There is a common theme of culture clash in the three narratives of `A Horse and Two Goats,' 'Trifle' and `Parker's Back.' Culture clash arises when people with different cultural values interact, hence creating a situation whereby the characters in the narrative disagree, helping the author to create the themes of the narrative, and also towards creating the characters in the narrative. Through culture clashes, the possibility of the author putting their points across, and the major themes of their works is made possible. Culture clashes are also important in helping the readers to identify with the characters in the narratives since literature is written to relate the issues that are captured in the works with the issues in contemporary society.
In `Parker's Back,' there are instances of culture clash, with the main character chosen for this purpose being Parker. Parker regrets ever marrying his wife, and the only reason why he puts up with her is because of the pregnancy that she is carrying. The two are opposites in behaviors and attitudes towards life. Therefore their marriage is filled with instances whereby the two are in arguments due to their different views of life. While Sarah is a religious woman, she is married to a man who pays no mind to religion; therefore, their outlooks to life differ in many instances.
Their differences are seen from the first time that they meet, with Sarah reprimanding him for using obscenities when he pretends to be hurt, and this shows the difference in the two's values in life. Additionally, Sarah does not approve of his lifestyle, especially his tattoos, which she views as evil and unnecessary. Yet, Parker still manages to convince her to love him and marry him and carry his child (O’Connor, 1). Maybe the author wanted to show that while people may hold different opinions in life, love knows no boundaries and will always prevail over the things that people hold dear in life, such as their value systems or the religious views that they hold on to dearly. It is also the author's intention to show that when people pull in different directions in life settle in marriage, they will end up in disagreement, unhappiness, and separation of their marriages may be inevitable.
In `A Horse and Two Goats,' there is also a theme of cultural clash, whereby Muni and the American are used to show the existence of differences in their lifestyles and economic backgrounds. Muni is poor and therefore does not have access to the basic needs of his life, which his counterpart the American enjoys (Narayan and Blair, 1). The two men come from different areas, that is, the East and the West, and therefore, they have different cultures that they have grown accustomed to. It is through this narrative that the author shows the differences in thinking for the cultures that one is in. Muni's poor, rural background has led him to accept his fate in life.
On the other hand, the American's urban background and the education he received help in providing him with the ability to have positivity to be able to fight the situations that he faces in his life. Therefore, despite his affluence, he had a never-settling attitude that helped him in bouncing back from the setbacks that he experienced in his life. It is also through the story that the cultural issue of communication is seen, with the men discussing their lives to the other, who does not understand their language (Narayan and Blair, 1). In the end, both men achieve their goals without having been understood by their counterparts.
`Trifles' on the other hand, addresses the cultural differences in the communication between men and women in society. The widely-held belief in many societies is that men are superior to women in society and therefore need to be listened to, without the need to listen to women. Therefore, the cultural beliefs and practices that the people in the society depicted by the play shows that there are differences in the way that we communicate in the society, and the differences bring about the possibility of the people in the narrative to clash, and in the case of this narrative, bring about fatalities to some characters (Glaspell, 1). Minnie is isolated from the rest of society by her husband, and this plays an active role in her decision to kill her husband.
Additionally, the different perceptions held by different people in society also play a role in the clash that occurs, leading to the murder committed by Minnie. Mr. Wright views the canary, which his wife keeps as an idiotic pet and therefore kills it. On the other hand, Minnie views the bird as a representative of herself since it represents her past singing days. She is angry when her husband kills her bird and is led to the point of murdering her husband.
Glaspell, Susan. Trifles: A play in one act. Baker's Plays, 2010.
Narayan, Rasipuram Krishnaswamy, and David Blair. A horse and two goats. New York: Viking Press, 1970.
O'Connor, Flannery. Parker's Back. Esquire, 1965.
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