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Graven Image - Status and Power

Essay by Cole Ahmad  •  April 18, 2018  •  Book/Movie Report  •  652 Words (3 Pages)  •  252 Views

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            "Graven Image"

                          1943

Graven Image is about status and power. A guy named Browning meets at a high-class Washington bar with a man known as the Under Secretary. Browning is looking for a job, knows exactly what he wants, and believes that the Under Secretary can help him. But there is one thing that stands in the way. Browning is visibly a member of a secret society that he only refers to as the "Pork". The Under Secretary had wanted to get in this club at one time, but wasn’t let in. This is uncomfortable spot that Browning must handle very delicate, which he does at least in the beginning. At the request of the Under Secretary, he pulls out a keychain that has a small, golden pig hanging from it. This is the "graven image", which clearly has links of greed the graven image normally gets Browning what he wants. Until he lets it slip that the Under Secretary never could have wanted to be admitted to that society, and everything falls apart in that moment.

Browning tries to "play the game" with the Under Secretary, and does well. Browning fails when he decides to talk to the Under Secretary as he is a regular person or a good friend willing to look at past failures. This moment of being comfortable loses him the thing he is seeking. Browning is a person that is seeking physical rather than spiritual results. His golden pig has a hopeful quality; it is something clearly wanted by the Under Secretary, as a sign of status and power. Using this like this for material gains usually doesn’t end well, even if someone gets what they want. The want of power and status puts people under this type of spell where a muddle of words might have no significance to everyday people and only brings about uncertain material results. This type of accomplishment is false, and maybe that is the moral of this story. What one gains through such manipulation can be lost in a moment.

Sometimes people get anxious and in a hurry when they desire status or power. Most people also become accustomed to having a visual representation of power or wealth in life. The image of the golden pig reminds me of the old idolizing practice and pagan rituals that started in the days of Moses. I find little satisfaction in giving hope and power to object or physical materials. I was taught that hard work and diligence will pay off in the long term. But not all people see thing this way and I’m sure O’Hara witness this first had in his travels in life.

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