Bicycle Repairman Analysis

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To what extent has your study of texts from one literary period demonstrated that context and values are essentially interconnected.

Contextual events have a profound influence on values and issues embodied by productions of an era. The 1990s was a period of extreme transition and confrontation, as Andreas Huyssen argues “Our culture as a whole is haunted by the implosion of temporality in the expanding synchronicity of our media world”. Jonathan Larson 's musical Rent (1996) explores the effects of two contextual events, the neoliberal economic boom and the culture wars, on developing values. Bruce Sterling’s short story Bicycle Repairman (1996) similarly examines the impact of widespread capitalism and the extensive use of technology on an
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Rent reflects the need to earn an income while maintaining artistic expression of a Bohemian artist. The need to earn an income is expressed in the song “Christmas Bells” where anaphora “No Sleigh Bells/No Santa Claus/No Yule Log…” emphasises the overwhelming nature of meeting daily needs. The song “What you own” rejects the idea of prioritising work over creation, as Mark exclaims “I need to finish my film/I quit!” which indicates he prefers the life of an artist over the stifling nature of earning an income. Larson also addresses the expanding economic gap between the upper and lower classes, highlighting the dismissive attitude towards the poor. In the song “La Vie Boheme”, where staging of the large table of garishly costumed neo-Bohemians in contrast to Benny and Mr Grey accentuates the wealth disparity between the two classes. In response to the uniformity of the upper class, the neo-Bohemians rebel through artistic expression “dearly beloved, we are gathered here to say our goodbyes”, where connotations of death parallel conformity to emptiness. Through appraisal of individuality in the face of conformity, Larson demonstrates how emerging values of nonconformity were influenced by the neoliberal economic
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