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Orientation, Research Paper Example

Pages: 3

Words: 868

Research Paper

INTRODUCTION

The Orientation by Daniel Orozco includes irony, dramatic monologue and recurring motifs. It has an interesting structure, as it does only show the readers the personal perception of office life from one speaker’s perspective. It appears to be a factual and realistic outline, but it is far from it. The reader would initially think that the main and sole purpose of the dramatic monologue is to provide useful information to the new person in the office. However, the text is full of subjective and irrelevant remarks, which make the monologue subjective.

Thesis: The writing fits the literary category of satire in many ways: it makes policies and rules, appear banal and serious issues, feelings and frustrations, abnormalities appear like everyday issues.

  1. IRONY IN SATIRE

The speaker’s tone looks personal, friendly and professional. It first appears like the purpose of the conversation is to provide “orientation” guidelines. However, soon the reader realizes that the discourse is built up to highlight the limitations and banality of the office culture. This creates irony throughout the discourse.

According to Knight (2004) satire is a parasitic form of imitating a situation and using an ironical tone to highlight the discrepancies and weaknesses of the system. The use of satire in literature also often involves moral aspects, which can be observed in the Orientation. The author communicates the satiric voice through uncommon actions of people described as normal by the speaker. Some examples for this are found in the text when describing characters, their actions and the rules. The tone of the person speaking is not in line with the content; it appears as if everything that happens in the office is normal, and the conflict is created by the reader’s judgment. Hodgart (2010) defines the term satire as the use of sarcasm, irony and ridicule in literature. It is certainly present in the currently examined short story. One example for this technique is as follows:

“Lunch, however, is a right, not a privelige. If you abuse the lunch policy, our hands will be tied, and we will be forced to look the other way. We will not enjoy that.”

  1. DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE

The author uses a dramatic monologue. While in the beginning the text appears to be factual, there are some personal remarks appearing suggesting that the speaker has his own opinion on the matters he reports on.

“She haunts all of us. We have seen her, reflected in the monitors of our computers, moving past our cubicles”

or: “we are afforded a magnificent view. Isn’t it beautiful?”

While the whole text is not built like a dramatic monologue, the feelings, beliefs and values of the speaker are reflected by the short story. It is designed to reveal hidden truths about the character and develop his personality through the monologue. Remarks like: “we’re not supposed to know that” and “You have no business in the Custodian’s Closet.” shows that the person speaking is rule-abiding and takes authority, positions seriously. The irony comes from the fact that he takes written and unwritten rules equally seriously.

  1. RECURRING MOTIFS

One of the main recurring motifs of the monologue is: “may be let go” which occurs several times in the text. While the right word in most cases would be: “get fired” or disciplined” this expression and recurring motif is a clear example of highlighting the fact that a corporate culture would not always be straightforward and tell the facts as they are. The use of “may be let go” is a clear euphemism.

Another motif is the term “cubicle”. It is always attached to a person. For example: “This is my cubicle. I sit here.” The association of cubicle with the person is an allegory of orientation. One person’s situation, rank and tasks seem to be determined by their cubicle. The cubicle, which is an enclosed and separated place, a part of a larger structure. So is a person who sits in it; a part of a well-organized structure called office or corporate world.

Klarer (2003) confirms that the use of motifs can be best examined using rhetoric and deconstructionist literature theories.

  1. CONCLUSION

The author himself (online interview) confirmed that the main aim of the short story was to show the readers how “structured” workplaces can be. Through irony in the satire, he has managed to show the less evident structures as well as the office rules. Not talking to a person due to superstition, looking another way when working together with a serial killer and knowing about each other’s affairs are all the motifs of a corporate society. The short story is a discourse of one’s defining their place trying to answer the question: “who am I”.

It is right to call the writing a satire as it uses irony and satirical literary devices. The recurring motifs, dramatic monologue contrasted with the banality of office gossip gives the writing a truly satiric tone. It is an uncommon approach of describing the society’s weaknesses, however, the message is clear; in the corporate world your place and identity is defined by rules and superstitions, as well as gossip.

References:

Hodgart, M. (2010) Satire: Origins and Principles Transaction Publishers

Klarer, M. (2003) An Introduction to Literary Studies. Second Edition

Knight, C. (2004) The Literature of Satire. Cambridge University Press

Q and A with Daniel Orozco. Online. http://www.kqed.org/arts/literature/article.jsp?essid=59675

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