Pigs in a Blanket

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Birth of the Impersonal Forces, an Analysis of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle

Posted on December 13, 2006 

By Trudy A. Martinez

In the year 1865, a drastic, calculated, change takes place in America. The pre-destined change is doomed to affect nearly every aspect of individuality for generations to come. It is learned from the past, ready to control the future and the destiny of millions. A special secret (their symbol) the Red, White, and Blue, guarded since the birth of the country, has the purpose of joining the common man together, thus strengthening its image, allowing them to go forward to progressivismthe force with such over-whelming strength will condition the minds of the common people to accept and withstand the cry of agony, hunger, death, while tilting the scales of justice in favor of social injustice. This is the Main Impersonal Force which will cause to replace or alter the common man’s value system so as to conform to its purpose of a new religion. It will create a New Article of Faith, undermined by Radicalism, fueled by greed, and chosen as an alternative to prevent revolution of the masses. It is a double standard, one for the individuals, and one for progressivism; one for the rich and one for the poor. From the origin of the Main Impersonal Force will give birth to a Myth (The American Dream) to strengthen the Red, the White, and the Blue, and give a continuing influx of internal Hope for a better tomorrow? Using revolution as an example and allowing progress through industrialization, it will produce or introduce a family of new Hope, allowing subordination-ism, of the Impersonal Forces, dependent and reliant on the existence of the Main Impersonal Force, to guide both the rich and the poor to their destiny.

For the rich it will introduce: Capitalism, and Conservatism, earned through the mastery of Behaviorism, justified through the practice of Darwinism, gained through application of Economic Expansionism, insured through Journalism, and ultimately reaffirmed through Freudianism. For the rich it will produce: Humanism as restitution for quilt, Sexism as symbol of superiority over maternal-ism.

For the poor it will introduce: Patriotism gained through citizenship,(membership) and reinforced by the Main Impersonal Force; to replace the uniqueness of man, gained through a false freedom that restricts common man’s free will and his choice which is falsely guaranteed through the constitution; Optimism established by desire and reassured by achievements, and ultimately Consumerism (propaganda) as a reward for progressivism and Materialism as a symbol of acceptance; it will produce Populism as a voice of hope for the common man’s despair, Narcissism as an explanation to common man’s dilemma, Socialism as an alternative to struggle, Marxism as an artificial retaliation to Capitalism, Alcoholism as an escape from reality; Sexism as a means of gain through despair for submission. The Main Impersonal Force produces a force with no end, infinite. It begins with Nationalism, springs forward through progressivism, but will come to be known as Natal-ism their heritage and future (from the cradle to grave). It will lead the poor through hope and achievements to their ultimate destiny, Capitalism (the temple of the rich). It will lead the rich through expansionism into Imperialism, to convert the world through propaganda of consumerism. Our destiny is pre-ordained, that is if we try, if we struggle, if we work hard, but only, if we conform.

In Western Europe, Industrialization is a revolution, created by the rich, the chosen, the rising upper-middle class, the bourgeoisie; it is unplanned, and uncalculated. The American Industrialization, on the other hand, differs from the European counterparts, in that, the creators of this Industrialization learn from the mistakes of both the English and the French counterparts. The French Revolution is the out-come of the first attempts of this new conformity to convert the masses. The reign of terror that results in the consumption of its own creation. The resulting corruption is still fresh in minds of greedy, social elite and the entrepreneurs in the western world. To prevent the slightest threat of repetition of the French example, the American industrialization has to be calculated, predetermined, and thought-out and most of all Controlled. Before the era of Industrialization can be entered, the slaves have to be free, given hope and token justice. Education for the masses has to be forced, thus, allowing for conditioning of an American Dream through the mandatory school systems and Behaviorism. When Industrialization hits America, the common people have been prepared; they have hope for a better tomorrow; they are willing to work hard to get ahead, to build a better future, if not for themselves, for their children.

A laissez-faire Conservatism predominates. Economic Expansion of railroads makes it possible. Factories and industries spring up almost overnight; people move to the cities. Journalism capitalizes with propaganda. Immigrants swarm into America, seeking an American Dream giving the factories a steady over-abundant supply of fresh cheap-labor, paving the way for what is still to come. The cities become The Jungle where the name of the game is survival, survival of the fittest, Social Darwinism.

The Impersonal Forces are guided by the rich, the social elite, as they sit back in their easy-chairs, read The Wall Street Journal and make decisions on investment risks, i.e., which common man protecting his materialism with a corporate image appears most profitable and will gather more souls to convert.

Buying and selling stock in his belief is his trade now, not slaves, but converters. Giving the magic ingredient, hope, to the middle-class is the glory towards converting the common man. The ruthlessness employed in the struggle upward by the rising upper-middle class insures a quick return on their investments.

With Carnegie’s contribution of The Gospel of Wealth and Spencer’s contribution of the social economic application of Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution, Social Darwinism, what more can the chosen ask. The off-spring of Calvinism, a step child of the Catholic Church, the chosen ones, the rich, the social elite, need only to keep control. With an influx of the magic ingredient (Hope), the Impersonal Forces, will divert, will divide, will conquer, and will convert the struggling common man;

he will deny his own values to survive the Hell of his existence.

Proficiency in psychology is the key to their manipulation (a natural inherent quality in woman, maternal-ism); the hidden secrets in history are the clue to their existence and their goals of Paternalism.

The founders of Capitalism (not to be confused with the founders of America) effectively change the values of man from Oneness using capitalistic theology as basic knowledge and replace it with Sameness, A concept of Partnership, in marriage, in work, in all endeavors giving man, Materialism, Narcissism, Alcoholism, Sexism, Darwinism, justifying the Paternalism“ of the Gospel of Wealth, the form of slavery that is so nice to society and murderous to the common man in The Jungle in the process.

The Psychological knowledge of Behaviorism helps the founders of Capitalism to re-shape Nationalism as a tool through the worship of progressivism, a false religion. The Jewish German, Sigmund (Sex) Freud, bases his concept of psychology on Capitalism, called Freudianism; it so conveniently compliments Capitalism that it will become a temporary substitute for the Love of Man.

The fruit of the labor and the blood, the sweat, and the tears, and the suffering of the common man allow the capitalistic society to flourish and go forward toward progressivism, in search for their need for a continual influx of Hope.

The Veil of Servitude, a Comparative Analysis of the Treatment of Woman in Victorian Age Literature

By Trudy A. Martinez

The beliefs of Evangelicals and the treatment of women in the Victorian Age echo the teachings of the Old Testament in the Holy Bible. In both belief and treatment, woman is an object preferred for her outer beauty or nurtured or cultivated as a servant for the pleasure or the benefit of man. For instance when a Victorian woman eventually marries to man, she is expected to become an extension of him in all respects: to become, in a sense, “bone of his bone” and “flesh of his flesh”. In principle, woman is envisioned “. . . to be [man’s] second self” (Bronte 281). Consequently, woman is suppressed: she loses her identity; man becomes her master; and her life evolves around a duty: “. . . to honour and obey him . . .” (Butler 87).

