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Inner Depths of The Dwarf

Inner Depths of The Dwarf

“Human beings need flattery; otherwise they do not fulfill their purpose, not even in their own eyes.” These are the words of the bold and heartless main character of Par Lagerkvist’s novel, The Dwarf. The keen insights of this twenty-six inch tall man, described throughout the book, are both shocking and thought provoking. Told from the point of view of the dwarf, the book entails numerous expressions of hatred towards humans and towards the dwarf’s own “detestable” race. The dwarf also displays his disgust for the Princess intermittently throughout the novel. Living as the servant and confidante to a Prince during the time when the Black Death was wiping out Europe, the dwarf experiences many instances in which he must commit wicked crimes for the Prince. He does so willingly, considering his lack of conscience. Ultimately, these crimes force him into eternal imprisonment in the dungeon under the fortress, where he can only write daily recordings of his empty life during the hours when the sun shines through the cracks, and hope to be called upon again by the Prince.

From the beginning, the dwarf condemns human beings as “a pack of ingratiating cows” who value nobility and beauty and who babble about virtue, honor and chivalry. He believes humans are “shrouded in mystery,” but he exclaims, “nothing ever comes up from my inner depths,” nothing is mysterious about him. Despite these feelings, he is loyal to and respective of his lord, the Prince. He expresses his gratitude for the graciousness of his masters, and he remains allegiant, though he is erraticly appalled by their actions. Yet, the main feelings of disgust come from his view of his race and of himself. “It is my fa…

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… and therefore, longs to kill everything. Why should these disgusting creatures who call themselves men exist? He claims that it is human culture to fight and that “All human culture is but an attempt at something unattainable, something which far transcends the powers of realization. There it stands, mutilated, tragic as a torso. Is not the human spirit itself a torso?” These shocking insights demand thought from the reader on the subject of human culture and the human spirit. The dwarf’s pensiveness is extremely effective in relaying the meaning of the work as a whole. His belligerent, negative attitude portrays the sense of despairing and savagery, which makes the novel so intense and interesting. This attitude is responsible for noticing the cloudy view that humans have of the world, but “Human beings like to see themselves reflected in clouded mirrors.”

Man’s Domination Over Woman in Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby

Man’s Domination Over Woman in Desiree’s Baby

Differences between people create conflicts between people. This is especially true between men and women, since throughout history society has viewed women as subservient to men. Kate Chopin’s feminist short story, Desiree’s Baby, illustrates man’s domination over woman. Since Desiree meekly accepts being ruled by Armand, and Armand regards Desiree as his possession, the master/slave relationship that exists between Armand and Desiree is undeniable.

Armand believes that since he possesses a superior social position than does Desiree, he is at liberty to be master over her. As a plantation owner and a descendant of the Aubigny family which bears “one of the oldest and proudest [names] in Louisiana” (316), Armand owns tens and hundreds of slaves. In contrast Desiree is adopted into a family without a respected name. Since, “Young Aubigny’s rule was a strict one”, he not only treats the slaves as if they were animals, but also treats Desiree as but a beautiful possession. Although Desiree truly loves Armand, the relationship is not reciprocal, which is evident by the fact that Armand has affairs with other women. Desiree’s love for Armand elevates him in the relationship, while Armand’s domination over Desiree only makes her more submissive.

Armand’s ego exhibits his qualities as a master. His respected name, large plantation, and position as a master over slaves inflate his pride. The fact that, “Armand is the proudest father in the parish… because it is a boy, to bear his name” (317), illustrates that Armand does not truly love his family; instead he sees them as possessions – extensions of his property. To Armand the baby serves the purpose of honoring him by …

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…e denies both her and the child, she loses personhood and therefore commits suicide and infanticide. The word, desperately, that describes her love for Armand illustrates how truly attached she is to him. When Armand accuses Desiree of being black and disowns her because he believes this, Desiree completely loses her identity. Without Armand she thinks, “I shall die. I must die. I cannot be so unhappy, and live.” (319).

It is not only Armand’s dominance, but also Desiree’s meek subservience that kills Desiree and the baby, while ruining Armand’s life. In Armand and Desiree’s already teetering master/slave relationship, a trivial conflict over race is the final blow that splits them up. Yet it was the difference between the perceptions of themselves and each other, set in place by a male dominated society, that doomed their relationship even from the beginning.

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