Frank Wedekind’s Spring Awakening and Ian McEwan’s Atonement examine the notion that those who abuse power do so for personal gain. Through the use of themes such as: Power in sexuality, including notions of submission and dominance. Coming of age, regarding how children either don’t want to grow up, or contrastingly grow up too quickly. The power dichotomy between parents and children, contrasting children oppressed by their parents to those who act as a parental figure, and the use of guilt to disempower or empower. While examining these themes both authors use a plethora of literary techniques, in order to emphases their own views on the topic of distorted power.
Power in sexuality is a concurrent theme in Wedekind’s Spring Awakening…show more content…
Additionally, when Melchior yells, “There’s no such thing as love! It’s all self, all ego”, he is using his knowledge of Freud and his Nihilist view on society to disempower Wendla, causing her to question her innocent views of love. McEwan utilises intertextuality to Nabokov’s Lolita, to support the power imbalance in the relationship between Paul Marshall and Lola Quincy. Lola’s name is a direct reference to Lolita which subsequently foreshadows her eventual rape, and the virulent relationship created between the two dichotomous characters. Both Paul and Melchior use their superior knowledge or age to disempower more innocent characters in their respective texts. Whereas, Robbie contrastingly, empowers Cecilia with his words.
Both texts are a bildungsroman, dealing with the power acquisition often attributed to coming of age in an oppressive and infantilising society. In Spring Awakening, Wendla’s body has outgrown her mind, mentioning that underneath her “sackcloth… [she’ll] be dressed like a fairy queen” a symbolic act that highlights Wendla’s innocence, juxtaposed against the harsh, scratchy imagery associated with a sackcloth, that represents her mature physical-self. However, due to the rigid structure of her family, Wendla was bereaved from the power often paired with this process of maturing. In Atonement, the most blatant example of Briony’s “coming of age” is her lack of development between Part One and Part Four. Briony obsessing over fairy tales,