at the very end, it appears that the brothers are turning Davies, an old homeless man, out of what may be his last chance for shelter, mainly because of his (and their) inabilities to adjust socially to one another, or their respective “anti-social” qualities.

Interpretation:

In his 1960 book review of The Caretaker, fellow English playwright John Arden writes: “Taken purely at its face value this play is a study of the unexpected strength of family ties against an intruder.” As Arden states, family relationships are one of the main thematic concerns of the play.

Another prevalent theme is the characters’ inability to communicate productively with one another. The play depends more on dialogue than on action; however, though there are fleeting moments in which each of them does seem to reach some understanding with the other, more often, they avoid communicating with one another as a result of their own psychological insecurities and self-concerns.

The theme of isolation appears to result from the characters’ inability to communicate with one another, and the characters’ own insularity seems to exacerbate their difficulty communicating with others.

As the characters also engage in deceiving one another and themselves, deception and self-deception are motifs, and certain deceptive phrases and self-deceptive strategies recur as refrains throughout the dialogue. Davies uses an assumed name and has convinced himself that he is really going to resolve his problems relating to his lack of identity papers, even though he appears too lazy to take any such responsibility for his own actions and blames his inaction on everyone but himself. Aston believes that his dream of building a shed will eventually reach fruition, despite his mental disability. Mick believes that his ambitions for a successful career outweigh his responsibility to care for his mentally-damaged brother. In the end however all three men are deceiving themselves. Their lives may continue on beyond the end of the play just as they are at the beginning and throughout it. The deceit and isolation in the play lead to a world where time, place, identity, and language are ambiguous and fluid.

By: Aqsa Riaz