COMMENT CLOSELY ON THE EXTRACT BELOW CONCENTRATING ON THE PRESENTATION OF THE DIFFERENT ATTITUDES OF THE TWO SPEAKERS.-Excerpt from Patricia Grace’s Journey.
Yes, yes I want you to understand, that’s why I came .This here. it’s only paper and you can change it. There’s room for all the things you’ve got on your paper and room for what we want too, we want only what we’ve got already; it’s what we’ve been trying to say.
Sir we can’t always have exactly what we want…
All round here where you’ve marked residential it’s all rock, what’s wrong with that for shops and cars. And there’ll be people and houses. Some of the people can be us, and some of the houses can be ours.
Sure, sure.But not exactly where you want them. And anyway Sir there’s no advantage do you think in you people living in the same area?
It’s what we want, we want nothing more than what is ours already.
It does things to your land value.
He was an old man by the wanted very much to lean over the desk and swing a heavy punch.
No sense being scattered everywhere when we want …
It immediately brings down the value of the land…
…is to stay put on what is left of what has been ours since before we were born.
Have a small piece each, a small garden, my brother and sister and I discussed it years ago.
Straight away the value of your land goes right down.
Wanted to swing a heavy punch but he’s too old for it.He kicked the desk instead.
This extract forms the climax of the old man’s journey to resolve the issue of his family land in the story, The Journey by Patricia Grace . Before now, the reader is only introduced to an old man who detests the overbearing attitude of the younger people around him. However in this extract, in what could be called the climax of the story, more of the attitude of the protagonist is revealed as he interacts with the government Development Officer on the issue of land.
The old man’ first attitude is displayed in the manner he emphatically states his purpose of visiting the government official which is to call for a compromise of sort, such that the interest of his clan and that of the government could be accommodated. There is however an element of ambiguity in his tone, when he states,’we want only what we’ve got already’, which stakes the right and control of the old man to what he considers his ancestral inheritance. In Paul’s response, he makes the old man realize that things have changed and that ‘we can’t always have exactly what we want’. He explains that other amenities will be added, but the old man is still not interested or ready to change his stance.
The old man further shows some adamancy in his request as can be seen in the manner he repeats the statement ,’It’s what we want, we want nothing more than what is ours already’, a statement that points to the old man’s need for things to be as they have always been. He adds a sense of history to his claim and would not want any government interference. Even when the government introduces an economic angle to the issue, he would still not change his mind. To him, sense of communality where he and his relations live in harmony, maybe not with much extravagance, but with nature and simplicity all around them is of more essence than any other consideration. This sense is conveyed through the repetition of small. It is a sense of contrasting the consumerism of a capitalist society with the simplicity of a communal living. While Paul sees the issue of the land from economic angle, the old man sees the historic and communal perspective to the land.
The writing in the passage conveys through the unspoken thoughts of the old man his frustration and mitigated anger. He would have loved to physically assault the government officer, but for his old age. However, at the height of his frustration when he appears not to be making any headway in convincing the government official to change his policy, he spontaneously kicks a table in form of transferred aggression. The assonance in veneer, cracked, and splintered all portrayed an attitude of rigidity that the old man embodies. He is a man who could not accommodate the inevitable change that is fast sweeping through his community.
In the last paragraph of the extract, the old man’s encounter with his young cousin is presented. The sense of legacy in the old is accentuated in the manner he repeats the name George, who is symbolic of the next generation who are likely to bear more the brunt of the new government policy on land.The old man not so eager fighting for his own right, but he is presently weighted down by the burden of leaving his descendants landless. It is a burden of not wanting to fail the coming generation.
By the end of the extract, it is obvious that both speakers are not ready for any compromise. The abruptness of their conversation creates a tensed atmosphere of irreconcilable differences. The old man’s rigid attitude is further marked by his repetitiveness of his demand, thinking that by repeating them, he will change the position of the government official. In frustration, the old man finally kicks the inanimate table which symbolizes the insensitivity and rigidity of the government also. The language gap between the two speakers also creates a sense of generation gap. This is marked by the ample of slangs by Paul and his colleagues. In the end, nothing changes in the position of the two speakers.
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