The pledge, “to honour and obey”, emerges as a villain and brings forth what appears as Butler’s purpose: exposing the reality of woman’s position in societal beliefs and customs. In The Way of All Flesh, as in the Victorian Age, the belief is woman’s “. . . first obedience to God lay in obedience to [her husband]”. Butler displays this concept through Theobald. For example, if Christiana does not hold true to her promise “. . . to honour and obey [Theobald]. . .” Theobald needs only to “. . . buy Milton’s prose works and read his pamphlet on divorce” and then follow through by getting a divorce (Butler 87-88). Divorce is a means of escape for man if woman is foolish enough to reject the male dominance imposed.

The peril of divorce forces the Victorian woman to comply with the wishes of her spouse for woman has no place within the society of man: she is hopelessly imprisoned; this aspect of woman’s existence is pictorially portrayed by Alfred Tennyson in his poem, Mariana. In the poem, Mariana’s feelings rightfully correspond with wasteland imagery:

“The broken sheds look sad and strange:

Uplifted was the clinking latch;

Weeded and worn the ancient thatch

Upon the lonely moated grange” (396).

Tennyson pictures Mariana dissipating in loneliness while she continually anticipates the return of her lover. Consequently, Mariana is seen as sexually frustrated with no purpose in life other than to wait for him. Her statement,

“. . . ‘my life is dreary,

He cometh not,’ . . .

. . . ‘I am aweary, aweary,

I would that I were dead!’’(396),

alludes to her being alone and isolated in a dream-like state with no hope of being free from the prison-like atmosphere that is created (396). Mariana, herself, sees no escape from her loneliness; this is evidenced through the parallel action of her rejection of life at both the beginning and end of the poem. Only Mariana’s final weeping, “. . . ‘I am aweary, aweary’” and her plea, “. . . Oh God, that I were dead.’”, displays a perception of an unyielding hope (398).

An unyielding hope is all Tennyson’s characterization of Mariana shares with the characterization of Jane in Bronte’s novel, Jane Eyre. Instead of just an unyielding hope of escape through death, Bronte offers a suggestive alternative that leans toward equality of the sexes; it is driven by the love and the passion of Jane and Rochester. Even though the story interestingly compels ideals similar to Tennyson’s, it goes beyond Tennyson’s scope by introducing a doctrine which very nearly represents the New Testament book, I Corinthians 6 verse 3. In this view, “. . . the husband [is to] render unto the wife due benevolence; and likewise also the wife unto the husband.” This verse stings with equality. And consequently, so does Jane Eyre when she says to Rochester: “it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both . . . [of us] . . . stood at God’s feet, equal as we are!”(281).

Equality is an issue that gains importance with Jane. It is the requisite that stimulates benevolence. Rochester accepts Jane’s desire for congruity because she stands firm in her ideals. She says, “. . . no net ensnares me: I am free . . . with an independent will . . . “(Bronte 282). But the same is not true for other women nor is equality accepted within society.

Bertha (a symbol of a married Victorian woman) reveals the degree of damage a lack of equality places upon women and even the need for love and happiness. Justifiably and symbolically Bertha rips her bridal veil in half. The ripping of the veil is not done out of jealousy. Instead, the ripping of the veil is a means of exposing the servitude, defilement, and deterioration of woman. As a hideous creation, Bertha, “. . . turned to the mirror . . .” a “reflection” of mood and feeling gives emphasis to the vampire-like quality of the Victorian marriage practice and the degradation of woman as a whole. The ripping of the “. . . princely [extravagant] . . .” bridal veil suggests a need for the separation of materialism from the marriage (Bronte 308). Hence, this seems justifiably reasonable, for after all, “. . . it was only the [extravagant] veil that was harmed” (Bronte 312).

For what other reason do Bertha’s violent actions leave Jane and her simple handmade veil untouched? The answer appears to be because Jane and her simple veil represent woman’s independent choice and the need for a necessary change in marriage creeds. Therefore, Bertha’s action of renting her own veil merely symbolizes and paves the way for the introduction of such a new marriage creed that will lift the veil of servitude from woman.

The lifting of the veil of servitude not only encompasses an equal and deep inspiring love and passion between both man and woman but also engages both man and woman’s attention towards a love for God. Conceivably then, Bertha may be seen as giving her life for a new creed for all women. Bronte provides an illusion that justifies this impression when she describes the room Mr. Mason occupies as he lay injured: “. . . the shadows darken . . . [then], under the hangings of the vast old [marriage] bed . . . rose an ebon crucifix and a dying Christ” (Bronte 237). The black crucifix exemplifies the suffering that evolves through a loveless marriage. Sequentially, death is its unison.

The marriage between Bertha and Rochester is an arrangement provided for by family. Hence, Bertha’s violent and seemingly revengeful attack upon Mr. Mason, her brother, gives reason whereby understanding is gained. Bertha like Mariana is hopelessly imprisoned (restrained even), wishing for death. How else is she to react to her grueling circumstance? Two such souls as Bertha and Rochester can never hope to achieve equality in marriage or share a sense of love and passion. They do not join in marriage as described in I Corinthians 6:3. Instead, their marriage is orchestrated by others for the sake of “the root of all evil”, money.

Money and the prestige that comes along with it are the forces Dickens perceives to have driven man down a path of unhappiness and guilt. Dickens presents Pip as a stereotypical male of society who is being torn between choice and class separation rules.

Conversely, woman is not typically given a choice. Most women are forced to accept their lot in life. Certainly, no one can blame Blanche Ingram for attempting to improve her rank in life by seeking to marry Rochester. It is true, money and material gain is important to her. All the same, she knows no better. In other words, she is the product of a male dominated society. Consequently, she does what is expected of her.

However, Dickens clearly demonstrates the male in the Victorian society has a choice. For instance, Pip knows what his choices are: either he can choose to pursue a woman with inner beauty like Biddy from the lower class level or one whose beauty is only skin deep like Estella from the upper class level. Accordingly, once Pip knows he has great expectations, his choice to pursue Estella for her material outer beauty and schooled charm predominates. In the eye of Dickens, the lower class woman is more loving and deserving whereas, the upper class woman is revengeful and even insensitive. Class separation places emphasis on the contrasts between Biddy and Estella. Estella acknowledges Pip’s change of heart and his choice when she says, “Since your change of fortune and prospects, you have changed your companions’ . . . ‘And necessarily,’ . . . ‘what was fit company for you once, would be quiet unfit for you now’”(Dickens 258). Still, Pip knew he has made an error in judgment because his personal guilt grows out of proportion, but he is unable to resist temptation. Consequently, Pip’s guilt continually reflects back to him when he thinks of home.

Yet, Estella feels no guilt or remorse: she is trained to be revengeful; she does not view her actions as such nor does she remember the cruel manner in which she treats Pip. When Pip questions her, Estella says, “I don’t remember”.

