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    The Devils Carousel Essay (1252 words)

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    The hierarchy explicit within the both ‘The Devils Carousel’ and ‘The Restraint of Beasts’ highlight the isolation of all the characters, where efficiency and working practices lead to cold formality of roles. In ‘The Devils Carousel’ the use of categories and labels such as “Martians” and “supersnipe” initially present a sense of unity and community through an open humour amongst the workforce where these nicknames are accepted. However gradually Torrington presents how sporadic and disengaged relationships actually are, and the lonely atmosphere in each role, where the seemingly friendly labels attached to people are in actuality cruel and alienating.

    Likewise in ‘The Restraint of Beasts’ the hierarchy excludes others, such as Donald who is completely segregated and divorced from his workforce, too concerned with running the company with the “utmost efficiency”. Robert has been utterly reduced through his obsession with work, being pushed out in work leaves him isolated in life, his “role (being) generally unimportant” which causes him to latch on to his belittled role within the firm by “staying a little longer to remind (them) he existed”.

    Likewise the anonymous narrator, although establishing a relationship with Tam and Richie is isolated, as he is foreman. The closest relationship is undoubtedly that of Tam and Richie who are at the same level on the workforce ladder, and therefore experience the same level of disrespect as employees. However even this leads to isolation, as they have almost become the same person, both physically and emotionally, despite Tam’s aggressive claims that “we aren’t married” even though the narrator mentions that they “spent more time together than married people” highlighting their union.

    They are almost a double act like Laurel and Hardy in ‘The Devils Carousel’ the authors present characters that cannot be imagined to work without one another portraying a sense of character originality being eliminated. Their position has moulded them into who they are and eroded their individuality for example both Tam and Richie “(doing) nothing to make contact…side by side on a bench holding their pints”, the ridiculing reprimanding of both with “two small chairs” and the caricature presentation of them as characters through absurdity.

    The nameless narrator is an ideal example of this isolation through hierarchy – we merely know that he is English and the foreman, his name is never mentioned despite even Ralph the dog having recognition. Furthermore he can never enter the relationship of Tam and Richie as he implies in the club “there was already no room for me” referring to their absurd seating position of “their legs sticking out from under a tiny table” echoing their subordinate position in life and work.

    Furthermore he is unable to develop a connection with Donald, as he is always outsider, even when working as a team with Tam and Richie, Mills highlights that he feels they “(move) in a different world to him”. Likewise in ‘The Devils Carousel’ we see “Twitcher Haskins the supersnipe….(who) would go all the way to hell for a windscreen wiper ” in a much different light when we view his tormented domestic life. Where his disabled wife is cruelly described in mechanical terms, echoing his life at the car plant. He is isolated at home, as he is constantly insulted by his stereotypical wife, and at work he is desolate because of his authoritative position. However it is work that is the root of his hated position, and ultimately causes him so much pain.

    His retirement is forcing him out of the roles which dictated his life and as he clings to catching the magpie, which poignantly “fate’d denied’m….plucking a single feather from the elusive Magpie” leaving the glory to his successor Steely, and as he admits “in his line of work ‘pals’ were liabilities”, Torrington presents the utter tragedy of a consuming working life through Twitcher. Similarly Sheridan is cruelly undermined in his position with a painful reminder of his daughter’s actions while employees wear his dead wife’s clothes; such indignity is undoubtedly due to his higher place and authority.

    But even the managers are subject to the hierarchy with the “supreme Martian….Mal Kibbley” emphasising the universality of the helplessness relating to Centaurs position in the business world in relation to the Japanese. We see how characters position of power ultimately lead to exclusion, which is tragic as we see the suffering and pain in their lives. The normally gratifying and rewarding status of those higher and indeed all stages of the hierarchy are exposed for the misery it creates, both authors imply that work segregates one from life.

    The monotony in the workplace again heightens the helplessness of characters, as their working life becomes robotic and lifeless. The reader gradually becomes aware of character’s routines, such as Richie’s smoking “ritual” of “(producing) his pack of cigarettes then (fishing) the lighter out of his jeans”. These routines even provoke the narrator to contemplate “taking up smoking…just to pass the time” emphasising the non-eventful nature of their lives due to work. Correspondingly the characters of ‘The Devils Carousel’ learn to accept the repetition, artlessness and “mesmerising slowness” of the “Widow” production line, and the tasks it presents. Every character is subject to monotony; Donald is presented as a “fucking robot” when in fact they all characters in both books are, due to their working life.

    The robotic nature of work is a paralysing fact highlighted through the heavily symbolic accidental breaking of Lakers watch at 12.27 by which Torrinton portrays how time stops and nothing happens in the characters tedious lives despite the “scurrying world” around them. Curly Brogan even fakes his own death to escape the oppressive monotony of work further stressing its all consuming nature where such extreme measures are taken to break free from the dehumanising banality and helplessness which work creates. Just as ‘Kikbak’ the ‘laffing anarkist publikayshn’ acts as a rebellion from the controlling work of the Centaur car factory, and in ‘Restraint Of Beasts’ when the tense “fucks sake the pub!” leads to “screaming in the caravan” as it is the only outlet from the domination of work.

    The author’s present simplistic and pitiful attempts to break free from work that emphasise employment’s tedious capability of demolishing one’s individuality. Likewise in ‘The Restraint of Beasts’ the endless construction of fence building remains a menial task despite the changing locations, which is exacerbated as Mills creates a narrative where very little happens. The characters have learned to accept their job to the point where they cannot even acknowledge its incessant dullness, David Hall comments that its “enough to drive you mad, all that repetition” yet Tam’s only reply is the accepting “you get used to it”.

    The whole book follows the mundane routine with the endless repetition in both characters lives and events in the novel such as the death of Mr McCrindle and Robert, which are almost identical. Even paragraphs from the text are copied exactly for much the same context such as the tools “in various states of disrepair” and Tam and Richie’s interrogation with “two hard chairs….slightly less than full adult size, made from wood”. Likewise in ‘The Devil’s Carousel’ the book is more of a collection of short stories as no character is developed fully and events are retold to the reader by different characters such as the reintroduction of ‘Kikbak’ and gradual sporadic reiteration and updates of character deaths. The monotony creates utter helplessness in each character as they become completely overpowered by their unvarying pattern in the workplace.

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    The Devils Carousel Essay (1252 words). (2017, Nov 08). Retrieved from

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