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Pat Barker's "The Ghost Road" Essay

790 words - 4 pages

Themes of The Ghost Road, by Pat BarkerExploitationBritain (Western Europe in general) was a society of exploitation. Barker appears to be saying that any society that allows the inequalities of early 20th Century Britain, while thinking itself completely fair and civilised, is sick at heart - bad things will happen to people, whether on the scale of the war horrors or just the individual evilness of abusing a child. The lies at the core of this exploitation are the lies that feed the war machine - they keep it alive.The Ghost Road details the exploitation and marginalisation of young men (soldiers), the working class, children and women. The most obvious example of exploitation is the waste ...view middle of the document...

The officers never bathe with the men because when they are fully clothed and the men are naked, they are perceived as having control and power. Prior, being working class, feels uncomfortable but "suspects most of the other officers don't." This episode appears to be heavily symbolic of the exploitation of these men's bodies - total exploitation because many of these bodies will soon be blown to bits.It's clear that Ada sees a working class existence as a marginalised position. She is determined to use any means - lies mainly - to escape the inequalities that could force her and her daughters back into a life of poverty.Another example of the exploitation inherent in such a skewed society is sexual exploitation. There are several examples of this in The Ghost Road, many involving children, another marginalised group. Prior was abused by a Catholic priest, Father Mackenzie, who tried to include young Billy in his guilt: "We really touched bottom that time, didn't we?" This exploitative introduction to sex leads Prior into a life-long search for sexual...

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