Pip reveals his astonishment when he replies, “Not remember that you made me cry?” Estella’s insensitivity “. . . made (Pip) cry again inwardly – and (Pip acknowledged to himself) that [this was] the sharpest crying of all” (Dickens 258-259).

Biddy’s tear, however, reflects an inward sorrow for Pip. Of course Pip has to admit, “If [he] could have settled down . . . [Biddy] and [he] and Joe would have wanted nothing . . . “(Dickens 155). Consequently, as Dickens emphasizes through Pip’s expectations, class separation is what separates man from the culmination of a love and happiness.

Bronte rejects the idea of separation of class as a reason where love is concerned. Therefore, in her novel, Jane comes to love Mr. Rochester and he likewise grows to love her. She is plain in looks and dress, like Biddy, so it is evident that her outer beauty is not what attracts Rochester to her. Naturally, each stands their own grounds at first. Then slowly they relinquish unto the other a benevolence that grows into passion and “. . . called [for] a paradise of union . . . “(Bronte 284). Hence, the Victorian Society perceives the story of Jane Eyre as shocking. Man and woman alike object to the passionate elements the novel presents. The outward show of passion (by woman) suggests a change in society, encompassing the lives of both man and woman. Was the male dominating Victorian society unnerved and checked by an arousing fear? Or was society’s reaction to the novel and outward manifestation of guilt?

A manifestation of guilt is not reflected in The Way of All Flesh. Instead of a manifestation of guilt, Butler clearly exposes and defines woman’s duty. Christina feels a sense of duty to her father. Therefore, once Theobald is brought to the rectory to help her ailing father, she and her four sisters “. . . played at cards for him’” as their father suggests in order to determine to whom will be given the opportunity to win him for their husband, as if he is a prize (Butler 73). Here Butler accentuates the gamble that is involved in the marriage practice. The sisters that present a threat to the winner of the card game are quickly removed from the household. Competition for love’s sake is not allowed. There is no love or passion, only a duty. Hence, immediately after their marriage, Theobald pursues male dominance. Christina relinquished, begging forgiveness for defiance. Christina’s duty to her father merely transfers to her husband as if her duty is a legacy of worth. Therefore when Theobald “. . . kissed away her tears, and assured her that he knew she would be a good wife to him”. Christina “exclaimed . . . [out of necessity] ‘you are an angel.’ Theobald believed her” (Butler 89). Consequently from then on, a representation of false idealization is provided gratuitously for him by his wife and he expects her gratitude for his tolerance of her.

Jane, on the other hand, sees herself molding Rochester into a false idol. She admits to herself that she “. . . could not . . . see God for His creature: of whom [she] had made an idol” (Bronte 302). When knowledge of Rochester’s sin comes forth on the day they are to be wed, both are brought to crossroads. Both are made to bear the burden of their individual sins. Both are forced to separate just as the chestnut-tree symbolizes when it split down the center equally. But yet, their hearts linger and yearn to reunite. Even though Jane is not blameless in her own eyes, she is always searching for an answer. She is aware of the necessity of punishment and repentance. Inwardly, she is content. Nevertheless, Jane feels “degraded” as she “. . . [sunk] . . . on the scale of social existence”, she does not “. . . hate of despise herself . . . for these feelings’. Instead, she strives “to overcome them” (Bronte 385). She asks God to direct her (Bronte 386). She believes both her and Rochester “. . . were [equally] born to strive and endure . . . “(Bronte 343).

In contrast, endurance to St. John Rivers, an Evangelical, means self-denial. Equality is out of the question. Even with all his “Zealous . . . labors, blameless . . . life and habits, he . . . did not appear to enjoy . . . mental serenity . . . [or a] inward content” (Bronte 378). His life is like his sermons: “. . . compressed, condensed, controlled” (Bronte 378). He does not allow his own heart to be equally drawn toward love or passion. For instance, when Rosamond is near, he denies himself love by showing indifference to the pain he feels but the truth of his feelings can be seen:

“. . . his hands would tremble and his eye burn. He seemed to say, with his sad and resolute look . . . ‘I love you, and I know you prefer me . . . [but] my heart is already laid on . . . the fire . . . it will soon be . . . a sacrifice consumed’” (Bronte 393-394).

Consequently, a veil is placed over his heart and over his life. The veil prevents him from seeing or reaping heavenly rewards. Therefore, instead of pursuing Rosamond for his wife, he seeks Jane, whom he does not love. St. John’s proposal leaves much to be desired:

“God and nature intended you for a missionary’s wife. It is not personal, but mental endowments . . . you are formed for labor, not for love. A missionary’s wife you must – shall be. You shall be mine: I claim you – not for pleasure, but for my Sovereign’s service’ (Bronte 423).

The differences between St. John and Jane are monumental. St. John treats earthly love as a sin of the flesh. Hence, he fears love and therefore, equality. His earthly sufferings are not derived from the punishment of sin. Instead, his torment ensues through the denial of love and equality. St. John thinks it is his duty to sacrifice (Bronte 443). As a result, he labors hard and long but never reaps earthly rewards. The veil of servitude he places over himself to hinder sin bars him from love. Like Mariana his spirit is in a prison-like environment; he is alone and withdrawn from sexuality; but in contrast to Tennyson’s Mariana, his prison is of his own making.

Jane, on the other hand, is a free spirit: she asks for equality and it is granted her; she seeks love and finds Rochester. She is unyielding to the temptation to marry for a reason other than love; and she cannot settle for servitude to man because her servitude is to God. Therefore, Jane earns equality and benevolence “because [she is her] husband’s life as fully as he [is her life]” (Bronte 475). Consequently and in my opinion, Bronte’s representation of woman in the Victorian Age is more relevant than that of Butler, who merely exposes the reality of woman’s position, or Tennyson who merely pictures woman wasting away in a prison-like atmosphere, or Dickens who blames class separation for man’s guilt when he errs in judgment. Bronte, however, not only presents realities but also alternatives; she contrasts the male who is wasting away with the female; and she also treats both male and female equally regardless of their class separation. Therefore, Bronte sees and anticipates society’s position from a male’s point of view as if she is playing a game of chess. As a result, in the end she seems to say, “Checkmate”.

 

Bibliography:

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Penguin Classics. Q. D. Leavis Ed.  Penguin Books: New York. 1985.

Butler, Samuel. The Way of All Flesh. Penguin Classics. Edited by James Cochrane with an Introduction by Richard Hoggart. Penguin Books: New York. 1986.

Dickens, Charles. Great Expectations. Penguin Classics. Angus Calder Ed. Penguin Books: New York. 1985.

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord. “Mariana”. The Oxford Anthology of English Literature: Victorian Prose and Poetry. Edited by Lionel Trilling of Columbia University and Harold Bloom of Yale University. Oxford University Press: New York. 1973. 396-398.

