Harp in the South

Decent Essays
Question/Topic: Writers position their readers to react a particular way to their characters. How has Ruth Park position her readers, The Harp in the South, to feel about three protagonists from her text?
The Harp in the South written by Ruth Park tells the narrative of a Catholic Irish Australian family living in the Sydney suburb of Surry Hills during the 1940s. Through the characterization of Roie, Miss. Sheily and Tommy Mendel, Park positions the reader to feel a range of emotions from admiration to anger, as they endure the love, poverty and deception in a place where many fall a victim to circumstances beyond their control.
Roie Darcy desires nothing more than the “security and contentment of love”(pg 70) and throughout the novel,
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Park also positions the reader to feel a range of emotions towards Tommy Mendel through his deception.
Tommy Mendel is an inarticulate character built purely on deception and Park positions the readers to feel anger and resentment towards him for his duplicity. He sees Roie as nothing more than an opportunity to fulfil his wish to boast to his friends as he is no longer a virgin and he wants an “experience” (pg. 50) from her. It becomes evident that he is not humanely considerate of her and merely uses her desire to be loved against her through deception. The readers are positioned to feel an immense hatred towards Tommy’s actions. He ‘guilts’ Roie into having sex with him even though he is aware that he is not in love with her but his selfishness motivates him and guides his actions. When he leaves Roie he does not “feel any desire for her” pg (104) and tells her that he would not be around as often. The readers feel a mix of outrage and disgust that he took advantage of Roie and her nativity, positioned to dislike him and his scheming nature through his lies and dishonesty which upset the lives of others.
Through the characters of Roie, Miss.Sheily and Tommy Mendel in the The Harp in
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