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The Bound Man
Transcript of The Bound Man
The bound man is woken up by the sunlight beaming onto his bloody forehead dripping with sweat which attracts flies that swarm just above him he was dirty with bruises all over his body. He discovers that he is bound by a thin rope that is so tight it scrambled into his flesh. From all the ropes that were around him he could not find where it was knotted up, he tried desperately to find where the knot was so maybe he could become free of it. But soon enough he found himself giving up and trying to stand up instead. He dug his elbows into the hard ground and tested his strength. He eventually rolled onto his stomach and got to his knees, he then got up onto his feet without using effort. He then spotted off in the distance the animal tamer who was camping with his circus, the bound man abruptly walked towards him.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the bound man!” the first sign of his movement brought applause to the audience; he shivered with excitement and began his act. He knelt, stood up, jumped and turned cart-wheels. His fame grew from village to village, and every single time the applause was still as big as it had been the last performance. Everyone wanted to know how he came to be the way he was, so after the performances people gathered around him and asked questions, and every time he gave the same answer. When all the shows had finished he was the only one that did not take off his rope like all the other actors. The result was that every movement he made was an astonishing scene, so why would he take it off when he would just be an ordinary man.
The proprietor’s wife was well aware about the other actor’s feelings toward the bound man as well as her own. They all felt helpless towards him and pity as well, many tried to untie him from the ropes and set him free but they were caught and punished. But the wife was also in love with the bound man, she didn’t want to just free him, she wanted to cut the ties to her marriage and have a new beginning with him. But the thing was that the bound man would rather keep the ropes on than take them off. He told her that he felt as if he were not tied up at all. She tried convincing him to take the ropes off but then she realized there would be no point of him ever being there, the only reason he is famous is for him being attached to his ropes. He would leave them and the happy days would be over. She did not want that to happen, because of her love for the bound man she wanted him to stay.
Winter came and one of these days a wolf escaped from the circus, the circus proprietor tried to keep it contained but the wolf soon started hunting cattle in the town. People first believed it was from the cold winter and plenty of cattle that were there to keep him satisfied. But soon they realized it was the circus that had lost the wolf. Eventually the circus was blamed for the violence, damage and danger they put the citizens in. one day the bound man came across the wolf. It pounced and attempted to kill the bound man but he grabbed the wolf by its neck with the string and strangled it to death. The proprietor’s wife begged her husband to tell the crowd that the wolf had been killed, but not by the bound man, for no one would believe them. That same evening the bound man was preforming, men and women screamed “Are you the man who killed the wolf?” the demanded answers but he would not give them what they wanted. They demanded him to re-enact how he killed he wolf but he refused to do such a thing, the proprietors wife made her way between the seats and towards the exit and into the back of the tent to where the cages were so no one could get to the animals without her knowing. But she was dragged back by the spectators into the tent.
Eventually all settled down, no more questions were asked because none were answered. No one needed to know what happened earlier that day. The bound man realized that they had lost all their attractions as the proprietor grumbled about lost exhibits. He decided he would travel with the circus further south.
The bound man stood in the middle of the cage from where a wolf stood ready to attack, but this time the bound man took off his ropes somehow, me decided to prove to everyone that he would be someone even without his ropes, as the wold sprang to kill him, he grabbed a pistol that was in the cage and shot the wolf between the eyes. As the bound man was racing outside, others from then circus followed. But he hid in bushes until there was no sign of anyone. When he came to a river his anger died away, at dawn it seemed to him as if lumps of ice were floating in the water, and as if snow had fallen, obliterating memory.
The Bound Man: The bound man awakes alone in a forest and found himself wounded robbed, and bound not too tight but just tight enough. He is noticed by a circus proprietor and is asked to join the circus which soon enough becomes his life.
The Circus Proprietor: The Proprietor found the Bound Man by the river attempting to cut the ropes off of himself. He willed the Bound Man to join his circus and soon became the star of his show. The Proprietor protected the bound man and knew that him being bound was only temporary. The Proprietor would send his wife to check on the Bound Man at night when he couldn't.
