Themes and message

Government control

The theme of government control is implied throughout the story “Examination Day” by Henry Slesar, but its true dimensions are only revealed at the end of the story.

First, the idea of government control is hinted at when Mr and Mrs Jordan mention the test that all children have to take at the age of 12. At first, Mr Jordan tries to make it uninteresting for Dickie by saying that the test is similar to those he usually takes in school.

However, he later admits that it is “a special kind of test”  and tells Dickie that he will be given a drink “to make sure you answer the questions truthfully.” This suggests that the government does not trust its citizens. Furthermore, the idea of a government-controlled society is enhanced by the fact that the people allow the government to drug their children.

A subtle clue that the Jordans live in a government-controlled society is the newspaper that Mr Jordan reads: “His father, now slumped into an armchair with the Government newspaper” . In the context of the story, this suggests that the press might be controlled by the government and probably used to spread propaganda.

At the end of the story, we learn that Dickie is deemed too intelligent by the government and that, consequently, he was or will soon be killed:

‘We regre...

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