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Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko – Slaughter of the Human Spirit

Oroonoko – Slaughter of the Human Spirit

Aphra Behn introduces her characters in Oroonoko as beautiful people who possess a pure, innocent love. Behn does this in an effort to make her readers feel and question. Her poetic description of their emotions magnify the horror of the final scene. Behn’s romantic love story is brought to a tragic end through brutality and death. Why did she choose such an ending? Her decision to have Oroonoko take the life of his wife and unborn child leaves her audience questioning. Was what they had love? If not, what was it? What had killed their innocence?

The story of Oroonoko and Imoinda began with him approaching her and ended with the cut of his knife. Oroonoko both began and ended the story that was “theirs.” Therefore, when analyzing their relationship it is most important to examine Oroonoko’s behavior. Oroonoko is the one who determined what path their story would take. What drove him to end “their” story in such a brutal way? What caused him to act so uncontrollable? The truth is that his heart couldn’t stand to lose her again. He couldn’t risk not finding her. He was scared because he realized that he could not protect her. Even the strong, powerful Oroonoko was not able to rescue her and her unborn child from slavery. His hope and innocence were killed by fear. He finally met a force that could beat him.

Throughout the story, Oroonoko exhibits his power and control. In order to once again prove his courage, Oroonoko goes hunting to kill a tiger that had been too fierce and powerful for others to conquer. When Oroonoko comes upon the tiger, she is devouring her new kill. Upon Oroonoko’s approach, the tiger stares at him with a “very fierce rag…

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…heaven. This is a beautiful image. Does it really matter how they chose to exit this world? The truth is that it does.

Aphra Behn’s tale of Oroonoko is not only a tragic love story. It is also a story about slavery and how it can kill a person. The relationship between Oroonoko and Imoinda is described as pure and innocent. Their story compliments the point that Behn was trying to make about slavery. Slavery can kill hope, purity, and innocence. Slavery does not only kill the human spirit. It slaughters it.

The student may wish to begin the paper with the following quote:

“And these two People represented to me an absolute Idea of the first State of Innocence, before Man knew how to sin.” (pg.10)

Works Cited:

Behn, Aphra. “Oroonoko.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

Ed. AH Abrams. New York. WW Norton and Company, Inc 2000.

A Clockwork Orange Essay: Blindness in A Clockwork Orange

Blindness in A Clockwork Orange

In the novel, A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess has tried to show the importance of individual freedom over doing the right thing. He has taken an extreme example of violence and perverse acts to accent his strong belief. It is my opinion that Burgess has been blinded to some essential truths in his quest to ensure personal freedom.

Personal freedom can be described as acting upon your own accord and not becoming restricted by the social paradigm in which you live. This is definitely a noble cause, all men should have the right to choose the path of their own lives. You may have the right to choose your own actions, but you are not allowed to impose your freedom on others. This is the point at which Burgess’ supposed view becomes hypocritical. Alex has forced himself into the personal freedom of others and in doing so is no better than the state which rehabilitated him. If one imposes himself on the personal freedom of another violently, a reaction will occur.

If a rabid dog wanders around your neighborhood, do you let it continue to do so? The dog as you once knew it was an affectionate creature always playing with the children and never once threatened the mailman, but today it threatens the lives of everyone in your community. The dog’s life is ended and it is freed from it’s disease. Alex is sick much like a rabid dog, he is perverse and though it may not be his fault, much like it was not the dog’s fault of becoming rabid, his threat on others has to be neutralized.

I question the actual freedom Alex believes he has. He seems to be oppressed by his emotional sickness and perverseness. Alex is a slave to his supposed freedom, which is dictated by the feelings of the other people whos…

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…y of the 1940’s. The fact that the book was taken from a juvenile point of view, which whether we like it or not is associated with naiveté and innocence, also downplayed the violent acts which were occurring. In the movie it is not as easy to identify with Alex, due to the fact that he is portrayed as an adult. I then took notice of the parallel to this “power of propaganda” theme, which was illustrated through out section two. Alex is given the Reclamation Treatment, the use of propaganda films and drugs for reflex conditioning, which addresses fears of brain washing evident in that era. For me this is a much stronger theme than the freedom of choice one, which I addressed earlier in the essay. I am not certain exactly what Burgess was trying to show with this book, all I know is that it revealed to me what propaganda can accomplish if it is done correctly.

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