Presented to Mme. Sara Weedon-MacDonald
On the 21st of October, 2002
Grade obtained: N/A
WARNING: Thinking of plagiarizing my work? Don't do it. Many teachers will type a random phrase of your essay into a search engine and see if it turns up anywhere on the internet. Funny thing that you found this site... probably your teachers can too.
"Thus I Refute Beelzy" is a mind-boggling example of a short story that compels the reader's mind to untangle the fascinating yarn that is spun by the author, John Collier. Collier wanted to send a buried message to his readers, to let them figure out what he meant on their own. Indeed, the significance of the story will be slightly different for everyone, effectively a custom story for everyone who reads it, yet the main purpose Collier had in mind prevails; that in everyone there is evil.
Throughout the work, we are given no indication as to the finale of the story. Of course, the reader will have a premonition that some ill will come to Simon as his father continually threatens him, "If you can't learn it at one end, you shall learn it at the other." heightening the emotion we feel for the unjustly treated young child and the suspense we feel regarding his outcome. Not even a single piece of foreshadowing is there to prepare us for the fate of Mr. Carter, thus making the ending so much more shocking and inexplicable to the reader. Nevertheless the reader can not just walk away from the story without pondering how the author thought to scribe this violent conclusion. However, this illustrates the most prominent point of Collier's writing genius because it gets the reader thinking about the idea behind the story. Admittedly, this is a most thought provoking tale.
Though the question of exactly which thought Collier was trying to place in our minds remains. When we read the story, we can not help but think how normal everything seems until the end, just like our world, or at least like our world in mid-20th century Britain. We refuse to include the shocking ending into our world, when in fact that is the intention of the story. The denial our society possesses when faced with the evil part of it is exactly what Collier was trying to showcase. Mr. Beelzy, a reference to Beelzebub, a demon who is closely tied with the devil, is dismissed as unreal in the reader's psyche at first. This is a reflection of society's ignorance of the wickedness that reigns yet in today's world.
Nonetheless, some might find the process of exploring and analyzing tedious and superfluous. Collier could very well have written exactly what he meant instead of going through a whole story to come to the same conclusion, but the use of the story forces us to draw our preliminary judgments, and gives us the perspective and successfully the proof that we as individuals do in fact think in this way, as opposed to him informing us that we do.
Therefore, Collier's short story is a valuable analysis of society and its refusal to admit that evil exists within everyone. It is a piece of noteworthy literature, both in stylistic form and in subject matter, well worth the time of consideration that one must utilize in order to discover the author's rationale.
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