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Examine the portrayal of cultural poverty in 'Saved' and 'The Wasp Factory'; how is it shown to effect the characters?

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Introduction

Examine the portrayal of cultural poverty in 'Saved' and 'The Wasp Factory'; how is it shown to effect the characters? In 'The Wasp Factory' and 'Saved' one obviously apparent theme is the lack of community spirit in the societies. In 'The Wasp Factory' there is no mention of a character who wonders why Frank isn't in school or doing things that other young men do. In 'Saved' there is no mention of anybody making any sort of judgement when Pam goes to meet Fred, somebody who has been jailed for the murder of her baby. Therefore it is important to look into the issue of cultural poverty, as it will make clearer why the characters are who they are and behave as they do. Obviously, 'Saved' is a play and 'The Wasp Factory' is a novel. As 'Saved' is a play the audience physically see characters' actions and emotions whereas Iain Banks has to use imagery. The effect of this is that the disturbing images in 'Saved' are there for the audience to see, initially making 'Saved' even more sickening. The setting for 'Saved' is on a bare stage so the plot seems extreme as the setting doesn't dilute the harsh actions and language used in the play but reinforces them. Although harsh actions and emotions are in 'The Wasp Factory' the setting of "empty beaches" softens these actions, contrasting them with the natural splendour in which they take place. ...read more.

Middle

'Saved' also has a negative image of women. Pam is portrayed as an easygoing woman who would go to bed with anyone. Pam takes Len home without even finding out his name so therefore from the start of the play Pam is portrayed as 'easy'. Pam is reflected negatively, as the audience doesn't have much sympathy for her when her baby dies especially as Pam goes to meet Fred. Fred helped to torture the baby yet Pam still insists he moves in with her, goes to meet him from prison and hopes that they will have a relationship. Pam puts her feelings for Fred above the fact that he helped to kill her baby, which therefore shows how motherhood is represented in 'Saved'. As in 'The Wasp Factory' the representation of motherhood is negative. Similarly Mary is also portrayed negatively by her husband Harry. Harry says to Len that the reason he came back was so Mary could do his "washin' an' cookin'", he says that if he left Mary would "soon 'ave someone in my bed" so the man to whom she is married dislikes her. It is fair to say that neither Iain Banks nor Edward Bond have any positive images of women in their texts; as they don't include women in any real positive role in their texts as their writing excludes the caring half of society. The majority of the characters in 'Saved' seem unpleasant. ...read more.

Conclusion

Pam does suffer postnatal depression but this seems to be completely ignored because it poses no threat to anybody but herself. It could be said that based on these texts society only reacts to what threatens society. There is optimism in the two texts, showing perhaps the only way out of the effects of cultural poverty. There are brief scenes of optimism; Frank finding the study door open results in his true identity and Len is optimistic in 'Saved'. He stays with Pam even though she treats him badly. The real optimism however is found right at the end of both books where Frank says, "Now the door closes and my journey begins" and there are no arguments at the end of 'Saved', which represents a new peaceful beginning. Lack of education, lack of hope and lack of access to society's norms are all parts of both texts so therefore it is true that cultural poverty is a major theme. Even though shocking images have been discussed I think the ending shows the characters can escape. Frank can start his "new journey" and the final scene of 'Saved' shows that Pam and Len can "fold the radio times" without arguing. These two texts are initially very depressing yet we do end in hope. Therefore it could be argued that by the end of both texts the writer's offer hope for society and a way forward. They show us that society is our safety net as humanity; if we can be shocked by the murder of a few how can we ignore the needs of many? ...read more.

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