Nature and Latent Content in Harold Pinter’s A Slight Ache

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Arak University, Arak, Iran


Since Pinter in A Slight Ache narrates the events and interactions of the characters in the background of garden and nature, this article argues that the juxtaposition of man and nature is significant and its analysis contributes to a better understanding of the play. Because characterization plays a major role in A Slight Ache, the main question of this article is based on the possibilities that the relationship between man and nature give to Pinter in characterization. To this end, the theories of ecocriticism, primarily Annette Kolodny’s ecofeminism, as well as the concepts of “manifest content” and “latent content” by Sigmund Freud are applied to the play. The combination of these two readings is done in order to analyze the concerns and psychological complexities of the male character of the play. The argument of this article is that the general content of this work is related to his fantasy. Since the male character of the play is in a struggle to face the reality of his disability due to old age, “manifest content”, i.e. what happens in the garden space, has symbolic meanings, the “latent content” of which is the anxiety that results from entering into the old age. Thus, the present article argues that, like a dream or fantasy, the content of the play needs to be interpreted, an interpretation that is derived from the comparison of “manifest content” and “latent content.”


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