The Elephant Man Themes

Bernard Pomerance
This Study Guide consists of approximately 97 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Elephant Man.
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Alienation and Loneliness

On account of his disease, Merrick is completely isolated from normal society: first in the freak show, and later, in his quarters in London Hospital. When Treves meets him, he is treated as a freak and in dire need of friendship.

Although Treves has kind motives, Merrick remains isolated in the hospital; Treves often treats him as a subject to study; and the burgeoning friendship between Kendal and Merrick is ruined when they become too close. When she is banished, Merrick is left even more lonely now he knows what he is missing, and it breaks his heart.

Beauty

In a society that values beauty, Merrick is an outcast: his appearance is so deformed and hideous that people run from him in fear. He serves as an interesting contrast for the beautiful Mrs. Kendal, whose humanity is far greater than her beauty. She is able to...

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This section contains 471 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Elephant Man Study Guide
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Drama for Students
The Elephant Man from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.