“A Splash of Publicity”
1. Michael Joseph, an English author born in 1897, wrote several books on the art of writing. His writings, including the story “A splash of publicity,” exhibit a gift for fresh and clever humor.
2. Before delving into the subject and theme of the story, let’s outline its plot: Charles Potts, an unsuccessful artist struggling to support his family, concocts a plan with his wife Marygold. Their aim is to generate publicity for Charles and increase the sales of his artworks. The plan involves Charles pretending to drown in a river, with news of his rescue reaching the press. However, their plan backfires when a famous actor named Brigadayne ends up saving Charles, attracting all the attention instead. Eventually, Charles’s wife confesses the truth to the actor, who decides to help Charles gain the desired publicity.
3. The story revolves around the subject of publicity.
The story explores the impact of publicity on individuals and their attitudes towards it, as well as the unpredictable nature of fate. The author employs various binary oppositions, including men vs women, husband vs wife, the rich vs the poor, and publicity vs obscurity. Among these oppositions, the main focus is on publicity vs obscurity, which also encompasses and governs the others. However, these oppositions are not straightforward and are complicated by contradictory qualities present in each side. While some like the protagonist Brigadayne view publicity as more harmful than good, others such as Marygold see it as a beneficial force that can bring fame and money. Ultimately, it seems that publicity prevails over obscurity when the famous actor decides to help poor Charles and his wife gain attention. Symbols are also utilized in conveying ideas within the story; for example, the characters’ symbolic names – Marygold symbolizing a desire for wealth, Charles representing commonness without distinction, and Brigadayne possibly symbolizing a bright day. The themes of this work are easily identifiable at first glance with initially simplistic ideas. The overall tone leans more towards pessimism than optimism while none of the characters find contentment in their lives.