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An EVil Cradling - Rape Commentary

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This passage from Brian Keenan's 'An Evil Cradling' describes in first person narrative the scene when Said beats Brian in a manner analogous to a rape. This event gives us an insight into the guard's weaknesses and their dependency on the hostages, making them - in a paradoxical way- the actual prisoners. On the other hand, Brian's and John's defiance and mutual support suggest the rising determination which gives them control over the guards. Throughout this passage, the author demonstrates us that mental resistance is more powerful than any physical abuse, and Brian even states that the later feeds the first. The narrator claims that 'There was a part of me they could never bind nor abuse nor take from me'. This suggests that physical maltreatment will never be able to reach into people's minds, because mental strength cannot be bent. Brian also discovers that his 'resistance was a joyful thing' and that the more he was beaten the stronger he became. ...read more.


A 'lover' implies a need for love and possibly sex. However, the guard's strict religious views try to inhibit these natural feelings, and as the women in Lebanon are forbidden from having relationships with men before they are married, many men might find themselves in a controversial situation. To shows their masculinity, they turn into "violent lovers" and try to prove their power by physically subduing others. Brian's summary of Said as 'a man so filled with fear' and 'fascinated by violence and obsessed with sex' seems to confirm this point. The guards are fearful and confused because of their repressed emotions that cause them frustration and anger. This explains their sudden changes in behaviour that occur throughout the novel - from being caring and innocent into beating and humiliating the prisoners. Said is illustrated by the narrator as a wild and repugnant, almost animal-like person. While beating the prisoners the guard is silent and never talks to them. This implies his savagery, almost as if he lost his ability to speak, which makes him similar to an animal. ...read more.


After the fierce scene, the two 'whispered soft words of comfort and reassurance to each other'. This emphasises the power of love, friendship, mutual support and provides a more positive and emotional sight after the violent event of "the rape". Throughout the novel the hostages and the guards try to overcome their own fears, doubts and frustrations. This passage from the chapter 'Rape' illustrates the ways in which they attempt to do so. Brian and John conquer these negative feelings by supporting, loving and laughing with each other. However, the confined fanatical views of the guards don't allow them to do so, so they seek control and relief by physically abusing others. In spite of this it seems that the psychological defiance of the hostages is a more powerful weapon than the beatings of the guards and so the ones that are somewhat in control in the prison are not the sentry, but the prisoners themselves. In this way, the author nicely concludes that humane and caring behaviour will triumph over brutality and violence. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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