“A Splash of Publicity”
1. Michael Joseph was born 1897, and he was an English author. He wrote a number of books on the art of writing. He possesses a gift of fresh and clever humour which reveals itself in his writings and in the story “A splash of publicity” in particular. 2. But before we can explore the subject and the theme of the story, I’d like to present the plot of it: Charles Potts was an unsuccessful artist, who couldn’t make a living for his family. He and his wife Marygold invented a way, which would bring publicity to Charles and help him to sell his works. So he had to act being drowned in the river, and when he would be rescued, news should go to the press. But their plan didn’t work and everything went wrong, as Charles was saved by a famous actor Brigadayne, who immediately was at the centre of news (events). Finally, Charles’s wife told the whole truth to the actor, and he decided to help poor Charles to gain publicity. 3. The subject of the story is publicity.
4. The main themes are: publicity and its influence on the people, attitude to publicity by different people, fate is fickle and everything can change in one moment. 5. In this story the author uses several binary oppositions: men vs women, husband vs wife, the rich vs the poor, publicity vs obscurity. And to my mind, the main binary opposition is publicity vs obscurity. And it also seems to contain and control the most of others, as I suppose. Answering the question, are the binary oppositions clear-cut or complicated by contradictory qualities, I should say that both sides of opposition are complicated as each side contains good and bad qualities. For example, for somebody publicity does more harm than good (as main character Brigadayne thinks), but for other people, publicity is such a beautiful thing, that can bring fame and money, and they don’t think about its negative side. (as Marygold thinks) And I think, that publicity seems to win the other side, because finally, the famous actor decides to help poor Charles and his wife to receive publicity. 6. As we know authors often use symbols to communicate their ideas, and the same thing we can find in this story. For example, names of heroes are the following: Marygold (wanted the money), Charles (quite usual name – nothing outstanding), Brigadayne (bright day?) and they
fully characterized their characters 7. themes of the work aren’t difficult to identify as I think, and ideas seem fairly simply at first glance. 8. the work is rather pessimistic than optimistic. And all characters aren’t happy with their lives.