The Caretaker Questions and Answers
by Harold Pinter

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How does the caretaker represent the contemporary society?

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The caretaker represents various aspects of the contemporary society. The people in the contemporary society are characterized by selfishness, ungratefulness, joblessness, and poverty. These are all aspects that are exhibited by the caretaker, whose actual name is Davis. The old man is left jobless after leaving his job as a “kitchen helper” at a restaurant. Davis has nowhere to go and out of kindness, Aston decides to accommodate him. The caretaker represents the situation in the contemporary society where many people remain jobless. Most of these people do not have proper accommodation and cannot fend for themselves. However, even after Davis gets assistance from Aston, he has no regard for him. Davis, the caretaker, is presented as ungrateful and greedy. His ungratefulness is evident when he is offered a comfortable pair of shoes by Aston but declines, saying that “they did not fit.” Further, when Aston complains about the noises made by Davis, the old man calls him a “half-off,” and even pulls his knife at him. This shows Davis as an ungrateful individual who does not respect the hand that feeds him. This is a common occurrence in the contemporary society as most people tend to be ungrateful to those who have helped them in one way or the other. For example, in contemporary society it is common to find children disrespecting their parents who have toiled to give them education and ensure that they have a decent life. Additionally, the caretaker is depicted as a selfish and greedy individual. Davis is a self-centered person who only thinks about his gains without much regard for the people around him. The first instance of his greed is depicted when he asks Aston for more money despite having been given some money that evening. This shows that Davis only cares about his own welfare at the expense of Aston’s financial well-being. Contemporary society is characterized by high levels of greed and selfishness. This explains the increased cases of theft and corruption in today’s society. Thus, the caretaker clearly represents issues affecting contemporary society.

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