Out of the Fog Came Life: A Stylistic Analysis of Dickens’s Bleak House

by Trudy A. Martinez

originally posted: February 17,2011 Edited to include the Perfect Ending December 16, 2015

The imagery in Bleak House reveals a revelation of possibilities that petitions both a pessimistic and an optimistic existence. The beginning is the end. The end is the beginning of judgment. The words paint a picture, a warning of a possible end, giving a pessimistic view of that city coming into judgment. The four elements: earth, water, fire, and air that frame the beginning of the earth in the Holy Bible also frame the desolate beginning of Bleak House with its possible end. The middle links the beginning and the end through the characters representative of both good and evil who guide the societal participants at all levels of existence to their destination in life or death. In the end, the ending is a new beginning, mending a separation between man and woman, joining them in both love and marriage; this scene paints an optimistic view of a promise land free from destructive imagery.

Dickens inaugurates his imagery by using a verb style hypotaxis where the ranking is done for us while the all-knowing narrator informs the reader of any judgment lest we be guilty of judging. His play on words in the hypotaxis style creates an image of the beginning of the end with all of the four elements at work. For instance, the weather issues forth the mud, symbolizing corruption, where the “foot passengers . . . slipping and sliding” in and out of their faith add “new deposits” of “crust” to the earth. The retirement of the water (a symbol of the pure at heart ascending to Heaven) is seen “hanging in the misty clouds” protected from the fog that weaves in and out, spreading corruption everywhere at all levels of society and to all its classes, while at the same time, destroying the natural elements. The pure at heart are protected from the destruction and blindness created because they are housed within the structure of a prepositional phrase “as if they were up in a balloon.” Hovering above and “Peeping” down upon a pestilence in progress (Dickens 49). The fire issues forth its aftermath: the “smoke making a soft black drizzle with flakes of “soot” raining on and “mourning . . . for the death of the sun” (Dickens 49). The air, suffering from the effects of the death of the sun, produces a “haggard and unwilling look,” forming a gaseous appearance that looms “through the fog in divers places (Dickens 49)” toward those who are deserving of God’s judgment.

Period writers arm themselves with His judgment, prophesying the coming of the bridegroom who, ridding the earth of the “Megalosarus,” a dragon simulating the devil, brings about the death of the elements. Why else would “the two speechless gazers” after “justice was done” bend “themselves down to the earth, as if in prayer” in Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles? Were they not made aware of His presence? Was it just a coincidence that Adam’s occupation was a carpenter capable of winning over the priestess Dinah presented as if she was pure and innocence in Adam Bede or was it merely that the author, George Eliot’s vision blurred? I think not! After all, the all-knowing narrator allows her to confess in the novel, hinting of her defect and her judgment before God:

“The mirror is doubtless defective: the outlines will sometimes be disturbed, the reflection faint or confused; but I feel as much bound to tell you as precisely as I can what that refection is, as if I were in the witness-box, narrating my experience on oath (174).”

Others in the same period present and depict London in a similar light, exposing situations deserving of God’s judgment, while at the same time, teaching the eye to hear as if fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah (Matthew 13:13-17) while focusing on the position of woman in society. For example, Blake’s central concern was the Infants cry, pointing to the sin of man as the reason for the Harlot’s curse we hear while he hears the Harlots (plural) curse (swear) because of the tear (separation) of the Infants tear from their rightful place. Blake teaches his reader to hear with their eyes through the transparent chiasmas he creates. Similarly, one must question whether the Harlot’s curse put upon Lady Deadlock in Bleak House is actually man’s curse for allowing and bringing about her separation from her child, Esther.

Mrs. Rouncewell announces that the sound of the Ghost’s Walk must be heard when she tells a child, “I am not sure it is dark enough yet, but listen! Can you hear the sound upon the terrace, through the music, and the beat, and everything? This sound she says, “You cannot shut it out” (Dickens 141). And then again one might ask how was the blind man in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary able to see Emma’s sin and rebuke her for it when he could only hear? Could it be he is a messenger sending forth a rebuke to all of us so that we will become aware of the writing on the wall and hear with our eyes the same beat and music being played for us by God Almighty from the break of His day? Although each instance centers in on a different aspect of woman’s existence, all communicate a need for change.

Bleak House calls to mind the sin of Eve and the need for the removal of false images before the sight of God. For instance, Esther’s aunt, her godmother, assumes the role of a god, issuing forth judgment when she says, “Your mother, Esther, is your disgrace, and you were hers” (Dickens 65). Further evidence of her role as a god is given through her paralleling herself to Christ: “I have forgiven her,” she said, “I, the sufferer” (Dickens 65). But only God in Heaven can truly forgive and Christ already paid with his life by suffering for our sins. Why then is Esther’s aunt taking on such a role? Why is Esther made to suffer at the hands of another and a woman at that?

In essence, Esther asks these questions herself when she reads the book of St. John to her aunt and exclaims, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her! (Dickens 66)” At this point, an abrupt switch from the verb style Esther reads from the Holy Bible to the noun style hypotaxis where the aunt’s role is cast within a different structure. Esther is “stopped by her godmother’s rising, putting her hand to her head, and crying out in an awful voice, from quite another part of the book . . . “ (Dickens 67). Here again, there is an abrupt change; this time to a verb style as she attempts to assume a different role, deceiving the child and freeing herself from her confinement. Unfortunately, the role she attempts to assume is that of a false god, using God’s words as her own, warning Esther of destruction: ‘ “Watch ye therefore! Lest . . . he find you sleeping” ‘(Dickens 67), and forgetting that God is an angry God and a jealous God; the aunt makes the mistake of overly extending her influence, and she unthinkingly spouts out: “And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch!” Consequently, God struck her down. He Judged her instantly.

At once, the verb style returns to a noun style when the aunt is spoken of by the naïve narrative of Esther, but the noun style works against its subject: Esther’s emotional plea to her aunt, the anaphora: I + kissed, [I] + thanked, and [I] + prayed, [I] + asked, [I] + [asked], [I] + entreated, failed because the aunt had over stepped her bounds by assuming the character of the antichrist and was, therefore, instantly judged.

Esther avoids an immediate judgment because she is still a child, investigating the choices available to her with the words of her aunt still ringing in her ears: “Pray daily that the sins of others be not visited upon your head, according to what is written” (Dickens 65). From this point, the novel becomes Esther’s bildungsroman as she moves from an unfavorable light toward a more favorable one. Just as Esther moves, the written word moves. For instance, noun style changes to a verb style, the hypotaxis style, where everything is determined for us, changes to a parataxis style where the choice is left up to us; and we are made able to link good to the bad as if administering a pill to cure its ills.

The change in Esther, just as the change in the written style of the words on the page, becomes apparent in Esther when she administers a pill to herself. Here, she stresses self-denial and a willingness to seek and discover the answers. The absence of prepositional phrases, the jailed structure that inhibits choice, highlights the change in the structure just as it highlights the change in Esther and favors her for her choice of thinking of others first:

“I don’t know how it is; I seem to be always writing about myself. I mean all the time to write about other people, and I try to think about myself as little as possible, and I am sure, when I find myself coming into the story again, I am really vexed and say, ‘Dear, dear, you tiresome little creature. I wish you wouldn’t!’ But it is all of no use (Dickens 163).”

