The Thin Red Line

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Essay on ”The Red Line” by Charles Higson

Society contains a vast majority of different types of people, and all of them look, act, and think differently. How we as individuals do these things, are greatly influenced by the people around us, as our differences makes us judge others. In creating our own identity, our reliance on others is consequently grand, which can be either a fine or a dreadful matter. For some, the prejudice in the perceptions of others can cause the truth to be exceedingly twisted. It can be disturbed to such a degree, that the image of others is completely opposite of how it is in reality. This is what each character in Higson’s short story The Red Line experiences. Higson questions and plays with the role identity have in our postmodern society by using irony in the characterization and by the use of a dynamic point of view.

Berto and the nameless man each have contradictory personalities and looks. This is seen because the reader and the characters are introduced to different sides of the people in the story. As the reader gets a sense of the characters looks, personalities and thoughts, the persons in the story only get to see each other from the outside. Denise’s descriptions of the two men could not be more wrong, and therefore displays the contradictories perfectly. She sees the nameless man as someone innocent, child-like and defenseless, and she sees Berto as one who has “the look of a hunter. Cold, superior, in charge.”[1] She thinks Berto will hurt her, but he is actually the one who assumes fondly of her and the nameless man in reality dislikes her. None of that is played out though as the characters do not interact with each other, as their narrow-mindedness stop them.

The characters are prejudiced towards each other, which prove to be wrong, making the situation ironic. Denise’s thoughts of the two indicates the dramatic irony in the story, because we as readers know that Berto is the naïve and innocent one, while the...
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