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The Sound of Hollyhocks

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Insanity in society is generally described as a person’s inability to reason logically. In an acclaimed story, “The Sound of Hollyhocks” by a Canadian writer, Hugh Garners, the protagonist William Cornish Ranson (nicknamed Rock) displays qualities of a psychotic person in a desperate attempt to avoid reversing his chronological lifestyle patterns of returning to the dominance of his mother. This is effectively conveyed through Rock’s speech and actions. The life of Rock, a young banker is drastically churned when his new wife, Sandra, perishes in an automobile accident.

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The devastated, desolated young man is immediately surrounded with comforting family. This is quite normal on first glance, but the extent of Rock’s mothers pacifism is truly intrusive for a grown man to be molly-coddled to feel junior, “She would treat me as her little boy. She never mentioned Sandra’s name again. I moped around the house and garden all summer, and it was then when” he allows the declensional world of auditory hallucinations take over his every thought in a despondent attempt to differ his frustrations from the shackles of maternal control to a serine world of flora.

Mrs. Ranson’s overbearing enforcement induces her son’s mutineer accord. Rock is instituted in a psychiatric ward, as time passes his (suggested) condition appears to be improving, his social libido has arisen once again, as Rock begin to start conversing with other patients and taking part recreational activities. In hindsight the decisive moment begins on Sunday morning when visitors are allowed in the clinic. The reader quickly learns that the visitors are Rock’s parents. Not before anything else is said, Mother assumes her overbearing role.

When the visitors leave the reader learns the extent of irritation the reunion has on Rock, he appears to undergo a complete mental health relapse, or perhaps a dramatic performance to inform all that he is far to ill to go home. The first-person narrator in the story notices him speaking to the flowers again. One statement in particular powerfully stresses that Rock will go far heights to avoid going back to the house with his mother, “The Bitch of Belsen wants me back, but I won’t go-never, never again! This is quite a strong elucidation of Rock’s feeling, if Rock was truly as ill as he leads on to be he would not have the mental capacity to recognize his emotions, and logically rebel for his own desires. By doing this, his (now supposed) mental illness is subject to question by the reader as a consequence of his actions. Not long after Rock’s self revealing statement. He begins to act quite disturb again. As well as speaking to the flowers, he is physically aggressive towards familiar allies, the nurses.

To calm the fraught banker in his desperate attempt to appear more ill then in actuality, the colleagues gave Rock a heavy sedative. Despite the fact the narcotics were supposed to last through the night, the next morning poor William is found hung by his belt, “Rock was dead”. Determination consumes Rock, he could not, would not allow himself to return to his mother’s degrading possessive control. He could not hide behind a nonexistent condition. The “Bitch of Belsen” has already announced, “I’ll phone our own doctor tomorrow.

If you ask me you’re completely recovered from your breakdown, I’m sure you’ll be much better off at home… ” It was this visit, much less this simple statement that drives young William to his suicidal death. The unsuccessful attempt of displaying psychotic characteristics in order to avoid returning to the “Bitch of Belsen” is the concept behind the character of William Radson Cornish, in Hugh Garner’s short story, “The sound of Hollyhocks”. Rock was not completely insane-he new what he wanted, and more importantly what he didn’t.

Cite this The Sound of Hollyhocks

The Sound of Hollyhocks. (2017, Feb 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-sound-of-hollyhocks/

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