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The reader and clearly the writers sympathy lie with the woman at the Oakum Room. Discuss how Theresa Tomlinson has used language to evoke sympathy and convey a serious message to us.

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Introduction

The Oakum Room "The reader and clearly the writer's sympathy lie with the woman at the Oakum Room. Discuss how Theresa Tomlinson has used language to evoke sympathy and convey a serious message to us." Theresa Tomlinson creates an extremely vivid image of the cruel, demanding conditions that faced the citizens of Britain who were unable to support themselves. Tomlinson reveals to us the shocking reality of how the malicious staff enforced the regime to which the workers were forced to follow day in, day out, with scarcely enough food or sleep to survive. I aim to examine how these bitter reflections of Victorian life are portrayed to us by the writer's skilful use of techniques like imagery and word choice. Tomlinson persuades the reader to feel compassion towards the female 'victims' of Mrs Hanson's brutality when she reveals to us the extent of the power she holds over her employees. She is immediately portrayed as an enemy to the female workers, by the onomatopoeia used with the very first mention of her name. ...read more.

Middle

details and word choice she uses, to reveal to the reader how each of the women in the workhouse have been stripped of their individuality, in return for a shell of their original being. This is first shown by the large shapeless smocks with which they are issued on entrance. This 'one size fits all' attitude to their uniform metaphorically demonstrates Mrs Hanson's lack of consideration to the fact that every woman that enters through the 'archway of tears' (the name given to the grand entrance of the workhouses) will need a different level of care and attention to the one next to her. Maybe the writer is trying to suggest that Mrs Hanson finds it easier to execute her sadistic violence, if she merely sees a crowd of nameless, faceless employees before her, rather than the vulnerable collection of human beings that they really are. During the story, Tomlinson creates in us an intense feeling of disgust towards Mr. ...read more.

Conclusion

The "stark, tiled corridor" through which they "shuffled" back to the Oakum Room at the close of the story, is also extremely important, used to illustrate their dark, restricted lives, with no hope or light at the end. Although Tomlinson uses many techniques to reflect back on the cruelty in Victorian workhouses, it is the enlightening message of the human spirit, and its ability to shine through the darkness, even in the most dreadful times in a person's life. This message is clearly depicted when Susan says of Polly and herself: "I can't think how we'd have managed if we hadn't had each other." By writing this, we are shown by Tomlinson, how even their horrific situation, or the dictatorship to which they grudgingly conform to, can suppress the sheer strength of the love which they feel for one another. This story conveys to us the importance of how goodness can always overpower evil, even in the worst of times when no-one can see that there is any goodness left. ?? ?? ?? ?? Kirsty Laidlaw ...read more.

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