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"The Devoted Friend" by Oscar Wilde

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Quincy Jarvis

on 25 March 2014

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Transcript of "The Devoted Friend" by Oscar Wilde

Friendship, devotion, charity
Formalist Approach and Marxism
One always suffers from being too generous
Main Topics in Text
Literary Techniques
Literary Criticisms
"[...] bright beady eyes and stiff grey whiskers, and his tail was like a long black bit on india-rubber".
"Pure white with real red legs"
"Green Linnet"
- Represents the social classes in the story
The piece shows a great deal in the contrast between social classes. The Miller represents the rich and Hans, the poor. Due to this, Hans isn't able to afford much education and is manipulated by the Millers silver tongued words about how friendship, when in reality he is just exploiting Hans.

"One always suffers from being too generous."
Oscar Wilde
Plot Summary
External Connections
This short story makes a great commentary on how being rich and poor limits you in different ways.
Hans: limited by his lack of education, the millers financial status, and his misguided perception of his and the millers friendship "title"
The Miller: limited by his arrogance and misunderstanding of a healthy human relationship. His lack of hardships throughout life also limits him because he is incapable of putting himself in Hans' shoes.
The Devoted Friend
The Miller was talking about himself
He is oblivious to the fact that he was never generous
Exposes double standards to the public eye
Figurative Language
- The whole idea that the animals are telling a story inside of a story
- To all of the animals at the marsh. This is important because it will
symbolizes people in society
In the short story "The Devoted Friend" by Oscar Wilde it is evident that people struggle with deciphering a true friend from a manipulative one, which often leads to a terrible end.
The Government
The government can use language that is very misleading to the public
Sometimes only put half the story in the media
Manipulate the public by telling them certain things, but never the whole truth
TV Shows/Life
Gossip Girl
- Character Blair Waldorf normally found using other people for her own fulfillment
- Often uses the excuse that she is rich, she deserves it
- Regularly bossing other people around and making them do chores for her
- Hierarchy of popular kids at school
- Wealthier people are often treated better
- Often found with better service/attitudes from other people

"Poor friendships can bring terrible ends"
Formalist Approach
TV Shows
Odie is a playful puppy that wants to play and have a friend

Garfield sees this and in exchange for his "Friendship" he has Odie fulfill his unneeded requests

Odie thinks hes has a true friend, but Garfield knows that he doesn't realize that he is using him to his advantage
"It's important to give and respect others, while also receiving kindness and gifts in return."
"It's important to know a true friends, from a manipulative one."
Hans death is the result of his unhealthy friendship with Miller.
Miller has a bizarre view of what true friendship is and dose not help Hans in the harsh winter months
Hans is constantly deceived by Miller's words of being his best friend and is manipulated into doing chores
Irony ***The idea that having a moral in a story is a negative thing is stated at the end of the tale, and even with the moral of the story being rather obvious, none of the animals cared to recognize or talk about it. The irony provides a social commentary to expose society for what it is. Often uncaring and turning a blind eye to moral or unjust things.
The narration of the two stories is in third-person narrator.
The style of writing is simple and clear, it takes after the appearance and flow of a children's book, but provides a message worth a lot of thinking.
Socio-Economic Status:
Hans had a very low socioeconomic status and was therefore considered a "push over"
The Miller had a high socioeconomic status and therefore had the power to control the poor
The miller in this case could be seen as a dictator because had absolute power and control over Hans. Through the entire story the miller held authority over Hans.
Money played a large role in this story because Hans had very little of it, the wheelbarrow could have also been a form of money. Hans was very poor and would do anything to recieve the millers wheelbarrow.
however, because Hans was brainwashed by the millers silver tongue, and was greatful just to be in the miller presence is it possible he would have still died doing all of his favors for nothing?

Marxism Continued...
Darkness represents chaos
Rat: A person who abandons or betrays his or her party or associates, especially in a time of trouble.
A duck: wise and gentle people.
The duck was described as "pure white with real red legs"
Gardens: represent innocence, and a sense of safety
a symbol of youth
represented all Hans had in life
Broken wheelbarrow symbolizes the guilt and excuse the miller dangled over Little Hans head.
Thematic Statement
Authors Opinion
This story is appropriate for children and adults alike
The use of talking animals and friends creates a story of friendship for the kids
Taken to a deeper level the animals within the story create a picture of society in real life
To display what an unhealthy friendship looks like
Believes in a true friendship that does not involve control or manipulation
convey the message that friendships should be equal
"[telling a story with a moral] is always a very dangerous thing to do." "And I quite agree with her."
"A great loss to me at any rate," answered the Miller; "why, I had as good as given him my wheelbarrow, and now I really don't know what to do with it. It is very much in my way at home, and it is in such bad repair that I could not get anything for it if I sold it.
 "for when people are in trouble they should be left alone, and not be bothered by visitors. That at least is my idea about friendship, and I am sure I am right.
   '"Well, really," answered the Miller, "I do not think it is much to ask of you, considering that I am going to give you my wheelbarrow; but of course if you refuse I will go and do it myself."
Reoccurring patterns: the miller continues to use his wheelbarrow as power over Hans every time he needs a favor
reinforces the fact that the miller is just using Hans over and over again,and also that he never gives anything in return.
- “Lots of people act well, but very few people talk well, which shows that talking is much the more difficult thing of the two, and much the finer thing also”
Sun: a symbol of life
Hans struggles during the inter when there is little sun
The Water-rat: the lower class

The Duck: middle class

The Linnet: the upper class
Symbolism Continued...
flu shots
campaigns of people running for Prime Minister
making citizens fearful
health care
- "really I feel quite drowsy. It is just like being in church."
Starts off in a pond with a Mother Duck and her ducklings, an older water rat and a green linnet
Water rat complains about the ducklings not listening and says friends are better than family
Linnet tells the rat a story about Little Hans and Hugh the Miller
Linnet explains how Hugh the miller takes advantage and exploits Little Hans, who will do anything for the Millers friendship because he promises him an old broken wheelbarrow and because he insists he is a good, devoted friend
In the end, the Miller asks one final request in which Little Hans dies because the Miller would not lend him is lantern
The story ends with the old water rat not liking the story, because it is a story with a moral
Full transcript