The Ginger Man Question #16 - Misunderstood?

by J.P. Donleavy

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The Ginger Man Question #16 - Misunderstood?

Unread postby Liz » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:17 am

Pg. 221. “The professional classes take exception and it is among this class that I would take up my place but they want to make mock of me and drive me out, rip my privates away and put them on a public pole with a sign, Dangerfield is dead. That’s what they want to hear. But there’s no bitterness in me. Only love. I want to show them the way and I expect only taunts and jeers. But there are the few who listen. Worth it all.”

What do you think Dangerfield is trying to say about himself or about how others see him?
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Gilbert's Girl
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:41 am

I think its something to do with conforming to society, if he does so he will be betraying himself and his friends, also maybe if he does he wil stick out like a sore thumb because he is not sure he could change the way he is.On the other hand I might be looking at it completly the wrong way :lol:

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Unread postby SamIam » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:46 am

I think he fears conformity and how he would fit into society. I don't blame him at all because I am the same way. I have been through many things where people have tried to get me to conform whether its cutting my long hair or being extremely thin I have experienced a lot of what he fears. Also peer pressures in high school with smoking and drinking. Those were biggies when I was in school. I am in college and the pressure is still there.
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Unread postby Linda B. » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:16 am

Here again is my cynicism - Sebastian sees himself as the Christ figure who is sorely abused but passing every test that put to him with flying colors.

I think Sebastian has a pretty high opinion of himself - and no one else need apply, thank you.

(Sorry to sound to rough - he just bugs me to bits!)
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Unread postby Endora » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:22 am

Linda B. wrote:Here again is my cynicism - Sebastian sees himself as the Christ figure who is sorely abused but passing every test that put to him with flying colors.

I think Sebastian has a pretty high opinion of himself - and no one else need apply, thank you.

(Sorry to sound to rough - he just bugs me to bits!)


You and me both, Linda. And he claims that there is "no bitterness in me"? Pure manipulative behaviour. Bitterness and self-pity are what he does best. The "only love" part of the quote? Certainly not towards others, but plenty of evidence of his love of self. The complete egotist, I'd say.
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Unread postby Bix » Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:33 am

I had to reread this passage in context because I got stuck on "the professional classes take exception..." Exception to what? Well, earlier S had said, "I think we are the natural aristocrats of the race. Come before our time." He seems to find it incredible that others don't recognize that fact. I'm still not sure why he considers himself so abused and mocked, since this only happens when he himself has done something outrageous to bring it on. And he ends his little princely diatribe with, "All I want out of this life, Kenneth, is my rightful place and for others to keep theirs. The common people back down where they belong." I agree, Linda B, that it was almost as if he were comparing himself to a Christ figure. And the passage certainly bears out the earlier discussion of his feelings of entitlement.
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:25 pm

In my humble opinion, Endora, Linda B and Bix, you aren’t being too hard on poor Sebastian. He obviously thinks he is above the “common people”. He seems to think he’s God’s gift to the world (so I guess that would be somewhat of a Christ) and doesn’t have to do anything to earn the respect of others.
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Unread postby SamIam » Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:06 pm

Liz wrote:In my humble opinion, Endora, Linda B and Bix, you aren’t being too hard on poor Sebastian. He obviously thinks he is above the “common people”. He seems to think he’s God’s gift to the world (so I guess that would be somewhat of a Christ) and doesn’t have to do anything to earn the respect of others.


Well when you put it that way, I agree. How could anyone think like that?
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Unread postby QueenofKings » Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:17 pm

Once again, I think it comes down to his feeling of entitlement. He feels he shouldn't have to conform at all. He feels that others should look to him for the ideal of what should be. And he doesn't understand why it isn't so.

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:32 pm

QueenofKings wrote:Once again, I think it comes down to his feeling of entitlement. He feels he shouldn't have to conform at all. He feels that others should look to him for the ideal of what should be. And he doesn't understand why it isn't so.


I agree, QofK. I think it is all interrelated.
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Unread postby Endora » Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:41 pm

All I want out of this life, Kenneth, is my rightful place and for others to keep theirs. The common people back down where they belong.


Somehow S reminds me of the worst type of teenage rebellion. He is very keen on his rights, but will not accept the other side of the coin, the responsibility that makes him earn his rights. I suppose to an extent we all go through this phase. But how old is he? Old enough, no doubt, to know better. His ethical position is pure egoism, acting in self interest throughout, and is a huge contrast with most sorts of traditional morality.

So, in other words, he's acting like a spoilt child.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Apr 18, 2006 5:57 pm

I agree with you all that he is a spoiled, rotten egoist who believes the world owes him a living and a place in society. But I still don't quite understand what he is saying in the last line...What does he want to show them, his superiority? :-?

I want to show them the way and I expect only taunts and jeers. But there are the few who listen. Worth it all.”
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Unread postby Liz » Tue Apr 18, 2006 6:14 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I agree with you all that he is a spoiled, rotten egoist who believes the world owes him a living and a place in society. But I still don't quite understand what he is saying in the last line...What does he want to show them, his superiority? :-?

I want to show them the way and I expect only taunts and jeers. But there are the few who listen. Worth it all.”


I'm thinking he's referring to people like O'Keefe and Miss Frost.
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Unread postby gilly » Tue Apr 18, 2006 10:16 pm

He's almost being snobby here..He resents not having enough money and wants to be one of the wealthy classes.He wants to be able to compete with them ,but doesn't have the means.In real life,Donleavy mixed with alot of wealthy people in Dublin and his father-in-law ,was a self-made wealthy man...But he was treated as a bit of a freak by his inlaws family..He was an American and it was assumed that all Americans had money..but Donleavy was a struggling artist..
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Unread postby suec » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:16 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I agree with you all that he is a spoiled, rotten egoist who believes the world owes him a living and a place in society. But I still don't quite understand what he is saying in the last line...What does he want to show them, his superiority? :-?

I want to show them the way and I expect only taunts and jeers. But there are the few who listen. Worth it all.”


Yet another question that is making my head hurt! But this is what I think it means. His way of life is the life of knavery, of getting by on his wits, of not working 9 to 5, of not being on the treadmill, and he sees this way of life as being superior to the alternative, of working. Of course, that approach to life is only successful for as long as he can sponge off other people, and dodge his creditors. But although it poses its problems for him too, it is still infinitely preferable to working the long hours, and therefore, it is worth it all, to him. Because he rejects the work ethic, and refuses to conform to expectations, the professional classes reject him. They want to emasculate him: 'rip my privates away'. However, he is maybe suggesting that those who toe the line, who do what is expected of them, are really the emasculated ones. The irony is that his way of life is only possible because there are those around him who are willing to work.
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