Beautifully written and presented article. Obviously very well researched.
Of interest here because it connects to my concept of two prison scenarios that seriously confront us today. This article has brought to the surface an extended viewpoint on the world’s relationships.
The personal prison that constrains us for many different and sometimes multiple reasons. Partly in the mind because we are equipped with the facility of choice but do not always feel free to excercise the power. Partly environmental from outside real constraining or restraining factors. We are probably all aware of our own personal “prison” situations to some degree or other.
Then there is a more general prison extant. The political oppression that exists globally in very many variants and degrees. It affects individuals, different social groups and countries as a whole. This can be financial, varying from real and serious destitution through to some petty selfish desire for something unattainable. It can be caused by physical warfare. Government regulation, direct or brainwashing influence constitutes a large part of our “prison” environment.
So many people are indeed imprisoned in these ways and some are not even aware that that is their plight.
‘Two men looked out through prison bars; one saw the mud, the other the stars’
So Langbridge astutely recognised the natural difficulty in any attempt to comprehend prison life– our opinion is ultimately shaped and distorted by the prisoner’s perception of the situation and thus his psychological condition. It is therefore, in an endeavour to grasp the writer’s character and emotional state of mind as he writes from within his walls of confinement, as opposed to a search for factual unbiased detail on incarceration, that we should approach any given prison text. Bearing this in mind, a comparison of prison literature from writers across the globe, in differing forms of prisons and historical time periods, may help us come to understand distinctions between prisoners simply from the way they choose to record their confinement. In doing so, perhaps we may come to learn some wider truth inherent to life…
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