A Kind Of Alaska Essay Research Paper

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

her doctor.

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

never spoken.

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


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