Reading-Text Five, John Galsworthy
Expression of Pessimism for the Large Gulf between the Haves and the haves Nots
Act III of The Silver Box is a bitter expression of the notorious state of affair which class distinction has brought to the doorsteps of English society. John Galsworthy seems quite bitter about the situation because there is a vast gap between the poor and the wealthy, between the helpless and the influential and powerful. In this critical assessment of English society, the reader finds that in each and every walk of life, money performs vital role.
Sinful Act of Theft
It is a story of two thieves in a drunken state. Jack Barthwick, son of a rich member of parliament, Mr. Barthwick, stole a purse from a woman. Similarly in a drunken state, James Jones, the husband of the charwoman stole a silver cigarette box and the same purse from the house of Mr. Barthwick. They were both drunk and on Jack’s invitation, Jones entered in his house. They drank there again and Jack fell asleep. Jones, all in his drowsiness, is not in a position to distinguish between right and wrong. He took the silver cigarette box as well as the purse with the money and went home. The case about Jack is put in the darkness because of his father’s wealth and influence. On the other hand Jones is produced before a magistrate and tried for stealing the silver box as well as for assaulting a police officer. His wife, who is completely innocent and does not have any hand in this affair, is also tried for theft. It is presumed that her help enabled her husband to enter into Barthwick’s house. This resulted in scandal and she is dismissed from the service also. Jones is already out of work. The room, in which they lived, is also taken from them. Thus, a poor house is ruined. The judge takes into account only the evidence produced before him, according to which Jones is found guilty, who is in reality, had been the guilty of the similar offence.
Ideal Justice Prevails in Utopia
One can comment after the reading of the play that money can change even the course of justice. The idea of real justice or poetic justice remains in dream world where vice should always be punished and virtue always is rewarded. Magistrate, despite the fact, being kind and sympathetic for the poor people, failed to provide justice and protection to the weaker. This is the result of the fact that someone with the support of finance, social or political influence, tempted with evidence and so diverted the course of justice.