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13 WAYS OF LOOKING AT A HANGING

Thesis: By exposing the humanity of the prisoner through symbolism, the author has´extended the definition of the crime´ for the readers to widen their conventional and stereotypical view on criminals. Outline: I/ Introduction: Author biography: Alfian Bin Sa¶at

Born in 1977, Alfian Bin Sa¶at has always been a talented author with fluent writing skills highly developed since young. Being a role model of a Singapore youth as a respectful intellect who came from the most prestigious secondary and high schools in Singapore, Raffles Institution, the author continued to study in National University of Singapore, but dropped out before his graduation. His writing career started early in his childhood, and began to be acknowledged when he took part in Creative Art Program at the age of fifteen and seventeen. During his two years in junior college, he gained Kripalani Award for Outstanding Contribution to Creative Arts. As a versatile artist, Alfian Sa¶at does not limit himself to any form of literature with his wide variety of English and Malay poems, short stories as well as plays. While giving an impression of being an exemplary student, Alfian Bin Sa¶at showed a different aspect of his personal view point through his literature works. His attitudes towards the government, especially their policies to guide and assure their citizens¶ high living standards and proper lifestyles are very negative. As the author has freely expressed through his compositions his political stands, which is anti-governmental, he is usually regarded as ³enfant terrible´, who causes shock to his fellow citizens and Singapore bureaucrats with his provocative works represented by ³Singapore
You Are Not My Country´.

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Summary: In accordance with Alfian Sa¶at¶s ideologies of the government, ³ 13 Ways of looking at a hanging´ also conveys a conflict with Singapore government, especially from the point of view of a ³black sheep´ who rejected to live as a typical Singapore citizen and became a criminal on the verge of death by capital punishment.

Represents the fixed pathway set by the government." II/ Body: 1/ Setting 2/ Symbols: Photo 1. in the last photo-taking section.Ricky. This can be found from the quotes below: The clothes why not something a bit more casual? . that they were fair. the sentence shall direct that he shall be hanged by the neck till he is dead but shall not state the place where nor the time when the sentence is to be carried out. Not until the last time when his brother who is still in the army brings along his pregnant fiancé does Ricky realize the importance of life and show his appreciation towards to infant who is still inside the ovum. The photo of Ricky in his suit is suppose to show others that Ricky could have lived the ideal . Finally. by sending an idealized photograph of a dead person. He is visited by his brother and mother often. that they were wrong to give Ricky a capital punishment. but the topic of death has always been avoided. instead of his own self. The story also reveals an officer and a photographer¶s opinions about Ricky¶s death. Ricky at first shows little attachment to either his life or his family. but narrates about his imprisonment and his observations from his surroundings and other prisoner. A photo speaks a thousand words. Capital punishment in Singapore: "When any person is sentenced to death. which is a forbidden crime in Singapore. the protagonist of the story chose to live his adolescent disobeying his parents and using drugs to get involved with drug trafficking. that they had given Ricky a chance to lead a happy life. normal life if he hadn t committed the crime. marked by a series of thirteen photos taken day by day until his death. The government may trying to emphasize to the people. The story starts as the execution of Ricky¶s punishment is drawing near. Ricky was forced to show a smile in the photo while wearing a proper suit to be portrayed as a typical Singapore citizen in his last picture.

for Ricky s case it s the direct opposite. The symbol of truth here in the story is just a pathway that the government decided upon to be the truth for the people. However. and whether the path set by the government is the only and the ideal life. The prison probably believed the ideal life for anyone is that of a suit in an office. rather. the photo is not for his memento. as he had mentioned. A life like this is within everyone s reach. one s precious memories that people want to keep and preserve. complete with a desktop computer and family photos on a himself . However. That is the main aim of taking a photo. Photos are symbols of truth.The most plausible explanation is that these costumes were not chosen for how much they reflected a certain ground reality. but for their aspirational reach. ironically. The most plausible explanation is that these costumes were not chosen for how much they reflected a certain ground reality. an managerial position perhaps. the problem with your son is that he chose to reject it. 2. think once more about whether the government policies are really for the best. but for their aspirational reach. The photos are not supposed to be mementos for himself they are. for Ricky. keepsakes meant for those close to him Photos are mementos of one s past. Irony of photography is used to question the government s policies The author used irony of photographs in order to get the readers to question. It s for others to see.

The clothes make Ricky the man that the government believes is how every Singaporean should be with the smart clothes. The photo is a frame set by the government.Symbol of Appearance. he is made to appear like that ideal character going inside the mold. who do not know you. the path set by the government. The prison believed the ideal life for anyone is that of a suit in an office To pose in these clothes is to join in the valorization of smug. . Wearing white-collar and tie would make Ricky appear like a being completely different from his identity. we know that wearing jacket is not Ricky s present character. The author puts a lot of emphasis on clothes. his own office. The author may be encouraging the readers to think about the policies of the government rather than absorbing it as a whole. the proud smile . to judge your character as a whole. and people live within that frame Clothes: 1.It is not the kind of life that Ricky has ever considered We can see from this quote that Ricky is questioning the truth . which is a representation of oneself. self-consoling white-collar values Appearance is the characteristic that is used by most people. the white-collar can be used as a symbol for made a appearance. And although Ricky is nothing like it. clothes can be also said to be like an empty container or mold that shapes people inside it. Therefore. Therefore. From the quote Ricky cannot remember the last time he had put on a jacket . molded and shaped by being trapped inside the clothes.

Smile 1. However. caused Ricky to lose his ground. However. Ricky lost his identity/notion. The government s policy that will pronounce him dead. an asphalt highway road set by the government so that people can get to the goal/destination without straying away. they are killed as with Ricky. Ricky didn t want to smile.Symbol of distortion of identity I can t smile sir. When Ricky was still in control. He wanted to show the authorities the perversity of this well-intentioned ritual However. The government policies maybe shaping people into the ideal being set by its standard. By smiling. Why can t he just pose insde his cell with his white Tshirt and blue shorts that Ricky is irritated to be dressed up in such formal manner. ceased to be concerned with his smile as a symbol. a mark on his face to be deciphered. Why is he being dressed up in this manner? .We can see from the above quote. we can infer that the government breaks people s belief. o Forced smile = suppress true emotions . Ricky suddenly feels an almost dizzying fatigue sweep across him. Therefore. Ricky is back in his cell crying For the last shot. at the last moment he capitulated. he had capitulated. If they do. conviction and sets them in the nice frame of the photo mentioned earlier. He wanted to show the authorities that the photo-session wasn t a privilege for the prisoner. he smiled. he is forced to wear white-collar and forced to seem as someone who he isn t. he managed to make the only discernible expression on his face to be tiredness . he knows he is in control of thes photo session. the people do not have much freedom to choose and the most funny thing is that this is seen as a privilege (from the quote above). when he broke down due to the emotional surge from the word last chance . point of view.

-> Restrictive regime. plots. emphasized by contrasting the extremities of alternative pathways. think about how symbols would help in the development of characters.- Political meaning: predetermined pathway of the government for citizens to follow is overly protective. (death). :D . and themes. 3/ Language: The story employs mostly short factual sentences. III/ Conclusion: An objective opposition of government¶s policy to hang drug traffickers :-/ Feedback: link back to the elements of short fictions.