It is of no use not speaking of Esther because speaking of Esther is the only way to reveal the methods and the formula for change and its reward or damnation. The others around her paint the picture of how things are going to be. For example, Mr. Skimpole is seen receiving his reward for his faith. The table was set for him: “There was honey on the table, and it led him into the discourses about the Bees. . . He protested against the overwhelming assumptions of bees.” The status the “busy bees” sold their souls for was given him by them. He stood firm and did not allow them to be a model. The station of the bees “was ridiculous:” a “position, to be smoked out of your fortune with brimstone” (Dickens 143).

Mr. Jarndyce guides Esther from the fire and smoke to discovery of the unknown and to her pleasure as if throwing water on her, baptizing her, and awakening her from a sleep. Esther tells us that the signs were “At first,” only “faintly discernible in the mists,” and acknowledges that “above them . . . later stars still glimmered” (Dickens 142). Is it just a coincidence that Esther is sent for and brought out of the mist “On the” very “day, after” her false image, the “poor good god mother, “the antichrist, “was buried,” and “the gentlemen in black with the white neckcloth reappeared,” announcing: “My name is Kenge . . . you may remember it, my child; Kenge and Carboy, Lincoln’s Inn?”(Dickens 67).

Does he not call to mind one holding the balances in his hand? He sure appears so on the page for Kenge first appears in the noun style and then abruptly switches to the verb style when he speaks. It stands to reason that just after Jarndyce announces “that Boythorn,” who was “the loudest boy in the world, and now the loudest man”, was coming down on a visit that he and his guests “observed the favorable omen” (Dickens 166). The opposite occurs on page 66 when the one that was, the god-MOTHER OF HARLOTS is struck down after trying to steal the thunder of the words of THE KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

We are told by Boythorn, “We have been misdirected” by “the most intolerable scoundrel on the face of the earth” (Dickens 166). Mr. Boythorn asks, “Is there anything for me from your men, Kenge and Carboy?” after he identifies Sir Leicester as Sir Lucifer and “calls attention to” the controversy of trespass., concerning “the green pathway” that Sir Leicester claims right away to but that is “now the property of Mr. Lawrence Boythorn”(Dickens 166-170). Did not he state: “No closing of my path, by any Deadlock!”

In contrast, Richard, thinking only of himself, “one of the most restless creatures in the world” takes a different route: He goes from what is considered a favorable light to an unfavorable one. Richard stresses self-love and a willingness to accept a different calling: “. . . The inclination of his childhood for the sea” (Dickens 163-164). Unlike Esther, Richard’s speech moves from a verb style to noun style. For example, Richard says: “So, cousin . . . We are never to get out of Chancery!” And the style abruptly changes to a noun style as he continues to say: “We have come by another way to our place of meeting yesterday, and – by the Great Seal, here’s the old lady again!”(Dickens 97) His choice was that of the easy way out as if he could change the direction the wind blows.

Finding that he has to work for his place, he places his confidence in the world whose outward appearance of luxury and fashion veils the inward corruption. The same becomes his religion and the High Lord Chancellor becomes his idol. This is evidenced when he confides in Esther:

“So I apprehend it’s pretty clear . . . that I shall have to work my own way. Never mind! Plenty of people have had to do that before now, and have done it. I only wish I had the command of a clipping privateer, to begin with, and could carry off the Chancellor and keep him on short allowance until he gave judgment in our cause. He’d find himself growing thin, if he didn’t look sharp! (Dickens 164)”

Hence, Richard becomes the kindling that fuels the wheels of corruption, thinking his dream of success lies just around the next turn as the wheels forever grind him further down toward his desolate destination of destruction and death. For example, his guide toward destruction, Mr. Vholes issues forth all manners of lies, eating upon Richard’s very flesh as if he were a cannibal (Dickens 605). And then again, he listened to the wrong voices when Mr. Vholes says, “A good deal is doing, sir. We have to put our shoulders to the wheel, Mr. Carstone, and the wheel is going round” (Dickens 607):

“I ought to imitate you, in fact, Mr. Vholes? Says Richard, sitting down again with an impatient laugh, and beating the Devil’s Tattoo with his boot on the patternless carpet” (Dickens 607).

In the beginning of the end, all the pestilence that was weaving through the streets in the fog was directed toward “the Lord High Chancellor” who having:

“A foggy glory round his head, softly fenced in with crimson cloth and curtains . . . outwardly directing his contemplation to the lantern in the roof, where he can see nothing but fog” (Dickens 50),

Let his house become desolate and unworthy of praise.

Quite the opposite of the Chancellor, Mr. John Jarndyce who converts his inheritance of a Bleak House left to him by his ancestors to a house of beauty by ridding the inside of its corruption of dirt with the application of a little water as if sent from God to bear witness of Truth.

Jarndyce compares the likeness of the former state of Bleak House to that city, burning in brimstone and the House built to fulfill the bridegroom’s coming, a promise, to the bride (earth). For what other reason would everyone at Bleak House view Mr. Boythorn’s coming as “the favorable omen,” confirming Jarndyce’s role as the Baptist when he says, “Now, will you come upstairs” and Boythorn answers:

“By my soul, Jarndyce, . . . if you had been married, I would have turned back at the garden-gate . . .I wouldn’t be guilty of the audacious insolence of keeping a lady [bride] of the house waiting all this time, for any earthly consideration. I would infinitely rather destroy myself – infinitely rather! (Dickens 166-168).”

The end is left for the reader to decide whether it is a new beginning or an actual judgment of earth. Jarndyce sums it up:

“I have never lost my old names, nor has he lost his; nor do I ever when he is with us, sit in any other place than in my old chair at his side. Dame Trot, Dame Durden, Little Woman! – all just the same as ever; and [Esther] answer[s], Yes, dear Guardian! Just the same . . . (Dickens 934).”

The hypotaxis style changes to a parataxis verb style on page 892, leaving the reader to interpret and to link back the participants in the society.

In Bleak House, Esther is the pill capable of curing society of its ills. Her marriage to Woodcourt is the perfect coming together: Woodcourt administers aid to the poor as a doctor. He is powerful with the capability of tolerating the poor without complaining about their disagreeable condition or any contagion they might spread.

For instance, to Joe, the doctor shows compassion; and he is gentle and patient and caring, recognizing what all the Mrs. Jellabys’ of society are too blind to ascertain: that charity begins at home, that the poor at home need the attention of the populace more than those abroad who are encroach upon with only a hope of the blind leading the blind.

Esther’s own blindness in her earlier illness reveals a sort of prophecy: “and the blind shall be made to see.” Esther is made to see. The scars on her face cannot hide the beauty within. She knows it is her duty to help others. Dickens makes it her duty to open the eyes of the public to a different attitude. Her presence exposes the ills of society.

