- Term Papers, Book Reports, Research Papers and College Essays

Clash of the Cultures in Ballard's Empire of the Sun

Essay by   •  December 2, 2010  •  Essay  •  2,315 Words (10 Pages)  •  2,189 Views

Essay Preview: Clash of the Cultures in Ballard's Empire of the Sun

Report this essay
Page 1 of 10

"Young Goodman Brown"

Symbolism, something that figuratively represents something else, is prominent in many literary works. One piece of literature that stands out as a perfect example of symbolism is Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown." This story is completely symbolic, and provides a good example of an allegory, or a story in which concrete items or characters represent abstract ideas. Hawthorne uses both objects and people as symbols to better support the allegorical tones throughout "Young Goodman Brown."

Nathaniel Hawthorne uses different people as symbols throughout "Young Goodman Brown." The largest symbolic roles in the story are goodman Brown and his wife Faith. Both of the characters' names are symbolic and representative of their personalities. "'With Heaven above and Faith below, I will stand firm against the devil!' cried goodman Brown," is just one of many quotes that directly relates goodman Brown's personality with his name (189). Goodman Brown is truly a good man. Faith, goodman Brown's wife, also has a name that is indicative of her nature. The story directly supports this point in the phrase "Faith, as the wife was aptly named . . . " (184). Faith is persistent in trying to keep goodman Brown off the path of sin in the first part of the story: " . . . pr'y thee, put off your journey until sunrise, and sleep in your own bed to-night" (184). Hawthorne does an excellent job of turning the main characters into symbols that are prominent throughout the story.

Nathaniel Hawthorne also uses different objects in the story as symbols. One of these is the staff of the devil : "But the only thing about him, that could be fixed upon as remarkable, was his staff, which bore the likeness of a great black snake . . ." (185). This symbol shows the reader the evil that is involved with the devil character because the serpent is an archetype of the devil, or some sort of evil, which is prominent in many different cultures. Another object Hawthorne uses as a recurring symbol is the pink ribbon. The pink ribbon symbolizes the purity and innocence involved with Faith. "And Faith . . . thrust her own pretty had into the street, letting the wind play with the pink ribbons in her cap," is a great example of how Hawthorne correlates Faith with the pink ribbons of innocence (184). The pink ribbons are mentioned later on in the story as they fall from the sky: "But something fluttered lightly down through the air, and caught on the branch of a tree. The young man seized it, and beheld a pink ribbon." (189). This symbolizes Brown's loss of his Faith, referring to both his wife and his faith in mankind, as she hovers over toward the devil's gathering.

Another element in "Young Goodman Brown" that is related to symbolism is allegory. The story is an excellent example of an allegory because everything in it is something physical that represents an abstract. For instance, "'My Faith is gone!' cried he, after one stupefied moment. 'There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come, devil! for to thee is this world given," is an extraordinarily allegorical quote (189). Brown is, in the story, talking about Faith, his wife, but allegorically, the author is showing us that he has lost his faith in man because he gives up the world to the devil. The quote "Faith kept me back awhile," shows us yet another example of allegory (185). Again Brown is talking about his wife, but the implication is that his good heart and faith in the more spiritually beneficial is what kept him off the path of destruction for a short while longer. A third example of allegory is when Brown looks at his wife and cries, "Faith! Faith! Look up to Heaven, and resist the Wicked One!" (192). It could be interpreted literally as well as figuratively. The figurative interpretation would include Brown making one last attempt to save his inner faith and look for something blessed to cling to.

There were different cultures mentioned in Ballard's Empire of the sun. The main character Jim was British. He was born in Shanghai, but he was raised in British community, which lived there. People from many countries came to Shanghai, because of the war. There were people from Belarus, Germany, France and other countries mentioned. Shanghai was mixture of people from the whole world, in that time. Many people came also from USA and Asian countries. The enemies were Japanese. Author also wrote some descriptions about Chinese, who were natives, as well. All these people were mixed in Shanghai, what made special atmosphere of the book, because the nations differed in their values, in what they were good at, in their actions, interests, believes.

Each of the communities, living in Shanghai, had different values. It can be seen mostly under the difficult conditions of Lunghua camp. The British people valued their private life the most. They could not go through the conditions of living in one hall, without any privacy. This ruined their psychic. The other folks were Americans. These did not have any problems with their privacy. The curtains around their bed were just enough. From all of the things, Ballard described Americans liked and valued, it seemed that the most valuable was materialistic system for them, because they were the most active prisoners in whole Lunghua in trading. Even though there were no shops, no money, they made it up.

"Basie, I brought something for you..." Jim took the two condoms from his pocket. Basie pulled a rusty biscuit tin from below his bunk. As he removed the lid Jim saw that the tin was packed with hundreds of the prophylactics, as the Americans called them. Once the original stock of cigarettes was exhausted, these grubby rubbers formed Lunghua Camp's main unit of currency. (3)

Japanese did not need any privacy and no materialistic way of life. Respect and rating were the most valued things between Japanese soldiers. The only thing, which Ballard described Chinese people really valued was, if somebody had golden teeth. Jim was British, but his values were mixture of British, American and Japanese values. He liked the privacy, but he did not suffer as much as other Brits, what could cause his low age. He was changing things with Basie, but he did it to keep Basie on his side. Also, Jim liked to show respect to Japanese, just because he was curious in them. It can be seen very easily, what is valuable for each of the communities, which lived in Shanghai and Jim's values were described as mixture of values of these different people.

Ballard described also in what each community was good at. British



Download as:   txt (13.2 Kb)   pdf (146.4 Kb)   docx (13.9 Kb)  
Continue for 9 more pages »
Only available on