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Analysis of “the Man Who Was Thursday”

In: English and Literature

Submitted By coronado609
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The role of the artist was especially important to Chesterton in 1908 because during that time Britain was booming with unemployed anarchist; Chesterton states in his own novel that “An artist disregards all governments, abolishes all conventions. The poet delights in disorder only." (Chesterton, Pg. 8) meaning that a true artist lives free of a government; they are free to create as they please without following rules. The rules simply restrict their creativity and abilities. The role of the artist is a dominant theme in The Man Who Was Thursday, as Chesteron portrays the artist as a spy for the law playing the role of an anarchist in order to uncover a secret society of terroristic anarchism in the novel and in the end the artist actually ends up becoming the work of art to society. This is important because society sees the role of the artist as the creator discovering themselves through their work and they influence society through their emotional creativity.
The novel begins with two artist; one being Symes who believes in applying respectability, law, and order to poetry, while the other poet Gregory debates that the best and truest poetry is one that is not ruled by government. In my opinion the role of the artist in the novel was to portray a story in which the artist Symes, a man of such order and yet extreme creativity gets so lost in his own paranoia about being discovered by the anarchist group that he begins to lose his perception of fantasy and reality. In the end the artist Symes’ role of being an undercover officer leads him down a path to possible self-discovery.
The role of the artist in society according to Chesterton reaches out to people as to question whether or not they are the artist or the art. “That young man with the long, auburn hair and the impudent face—that young man was not really a poet; but surely he was a poem.” (Chesterton; pg. 6) here in my opinion Symes is clearly stating that he sees the young man as a creation and not the creator, but who is he to define what is and what is not art. Throughout the story Symes himself claims to be a poet and yet he is manipulated (such as a wax figure) over and over again first into becoming a policeman, then an anarchist in a secret society, and finally he discovers who he really is and becomes Thursday. All of the fears that Symes had experienced through this story was all created solely by his own self, it was all in his head and in reality he had nothing to fear but himself. Not realizing it until the end Symes was simply a piece of art in the scheme of a masterpiece created by Sunday and Gregory whom were the true artist in this novel. Sunday may have manipulated the seed, but it was Gregory whom planted it.
The role of the artists was an important figure because they all played a role in order to manipulate their way in to the anarchist society. Some played a role so well that they could not break themselves from it forgetting who they truly were, such as Professor De Worms whom could not break his acting habit of speaking and acting as an old man rather than the young he truly is. They were all so good at recreating themselves that they lost track of who they really were and in result the painters became the paintings.
Society tends to live in a world of recreating themselves or pretending to be someone else that they tend to lose who they really are. An artist utilizes art to express themselves and show who they truly are, but sometimes the artist may lose themselves within their own creativity. It just becomes a matter of distinguishing what is fantasy and what is reality and finding yourself again within it.…...

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