Dione Joseph Essay

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Assignment 2: Discuss the theme of entrapment and desire for freedom in the Bird in the House by Margaret Lawrence

Margaret Laurence’s A Bird in the House, is a collection of short stories that chronicles a young girl’s journey from the innocence of childhood to the experience of adulthood. The daunting world of knowledge, pain, turmoil, injustice and cruelty is revealed by slow degrees to finally unveil existence as we know it. Existences that we willingly embrace yet are simultaneously repelled by. A number of themes and sub themes are established in the novel, but perhaps the most prominent is the theme of entrapment and the desire for freedom.
Physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually we are all bound by
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The house imparts a hardness to its maker galvanizing him with an impenetrable surface. The house can never be a home, it is a monument; a gravestone for its maker, defining him and entrapping him. Grandfather Connor is incapable of showing any emotion, any kindness, any sense of understanding. Only for a brief instant at his wife’s death does his facade crack but almost immediately it resumes the “carved” nature his family knew so well. Vanessa tells the reader “Grandfather Connor would walk around the Brick house as though it were a cage” . It is a cage because he has made it so. “From his cave the angry crunching against the cement floor would reverberate. His primal passion is conveyed through the use of words like cave and bear yet the reader is reminded that the brick House was one of the first of it’s kind and a symbol of modernity.

Nobody can survive in the brick house; people either die or move away.

Aunt Edna marries Wes and moves away but she hesitates. The world outside is almost daunting to her after years of bondage. The brick house has imparted some of its hardness to her but it’s a facade. Beth doesn’t desire freedom. Vanessa and Roddie will get out. Beth had her freedom ‘when Ewen was alive’ that could never be taken away from her.
“It’s like battling your head against a brick wall. He’d get his way in the end. He always does.” The Brick house like Grandfather Connor is immovable. But Grandfather Connor

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