Lately, in Literature, we’ve been analysing the story “The Prison”, by Bernard Malamud, from Stories of Ourselves. This is a presentation with the analyzation from it, but it had been made by the students of Senior 2 p, so we don’t know if it is complete…
This presentation, unfortunately, is incomplete, but… What is missing?
When Tony sees, for the first time, the girl stealing, he wanted to grab her by the neck, punish her and clarify she was a thief. Nevertheless, he wants to punish her, his thoughts can’t go outside of his head, therefore he couldn’t act. Although, within this you can assume that, anyway, the girl will be ending like that. Hence, the same what he willed to do, it was done by Rosa at the end.
The theory of determinism, in this story, can be identified with Tony, on account that he didn’t/couldn’t take his own decisions because he couldn’t act upon thoughts. He was always doubting about if what he thought was right. Also, he was locked in his past, he couldn’t forget what he had done wrong before. He considered that destiny was written, and it is demonstrated when he beats off to Texas, to avoid marrying Rosa, he came back and marries her anyway. All in all, he couldn’t control his actions and thoughts in his own life.
👉🏼 Rite of Passage:
Nevertheless, the theory of rite of passage is not totally complete, this story represents its first 3 elements. First, his unattainable object of desire; He wanted to ‘help’ the girl, and save from not becoming a ‘thief’, although the problem is his. Second, he breaks down the authoritie’s law 3 times; He ran out to Texas, although his relatives wanted him to marry Rosa; He bought the slot machine with money Rosa wasn’t aware of, although Rosa’s father didn’t want it and, what is more, he did not know that they were illegal; Finally, he hit Rosa as she was punishing the little girl. And, thirdly, he dared/constructs his identity; as soon as he noticed the girl robbing, he rationalised that she was going to have a miserable and tragic life, equal to his. So, he decided to construct a purpose, an interesting issue for his tedious life: to ‘help’ the girl and liberate her from a horrible life.
Determinism: every event is always previously determined by a preceding cause. Everyone has a destiny that has been already ‘written’.
Tony’s/Tommy’s Determinism: his marriage is arranged, his name is changed and his job is decided, although he didn’t want. So, he goes to Texas, but when he comes back, his hole plan fails.