Repent Harlequin Said The Ticktockman By Harlan Ellison

2255 Words10 Pages

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right” (Martin Luther King, Jr.). Martin Luther King, Jr. understood that a man of moral conscience is obliged to stand up for his society when needed much like Harlan Ellison who proves this same point in his short story. “‘Repent Harlequin’ Said the Ticktockman” by Harlan Ellison, is a short story about a man named Everett C. Marm who becomes the persona of the Harlequin to save his society from the oppression of the Master Timekeeper, commonly known as the Ticktockman. The story takes place in a world where being on time is valued above all else and the Ticktockman has the right to subtract …show more content…

Ellison’s use of complex diction to depict how the society in which Everett C. Marm lives in is deficient and causes him to create his Harlequin persona helps to develop the Harlequin as a man of moral conscience. The Harlequin was allowed to be created in the world because “the very world it was, […] had no way to predict he would happen—possibly a strain of disease long-defunct, now, suddenly, reborn in a system where immunity had been forgotten, had lapsed—he had been allowed to become to real” (1). The Harlequin was created by the system within the society. The very own society which he lived in, created him as a cry for help to all the citizens being oppressed in their humdrum society. The Harlequin serves society best because he was “reborn” to serve the society. His entirety is what makes him a perfect man to serve society. The Harlequins jocose statements help him morally serve society best as seen in the diction which he uses. The Harlequin’s pranks allow him to disrupt the humdrum society: “Inserting thumbs in [his] large ears—he stuck out his tongue, rolled his eyes and went wugga-wugga-wugga” (3). The Harlequin’s “wugga-wugga-wugga” depicts how he best serves society, through his pranks. He understands that to change the society he must be the complete opposite of what …show more content…

The story “en media res” to emphasize the idea that a man of conscious serves society best. The story “begin[s] in the middle, and [you] later learn the beginning; the end will take care of itself” (1). The story begins in the middle to contrast the orderly and concise society the characters live in. The protagonist of the story, the Harlequin, wants to change this society because he realizes how wrong the society is. The out of orderliness of the story help prove the theme because the author is supporting the fact that a perfectly in order society is not best for society which is why the Harlequin serves society better than the Ticktockman. Ellison opens the story with a quote by Henry David Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” to prove that a man of society best serves society best. The quote explains how men who “rarely make any moral distinction [,] are as likely to serve the Devil, without intending it, as God” (Thoreau 1). This references the difference between the Harlequin and the Ticktockman. The Ticktockman, unlike the Harlequin, has no moral conscience and therefore instead of doing whats best for society, he does whats worse. The Harlequin serves society better that the Ticktockman because he is a man of conscience. Ellison ends his short story by having the Harlequin

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