Mr Van Gogh Literary Essay

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Mr Van Gogh Literary Essay

Will there always be a Mr Van Gogh?

Owen Marshall’s short story ‘Mr Van Gogh’ is an explanation of society’s harsh attitudes towards individuals today. Through characterization, religious allusion and imagery Owen Marshall portrays Mr Van Gogh as someone who is overcoming society’s acts of judgement. This is reflected on the audience because Marshall makes us question our own behavior in the hope that we will change. Owen Marshal uses imagery, biblical allusion and characterization to impact the audience.

Characterization is a key feature in the short story ‘Mr Van Gogh’. Contrasting characters determine the effects of individuals trying to ‘fit in’ society. This is shown in Mr Souness personality towards Mr Van Gogh as rude, merciless and ignorant. This is depicted in the first paragraph when Mr Souness’ relatives visit and start mocking, this is a portrayal of how this is served to illustrate to the reader the cruelty that is a common place in society. Mr Souness is a materialistic man with few morals and little acceptance for people who are ‘different’. He only talks to Mr Van Gogh in order to make fun of his passion.

Despite Van Gogh’s willingness to share his passion with society, “only those who wanted to mock him, encouraged him to talk.” However Mr Van Gogh is described as a man who bases his life around his morals and values. He is passionate and simply loves beauty and life. He spends all his money on his artwork such as buying different colors for his glass, especially yellow because Mr Van Gogh said it represents personal expression. To others in the community “he didn’t have anything worth stealing” Mr Van Gogh is somewhat eccentric and often shy or submissive around others in the community. The contrasting personalities help illustrate themes of small town mentalities and beauty of being on the inside. Mr Souness singles out Mr Van Gogh because he is different, this is a characteristic or trait often

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