For example, her mother marries for position, leaving love to the way side, causing her separation from her lover and from her illegitimate child, Esther. Jarndyce can be seen as a disciple, holding Ester’s hand and guiding her through society while she exposes the ills and then relinquishing her promise hand when the opportunity arises to unite her housekeeping cures with the doctor able to administer the cures necessary for the poor.

Woodcourt, her husband, remarks to her, when she looks in the mirror, that her beauty within is shining through. Esther, herself, recognizes it is not only her husband that administers an antidote to society. This reflects and emphasizes her narrative comment through the use of the uppercase “M” to express Me when she reflects the reaction of the community to her as Mrs. Woodcourt.

Esther holds the key to the housekeeping chores of society; Mr. Jarndyce gives her the key. Hence, it is only proper that with her marriage to Woodcourt, she shall come to be the housekeeper of the new Bleak House, capable of curing the ills of society.

A Sense of Justice, A Play in One Act

Posted on December 16, 2006

by Trudy A. Martinez

[Intended for a Mature Audience]

Copyright c 1996

Cast of Characters

Bertha: A young inquisitive little girl. SHE is the daughter of BOSWORTH and LINDSEY.

Bosworth: About thirty-five years old, HE is a demanding individual. Infatuated with his own image, HE secretly seeks self-satisfaction with other women. HE has an overly vivid imagination.

Lindsey: Thirty-two years old, SHE has a degree in Bio-Chemistry. Until recently, SHE worked outside the home. Now upon the urging of her husband, BOSWORTH, SHE stays home. To keep from getting bored, SHE has set up a laboratory in the basement. SHE is on the brink of a major discovery.

Meggan: A woman about fifty-five years old. SHE is recently divorced. SHE is a highly successful artist who has recently taken up sculpture as a hobby. MEGGAN lives next door to LINDSEY.

Margo: MEGGAN’s daughter. SHE is seventeen, beautiful, shapely, looking as if SHE just stepped off the cover of Playboy magazine.

Dr Haggard: BOSWORTH’s medical doctor.

Dr Null: A Doctor called in by DR HAGGARD to talk with BOSWORTH.

Scene:

The home of BOSWORTH, LINDSEY, and BERTHA.

Time:

The seventh year of BOSWORTH and LINDSEY’s marriage.

Act I Scene 1

SETTING:

We are in the cluttered make-shift laboratory located in the basement of Bosworth’s home.

AT RISE:

It is mid-afternoon. Seated on a stool is LINDSEY. Her arm is resting on a long medal table cluttered with test tubes and other instrumentation of all shapes and sizes. LINDSEY is busy working on a formula that is in a developmental stage. SHE stops momentarily to jot down the progression of her experiment in a journal. From the intercom on the wall behind the table, we hear a faint voice: “Mom, can I come down?”

LINDSEY (Cheerfully)

Yes, Honey, come on down.

(At this point, BERTHA opens the door to the basement and peeps in)

LINDSEY (Continued)

Well, are you coming down? I am anxious to hear how your day was.

(BERTHA starts to descend down the stairs, holding the banister with one hand. As she steps down each step, she intentionally hits the metal tap on her shoe against the metal casement, causing a clinking noise.)

LINDSEY (Continued)

Well, how is my talkative, little girl (LINDSEY brushes the hair away from BERTHA’s eyes)

BERTHA

Is God a man like daddy?

(BERTHA looks up at her mother)

LINDSEY (Inquisitively)

Did you discuss God in school?

BERTHA

No.

(BERTHA moves her head up and then down shyly as she speaks softly)

Julie said–her dad was–God–

(BERTHA’S voice gains intensity)

Tell me it’s not true, Mom–She said, he is God cause he’s boss–and knows everything. (BERTHA heels and toes the metal tap on her shoes on the concrete floor, making a clanking noise)

LINDSEY (Giggling slightly)

Honey, man is not a God. God is called a father–but he’s not like your dad–no arms, no legs–can’t see him–He’s just–invisible–But He is there–everywhere. Besides, men don’t know everything–just think they do.

(BERTHA looks at her mother questioningly)

LINDSEY (Continued)

We tend to let your dad–think he’s boss–don’t we?

(BERTHA nods her head. SHE is smiling)

LINDSEY (Continued)

We kind ‘a, boost his ego–make him feel in charge. Daddy likes that–We give him–benevolence.

(BERTHA dances across the room, clinking her taps, as her mother talks. SHE stops in front of the chalkboard)

BERTHA (Stammering)

What–What’s–

(BERTHA picks up a piece of chalk and attempts to write the word.  SHE prints be-no-violence)

Be–no–violence

LINDSEY (Patiently redresses) (Lindsey pronounces the word in syllables)

Be-nev-o-lence, honey. Even though you’ve spelled it wrong, you’ve got it right! Where there is benevolence there is no violence because with benevolence comes–compassion. You know–love.

BERTHA

Oh–that mushy stuff.

LINDSEY

Not exactly.

(Lights dim)

END OF SCENE 1

ACT I Scene 2 AT RISE:

Lapse of time of only one hour. We are in the kitchen of BOSWORTH’s home.

LINDSEY is preparing dinner.

BOSWORTH enters, walks over to LINDSEY and pats her on the butt. Then HE brushes her hair off her neck and begins kissing her softly while his hands wander over her body.

LINDSEY

If you want dinner, cut that out.

(Disinclined by her refusal to drop everything, BOSWORTH backs off)

LINDSEY (Continued)

(LINDSEY turns around to face BOSWORTH)

Hon, now’s not a good time. BERTHA’s–

BOSWORTH (Interrupting)

Okay, you’ve made your point. We’ll just talk.

(BOSWORTH sits down at the table and begins to tap his fingers nervously)

How’s the project going?

LINDSEY

(LINDSEY turns back around to the stove, picks up the spoon, and stirs the contents of the pot)

It’s progressing.

BOSWORTH

Did you get the kinks out of it? Are ya going to tell me what it is?

LINDSEY

Not yet. But I’m working on it–won’t be long.

(BOSWORTH rises and moves toward the stove)

LINDSEY (Continued)

(LINDSEY moves toward the counter)

You’ll be the first to know when it’s perfected–

(BOSWORTH turns and glances at LINDSEY)

LINDSEY (Continued)

(Smiling, LINDSEY adds)

I promise.

BOSWORTH

(BOSWORTH lifts the lid on one of the pans on the stove)

What’s for dinner?

(Not waiting for a response, BOSWORTH adds sarcastically)

Is this–one of your experiments?

(LINDSEY snatches the lid from his hand and slams it back on the pan)

BOSWORTH (Continued)

Don’t have to be so–so–touchy.

LINDSEY

What do you expect?

BOSWORTH (Nonchalantly)

I’m going out after dinner.

