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“Hotel Sorrento” Analysis

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Hannie Rayson’s play attempts to articulate an Australian identity and suggests that the experience of living elsewhere alters one’s perceptions of home. She explores ideas about loyalty and betrayal from the perspective of an expatriate, Meg, and examines to what degree should we criticise or accept the faults of our country and of our loved ones.

Meg claims that Australia is “a country which honours ordinariness”. Dick interprets this as a critical remark of Australia’s intellect contrasting with Marge’s perception of it as an appreciation of the heroism of ordinary people, thus raising the issue of ordinariness. The human condition is the factor that differentiates humans from other animals, and if so, are humans ordinary? An aspect of the human condition explored in Rayson’s play, is the complexity of human emotions and feelings.

Hotel Sorrento is an analysis of the human race and encourages an ownership without the need to hide in the belief that one is not good enough, and without the illusion that there exists a superior group dominated by a minority. Rayson expresses her coming-to-terms of the flaws and faults that are inevitably present in human existence in her portrayal of the unpredictable and explosive nature in a family, especially her emphasis on a family’s capacity to postpone the settling of conflicts. She stresses the idea that Australians are unable to express passion, through Wal’s character. Wal cannot tell his daughters that he loves them, yet now that he has mellowed it is clear that he does when he says “not a real family. Without everyone.”

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