On Golden Pond Essay

Ernest Thompson
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Heims is a writer and teacher living in Paris. In this essay, he argues that On Golden Pond is an actors' play.

Whenever Norman Thayer, the eighty-year-old protagonist of On Golden Pond, speaks, he camouflages the expression of his thoughts and feelings using clever and evasive verbal tricks and riffs of language. These contrivances allow him simultaneously to express and to avoid confronting unpleasant realities, such as his disquiet at aging or his anxiety about death. Likewise, he can avoid making direct contact with other people, like his daughter—which he finds embarrassing. These verbalizations serve to distance him from his real emotions and to permit him to stand aloof and apparently unaffected, as if with an academic detachment—he is a retired college English professor—above and outside everything, offering wry commentary.

The behavior is so characteristic of him that it is impossible to know whether it...

(read more from the Critical Essay #3 section)

This section contains 1,955 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the On Golden Pond Study Guide
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