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Straightforward and Double-Edged Satire in “the Broken Boot”

  • Date Submitted: 11/05/2011 04:27 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52 
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Straightforward and double-edged satire in “The Broken Boot”
By Xudong Wang
“John Galsworthy is viewed as one of the first writers of the Edwardian era who challenged some of the ideals of society depicted in the preceding literature of Victorian England.” Famous for his realism, John Galsworthy devoted all his life to revealing the truthfulness of society and life, especially the hidden truth of struggle and dilemma within the luxurious and splendid exterior of “his” class—upper-middle class. Though at the very first John Galsworthy was famous for plays, he is now far better known for his novels, particularly The Forsyte Saga, his trilogy about the eponymous family and connected lives. The Broken Boot, a master piece of him, focuses on a contradiction and hypocrisy of capitalists. Different from implicit satirical style with complex subjects, the satire art in this story is straightforward and double-edged.
John Galsworthy was widely regarded as a compassionate humanist whose work evinced sensitivity, sincerity, and charm. In the short story “The Broken Boot”, he satirized the decay and dilemma of mankind.
Galsworthy satirized the self-dilemma of his protagonist by indirect internal monologue. With his keen observation and excellent writing skill, Galsworthy presents a vivid as well as precise observation of the declined life of the middle class.

A salary of four pounds a week would not, he was conscious , remake his fortunes, but a certain jauntiness had returned to the gait and manner of one employed again at last.

The short story begins with an introduction of Caister, who had been “out” for six months. This direct opening lays a tone for the whole story—once a noble gentleman had to face the reality of rocky and poverty-stricken life. Galsworthy highlights some special objects that stand for upper-middle class: monocle, lobster, cocktail and so on. Caister’s insistence on monocle, his long for lobsters, his love of cocktail, imply that although he...

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