Conflict and Character Relationships in "Heartbreak Kid

Essay add: 2-08-2016, 14:14   /   Views: 52
Conflict and Character Relationships in "Heartbreak Kid"

In the play "The HeartbreakKid" by Richard Barrett, Papa is the most to blame for the conflict, rather than Nicky. Papa, a teacher, led Nicky, her student, to believe she was sexually attracted to him. Papa is unaware of her own feelings, making her indecisive, and declines to use her power to stop Nicky’s ideas of the two of them ‘dating.’ Nicky also has to take some responsibility as he reads too much into Papa’s interest in him.

Her Greek background and her youthful age, are factors that contribute to Papa’s isolation from her collegues. Being trapped between the Australian and Greek cultures, also excludes her from her more traditional family. This leaves Papa looking for an understanding, inclusive connection; she believes she can find this with Nicky. Nicky too is alienated from his family and their Greek customs, he is also caught between wanting to be an adult, but still being a teenager. He too is looking for a relationship where he can comfortably fit in and looks to Papa for a sense of belonging.

Conflict in the play, arises from Papa and Nicky’s relationship, and what they both want from it. Papa is confused by what she wishes for; she is torn between the wants of a teacher and a personal relationship. She is not fully aware of what her true feelings for Nicky are, leaving her to be undecided on what action to take. Her indecision encourages Nicky to pursue the affair and friction occurs when the two of them start dealing with each other on a more personal level. They argue with one another and others over what each party desires from the connection.

Papa is given many chances to stop Nicky’s fantasies of the two of them. From the beginning, she declines to make her intentions clear about the purpose of the drive. Through-out the play, Papa passes up many opportunities such as after the first soccer game when Nicky says "I’ll take you…out"pg32, she can put a stop to it then but dismisses the chance. The scene where Papa accepts the necklace, but asks him to mind it, is another illustration of this, it also displays Papa’s uncertainty of what she wants. On the most important occasion to say ‘no,’ when Nicky insists they go to the National Park, Papa fails once more. She also is the one who moves forward to initiate a kiss, leading Nicky on again, she then states "When I…seriously"pg78, crushing all his hopes.

Graham is Papa’s best friend and confidant, they went to university together, and Papa constantly seeks his advice. He is the first to pick up Papa’s feelings for Nicky. Graham can see what is really happening between them. Graham understands Papa’s feelings better than she does as he is looking at the situation from an objective point of view. He warns Papa to "be careful" and trys to make her see the consequences of the relationship. Graham also attempts to counsel her on what to do. He believes that Papa’s job is enough reason for her to nullify all fantasies that Nicky has. He thinks she is acting unprofessionally. Papa refuses to listen to Graham’s advice and her ignorance frustrates him. Graham gets quite upset when Papa disregards his warnings. Graham perceives that Papa is the most to blame as she has the power too stop the relationship, but fails to do so.

Nicky reads too much into Papa’s actions and gets carried away with his fantasy of the two of them. He too must take some blame, he allows himself to be lead on and to truly believe that Papa loves him. "The only reason…future"pg62, is an example of how delusional Nicky becomes about his relationship with Papa. He refuses to listen to the truth, when Con tells him about her engagement. He also interprets many of Papa’s motives the wrong way. Nicky perceives their relationship to be far more personal than it really is; he even makes comments about marriage to Papa in the park. Nicky allows himself to be swept away in the illusion of a personal relationship with Papa; consequently he contributes to the conflict in the play.

Con and Steve are both Nicky’s friends; it is Con however that Nicky confides in. Con thinks Nicky is misinterpreting Papa, that he is being stupid and living in a fantasy. Con tries hard to persuade Nicky that he and Papa can never be together. "She’s got somebody," he says, referring to Papa and Graham, in an attempt to crush Nicky’s fantasies. He also tells him of her engagement in a continual effort to bring Nicky back to reality. He comprehends the conflict to be Nicky’s fault because he is being extremely foolish about Papa, and the chance of the two of them.

In conclusion, Papa is the most to blame for the conflict in the play "The Heartbreak Kid." As she is unaware of her real feelings, she leads Nicky on, encouraging him. She is also in a position of power to stop the relationship, at the start and once it gets rolling. Although Nicky allows himself to be strung along by Papa and lives in a daydream, this does not make him more at fault for the conflict. Papa has the capability to halt the relationship at any stage but continually passes up the chance. Therefore the person most accountable for the conflict in the play is Papa.

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