The Proprietor's Wife: The Proprietor's Wife throughout the story grew fonder of The Bound Man, she could not decide whether she wanted him to keep the ropes on or take them off. She soon fell in love with him. She ended up cutting off the ropes herself to protect the man she loved.
The circus crew: the circus crew disliked the Bound Man, they continuously tried to get the ropes off the man so he would no longer have a position within the circus. Every member that had tried to remove the ropes from him ended up getting fired by the Proprietor.
About The Author:
Ilse Aichinger was born in Vienna, Austria in 1921. She had a twin sister named Helga. Her mother was a Jewish practising doctor. Ilse Aichinger spent most of her youth, growing up in Linz and Vienna where she and her family experienced the Nazi persecution in 1933. She was raised a Catholic, even though her family heritage was jewish. In 1945, she began her studies with medicine, where she left her writing off to the side, as a last priority. The first novel Ilse Aichinger ever wrote and published, was Das Vierte Tor ( The Fourth Gate). This novel was based off of her personal experience under Nazism. In 1948, she used her studies to write her second novel, Die GroBere Hoffnug ( The Great Hope). In 1953, she married a fellow German writer, Gunter Eich. Their first child together, was a son, which they named Clemens. In 1958 they had a second child, a daughter, and named her Mirjam.
1955- Awarded Immermann-Preis from the City of Dusseldorf
•1955- Awarded Australian State Prize for European Literature
•1956- Joined Akademie der Quonset of Berlin
•1957- Won Literaturpresi der Freien Hansastadt
•1961+1991- Recieved GroBer Literaturpreis der Bayerischen Akademie der Schonen Kunste
•1963- Moved to GroBgmain near Saltzburg
•1971- Awarded Nelly-Sachs-Preis
•1982- Awarded German International Literary Petrarca-Preis
•1987- Recieved Europalia-Literature-Preis
•2001- Recieved the Joseph-Breitbach-Preis
•2001- Recieved the W.G. Sebald Award
•2001- Recieved tha Markus Werner Award
“He could not see where it was knotted. He showed no sign of fear or hurry, though he thought he was unable to move.”
“His chances all lay in the amount of free play allowed him by the rope.”
“He was alarmed by the thought that he was in no position to defend himself.”
(from what? Himself and his past?)
“The motions he went through were few and always the same; order to retain his shackled freedom.”
“No one knew anything about him, because he never talked about anything that had happened to him.”
“Attempts were continually made to release him while he slept.”
“The moon shone on the meadow; in that light is colour was of both growth and death.”
"When he came to the river his anger died away. At dawn it seemed to him as if lumps of ice were floating in the water, and as if snow had fallen, obliterating memory."
The Bound Man: The story of the Bound Man starts with a man waking up to find himself hurt, robbed, and bound by ropes. However, he is tied up so that there is some free play with the, and he can move to a small extent. In the story, the man is seen trying to break a wine bottle in the hopes of cutting the ropes and gaining his freedom back. He meets the proprietor of a circus who asks him to join them. We see that the man has become another act in the circus, His talent becomes performing the most basic set of motions while completely bound, which easily amazes audiences everywhere. After a while he gets used to the idea of being bound all the time, he starts to feel an necessity to perform in the circus. The man refuses to let people remove the ropes and retie them the next day, he believes it will defeat the purpose of living as the bound man. The proprietor's wife ends up cutting the ropes to protect the bound man, although it leaves him feeling weak.
The Proprietor: The proprietor is very protective of the bound man. he fires anyone who tries to interfere with his decisions. The proprietor continues to test the bound man throughout the story as well as tries to get him to produce a better story on how he became bound. The proprietor often send his wife to check on or look after the bound man, little does he know that his wife will end up falling in love with the bound man. The Proprietor puts the bound man in a cage with the wolf to test his limits.
