Although it is not very well known in the United States, BBC-produced Doctor Who is one of my absolute favorite television shows. The sci-fi program, which has been running on and off TV since the 1960s, centers on the Doctor and his time-travelling adventures through space. One of the reoccurring themes of the most recent series is alienation and loneliness, as the Doctor is the last surviving member of his species. The Doctor is also continually left alone due to his long life and amazing intelligence. As I finished the most recent series of the show, the Doctor reminded me of this course’s overall theme of alienation. In particular, the Doctor most reminded me of the first character we encountered in class: Prospero from The Tempest. Although these two characters are quite different, they are separated from everyone by their intelligence.
Prospero ‘s duties as duke were largely ignored because “I, thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicated/
To closeness, and the bettering of my mind.” (Act I.ii) Prospero shirks his duties in order to learn, which leads to his exile. However, without his learnings, he would not have been able to earn his dukedom back. Nonetheless, he is still set apart from his subjects and his peers. The Doctor’s abilities also segregate him from everyone around him, as he describes that “I can feel it. The turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at 1,000 miles an hour and the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour, and I can feel it. We’re falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go… That’s who I am.” (1.1, Rose). Although this isn’t book learning, the Doctor’s senses are constantly overloaded. Since he is the last of his species, there is no one he can rely on for comfort, or even conversation about the experience – he is on his own, just like Prospero.
Prospero and the Doctor have very wide fundamental differences – the Doctor is vehemently anti-slavery, for one – but they are still completely alienated. Luckily for Prospero, his intelligence is able to win him back is dukedom. As for the Doctor, we will hopefully have many more years to come to see how he turns out!
Very similar to the literature that we have been reading all semester long, one very evident theme present in “After Dark” is alienation. I think that alienation is present in all characters that have so far been introduced, but especially in the main character, Mari. Mari is introduced in the novel by sitting in a Denny’s by herself late at night, reading a book. She is concentrating very hard on reading her book, completely ignoring the environment around her. I think there is something to Mari’s character, as to why she seems to prefer to be alone. It seems that any time she gets other people through the course of the story, she looks for a way to get away as soon as possible. An example of this is when Mari and Kaoru are looking for some time to pass, and Kaoru takes Mari to a bar. Kaoru says “I could really use a nice cold beer. How about you?” Mari replies, “I can’t drink.” Kaoru then says, “So have some juice or something. What the hell, you’ve gotta be someplace killing time till morning” (Murakami, 65). When the two are on their way to the bar, Mari seems a little reluctant to go, but she eventually warms up to Kaoru and starts talking once they order their drinks. I do not completely know why Mari has the tendency to prefer to be alone, but I think that answer will come once we have read the book in its entirety.
While reading this novel, I first found it interesting that the entire story took place in one night. I can not recall reading any novel that took place over one night or day, likewise. I found this sort of significant to why the author made the novel occur this way. As I read further, I discovered alienation to be a theme of the novel by seeing the issue between Eri and Mari. We see the novel taking place as part in reality and in part, the dream. It opens up with Mari spending her night reading in a Denny’s restaurant. There she meets a few individuals, including Takahashi (who we get an idea from at the end that Mari is involved with romantically) and the story falls into play. Alienation occurs as the eerie dream unravels with their hopefulness to reach dawn as they are “trapped” in the darkness and we learn of Eri and Mari’s relationship problem.
Alienation is also found between the two sisters, Eri and Mari. Eri is the beautiful sister, a model since a very young age, and who their parents see as the “better” sister. On the other hand, Mari can be seen as the intelligent sister, the bookworm, not so beautiful but has plenty of brains. One of them struggles under the pressure of being perfect, whilst the other suffers from lack of attention. Both problems persist with the sisters, without one of the other realizing each other’s problem. Hence, they become alienated from one another. Takahashi, who knows both Eri and Mari, provides the bridge between the two girls. He listens to Mari slowly but surely opening up about her and her sister’s complicated intertwined relationship. Both believe the life of the other to be easier; Eri thinks Mari has it easy because she has no pressure on her, and Mari believes Eri has a simpler life because she is perfect. Takahashi tries to dismiss the alienation between the two at the end of the novel by helping Mari to make the first move to reconcile herself with Eri. We can see Takahashi as the “hero” of the novel, well the relationship between the two sisters (a main concern of the novel) by helping them to get their relationship back on the right track.
Although there are many themes in An Enemy of the People, the one that was most prevalent to me was the issue of family loyalty vs. morality and it’s role of alienation in a community.
Dr. Stockmann is left with a difficult choice of letting the people know about the contaminations of the baths or keeping it hidden in effort to protect his job, family, and reputation. At a time when the idea of bacteria wasn’t very accepted, Dr. Stockmann decides to stay loyal to his findings and tell the people that the baths are contaminated. After he tells the town, they declare him an enemy of the people.
Once declared an enemy, Dr. Stockmann is alienated from their town, as well as the rest of his family and Horster. The children get kicked out of school, Dr. Stockmann loses his job, and Horster is fired from his job as captain of a ship. Even though Dr. Stockmann did what was morally just in his point of view, the town sees that he is an enemy. His brother, Peter, only adds to the furry by siding with the public due to the fact that Dr. Stockmann has gone against family loyalty and the baths without evident “proof”. Dr. Stockmann is alienated from his community due to the fact that everyone around him has similar ideals to his brother in saying, “We dared not do otherwise on account of public opinion.” (Act 5). To me, An Enemy of the People shows how the issue between family loyalty and doing what’s right don’t always lead to the same resolution. This play teaches a valuable lesson of standing up for what you believe in, regardless of circumstance.