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”Diving for Peals” by Katherine Thomson

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The lack of communication in ‘Diving for Peals’ by Katherine Thomson is a recurring theme throughout the whole play, seeing negative effects in the relationships between Barbara and Den, Barbara and Verge, Den and Ron, Marj and Barbara and Marj and Verge. Lack of communication has negative effects through the relationships which causes conflict and frustration between the characters. The relationship between Barbara and Den is lacking communication on Barbara’s behalf. Den ties to reach out and please Barbara, but she is so caught up on her ‘new’ lifestyle he forgets about placing focus upon some of the everyday life challenges such as her relationship with Den. In Barbara’s eyes she is number one and believes she should be in peace and harmony before everyone else, “I just want some space I can’t have any stress.” After moving in with Den, Barbara and Dens relationship begins to see more tension and conflict between the pair. Den wishes to have children and tries to communicate this with Barbara which only causes more tension as Barbara hurts den once she reacts badly to the idea. The relationship between Barbara and Den could be described as a one way give and take.

Verge is Barbara’s daughter, however, Barbara introduces Verge in a ‘formal’ way to Den this shows a non-existent mother and daughter relationship due to their lack of communication, resulting in parental neglect. Verge only wants to be loved and feel welcome in Barbara’s life, but Barbra decides she does not wish to have a loving relationship with verge as she has to many self-issues and it’ll be too much work for Barbara whilst striving towards her new life. “She needs supervision. I can’t look after you”, suggests that Barb just doesn’t care about what verge wants, to be loved. When Verge comes into the play Barb introduced Verge as Virginia to Den, “Verge. Verge. Verge. ‘Your daughter’, say.” Verge wants to establish the ‘right’ relationships from the beginning as she asks whether den is a boyfriend or just a friend. Verge wishes to be spoken to and addressed with colloquial language but Barbara wishes to keep the language as formal as possible. Ron and Dens relationship is uncommunicative which causes misunderstandings as things cannot be expressed as best as they should be. Another aspect of change within the play is discovered when Ron joins the review team at the state engineering works.

Ron and Den started at the works around the same time but Ron had decided that he can better himself by joining the review team. Dens sister Jeannie owns the house that Den lives in. Ron surprises den when he announces that Jeannie wishes to sell the house and suggests that a ‘bachelor unit’ down by the beach. Den takes this badly, signifying that he doesn’t deal with change very well, and indirectly comments “I know practically every mark on every wall”. Marj and Barbara’s relationship is based around rivalry and nasty competition. They are both ambitious, although Barbara aims too high as she doesn’t have the capacity to adapt to the job. Marj and Barbara act like sisters do in the life today, with having little to no communication between them at all has caused them to try and out do the other with everything leaving negative relationships between the two of them. Marj’s attitude towards Barbara is judgemental and patronising and Barbara always has a defensive reaction towards anything Marj says causing arguments between the two continuously. Marj and Verge seem to communicate only when needed, there is no extra communication between the two.

Their relationship is distant as verge knows Marj is just using her. Marj is not caring for Verge out of the goodness of her heart, but because she feels like she has to. Although Marj is taking care of Verge, all Verge wants is to be loved, ideally from her mother Barbara but love from Marj would have been enough for her. Verge then decided to make changes in her life by leaving the institution in which she was placed in and Marj, going on to find her mother. Verge needs security and when it has disappeared she returns to her old self damaging ways. If Marj and Verge were to communicate more, Verge may not have chosen to resort to herself harming ways. Communication is a vital part of everyday life for the world today. Without communication many challenges arise such as, conflict, confusion and anger. Throughout the play ‘Diving for pearls’, Katherine Thomson portrayed these challenges within the characters relationships between one and another.

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