(BOSWORTH looks down, avoiding eye contact)

Have some business–

LINDSEY (Interrupting)

It’s Friday–

BOSWORTH (Interrupting loudly)

I know what day it is.

(BOSWORTH moves around the room anxiously, expressing himself with his hands)

For God’s sake, LINDSEY, give me a break.

(BOSWORTH lowers his voice and his head)

Don’t I provide for you–don’t I? Huh?

(LINDSEY is displeased by BOSWORTH’s outburst. Controlling her anger and hiding her hurt, SHE moves over to the counter and starts yanking the leaves of the lettuce from their stock)

BOSWORTH (Continued)

(Defensively)

I have a right to go out–It’s just the guys.

(BOSWORTH paces the floor)

Don’t want them calling me hen-pecked.

BOSWORTH (Continued)

(BOSWORTH stops next to the counter)

Do ya?

(BOSWORTH impatiently waits for an answer)

Well–

LINDSEY

(LINDSEY vigorously snaps the remaining leaves from their base)

Define guys–BOSWORTH

(BOSWORTH hits his fist on the counter in anger)

What do you mean by that? I’m not seeing a woman. For God’s sake–

LINDSEY (Unbelieving)

If you ever—

(LINDSEY savagely chops the lettuce for a salad, slamming the blade of the knife down hard against the chopping block)

I’ll–

BOSWORTH

(Interrupting)

You’ll what?

(LINDSEY slams the blade of the knife down with all of her might against the block)(BLACKOUT)

END OF SCENE 2

 

ACT I Scene 3

AT RISE:

The next morning. LINDSEY is sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee with MEGGAN. BOSWORTH has not returned home after going out with the guys the night before.

MEGGAN

Leave him–the pain–just not worth it.

(MEGGAN reaches over and places her hand on LINDSEY’s hand)

Life’s too short–with AIDS–you’re playing with death.

(BOSWORTH appears at the doorway. The women do not see or hear him. HE quickly hides behind the door and listens)

LINDSEY

Can I trust you with a secret?

(BOSWORTH crawls over to the cabinets. HE hides behind them, listening attentively)

MEGGAN

Course ya can.

LINDSEY

I’ve–I think–I’ve got an answer to my problem.

(BOSWORTH peeks out from behind the cabinets)

MEGGAN

Going to kill him yourself?

LINDSEY

No. Nothing like that–Something, worse than death–

(BOSWORTH retreats back behind the cabinets)

MEGGAN

Going to pull a Bobbitt?

(BOSWORTH peeps out again to see LINDSEY’S response)

LINDSEY

No. Bobbitt didn’t pull–

(LINDSEY gets up from the table)

She cut!

(BOSWORTH quickly retreats back behind the cabinet to avoid being seen)

LINDSEY (Continued)

I’ve got to show you–be right back.

(MEGGAN watches as LINDSEY exits the room)

LINDSEY (Continued)

(LINDSEY reenters the room, holding what appears to be a transparent piece of material and a huge pair of scissors)

This may solve all my problems.

MEGGAN

So–You’re going to Bob it after all.

(LINDSEY giggles)

(BOSWORTH peeps out, looking curiously stunned)

LINDSEY

No. I’m going to cut it.

(BOSWORTH sinks back behind the cabinet)

LINDSEY (Continued)

(LINDSEY waves the transparent material)

MEGGAN

What is it?

(MEGGAN reaches to feel the material)

LINDSEY

Let me demonstrate.

(BOSWORTH curiously glances out from behind the cabinet and then back again)

LINDSEY (Continued)

Make a fist.

(MEGGAN makes a fist)

(BOSWORTH peeks out to see what the two are doing)

LINDSEY (Continued)

(LINDSEY throws the transparent material up in the air like a pizza. The material drops over MEGGAN’S fist. LINDSEY wraps the material around MEGGAN’S fist)

Now–

MEGGAN

(Interrupting)

(MEGGAN touches the material next to her skin)

Feels like–like–skin.

(MEGGAN turns)

(BOSWORTH retreats quickly)

LINDSEY

Open your hand.

MEGGAN

(MEGGAN tries to open her hand)

Ouch! That stings! What the heck–is that?

(BOSWORTH quickly peeks out to see what is happening and then BOSWORTH draws his head back, disbelieving what he has heard)

LINDSEY

(LINDSEY carefully unwraps MEGGAN’s hand)

BOSWORTH wants–wants to know what I’m working on–He made out with my last discovery–not this one–It’s my ticket–and BERTHA’s. Mine, not his. If only?

MEGGAN

If only what?

LINDSEY

If only, I could figure out how to mold it–

MEGGAN

I mold things–a hobby of mine–

LINDSEY

(Laughing)

Can you mold a penis?

MEGGAN

What size?

LINDSEY

(Laughing slightly)

BOSWORTH says its–

MEGGAN  (Interrupting)

(MEGGAN stands, turns, and motions to LINDSEY to follow her)

Come. You’ve got to see my set-up.

LINDSEY (Giggling slightly)

(LINDSEY stands and begins to follow MEGGAN out the door then stops abruptly)

BERTHA’s–

MEGGAN  (Interrupting)

I’ll send MARGO over.

LINDSEY

Okay, sure–What have I got to lose?

BOSWORTH

(BOSWORTH peeps out, sees the two women leaving)

(Mumbling)

She wouldn’t!

(The door can be heard slamming shut)

BOSWORTH (Continued)

(BOSWORTH grasps his crotch and doubles over)

Ouch! Just pondering such a thought causes pain.

(BOSWORTH stands erect and proud, shrugging off all doubt of his superiority)

They’re only women. But–Nah–they don’t–they wouldn’t have the guts to–

(BOSWORTH doubles his fist and shadow boxes)

I’d–Why I’d–

(BOSWORTH stops abruptly, looks down, and pats his groin)

It’s alright, big guy. I’ll protect you–no woman’s going to get the best of us–

(MARGO enters unannounced. Not noticing BOSWORTH, SHE struts seductively across the kitchen, drying her hair with a towel as SHE walks)

BOSWORTH (Continued)

(BOSWORTH suddenly grasps his groin and yelps)

OW-Ah!

MARGO

(Startled, MARGO stops and swings around to find BOSWORTH dancing around the floor in pain with his back to her)

I thought no one was home. Did you hurt yourself?

(MARGO retreats under her towel)

Are you okay?

(BOSWORTH, keeping his back to her, nods his head to signify he’s okay)

MARGO (Continued)

Are you okay?

BOSWORTH (Stammering)

I–I just hit my crazy bone.

(Irritated)

I’ll be fine–just a crazy bone.

MARGO

Mom asked me to come–Have to watch BERTHA.

(MARGO lifts her towel and peeps out)

BOSWORTH

(BOSWORTH points to the door leading to the other part of the house)

(Impatiently)

Please–go–watch BERTHA.

(MARGO continues drying her hair with the towel as SHE walks across the kitchen toward the hallway)

(BOSWORTH sneaks a peek at her. BOSWORTH doubles over again, moaning and grasping HIS groin)

Oh–My crazy bone.

