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What kind of 'Society' is Harold Pinter portraying in "Party Time"?

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What kind of 'Society' is Harold Pinter portraying in "Party Time"? By Sam Haddad There are two societies portrayed in Harold Pinter's short screenplay "Party Time". The outside world is full of turmoil whereas the world through the front door is full of ignorance and insensitivity. The outside world is described perfectly by Dame Melissa on her entrance at the latter part of scene 1. "What on earth is going out there? Its like the Black Death," and then later, "The town's dead." She uses the words 'Black Death', which is a terribly significant description. She uses this simile describing the deserted streets but then goes on to say " except for some soldiers." It appears that the only people outside are soldiers patrolling the streets. We are told that at the beginning of the play helicopter noises are heard in the background. Harold Pinter, throughout the play includes many hints towards the society that is being portrayed outside, but it is not certain. From all this we can deduce that there is probably some sort or military/political crisis developing outside, where a curfew has probably been initiated to keep order at bay. We may be able to conclude this when Melissa explains that she was stopped at a roadblock. "My diver had to stop at a....what do you call it?...Roadblock." ...read more.


Their relationship with each other again reveals that the society that they are in is fairly sexist. It appears that everyone is only concerned with themselves and each has a shallow, superficial sense of moral values. Everyone is thick-skinned, self centred and only concerned with themselves. Nobody dwells on the any of the matters concerning the outside, and if the subject should arise, it is quickly seen off. We can see this first just after Melissa has entered and described streets. Gavin appears to be not concerned with this at all and calmly says, " Oh there's just been a little...you know...". It seems that everyone is 'turning their backs' in the metaphorical sense on the 'outside' world, except for Dusty. She is the only character apart from Jimmy, who appears to be affected by the goings-on outside and shows a sensitive side in a completely uncaring society. We first see this when she enters. "Did you hear what's happened to Jimmy? What's happened to Jimmy?" I believe it is only her and Jimmy who are capable of being emotionally moved. Every other character is too caught up with their own personal but yet trivial matters to care bout anyone or anything else. An example of this would be during scene 3 with Liz and Charlotte where great triviality of human nature is shown in this scene. ...read more.


She later says. "Is it silly to say I feel proud? I mean o be part of a society of beautifully dressed people? Oh I don't know, elegance, style, grace, taste..." This again illustrates the superficiality of the characters in the play and also the superficiality of their society in general. Arrogance is also another key point in this society. It appears that most characters that conform to the society all have a great sense of self-confidence and arrogance. The society has developed in such a way that is has caused ruin innocent people's lives. Jimmy, who is a representative of the outside world, has been completely destroyed as a character. We can assume this, as it appears he doesn't even know his own name or believe he has a name. " I had a name. It was Jimmy. People called me Jimmy. That was my name." Jimmy has been greatly affected by this oppressive society and has become enslaved by the totalitarian views. 'Peace', it seems to members of this society is to have no enemies or confronters. The society that is portrayed is demeaning, corrupt and insensitive. People with real feelings and emotions have their characters destroyed and become formed into objects the society controls. Overall, it seems Harold Pinter is concerned about the complacency our human nature can suffer and how modern day society has conditioned us into believing in certain stereotypical views. ...read more.

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