The Proprietor's wife: as she falls in love with the bound man she debates within herself whether she wants the bound man to remain bound. when her husband tests the bound man in the cage she herself cuts his ropes to protect him, what she didn't realize is that he had grown so used to being bound, having the roped pooled around his feet left him feeling weak and unable.
The bound man woke up, being tied up in rope. At first, he did not know what was going on and it seemed as if he did not remember how he was tied up. Although when he tasted blood, he automatically jumped to the conclusion that he was beat up, robbed, and then tied up. Every time the bound man tried to make a drastic movement with his body, the rope would cut open his skin, and he would feel a piercing sting throughout his body. Although the pain knocked him down a few times, the bound man persevered the pain, and learned how to and not to move. At first the rope was his enemy, until after he learned how to manipulate them around his body, he was able to make some distance on his journey with no direction or destination. Fate decided his destination, when the circus proprietor saw him emerge from the woods. Thats when his life took a turn for the unexpected. He found himself one of the main acts in the circus, where he was surrounded by envious performers. The other performers were constantly teasing him, and even took the initiative to try and cut his ropes. Some even pitied him, because the circus proprietor would not let him remove his ropes. The circus proprietor's wife was one of those who pitied the bound man, because he went through an immense amount of struggle with his ropes. When he got completely used to the ropes, his day to day life became an easier routine. After his performances at the shows, the crowds would always ask him how he was tied up. The bound man always replied with the same story of how he was kidnapped, woke up tied in ropes, was beaten and robbed. After a while, the crowds started to get smaller, because people believed his story was fake, and did not care too much about the tricks he could do. He became more confident, as the laughs became louder, but as they started to dwindle down to nothing, so did his confidence. Finally, a wolf escaped from one of their cages, and caused havoc around the area. The bound man came into contact with the wolf one night, as he was walking back to camp. He engaged into a battle with it, and realized that most of this strength came from the ropes that tied him. The bound man killed the wolf with his bare hands, and dragged it back to camp. Word spread around the town they were currently saying in, that he had killed the wolf with his bare hands, and the town folk demanded to see it for their own eyes. So they pushed him into a cage with another wolf to see it for themselves. The Proprietor's wife did not want the bound man to go into the cage, so she tried to close the gate, but a civilian held it open to him to enter. As soon as the gate closed behind him, the proprietor's wife cut the bound man's ropes with a pair of scissors. The bound man was not bound anymore, yet faced with an angry wolf. Without his ropes, the bound man was weak and felt naked. So just out of luck, he took a gun from the side of the cage, and shot the wolf between the eyes. He took off as soon as he could, away from the crowd, and down to the river, where the proprietor's wife had found him. She tried to explain how she did it for his own good, even though he was thoroughly upset. of all times she had to choose the worst time to cut his ropes. in the end, the bound man overcame his anger, and decided to stay with the circus after all. He stayed because, just like the ropes, the circus was all he knew.
Symbols & Motifs
~ The Rope:
•Limitations- The bound man has limited actions by the rope. It is holding him back from the many possibilities in life that he could have experienced
•Confidence- He lives his life by the ropes that contain him. The ropes have become all that he knows, and feels stronger when they are wrapped around him.
•Changes in life- They represent the changes in life that he has experienced. Never in his life would he have ever thought he would be in this situation of being confined.
•Struggle- They have given the bound man a hardship that was difficult for him to overcome, they symbolize the struggles in life that he may have already experienced, and what he will struggle with in the future.
•Past and Future- The ropes symbolize him being tied down in the past, by some thought or memory. Whichever it was, It is haunting his present, and will determine his actions in his future.
•Self Comfort- They have given them an identity that he knows everything about, which makes him comfortable in his own skin. he hides behind the ropes, knowing that they are always around him.
•Conflict- the ropes symbolize the conflict from his past that is tying him up in his future, with the ropes. The ropes are causing conflict in his present, which are showing him him a new lifestyle.
•Realization- The bound man realizes, that without the ropes, he is merely nothing. The Bound man realizes, that without his past, he would not be the strong person who he is today.
