Symbolism In The Butcher Boys By Jane Alexander

1381 Words 6 Pages
Register to read the introduction… With them positioned as standing and being a life-size (my own estimation) 6ft 2Ë tall, they would be an imposing, dominating force within the room. They would change from being the accused to being the judges, completely turning around the interpretation that they represent the "bad guys" of Apartheid.

The symbols represented within The Butcher Boys text are numerous. They have no eyes, no ears and no mouths. This symbolizes the way in which the controlling forces in Apartheid chose not to listen to, hear or see what was going on in their country nor would they engage in any communication contrary to their doctrine and governmental policy, matching the immovable nature of the statues. Horrific human-rights crimes were committed and, like these demons, they just sat and stared at their accusers in defiance. These figures are now permanently punished for the wrongs that they represent.

Horns are the traditional symbol of evil. In the horror genre, the way to portray a character as a demon or as purely evil is to give that character horns i.e. The Devil will have horns. The fact that they were horns that once belonged to animals, gives a markedly
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This gives a very real feeling to The Piece.

Through her definite choices in texture, positioning, context, intertextual referencing, etc. Jane Alexander has succeeded in giving The Butcher Boys a distinct intended meaning. Altering of a single element would result in the changing of the entire meaning. All these elements: texture, arrangement, symbolism, context, etc. have an ability to shape and modify our readings of the text. Changes to any one of these produces a completely different interpretation of the same text. In this way we can create a multitude of different texts using the same source, a form of Polytext, if you will. This ability to view texts in different ways (so creating these "polytexts") is essential to the modern progression of person-kind, without which we would have a world that is very primitive and uninteresting.


1. Web Site: Online News Hour, 13th march 2003. bb/ entertainment/jan-june02/short_century/gallery_9.html

2. The "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" monkeys

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