Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Happy Prince

I can't talk about this properly without discussing the ending.
The Happy Prince is a short story by Oscar Wilde. It is a story of how a statue of a young prince emotionally bullies a swallow into staying with him for the winter to do tasks for him. Because swallows are creatures that have to stay warm, the swallow dies after three tasks.
Many people interpret it differently. They see a lovely statue who has a kind heart and his friend the swallow who will help him to the end. I'm sure that reading of it is a much more positive one but mine is Swallow Murder.
The swallow didn't want to stay. The swallow wanted to migrate to Egypt with all the other swallows. The Prince convinced it to stay and because it does, the swallow dies. Call me a pessimist but that is what happens in the story.
I'm sure many people will have enjoyed it because of their perspective of self-sacrifice but I prioritise self preservation above somebody else's problems that I did not cause. Therefore I'm giving it a manipulative 41 out of 100

Jay Writes -
I love Luke's take on this story. I had never been able to read it without getting teary - the statue's love for his people at the cost of his wealth and beauty, the loving swallow sacrificing its life for friendship, the townspeople throwing the statue and dead bird in the rubbish but God and his angel prizing them above all. I've always been a sucker for self-sacrifice. However, I think Luke's view - that the statue manipulates the poor swallow into dying for the statue's cause - is a marvellously original and insightful way of seeing the story. Go Luke!

No comments:

Post a Comment