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The Arrogance Of The Lie By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

992 words - 4 pages

The Arrogance of The Lie

 The Lie, written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., is a story that stands as a mirror to reflect the ugly image of a condescending faction obsessed with grades and numbers, not actual learning.  Even though it took place years ago, the sickening mind frames still exist in some of today’s people.  They are namely the “elite group” or middle to upper class families.  In the story, Doctor Remenzel is obsessed with Eli having a high standard of excellence, Eli getting special treatment because he is part of the higher group, and for those reasons, Eli is ashamed of himself, and terrified of telling his father and mother that he failed the entrance examinations.  All of these things are examples of what happens in the arrogant sub culture which exists today.

              During the beginning of the story, Doctor Remenzel is obsessed with the idea of his son Eli looking good.  An example of this would be when Doctor Remenzel meets his friend Tom on the way to the school.  “Doctor Remenzel pointed to the chaos of the back of Eli’s head; beamed that his news was the same.”  The word beamed, and the whole fact that the Doctor had to point out that his son was too going there implies that he is proud and wants to show him off.  A comment that Doctor Remenzel makes that implies his son is “better” than others is when referring to another person getting in, he makes the remark of, “If he’s smart enough.”  The Doctor is obviously saying that Eli is much smarter than some. 

            This relates to the condescending faction because the parents of these children brag and feel the need to tell many people of their children’s accomplishments.  Of course most parents are proud of their children, but sometimes they go too far.  Once a parent begins bragging and telling everyone of their child’s progress, the child feels pressured and obligated to meet, or even exceed their accomplishments each time.  This can put a lot of stress on a child.  Doctor Remenzel seems selfish when he does such things.  He is only thinking of himself, and how Eli’s getting into Whitehill School will reflect how much of a “good parent” he has been.

            Another flaw of Doctor Remenzel that mirrors flaws in the condescending faction is the idea that Eli should get special treatment merely because he is of the “elite” or “higher” group.  This does not show in the story until the end.  In fact, the Doctor completely contradicts himself the entire time.  Sylvia Remenzel is first to bring up the idea of giving Eli any sort of special behavior.  Doctor Remenzel harshly declines the idea.  An example of this would be when Doctor Remenzel says, “’Let me tell you in no uncertain terms…you are...

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