(BLACKOUT)

END OF SCENE 3

 

ACT I

Scene 4

AT RISE:

Three months have passed. It is mid-morning. We are in DR HAGGARD’S office. BOSWORTH is seated on the edge of a gurney. HE is dressed in a hospital gown. BOSWORTH has a worried look on his face when DR HAGGARD enters the room.

DR HAGGARD

(Holding the test results in his hand, DR HAGGARD shakes his head)

The tests–they’re negative.

(DR HAGGARD shrugs HIS shoulders)

The examination shows nothing. The tests show nothing. Your symptoms–Well, your symptoms are unheard of–

(BOSWORTH shrugs his shoulders in disbelief)

DR HAGGARD (Continued)

I don’t know what to say. This is very strange.

(DR HAGGARD scratches his head)

Perhaps–

(DR HAGGARD mumbles to himself)

Definitely–

(DR HAGGARD regains his composure)

DR NULL may be able to help you. I don’t see what else I can do.

BOSWORTH

I’m not crazy–

DR HAGGARD

I didn’t say: crazy. I–it might help to talk with DR NULL. He’s a friend of mine. He just happens to be in the next room anxiously waiting for me to take him to lunch. By the way, how does your wife react to your situation?

BOSWORTH

She doesn’t know.

DR HAGGARD

How can she not know?

BOSWORTH

Avoid her. You know–make excuses–pretend sleep–

DR HAGGARD (Interrupting)

I really think I should see if NULL will speak with you–May I?

(Places his hand on the door knob)

(BOSWORTH looks at DR HAGGARD with a baffling expression. BOSWORTH nods his head)

(DR HAGGARD leaves the room)

(BOSWORTH sits, impatiently)

DR HAGGARD (Continued)

(DR HAGGARD returns to the room)

He’s offered to speak with you free of charge. May I ask him in?

BOSWORTH

Damn! Go ahead, let him in. Let’s get this over with.

(DR HAGGARD opens the door and invites NULL to join them. NULL extends his hand to BOSWORTH and then pats BOSWORTH on the shoulder)

DR NULL

Your Doctor tells me–ah–your case may be of interest to me. I have offered my services free of charge out of courtesy to HAGGARD. I am anxious to hear–perhaps–

DR HAGGARD (Interrupting)

I found no medical reason. BOSWORTH is in perfect health–physically fit. No medical reason what-so-ever. Just look at him–a perfect specimen.

(BOSWORTH lies down on the gurney)

DR NULL

Tell me about it.

BOSWORTH

Heard of Pavlov?

DR NULL

Ivan Pavlov, the physiologist?

BOSWORTH

Yeah, that’s the one. Well, I feel like one of his lab animals.

DR NULL

How so?

BOSWORTH

It all started a few months back–

DR NULL (Interrupting by clearing his throat)

Yes, go on.

BOSWORTH

I went to this party–see–you know the kind–lots of women, all shapes, color, and–oh what beauties. I left my wife at home, of course. You know–sometimes I just–Not anymore–I can’t stand to look at a woman–not even my wife. If I do–Oh the pain–

(BOSWORTH holds both of his hands over his groin and moans)

I had a lot to drink–I was feeling good–not drunk–just feeling good.

DR NULL

Pain–you experienced pain? When–when you looked at a woman at this party?

BOSWORTH  (Irritably)

No–not then–

DR NULL

Did you sleep with a woman at this party?

BOSWORTH (excitedly)

Yeah. She was a knock-out! I stayed the night.

DR NULL

When you woke up–

BOSWORTH  (Interrupting)

No–much later. I went home. My wife was upset with me for being out all night. You know how women are–don’t understand–it’s not the same for them.

(Shaking his head back and forth)

She just doesn’t understand. We drank some coffee. Tried to talk to her–but I was just out of it–not much sleep the night before. You know. So, I went to bed. Later, when I woke up –tried to make up to her. She turned me on. Then, the pain. OH! It even hurts to think about it–

DR NULL (Interrupting)

It hurts now? Is it a shooting pain? What–

BOSWORTH (Interrupting)

She says she can’t live without sex. I’m–I might as well be impotent! I keep telling her–I’ll never–I can’t tell her I can’t! That would be unheard of. It’s a–

DR NULL  (Interrupting)

Sharp cessation? Do you feel guilty about that night?

BOSWORTH

Yeah–sharp. Guilty–no! Why? Should I feel guilty?

DR NULL

How has your wife been feeling lately?

(DR NULL looks over at DR HAGGARD)

BOSWORTH

She’s high spirited. She’s working on some special project in our basement–won’t tell me what–says I’ll be the first to know when it’s perfected. But I overheard her!–and her friend! They were plotting. You’ll never believe what–Doc, it’s perfected–it’s perfected right around my–

(BOSWORTH attempts to get up. His hands are cupped over his penis)

(DR HAGGARD gets up and walks over to BOSWORTH)

DR HAGGARD  (Interrupting)

Lie still. Everything is normal–It’s your skin. I did a skin test–it is skin.

(NULL shakes his head in disbelief)

BOSWORTH

You don’t know my wife! She’s a genius! She’s found some way to fool even you–

(Pointing to his penis)

Its there–She’s put some invisible stuff on my penis–

DR HAGGARD

(HAGGARD picks up the phone)

What’s your number?

BOSWORTH

You’re not calling my wife–

DR HAGGARD  (Interrupting)

Have to–to get to the bottom of this.

BOSWORTH

Damn! No other way?

(DR HAGGARD and DR NULL both shake their heads)

BOSWORTH (Continued)

Well, if you have to–996-9696.

(DR HAGGARD dials the number. HE puts the telephone on intercom so the conversation can be heard by all present. The phone rings, rings, and rings. Then the recorder comes on)

RECORDER

Hun, if this is you–have to tell you–it’s perfected–

BOSWORTH

(BOSWORTH talks sadly while the recorded message still plays)

I know–I know–It’s perfected–right around my–Big Guy. You’re shrinking–

RECORDER

Told you–you’d be the first to know. I won–I won–We’re going to be millionaires!

BOSWORTH

(BOSWORTH still talking sadly while the recorded message plays on)

–Big Guy–Yeah–It’s perfected. I’m your lab-rat–Big Guys shrinking.

(BOSWORTH sobs)

He’s getting little!

RECORDER

I won the Hilary Award: One Whack Your Out–Silent without Violence Award!  Hilary’s going to arrange some private testing–on one particular sex offender. If it works on her subject, she’ll finally be able to rid the White House of all the wild flowers that keep popping up.

BOSWORTH

(BOSWORTH still sadly talking while the recorded message plays on)

One- whack. Lab-rat.

RECORDER

They say–it’ll save the government millions, lowering the hotel bills. Testing going to be done on sex offender’s–they’ll lose their desire! OH, Hon, isn’t it great–isn’t it great-

(BLACKOUT)

END OF PLAY