To Whoose Homecoming Does The Play Refer

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To Whoose Homecoming Does The Play Refer? Essay, Research Paper To Whose Homecoming Does The Play Refer? In the play ?The Homecoming? by Harold Pinter, a family deals with the unexpected return of the eldest son and his wife, Ruth, on a visit from America. The rest of the family were unaware that Teddy had taken a wife. The arrival had a profound effect on each member of the family who are an unusual group consisting of an aging father, his two sons and his younger brother. Because of this unexpected event we see the intricacies of the relationships of the family and how these develop and change. The homecoming does not necessarily bring about change in a good way if viewed as a whole. If certain characters are looked at individually though, we see many things that happen are

positive for that person. The play would seem to centre around Teddy as he was the one returning home to his family. In fact, the attention is focused on Ruth. Max?s first reaction to her is abusive and he immediately calls Ruth a tart: ?We?ve had a stinking pox-ridden slut in my house all night.? This shows us how Max views women as he has never even set eyes on Ruth before this meeting. His words do not shock anyone and appear to be perfectly acceptable and normal. Even Teddy does not seem to surprised about this and although he does protest he is not particularly forceful. He seems to realise that there is no point in arguing with his father as he would not listen and I suspect that Teddy is used to his father?s ignorance and anti-female words. Ruth also does not try to defend

herself or get upset. She is totally calm and surveys the scene silently with the same confidence she had expressed with Lenny the night before. From the very beginning of the play we are given an idea of their attitude to women. We learn that there is no woman in the household because Max?s wife Jessie had died. It later becomes clear that Lenny is a pimp and owns flats in which to conduct his business, Sam is a chauffeur and it is easy to believe that the people he drives around are clients of Lenny?s girls. When Lenny first meets Ruth he tells her about a meeting under a bridge with a girl who offered herself to him but whom he was sure was diseased. Lenny feels he has to prove himself to Ruth and show her who is the more dominant: ?so I just gave her another belt in the nose

and a couple of turns of the boot and sort of left it at that.? From this it is clear that Lenny thinks that by telling Ruth stories like this of his violence it will put her in her place as a woman and earn him some respect. It has been a while since there has been a woman in the house and he probably needs to establish to himself as well as to Ruth that women are inferior objects and that she is no different. Ruth is not easily intimidated and listens to Lenny, only speaking in short sentences compared to Lenny?s long speeches. This shows that it is in fact Lenny who is ill at ease. At the end of their encounter Ruth and Lenny engage in a power struggle of their own. Ruth clearly wins with her cool, detached replies. She also introduces a sexual aspect into the conversation:

?LENNY. Just give me the glass. RUTH. No. Pause. LENNY. I?ll take it then. RUTH. If you take the glass…I?ll take you.? This has the desired effect on Lenny which is to disconcert him and turn the situation around so that she is in control. It is obvious that Ruth knows what she is doing and is used to using her sexuality to gain power. Teddy has a different effect on the family, which is one of polite indifference. The family are not overjoyed to see Teddy. Instead, they are more eager to show him how well they are doing without him. There is already conflict and power struggles between the members of the household but these are intensified by the arrival of Teddy and Ruth. Max and Sam start to fight. Max picks on his weaker brother here because he is the only one that Max will