A Kind Of Alaska Essay, Research Paper
A Kind of Alaska by Harold Pinter
critic- When Deborah, who has been in a comatose state for twenty-nine years, finally
awakens, her first sight is of a person she does not know. Deborah does not know where
her family is, and she is confused. She does not understand what the doctor, Hornby, is
telling her. Hornby is trying to explain to Deborah what has happened to her. Deborah
tells him, There s something very shady about you (13). Deborah does not know why,
but she does not like Hornby, her doctor, from the beginning of the play. Deborah does
not understand what has happened to her, so she taking her frustration out on Hornby.
The situation that Deborah is in is clearly not up to her standards, and therefore, neither is
jester- Although Deborah does not mean to be funny, many of the statements that she
says are exactly that. Since she is disorientated, many of the statements that she says can
be attributed to Deborah s confused state. While the doctor, Hornby, is trying to explain
Deborah s situation to her, she is still thinking of things that happened twenty-nine years
ago. While the doctor is explaining how she awoke, Deborah states, And you are my
Prince Charming. Aren t you? Oh speak up. Silly shit. All men are alike (15). Deborah
is not trying to be funny, and her situation is not a humorous one, but Deborah is still
deviant- Deborah is not like everyone else. Eventhough she has been is a sleep like state
for twenty-nine years, she still believes that she has been practicing her dancing. While
talking to her doctor, Deborah states, I ve kept in practice, you know. I ve been dancing
in very narrow spaces (17). Deborah believes that she is a wonderful dancer. She also
believes, as she very well may have, that she has been practicing dancing throughout the
past twenty-nine years. If Deborah was practicing her dance moves, then the very
narrow place where is practices is the confines of her brain (17).
dreamer- When one thinks of a dreamer, it is usually someone who wants to be rid of
their actual life to live their fantasy life. In Deborah s case, it is the other ways around.
Deborah has been without the people she knows and loves for twenty-nine years. Her
dream is be reunited with them and continue life as she left it. Deborah really wants to
have a birthday party. While she is talking to her sister Pauline, this becomes evident.
Deborah states, I want to go home…Is it my birthday soon? Will I have a birthday party?
Will everyone be there? Will they all come (21). Deborah dreams of being reunited with
her family and friends. Deborah desperately dreams of living the life she remembers.
loner- Deborah s has been alone for the last twenty-nine years. She has had no one but
herself to interact with. when she first awakes from her sleep, her frustration at being
isolated from everyone and everything is apparent. Deborah states, No-one hears what I
say. No-one is listening to me (11). Because of her condition, Deborah was completely
isolated from the rest of the world. Her thoughts were never heard, and her words were
traditionalist- Deborah believes that her parents will take care of her. This is a thought
that is similar among children everywhere. When Hornby is explaining to Deborah that
she has been asleep, her response is simple. Deborah states, If I sleep late my mother
wakes me up (12). Deborah believes that her mother takes care of her.
survivor- What Deborah has had to go through is very hard to believe. The fat that she
awoke from her coma and was coherent is enough to make her a survivor. While talking
to Hornby it becomes apparent that Deborah believes that she was dead. Deborah states,
You mean I m dead… I don t feel dead… (14). Deborah has just awoken and survived
twenty-nine years of a coma like state. The simple fact that she is able to communicate
and after this occurrence makes Deborah a survivor.
rebel- Deborah s condition for the past twenty-nine years goes against the status quo.
The same holds true for her states of mind. Deborah still thinks that she is sixteen years
old. Although she has slept for the past twenty-nine years, in Deborah s mind, she has lost
no time. Although rebels struggle against the status quo, in Deborah s case, she is simply
different then the status quo without having to try very much. When Deborah is speaking
to Hornby about how she awoke her different way of thinking is revealed. Deborah states,
Did I just wake up by myself? Or did you wake me up with a magic wand (15).
conniver- When Deborah first awakens, the only person she sees is her Doctor, Hornby.
Later in the play, Deborah is reintroduced to her sister, Pauline. When Deborah asks
about her family, Pauline hides the truth from Deborah. Pauline knows that their mother
has passed away, and their father is blind. Pauline goes ahead and tells Deborah that their
parents are on a cruise and that she spoke to them this morning. Pauline states, I spoke
to them all… Daddy s not to well…and Mummy (18). Pauline deliberately hides the truth
from her sister, Deborah.
caregiver- Pauline cares for her sister, Deborah, very much. While Deborah was in the
coma, Pauline visited Deborah regularly. Hornby states so while he is talking to Deborah.
Hornby states, She (Pauline) has been coming to see you regularly…for a long time…She
has never forsaken you (20). Pauline remains dedicated to her sister throughout
Deborah s sleep like state. Pauline cares a great deal for her sister, and remained doing so
even when Deborah was not aware of it.
martyr- Pauline believes that she has felt the pain of Deborah s experience. While her
husband and Deborah s doctor, Hornby, is speaking, this becomes obvious. Hornby states
to Deborah, She (Pauline) has suffered for you (20). Pauline acts as if she had to
sacrifice her life in order to take care of Deborah. Pauline thinks that her suffering is
comparable to the state that Deborah was in. Pauline believes that she has suffered for her
loner- Pauline is a woman who feels alone. She is married to Hornby, but she still claims
that she is a widow. After talking to her sister, Deborah, it becomes apparent that Pauline
to feels alone. Pauline states, I am a widow (20). Pauline has a husband, and yet she
still feels alone. She may feel that Deborah was more important to her husband as a
patient then Pauline was to Hornby as a wife.
caregiver- Hornby, Deborah s doctor, cares very much for his patient. He has been
taking care of Deborah since this unfortunate incident that occurred twenty-nine years
ago. Hornby has stood by Deborah s side throughout the duration of her sleep like state.
When Deborah first awakes, after an injection is given to her by Hornby, she is confused
about what is happening. Deborah wants to know who Hornby is and what he has done to
her. Hornby states, I am here to take care of you (13). Hornby, throughout this entire
ordeal, has done everything he could to help Deborah. At the same time, one must realize,
that doctors need patients. It is a relationship that goes hand in hand. As much as
Deborah needs the assistance of Hornby is the same as how much