The Thin Red Line

1022 words 5 pages
Essay on ”The Red Line” by Charles Higson

Society contains a vast majority of different types of people, and all of them look, act, and think differently. How we as individuals do these things, are greatly influenced by the people around us, as our differences makes us judge others. In creating our own identity, our reliance on others is consequently grand, which can be either a fine or a dreadful matter. For some, the prejudice in the perceptions of others can cause the truth to be exceedingly twisted. It can be disturbed to such a degree, that the image of others is completely opposite of how it is in reality. This is what each character in Higson’s short story The Red Line experiences. Higson questions and plays with the role identity
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The role identity plays in the story is a reflection of how it functions in postmodern society. This is part of the author’s intention, as Higson wants us to question what we see, as not everyone/everything is what it seems. He also questions and makes us think about our own prejudices towards others, and how we view each other. He plays with the role appearance have in our society, and how important it can be. Berto gets murdered solely because of the way he looks. Higson also critiques the emphasis society puts on perception of others, as too much prejudice can kill the ingenuous and righteousness in life. The nameless man is also extremely narcissitic, as he “took to staying in, standing in front of the mirror for hours on end, shaving and looking at his reflection”[3], thus he is an archetype of someone in society Higson critiques. Alas, appearance plays an incredibly important role, as Denise run away from Berto and the nameless man kills the latter because of it, even though we as readers know Berto is a respectable guy.

The situation in the story is of course extreme, but Higson does this to get the point across more clearly and create irony. The contradictions are solar clear and the prejudices have serious consequences for the characters. It goes gravely wrong for the guy the reader sees as kind of a protagonist, and the characters see the antagonist as the innocent and


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