Truly great men—often reformers or martyrs—follow their moral consciences even if that means resisting and becoming enemies of the state. Active Themes The Harlequin has come to the notice of authorities as a potential deviant. Now that he has become something of a notorious celebrity, officials have turned the case over to the Ticktockman. The Harlequin is shown to be dangerous on multiple fronts: first, he is individualistic in a way that is deviant and regressive, and second, he is an inspiration to the lower classes, who view him as a kind of folk hero.
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Truly great men—often reformers or martyrs—follow their moral consciences even if that means resisting and becoming enemies of the state. Active Themes The Harlequin has come to the notice of authorities as a potential deviant. Now that he has become something of a notorious celebrity, officials have turned the case over to the Ticktockman.
The Harlequin is shown to be dangerous on multiple fronts: first, he is individualistic in a way that is deviant and regressive, and second, he is an inspiration to the lower classes, who view him as a kind of folk hero. While the Harlequin is not overtly violent or dangerous, his symbolic power makes him a significant threat to the power of the Ticktockman. The Ticktockman is introduced here as a threatening and sinister overlord. While he ostensibly stands for order and peace, even those who are also enmeshed in his bureaucracy live in fear of him.
The Ticktockman is masked and therefore anonymous, making him less a person and more a symbol of power and control. Similarly, the Ticktockman is uniquely threatened by the Harlequin because he, too, is imbued with immense symbolic power. Because of this, he is ordered to appear before the Ticktockman. While the consequences of the release of the jelly beans are materially significant in that they disrupt the order of the day, interfering with the smooth production cycles and the finely-tuned system of the Ticktockman, they have an even more important symbolic effect upon the workers whose days have been suddenly disrupted.
In dropping the jelly beans on their unsuspecting heads, the Harlequin awakens them to the pure pleasure of the random, the absurd, and the non-scheduled, which is ultimately a much more significant threat to the power of the Ticktockman than any material calamity.
Download it! An adherence to timeliness at all costs has slowly warped the society in which the Harlequin lives, from examples of students who get good grades but are kicked out of school for tardiness, to the slow criminalization of all forms of lateness and disorder, the punishment of which is, eventually, death.
This problem is shown to be pervasive and deeply entrenched, to the point where ordinary citizens can no longer imagine lives where this kind of social control is absent. In these examples, the steady encroachment of the control of the powerful against the powerless, those who make the orders and those who are subjected to them, is laid bare.
Technology and capital play a significant part in this progression, as an adherence to productivity as the singular goal of a society goes hand in hand with the technological ability to police even minor instances of noncompliance. While in the world of the Harlequin this progression is taken to an extreme conclusion, it is implied that the seeds of such a society are already present in the America of today.
Marm, discusses his wanted status with his girlfriend, Pretty Alice. Pretty Alice is frustrated with his habitual lateness and his mannerisms, and they get into a minor argument. It seems that Pretty Alice would prefer it if the Harlequin were slightly more normal, less disruptive and more in harmony with the status quo. Must you always be out in that ghastly clown suit, running around annoying people?
While the Harlequin feels bad about disappointing Pretty Alice, there is ultimately no way that he can cede to her requests without changing who he is as a person and trying to conform to the society of the Ticktockman. The characterization of Pretty Alice also illustrates the ways in which, in a totalitarian society obsessed with conformity and regulation, even normal citizens carry out enforcement on behalf of the state.
Active Themes The Harlequin executes another stunt to disrupt the order of things, broadcasting his intent to attend the International Medical Association Invocation. When police lie in wait for him, expecting him to be characteristically late, he instead shows up early, turns their own traps against them, and delights the attendees of the conference.
Another way in which the Harlequin is threatening to the Ticktockman and his bureaucracy is because of his sheer unpredictability. He is difficult to capture because his movements cannot be predicted and he is not bound by any sort of pre-established order.
Without resorting to violence, the Harlequin neatly shows how foolish those in power can be made to look, and how delightful an unexpected and absurd surprise can be. He instructs the reader not to laugh. In this world, power is brutal, swift, and absolute, and therefore incredibly difficult to resist in any significant fashion.
Why let them tell you to hurry and scurry like ants or maggots? Take your time! Saunter a while! Enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the breeze, let life carry you at your own pace! The society can only function if all of its members agree to the terms—and the Harlequin shows just how disadvantageous those terms are to the average person. The Harlequin, however, is not exceptional, except for what he represents.
The Ticktockman not only has the symbolic power of his mask behind him, but he also has the entire apparatus of a technocratic police state at his disposal. Marm is just a person, and ultimately no match for the Ticktockman. Because the Ticktockman possesses the ultimate power over life and death, most people are unable to resist him in any meaningful way because they are not willing to risk their lives.
Continuing to live in such a corrupt world is a greater punishment than anything the Ticktockman could dream up. To them, further resistance seems foolish at best, and dangerous at worst.
In declining to kill the Harlequin, and instead opting to send him to a reeducation camp, the Ticktockman effectively destroys the very thing that makes the Harlequin so dangerous: his ability to think freely and to encourage others to do the same. Killing the Harlequin might have made him onto a martyr, but having him parrot back praise for the status quo effectively eliminates him as a meaningful symbol of resistance. Active Themes While the Harlequin has been vanquished, his effect is nevertheless felt in the ripples in time he has left behind.
The conclusion of the story illustrates the ways in which small changes made by individuals can have an impact, however minor, upon the world. Though the man Marm is gone, the possibilities symbolized by the Harlequin remain; one cannot kill a.
Wack, Margaret. Retrieved March 10, Copy to Clipboard.
"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman
They are the standing army, and the militia, jailors, constables, possee comitatus, etc. In most cases there is no free exercise whatever of the judgment or of the moral sense; but they put themselves on a level with wood and earth and stones; and wooden men can perhaps be manufactured that will serve the purpose as well. Such command no more respect than men of straw or a lump of dirt. They have the same sort of worth only as horses and dogs. Yet such as these even are commonly esteemed good citizens. Others--as most legislators, politicians, lawyers, ministers, and officeholders--serve the state chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral distinctions, they are as likely to serve the Devil, without intending it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men, serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it.
"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman Quotes
The story is a satirical look at a dystopian future in which time is strictly regulated and everyone must do everything according to an extremely precise time schedule. In this future, being late is not merely an inconvenience, but a crime. The ultimate consequence is to run out of time and be "turned off". The story focuses on a man named Everett C. Marm who, disguised as the anarchical Harlequin , engages in whimsical rebellion against the Ticktockman. Everett is in a relationship with a girl named Pretty Alice, who is exasperated by the fact that he is never on time. The Harlequin disrupts the carefully kept schedule of his society with methods such as distracting factory workers from their tasks by showering them with thousands of multicolored jelly beans or simply using a bullhorn to publicly encourage people to ignore their schedules, forcing the Ticktockman to pull people off their normal jobs to hunt for him.