Protest art Art- Art as well as Protest Your First Name Your Last Name Date Submitted Protest art Art- Art as well as Protest Protest against established forms of authority can arise out of many reasons. Resentment is likely to build up as a result of marginalization within a certain community or oppression from a power that is not a part of one’s own community…
Protest can be a way of registering one’s lack of interest in being a part of a community or in a particular occupation. Over the centuries, protest has been one of the most potent methods that have enabled change in the social formations that exist in the world. The forms of oppression that were based on race, caste and class were always countered through methods of protest that were based on the participation of people in mass movements that were also backed by representations of the marginalized in art. Protest against forms of oppression was also done on an ideological basis in works that satirized certain belief systems that gave sanction to such forms of oppression. The role of art and the works of literature that are under discussion in this paper, in the success of these protests has always been a great one since they are able to change the perceptions of forms of oppression and the social structures that support them in the society. Such changes in public perceptions are necessary since they enable legislation that is another important method of countering oppression. Most protests and art that protests against injustice seek to enable legislation and reverse the movements that subjugate certain sections of the society through ideology and sometimes even through the use of brute physical force. The works of fiction that are under discussion in this paper serve to bring such issues into the limelight. Tim O’Brien’s recreation of the horrors of the Vietnam War and the My Lai massacre that led to the killing of many Vietnamese civilians, In the Lake of the Woods is the story of how the ghosts of John Wade’s past return to haunt him. The disappearance of John’s wife, Kathy Wade, and the subsequent search for her is what forms the major part of the novel. The novel uses this story not as the major part of it but as a setting to explore the effects of the Vietnam War upon the American soldiers who were guilty of perpetrating violence upon the Vietnamese people. There is a suggestion in the novel that John’s wife may have been murdered. One of the suspects of the murder is John and this suspicion is heightened by the suspicion that one of the characters in the novel, Patricia, has regarding the character of John. The importance of this suspicion lies in the fact that it reveals the inhumane nature that is repressed by John for a large part of the novel during which he attempts to appear respectable for the sake of his political career. This represses side of his breaks loose during the day that his wife goes missing, when he pours boiling water over the plants in his house with the chant, “kill Jesus” (O’Brien, 1995). In the larger context of the novel, one may look upon this episode in conjunction with another, the thoughts of the young John Wade during the funeral of his father, What John felt that night, and for many nights afterward, was the desire to kill. At the funeral he wanted to kill everybody who was crying and everybody who wasn't. He wanted to take a hammer and crawl into the casket and kill his father for dying. But he was helpless. He didn't know where to start. (O’Brien, 1995) This, along with another quote in the text, an observation by the narrator-“There is no such thing as 'getting used to combat'...Each moment of combat imposes a strain so great that men will break down ...
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