•Obligations- The bound man feels obligated to stay with the circus because he feels as if he is a strong part of the circus's act.
•Another Rope- The circus is a symbol for another type of 'rope' that ties him down in his life.
•Non-Conformity- The bound man was constantly labeled as an 'outcast' because he was always in his ropes. People took it as complete entertainment, and laughed at him for it. He did not care because he was comfortable being who he wanted to be in the circus.
•Societal pressures- society's pressures on the bound man is what kept him in the circus. Hence the obligation to stay even if he did not have his ropes.
•Jealousy- The other performers wanted to cut the bound mans ropes with scissors, because they believed he was getting 'special treatment' due to the fact he was always tied up.
•Freedom- The scissors were the only key to his freedom. The bound man could cut his ropes and be free at any given point he wanted to, but they were a big part of his accustomed life.
•Life Altering Situations- The scissors represent a life altering situation, that may have occurred in his past, that was unfavourable in his plans.
•Past- They represent 'cutting ties' from his past. no one knows anything about him before he was bound by ropes, because he never mentions anything about his life before the ropes.
•Proprietors Wife's Marriage- The scissors are a symbol of the proprietor's wife cutting the ties to her marriage, and confessing her love and compassion for the bound man. She wants to set him free, because she loves him.
•Pity- Some of the other performers pity the bound man and so does the proprietor's wife. They want to set him free,as to where they believe the ropes are putting the bound man in a disadvantage.
•Hardships- The woods symbolize the hardships the bound man had adjusting to the idea of being bound by ropes that always cut him down. The woods held him back from knowing where he was going to end up.
•Eyes Being Opened- The bound mans eyes were open when he realized that the ropes weren't apart of a dream. Much like how the woods were a realization of how hard and cruel life can really be.
•Support- Whenever the Bound man was feeling down, just knowing that the river was there, made him feel calm and collect. It helped him understand himself a bit more, every minute he spent sitting by the river.
•Stable Factor- The river was always a piece of mind for the bound man. No matter what time of day it was he could sit by the river, and he would know that it was always there to 'wash away' his depressing thoughts and emotions.
•Reality- The bound man felt comfortable by the river because it was one factor that he was 100 percent sure it was real. It was a definite 'backbone' for him during his struggles.
•Stress Reliever- The bound man knew that whenever he went to the river, he could loose himself in the way the river moved, and knew that the proprietor's wife would be there every time.
•Predictable- The river was always predictable, unlike everything else in his life. The river always flowed in the same direction, and was always there. It was the only factor in his life at the moment in time that he knew wouldn't just up and disappear out of nowhere.
•Comfort- The snow gave the bound man a feel of comfort because it was a feeling of solitude that gave him the drive to carry on with the ropes he had been bound by.
•Lifestyle Change- The bound man had to learn how to keep warm while the cold approached which was another change he needed to adapt to for survival.
•Dependency- The wolf really symbolizes how much the bound man really depends on the ropes to survive. The only way he thought he could defeat the wolf, was by trusting himself within the ropes
•Hiding Behind The Ropes- The wolf brought out the coward in the bound man. It shows how much he really does hide behind the ropes for protection; as if it were armour that made him invincible.
•Easy Target- The wolf symbolizes how the other performers see the bound man as an easy target, simply because they think he cannot fight back and defend himself against any danger.
The main theme of the story "The Bound Man", is even though a person might be physically disabled, whether it may be by choice or not, they still have the choice to allow that disability to overcome their personal being. Will they allow it to take over their personality? Or will they learn how to live with the hardships they have been given? In 'The Bound Man', he learns how to live with the ropes attached to his body. No matter how deep the ropes cut into his skin, he still persevered the pain, and fought his way along the path that he was walking on. The bound man became so accustomed to his ropes, that he had learned to rely on them, and take comfort knowing that they were still loosely wrapped around him. He made the choice to turn a disadvantage into an advantage.
Tia, Olivia, Tori