Literary Analysis - Mr Van Gogh

Topics: Vincent van Gogh, Acts of the Apostles, Allusion Pages: 3 (1098 words) Published: June 6, 2013
Literary Analysis - Mr Van Gogh
Chania Baldwin

Owen Marshall’s ‘Mr Van Gogh’ addresses the inevitable issue of marginalisation of an individual. Through language features he influences the reader to reflect and consider action of the attitudes towards the socially marginalised. The social rejection of an individual is described through the voice of the town bully, and the cowardly acts of the narrator. Set in a small town in New Zealand it serves as a microcosm of contemporary society. Marshall presents a parable to educate the reader so they understand that there is only inclusion when there is exclusion. Marshall aims to influence the reader to take action and act in ways that challenge the universal social norms.

Through the voice of the town bully Marshall presents the issue of Frank’s rejection. Marshall achieves this by emphasising the mockery demonstrated toward Frank. In, ‘...a local turn to entertain the visitors. “Was he any good though, this Van Gogh bugger?”’, Marshall uses direct speech from Mr Souness to tease Frank about his fondness of Van Gogh. Vincent Van Gogh is Frank’s passion, he admires him like nobody else. The rhetorical question that Souness derides Frank with is appropriate because it shows the reader colloquialism that Souness uses whilst he talks down to Frank. Frank is used as entertainment for the townspeople who sadistically take pleasure by ridiculing Frank’s devotion toward Van Gogh. This arouses guilt in the reader because it relates to the broader social context, showing the truth about society; Marshall uses representative characters to show that society must have “outcasts”. The reader realises that you can either be part of society or have individuality. The isolation of Frank is further evident in, ‘...old bugger is holding up the democratic wishes of the town’, this shows the parallel relationship between Van Gogh and Frank through Marshall creating repetition in diction through the repetition of, ‘bugger’. Marshall...
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