Book Report: Alan Seymour, One Day of the Year (An Australian Play) , 'Is Jan The least convincing Character?'

Essay by TapirTapirHigh School, 11th grade March 2004

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Alan Seymour has said about his play that "Jan is the least convincingly written role". Discuss the role that Jan's character plays in exploring the main themes of the play, and give your view on the success or otherwise of the characterisation.

In the novel, The One Day of the Year, Jan Castle is, according to the author, Alan Seymour, the least convincingly written role. This is incorrect. Jan is a well-developed, non-clichéd character and is neither unconvincing nor common. The opinion Seymour has expressed in his introduction is merely a product of his modesty.

Jan's participation in the main themes of the play help explore her character and let the reader understand her individualities, consequently giving us a picture of a very complete, very real character with faults, with a family, with feelings, with strengths and generally with characteristics.

One of the main themes of the play is Hughie's education and the changes it creates in the family.

The character of Jan is not just there to represent his 'other life' or what he is perhaps destined for, but rather Jan's character is a part of the process, that is the segregation of Hughie from his family. She encourages him, and wheedles him out of his old life and into that of a university student with ideas and beliefs.

Hughie is written as a conflicted, but always-nice character. It is not possible for him to fully realize his education and the changes it brings without Jan. She plays an almost Devil's Advocate as she brings about the change in Hughie.

Some might argue that Hughie's change was a result of building frustration with ANZAC day and his father; Hughie himself says so, While this may be correct, without Jan coaxing him out of his shell, Hughie would not...