Monday, 22 July 2013

Write a note of symbolism in The Ox



      Symbolism implies a deeper sense, underneath a plain external account. The writer achieves manifold purposes by using symbols. It helps to build up the theme according to the complexity of the subject. The Ox’ symbolizes the beast of burden and in the short story The Ox’, it symbolizes the painstaking life of Mrs Thurlow.
From the very beginning of the short story the author has not failed to show the analogue of the ox in Mrs Thurlow’s physical feature--- she had a bulky and rather robust body, with her flat, heavy feet, that ‘pounded painfully’ along ‘under mud-stained skirts’. Her face and body looked unseemly with her lumpy angle of bone. She is appeared as ‘a beast of burden’. Moreover, when she works in the field-to plant and pick potatoes and peas, to dig for cabbages and roots, she pinned up her skirt on the back that seemed to be ‘a thick stiff, tail’. She appears like ‘some bonny ox. Mrs Thurlow has a bicycle which is never ridden. It remains always well-loaded, and she walks beside it like an ox. Her relation to this cycle reminds the relation of an ox to cart.
      She is nothing exceptional or remarkable. She is very poor and her life is one of her struggle and ceaselessly drudgery. Though not a beast she had the living of a beast. Like an ox she works steadily and meticulously. Despite the strain of her daily duty she does her work punctually, seriously and devotedly. She labours continuously, unquestioningly and rather selflessly. She has to bear hardship and pain and that she does with the temperament of an ox.
      Mrs Thurlow is basically a rational being. She has her hope and aspiration. She plans for her two boys. She stores money for their better future. From this point she is a caring mother. she tries heart and soul to fulfill her dream. She wants eagerly to raise her humble saving of 54 pounds and to one hundred pounds.
      Mrs Thurlow inspite of her little emotional ambition has an impassivity. Money appears more valuable than the life of Mr. Thurlow  who was arrested and died in prison and her lost money could not be restored. The two boys for whom she builds up a dream is totally collapsed when they deny to come back. Mrs. Thurlow endows that also and carries on her daily drudgery steadily and stolidly almost of the manner of an unresponsive, irrational animal, like an ox.
      The very site of Mrs. Thurlow’s house exposed to the rough wind and isolated from the surrounding landscape has a symbolic reference to her hard life. Her husband symbolizes callous and her sons stand for unsympathetic attitude. Her hard-earned saving stands for her little ambition and the loss of the saving indicates the desolation of her future. Moreover, at the final end of the story the slow-puncturing of the cycle indicates the puncturing the Mrs Thurlow’s dream. Finally the pumping of the cycle symbolizes Mrs Thurlow vain attempt to lead the live properly.
      The symbolic turns of the story are simple and there is little of the psychological complexity of character of Mrs Thurlow.

Q4. How does Bates in his story The Ox show obsession with pain?
‘The Ox’ illustrates not only these qualities of style and writer’s attitude, but also a characteristic theme—what Henry Miller calls in his Preface to an excellent selection of Bates’s stories, Seven by Five (1963), ‘an obsession with pain. Pain stretched to breaking point, pain prolonged beyond all seeming endurance’—yet not, by any means, beyond the bounds of possibility. One of H. E. Bates’s great strengths is to show a manly and unsentimental pity for those that suffer alone.

From the very beginning of the short story the author has not failed to show the analogue of the ox in Mrs Thurlow’s physical feature--- she had a bulky and rather robust body, with her flat, heavy feet, that ‘pounded painfully’ along ‘under mud-stained skirts’. Her face and body looked unseemly with her lumpy angle of bone. She is appeared as ‘a beast of burden’. Moreover, when she works in the field-to plant and pick potatoes and peas, to dig for cabbages and roots, she pinned up her skirt on the back that seemed to be ‘a thick stiff, tail’. She appears like ‘some bonny ox. Mrs Thurlow has a bicycle which is never ridden. It remains always well-loaded, and she walks beside it like an ox. Her relation to this cycle reminds the relation of an ox to cart.
      She is nothing exceptional or remarkable. She is very poor and her life is one of her struggle and ceaselessly drudgery. Though not a beast she had the living of a beast. Like an ox she works steadily and meticulously. Despite the strain of her daily duty she does her work punctually, seriously and devotedly. She labours continuously, unquestioningly and rather selflessly. She has to bear hardship and pain and that she does with the temperament of an ox.
      Mrs Thurlow is basically a rational being. She has her hope and aspiration. She plans for her two boys. She stores money for their better future. From this point she is a caring mother. she tries heart and soul to fulfill her dream. She wants eagerly to raise her humble saving of 54 pounds and to one hundred pounds.
      Mrs Thurlow inspite of her little emotional ambition has an impassivity. Money appears more valuable than the life of Mr. Thurlow  who was arrested and died in prison and her lost money could not be restored. The two boys for whom she builds up a dream is totally collapsed when they deny to come back. Mrs. Thurlow endows that also and carries on her daily drudgery steadily and stolidly almost of the manner of an unresponsive, irrational animal, like an ox.

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