Presented by Ndèye Khary SENE
The British literature in the 20th century is marked by a wave of anti-conformist writers who adopt a different style in their writings. In effect, after the two world wars, many illusions disappear and the literary field is where people’s concerns are much illustrated. Among others, drama is aliterary genre that underlines many trends in relation to the period and people’s concerns. It is in this sense that, in the 1950s, a tendency in theatre begins and constitutes the contemporary British drama. Actually, that period witnesses a realism that is manifested in a faithful representation of the society after the war. Disillusionment and disenchantment inhabit people, mainlyintellectuals. A group of young dramatists, known as the “angry young men” commit themselves to depict the social reality of their society after the war and all the problems that derive from it. Arnold Wesker is one of them. Wesker is politically committed, and alongside with his political orientation, people’s aspirations and preoccupations are deeply present in his dramatic production.
In fact,Wesker’s works encompass an ideology of subverting traditional norms in the thematic as well as in the formal aspects. It is then relevant to stress on the images he uses to convey his message. In this present study, we intend to survey the imagery in Wesker’s drama by focussing, in the first part, on the major images that can be found in almost all his plays. In the second stance, we will focus some ofthe dramatic techniques that highlight Wesker’s use of images.
The British drama after the two world wars had been particularly influenced by the social changes after the wars, as well as the political situation of Britain in the 1950s, which is highlighted by the collapse of British imperialism. Adding to that are the effects of technological progresses and the growing of urbanisationthat help shape the society into classes: the capitalist world and the working-class branch. That change in theatre is conducted by playwrights such as Wesker whose goals and interests are directed to naturalistic representation of the working-class people. It is in this sense that we can analyse his employ of some significant images drawn on to suggest his point.
In his Trilogy, as well as inThe Kitchen and Chips, Arnold Wesker uses a various images or symbols to meet his ideology. We can focus, on some. In the Trilogy, the plays follow the same story, referring as a description of imagery people and events, which is written or told in order to entertain. However the plots or the connected series of events which make up the story are different. In fact, Chicken Soup portrays thedisenchantment of British anti-fascists after the Hungarian debacle of 1956. Roots makes clear the need to suppress the artificial divided line between urban and rural workers and Jerusalem reveals the failure of an attempted Utopian dream in an materialistic society.
But, albeit that division they share some symbolic descriptions. One of the most recurring one is cooking. Food is almostpresent in our concerned plays. Sometimes characters spend their whole day in it or they deal with some kitchen issues like cooking, preparing tea. In effect, making tea and preparing meals are appropriately described in the plays of Wesker. The opening scene in Chicken Soup presents Sarah preparing and bringing the tea in the room for the members of the family who are present. After the tea sheproposes to make sandwiches. Even Prince’s objection “But we’ve eaten, Sarah” does not stop her, and as an answer, she replies “Eat. Always eat. You don’t know what time you’ll be back” p.21. The second act is similar to the first in the repetition of drinking tea and eating. The first scene of that act presents Sarah’s family sitting at the table and having soup. Eating is considered as a means...