Look to the future and beware.
How and to what effect have writers depicted the future? Discuss with reference to 2-3 works that you have studied.The future has always been an area of interest for humans. We have tried to devise different ways of predicting it since our ever so curious brains want to know everything that will happen in the forthcoming time. The ironical part about this “prediction” is that we somewhere down the line know that this is impossible because the power which is making our world run can’t be figured out so easily and future being one of its deepest and darkest secrets is definitely not something this power will let out to us.
Moreover, it is not only the common man who falls for this ‘foretelling’ trap. Many eminent writers have also been a part of this, Wislawa Szymborska and Henrick Ibsen being one of them. They have talked about future in their works but not always in the positive way because future portrayed as pleasant and delightful becomes uninteresting and unbelievable because the human psyche takes time to believe the inevitable – the fact that the future doesn’t have to be problematic and challenging, it can be full of bliss and ecstasy. But, nevertheless, both the writers have written about how we must look at the future as depicted in their poems or plays and learn from them, the message of discretion and caution.One of Wislawa Szymborska’s works is “hatred”. It is an ode to hatred where hatred is endlessly praised and extolled against all the emotions, even love.
Wislawa, in this poem, has conveyed a very strong message even though it is conveyed in a sarcastic way. Her praise of hatred is like a big taunt to the readers especially when she puts up questions like, “since when does brotherhood draw crowds?…
only hatred has what it takes”. Her putting up of such a rhetorical question tells us that she is trying to arouse in the reader’s mind the fact that it is not brotherhood, it is not compassion and it is not love which draws crowds and people’s attention, it is hatred that has the power and potential to do so and the strength behind hatred, the thing which keeps it going, is us. We help hatred to go on since we make sure that this feeling is never absent from the school of feelings swimming in our hearts.Thus, after making us realize the power of hatred, Wislawa warns us, “it has a sniper’s keen sight / and gazes unflinchingly at the future/ as only it can.” It is here that she has warned us about the future since hatred, “never tires / of its leitmotif ” and so she has asked us to be very careful and very watchful because hatred will never tire, it will never take “eternal rest”. Till the time it keeps simmering in our hearts, hatred will be a cause for us to be suspicious and precautious and with its capability of spreading endless “human carpets”, we definitely don’t want a future that ghastly.So, as we can see, Wislawa talked about hatred and thus cautioned us that hatred isn’t something that will leave us, so we better be sharp and keep ourselves miles away from its influence in the future.
Apart from “hatred”, Wislawa also wrote about the ‘pet emotion’ of the human race: “true love”. She wrote about this pedestaled feeling but with almost the same stance as she had taken while writing “hatred” , to make the reader go against it and be aware of its so called attack. In “true love”, Szymborska has tried to pass on one simple message that love is selfish and so are the lovers. These people don’t care about anything since they live in a bubble of their own which is filled with happiness enough to intoxicate a human heart.But, the message in the poem is clear; true love isn’t “necessary”, it isn’t “practical” and it is definitely not “normal”. This is said because true love “comes along so rarely” that if people start depeding on finding the true love of their life, they will become worthless due to the depression and misery of not being able to find that love. Thus Wislawa says that it is good if it comes your way but even better if it doesn’t.
Szymborska has talked about future in the poem in a worried manner. She seems concerned about one thing : will the world be able to work the way it is working if everyone starts to follow the example of romeo and Juliet? Her fear is evident when she says ” if people start to follow their example. / what could religion and poetry count on?…
who’d want to stay within bounds”. Thus she has tried to convince her readers to consider themselves lucky if true love isn’t bestowed upon them in the future because if it is, rules won’t remain rules, selflessness will turn into selfishness and our not so perfect world will become even more imperfect.Besides Wislawa Szymborska, Henrick Ibsen has also talked about future in his play, “A Doll’s House”. His play is about Nora Helmer and about her struggle for her identity in the 19th century. This play was written ahead of its time and shook the foundations of the world when it was first presented. This happened because of the way Ibsen had written the conclusion of the play where Nora finally realizes that Torvald (her husband ) in reality never really loved her and thus quits the game of hide and seek she had been playing with him and thus leaves him and their children, walking out of the marriage.in the last act of the play, when torvald finds out that nora forged her father’s signature to get money to save his life, nora expects him to be a little shocked because she knows that his “honor” will be hurt upon knowing that he owes nora his life but she does expect him to be grateful to her and stand up for her. But when torvald reacts in an absolutely oppsodite way, “Now you have wrecked all my happiness- ruined my future.
..”, it strikes nora that this man she thought was her husband is actually a stranger and he doesn’t love her, he only loves himself.
So, she decided to move out of thehouse, the marriage and the life because she understood that it was all just a faï¿½ade.Thus, by showing this, henrick in that time tried to show that this is the present and the future. Women are maltreated and there will be a day when they will walk out of their marriages; when thwy will realize their sacrifices are not worth the cause and that will be the doomsday of our society because women have the power to make a household, make a life. Therefore, he tried to point out to the future with his play and told the world to be cautious and this could only be done by making everyone acknowledge the fact that women are also humans, not “dolls” and they deserve to be treated as equals too.Thus, in the end I would say, writers have definitely pointed out to the the future and tried to warn us of the problems that could be there in the forthcoming time.
All we have to do is decide our point of view; whether we believe in what they’re saying or not, whether their future prediction” is prudent or not.