• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the extent to which Alec and Reg can be considered the antagonists of their respective novels Tess of the DUrbervilles and Hey Nostradamus!

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare the extent to which Alec and Reg can be considered the antagonists of their respective novels 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' and 'Hey Nostradamus!' Alec and Reg are employed by Hardy and Coupland as a means of exploring a number of complex issues such as love, religion and the nature of evil, though as the presentation of these characters is a largely negative one, the authors tend to dwell on the pessimistic aspects of these themes. However, the two are not presented as entirely unfavourable characters thanks to a number of techniques and complicating narrative events used by Coupland and Hardy, and it is these elements that will be examined throughout this essay. From the early phases of each novel we are positioned to look upon Alec and Reg unfavourably. Upon his first appearance, Alec's physical description is devilish, "a well groomed moustache with curled points", this being reminiscent of an archetypal melodrama villain, immediately characterising him as a typical antagonist. The reader's first encounter with Reg is through Cheryl's description of him as "a mean, dried out old fart", which similarly doesn't allow the reader to empathise with him. This continues for the majority of each novel. Hardy invites us to take a macabre pleasure in Alec's death with the phrase "Drip, drip, drip", while similarly Jason takes a grim delight in his intricate recount of his fathers broken kneecap "shattering it into twenty-nine fragments that required a marathon eighteen hour surgery and seven titanium ...read more.

Middle

The 'Gun Boys' on the other hand are presented as monstrous, given their disregard for human life, "There, see? Killing is fun", Coupland not allowing us to empathise with them at all by supplying them with no back story, nor lamenting on alienation or any other motivation that drove them to carry out the massacre. The exception to this is Jeremy. In declaring "I repent for my sins", there is a degree of remorse which humanises the killer somewhat, though this can be seen as too little too late, this being particularly evident in Jason's assessment of Jeremy, "he repented and so he was forgiven and lionised", the italicised "repented" implying a mocking intonation, undermining any sense of heroism. Ultimately, as these characters make such brief appearances in their respective novels, they remain quite under developed, making it difficult to apply the label of antagonist to them. Instead, these characters can be looked upon as catalysts; it is the reactionary roles to these early narrative events that characters like Alec and Reg take that pushes the story onward, at least initially, but following this they then go on to initiate actions of their own, their responses serving to further complicate the narrative. In terms of religion, Alec and Reg have many similarities, such as their tendency to use faith as a crutch or a shield to hide their own inadequacies. ...read more.

Conclusion

Alec and Reg can certainly be looked upon as antagonistic, complicating forces, their actions - be it Reg's harsh response to Jason's killing of Mitchell, the 'gun boy' or Alec's rape of Tess - serving to create tragedy, and in doing so push the narrative onwards. Despite this, neither character can be looked upon as an outright villain due to moments where they are allowed to display more sympathetic qualities. Of the two, I feel that Reg can be seen as the lesser evil as he is given greater opportunity to speak for himself towards the novels' end which goes some way to challenge the idea of the character being a complete villain. On the other hand there is Alec; while he finds some redemption in his Christian values and the appearance that by later phases of the novel he is a changed man, Hardy denies the reader to empathise with the character in any meaningful way by ultimately punishing him, through Tess' murder of him. But despite this, it is not possible to look at either character as simply an antagonist thanks to the more complex characterisation applied to them by Hardy and Coupland. Word Count: 2408 ?? ?? ?? ?? Compare the extent to which Alec and Reg can be considered the antagonists of their respective novels 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' and 'Hey Nostradamus!' 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    She decided to leave him and go back to her husband. The English patient remembers Madox, his best friend in the desert for ten years. Madox could describe his love of the desert in words, whereas the patient could only write factually about the environment around him.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    In what Sense can we connect the Ideas of the Idealised Self and the ...

    3 star(s)

    This repetition emphasises how much we will use the same phrases, again and again, even if we try to stay away from the norms. It is putting our feelings for someone in a way that they will understand. The question 'can you love if you don't understand the language of love?'

  1. Comment on the writers presentation of loneliness and companionship in the novels The Old ...

    the characters in their seclusion as their need for companionship places significant importance on the animals. Santiago's first observation of nature is when the reader identifies the characters dream of Africa, a sign of the old man's child hood which is used three times in the novel to signify peace

  2. The Use of The Four Elements in The Wars

    Once inside he freed the animals, but was trapped. Although he did eventually get out of the burning barn, he died in the hospital in a great deal of pain. Fire, an element that once gave Robert a second chance, somehow was corrupted and ended up taking his life.

  1. Compare and contrast the ways in which the writers of 'Frankenstein' and 'The Picture ...

    most: not only Frankenstein's paradise of his family and friends, but also his ideals about scientific knowledge. As Milton presents a sympathetic view of Satan in Paradise Lost, so Shelley shifts the blame from the monster to his creator in Frankenstein.

  2. Margaret Atwoods The Handmaids Tale, and John Fowles The French Lieutenants Woman are both ...

    To subject these women to speaking like this conveys how limited their lives are, in that they are forbidden even for 'free speech'. The fact that they abide by these rules suggests the extent of how conditioned they are by this society, and how fearful they are of rebelling against

  1. Survival as a theme in "The Road" and two other works. Similar to McCarthy, ...

    of the landscapes bleakness and how it is an ?ashen scabland?, ?barren, silent, godless?. In fact, much in the novel seems abandoned; belongings, homes, cities, even the whole world. The emptiness that readers get through this novel portrays a sense of ?godless? despair.

  2. Control, submission and rebellion in the novels The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, Memoirs ...

    The novels The Handmaid?s Tale and Memoirs of a Geisha shows control in a much more demeaning manner. In these texts the fact that they are women contributes to why they are being controlled. The author?s purpose in illustrating how the authorities manifest their control is an effective way to show that control comes in different forms.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work