A local man named Frank Wilcox, also known as Mr. Van Gogh, is consumed with the artist Mr. Van Gogh, but the town’s residents disapprove of his obsession. The audience will see society’s rejection of him throughout the course of Mr. Van Gogh as a result of his intense interest in the artist. Owen Marshall employs symbolism in this work to illustrate the concepts of bias and judgement that Mr. van Gogh encounters on a daily basis in society.
The thought that there is no room for someone in society is a major source of discrimination, so I would personally advise other year twelve students to read Mr. Van Gogh for this reason. Lots of students that read this short story probably feel like they don’t fit into society’s standards much like “Mr van Gogh”, Students these days are tough and if they dont be apart of the “norm” they will be judged and bullied much like how Mr Van Gogh is treated by the local townspeople, This story could create comfort for these students knowing that they aren’t the only ones who experience this.
The townspeople made it very clear they didn’t approve of his passion of mr van gogh inspired art, The story says “only those who wanted to mock him, encouraged him to talk”, People like mr souness would say “but he was a barmy wasn’t he? Admit it. He was another mad artist”. This is very significant to the backstory of this short story because in society there are many people out to get you if you do not fit into the “standard”, Mr Vangogh being a big example of this, he is passionate about his love for art but people don’t give him the same love in return because it’s considered “weird” and “annoying”.
In this short story there is a massive show of the theme of exclusion so this is another reason I would recommend this story to another year twelve students. The theme of exclusion is a key part of this text and is seen throughout society on a daily basis. This is seen through a quote said by Mr Souness “Mr Van Gough would have been alright if his obsession had been with politics or horse racing” This quote shows me he is excluded from society because society have one common interest but frank at a different interest in heart that everyone didn’t understand so they shut him out. It shows that if Frank were to show an interest in what the rest of society agrees on and drop his passion for art, He would be “accepted” by the fellow townspeople. This quote reflects on how the society will judge if anyone is different to them because their interests are considered the “normal”. This makes me wonder how many people are excluded or shut out by society because of their differences in places like school, work or even sports teams. This text makes me realize how people turn a blind eye on what they say to others and not realize their words and actions have a massive impact on others. The whole idea of this text is to highlight not to judge what is on the outside but what is actually within a person because no one ever knows what a person is going through inside. Owen mashel highlighted these points amazingly throughout this text with all the quotes and showing what some people get told everyday just for following their dreams which are not considered normal.
This text is important to year twelve students because it inspires us to follow our dreams and passions no matter what other people may say or think. An example of this is seen through the quote “Mr Van Gogh’s only problem was that he had made a commitment to something which other people could not understand”. Frank knows this and that if he were to drop painting the society would accept him, he continues to follow his passion of painting because it makes him happy and that’s all that matters. Today we continue to let society’s opinions get in the way of our passions.We are too worried about what others may think, Worried about being judged or laughed at. Frank’s character may have a major influence on some year twelve students as his character reflects on not letting other people’s opinions push him away from his true passion. The author’s purpose is to show the reader that they can be a follower and go along with the crowd or they can be a leader and not care what others think of them. In this cruel society people are harshly judged or hated upon for having “weird” dreams, passions or even sport choices. It is seen everywhere, We in a society should embrace everyone’s differences because if we are all the same there is no uniqueness and it is very boring.
What this text tells me about society is that there will always be a “Mr Van Goug ‘’ figure in society. In today’s society there will always be someone who does not fit in and seems like an outsider all because they have a different passion then most people. Just like how people made fun of Frank because of his passion for art, This can appear a lot throughout society today. For example, girls who don’t enjoy netball are considered different or boys that don’t like rugby are considered weird in today’s society. The key message I got from this text is to treat people with kindness no matter what they enjoy doing because you never know how much that passion could be saving their life or what is going on in a person’s life.