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in an essay of not more than 1500 words, compare and contrast the means by which two of the following works challenge the expectations, values and assumptions of their audiences. Your discussion should contain two texts of different genres.

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28th August 2005 in an essay of not more than 1500 words, compare and contrast the means by which two of the following works challenge the expectations, values and assumptions of their audiences. Your discussion should contain two texts of different genres. The works I have chosen to compare and contrast are, George Bernard Shaw's stage play Pygmalion, the story of a working class single woman wishing to change herself, and an upper middle class educated man acting as tutor; and Jean Rhys's novel Wide Sargasso Sea. Wide Sargasso Sea (WSS) was written in the 1960s and was seen as a prequel to Charlotte Bronte's, Jane Eyre. It focuses on Mr Rochesters first wife Bertha prior to her arrival in England. Bertha, whose real name Antoinette Cosway is a passive Creole woman from Jamaica caught between two cultures. Whist there are the obvious differences between these pieces, with Wide Sargasso Sea being a novel set on a tropical island, and Pygmalion a stage play based on a flower girl from London, there are similarities from the outset. Other people base both these works upon much older works. WSS based upon Jane Eyre, and Pygmalion a reworking of the Greek tale in which a sculptor falls in love with his female statue. ...read more.


The narration in parts one and two portray vivid surroundings, sights and smells that contrast greatly against Pygmalion's grubby beginnings waiting for a cab outside St Pauls "standing on the veranda I breathed the sweetness of the air, cloves I could smell and cinnamon, roses and orange blossom. And an intoxicating freshness as if all this had never been breathed before" (WSS p44) whilst the most description we receive from Shaw is of Eliza's character "She wears a little sailor hat of black straw that has long been exposed to the dust and soot of London" (Pygmalion Act one page 11). The description in Pygmalion is only to assist those producing the play; the eventual look and feel of the set will be decided by someone other than the writer. Whilst WSS descriptive passages assist the reader, imagine in their minds wonderful tropical islands of scent and sunshine. These two pieces of work at first would seem worlds apart, yet under closer examination reveal similarities, both works examine the lives of women who go through dramatic changes in their lives, although Eliza's changes are at her request, she approaches Higgins asking for lessons "I want to be a lady in a flower shop". (Pygmalion act two P26/27), Antoinettes changes are mainly brought about by other people, her father dying, mother marrying then going insane, being trapped in ...read more.


We then have Daniel claiming to be Antoinette's brother, abandoned by his white father and causing trouble between Antoinette and Rochester. We also encounter in both books the selling of family, in WSS Daniel is asking for money in a malicious way from Rochester after exposing secrets from Antoinette's past, while Doolittle in Pygmalion is selling his daughter in an almost comical situation. Higgins and Doolittle barter, haggle and ague about who should keep Eliza, initially Higgins is revolted at the thought of someone selling their daughter, as would have been the audience of the time, however Doolittle's response that he can not afford morals works with Higgins, and makes him questions his initial judgement. WSS has the narrator through out giving a voice to the story, with its voice changing reflecting different sides to the story helping the reader look at all view points. Shaw has also given his play a voice for the social messages he wishes to get across, in that of Eliza's father. Here is a character the play could easily do without, he serves no real purpose to the plot, but he does act as Shaw's own moralistic orator throughout, he spouts views from the working mans perspective, perhaps giving the audience its only real insight into a large portion of the population (Pygmalion page 47). Pygmalion - Bernard Shaw Penguin Classics Wide Sargasso Sea - Jean Rhys Penguin Classics ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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