Literary Elements Comparison in Three of the Summer Assigned Works

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With this year’s theme of “problematic protagonists,” each of the summer works features a main character whose personality can be found unappealing. In Master Harold and the Boys, Athol Fugard explores themes of racism and segregation in South Africa during the apartheid. Hally, a white boy, has known Sam and Willie, two older African servants, his whole life and has intelligent conversations with Sam as his equal. After discovering that his alcoholic and handicapped father is being discharged from the hospital, Hally lashes out and uses racist remarks against Sam and Willie, thus displaying his rage from tolerating his father in past years. His friendship with the two servants is destroyed and irreparable. Through Nelly Dean’s narration of Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte uses impetuous characters to convey themes of economic and social tension, discrimination, and death. Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff were intimate friends since childhood until she becomes injured at Thrushcross Grange and needs to stay for months to recuperate. Upon her return, Heathcliff can no longer recognize Catherine as she is more refined and will soon marry Edgar Linton. After Catherine dies, leaving behind an infant daughter, Heathcliff continues to retaliate for his mistreatment and loss of his beloved. In the end, Catherine’s daughter, Cathy Linton, happily marries her cousin, Hareton Earnshaw, after Heathcliff joins Catherine in the afterlife. Lastly, in the first novella of Raise the Red Lantern, both possessing the same name, Lotus is the fourth mistress of Chen Zuoqian and is hostile towards the other mistresses and her maidservant, Swallow. Lotus experiences the conflicts between the other mistresses and their children and befriends Feipu. After she insists that Swallow dies from eating a piece of toilet paper for cursing her, she has nightmares that Swallow is resurrected to kill her in her sleep. One night, she witnesses Third Mistress’s demise and becomes traumatized....
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