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Discuss Pinters dramatic presentation of Ruth in The Homecoming

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1st November 2010 The Homecoming * Discuss Pinter's dramatic presentation of Ruth in The Homecoming Surrealistically representing the pugilistic life of a pack of 'Hackney predators', Pinter portrays the mounting conflict within the tribe as each male fights for the Alfa position, with the reward of the lone female, Ruth. Embroidered with elaborately hidden meanings, pregnant pauses and ellipses, this play strips the characters of the outside shell of etiquette and politesse associated with society and left with only language as an attempt to cover the nakedness of their animalistic cores. These characteristics are recognized through the 'Pinteresque' themes of nameless menace, erotic fantasy, obsession and jealousy, family hatred, and mental disturbance. The plot follows the course of Teddy returning home with his wife, Ruth, and her journey in to 'take on' the pack and eventually take over the role of Queen Bee. During the course of the drama, she exacts her revenge on Teddy in leaving him for his family of sexually screwed up 'butchers'. Teddy and Ruth's arrival from America is symbolically representative of Teddy's homecoming after nine years away. ...read more.


However, giving Ruth the house key, having his cigar go out and going to bed prior to Ruth culminates into his eventual emasculation and loss of power among his brothers. Subtextually, Teddy's 'You...need some rest, you know' is ambivalent in expressing Ruth's mental instability, or that Teddy is sending her away for doing something he doesn't approve of. The audience might relate this with 'she's a very popular woman, she's got lots of friends', once again suggests Ruth's involvement with prostitution as a 'photographic model for the body'. Stifled in her relationship with a British academic, Ruth's, 'I think I'll have a breath of air' and 'just a stroll' suggests she's out and about and 'on the Game' even before Max and Lenny agree to sponsor her. Quintessentially, Ruth's confrontation with Lenny opens her ascension to power. If language is an attempt to cover nakedness, Ruth's short, direct syntax show her to be in a position of power over Lenny. Not dissimilar to courting males in the animal kingdom trying to hide their vulnerabilities from the females with bright colours or confrontational battles, Max and Lenny use long and decorously embroidered renditions of what have happened previously to appear intelligent and dominating. ...read more.


This independence helps her stand out even more prominently than Teddy in all his aloofness, as she rises to position of Queen and orders Lenny , 'I'd like something to eat', 'I'd like a drink'. In noting how Lenny does not reject the subordinate role to Ruth, the reader might suspect he enjoys being told what to do by a woman and thus deduce that Pinter's own fantasies play a significant part in the play. He models Ruth on his wife, Vivien, embodying her as both saint and sinner, contrasting maternal and temptress. Biblically, Ruth, symbolic of 'pity' but also a Moabite widow who left her own people to live with her mother-in-law Naomi. All assets of femininity are sewn into one character, exposing her to the male's sex drive and simultaneous desire for a mother presence. Ultimately, Pinter's presentation of Ruth significantly exposes her as the model female, simultaneously dominate and subordinate, maternal and temptress. Through his pack of Hackney predators, he depicts her as a tool for sexual enjoyment but the eventual Queen Bee with Joey 'kneeling at her chair' in the final, still-life portrait. [1200 words] ...read more.

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