Synoptic Unit: What does English Literature tell us about inequality?
Inequality in literature is continuously portrayed through poems, plays and novels. The author uses story lines to express his/her view, or a common opinion, on inequality. In my three choices of literature, The Merchant of Venice, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Children Should Not Have to Be Homeless, the inequalities shown are about religion, the extremes of rich against poor, and again, religion, respectively. In all three pieces, the Authors express the unfairness of the world, how people are judged on their religion, race, appearance, lifestyle and wealth. Different eras portrayed their beliefs according to the political correctness at that time. Firstly, in the novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Bruno seems to be oblivious to the cruelty that occurs in the camps just beyond his home. The story is based on the time of the holocaust and how they were tortured and seen upon as nothing, but through the eyes of a young boy who does not seem to understand what is going on, even though his own father is part of the German army. This is seen when he says
“Who are all those people outside?”
By this, he meant the prisoners in the camp. Before asking his father this, Bruno explained to his sister what he saw outside his bedroom window, and they came to the conclusion it could be some sort of farm. Through asking this question, it is obvious to the reader that he doesn’t realise the suffering of the ‘prisoners’ just a few miles away. The book is about racial inequality, and in this example, one can see how people are unaware of it, while others are ignorant towards it, or perhaps agree with it.
Conversely, in The Merchant of Venice, Shylock is aware of the hatred towards Jews, and has learnt to live with that.
“Still I have borne it with a patient shrug for suff’rance is the badge of all our tribe.” Here Shylock is saying that...
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