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Thread: Hotel Sorrento essay

  1. #1
    Cadet JALSY's Avatar
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    Hotel Sorrento essay

    Hannie Rayson uses a typical Australian family, the Moynihan's, as a basis for questioning as to whether or not Australia has developed it's own culture. Along with other interrelated themes such as ownership, family and literature.

    Ownership is the relation of an owner to the thing possessed, or possession with the right to transfer possession to others. Rayson uncovers this through the protagonists Hilary, Pippa and Meg as their past is presented to the world in Meg's novel 'Melancholy'. The three are left to dwell on who is the correct owner of the story as Meg suggests "It's about time we all started. To own what's happened to us." Aubrey Mellor defines responsibility as; to what degree should we accept or criticise the faults of our loved ones and our country? This underlying question represents itself as Australian culture as well as 'Melancholy', the cutting of tall poppies and appreciation of 'ordinariness'.

    Family is difficult to define but in this case it is a group or related people who are dependent on one another by trust and loyalty. However, the Moynihan family is so broken by trust and loyalty that it almost ceases to exist; "What family?...There is no family anymore." (Hilary to Pippa). Torn by the past which none of the family members were brave enough to speak of until catalyst Troy, a young curious son of Hilary pushes the limit. Enabling a sense of peace to be brought back with the terrifying past. Rayson portrays Meg as never being fully forgiven by sister Pippa who she (Meg) agrues that they still own the story, referring to integrity, Meg states that "But I always thought that integrity was something that couldn't be given or taken away. That it was the only thing that a person could own." Confirming that although Meg used their story, they still have each other, or at least their integrity.

    Literature; a form of written art that represents the writer's philosophy of various aspects of life. Rayson uses an expatriate as the protagonist to explore the distance between Australia and it's cultural identity. A novel containing an unspoken past is tossed back into the lives of the Moynihan's as well as the world, allowing a wider perspective to be gained of Australian culture. Nevertheless, the novel 'Melancholy' in Hotel Sorrento is a device for conflict, which is often the core of a story. Reinforcing the link between fiction and reality, the need for the Moynihan sisters to accept what has passed and move on, just as Hilary promises her son that they would soon be able to look back and say "This is what happened." Rayson's use of a novel as a 'backbone' to her story demonstrates her appreciation of literature as a work of art and it's ability to transform.

    And so, through the play Hotel Sorrento, we are given a cross-section of contemporary Australian culture, and a third-person insight into the family unit. From this, we have discovered that ownership of the past has a price to be paid, family forms the basis of one's perception and that even a piece of literature can tear a family apart. Furthermore, these themes of ownership, family and literature woven together by Rayson through 'Hotel Sorrento' provides a better understanding of the extent to which Australian culture has grown.

    ~Please post comments/advice. Thanks~

  2. #2
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    Re: Hotel Sorrento essay

    Even though you posted this ages ago, exams are near so ill might as well have a go.

    The themes you presented are fairly well though out. When discussing 'ownership' i also tried to talk about the expatriate, and how they are 'distrusted' by those who stay in aus (as in they are no longer valued as an australian, link to tall poppy syndrome as well) The question is, are you australian if you dont live there, and can you comment on aussie culture if you dont.

    I also talked about the difference between being 'cultured' (what it is etc) and the aussie "culture" (again, i linked this to the tall poppy syndrome and the expatriate)

    Finally, as i said, the themes are well thought out and researched. The essay itself should be more succinct and 'flowing' There doesnt seem to be a consistent thought process. But you get that through practice, rather than having a nack for it.

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