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The Politics of Reticence and Paralysis

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  1. Introduction
  2. The conceit of social alienation
    1. Connell's main character
  3. Bridge: Alienated from the person that she
  4. The unhappiness
  5. Wade's failed political career
  6. Kathy's relationship with Tony Carbo
  7. Georgie's portrayal as acting decisively
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

Why are we sometimes unable to speak to others? In our societies, why are we sometimes unable to communicate ? or, communicate truthfully or effectively? We are thrown into cities, let's say, teeming with unimportant people, blank faces, uncaring, hurrying, where sounds of movement and presence drown out sounds of communication ? speech, dialogue, laughter. Perhaps we ride an elevator, one in a group who stares at ascending numbers, or likewise on the bus, we stare forward, conscious of the tension of silence.

[...] In an interesting scene, the two characters, Tony and Kathy, seem to be talking around John Wade, despite the fact that he should be the center of attention. Wade really has little to nothing to say. Kathy goes on to claim, just wish you'd let [John] say things' (O'Brien, 163). Consider the following exchange between the three characters: ?Which things are these? Which things would the candidate care to say?' [Tony asked] ?Issues,' [Wade] said. big deal.' ?Explain,' Tony said. [...]

[...] Bridge, in that both respective couples (or perhaps, simply, the respective main characters) are conscious of some deficiency in their relationships and their lives, but do nothing about it. Each character seems to be in the midst of a situation where they are placed alongside a person (Wade's wife Kathy) or persons (Bridge's husband and children) who seem to be less people, but objects. O'Brien's John Wade, like Mrs. Bridge, cannot or will not communicate the disappointing points of his relationship, nor can he voice his general, broad sadness. [...]

[...] Only later, when Wade truly is lost/loses himself in the Lake of the Woods, is he willing or able to communicate, and admit his lies: was responsible for the misery in their lives, the . manipulations of truth that had substituted for simple love. ?Well Kath?' he said. Later he said, ?Well?' His tone was intimate, open to conversation, but nothing returned to (O'Brien 283). Ultimately, Wade's private flaw is that he did not take the appropriate action toward his salvation and happiness truth and honesty with his (supposedly) closest companion. [...]

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