Some scholars and critics challenge the validity of Pinter's critiques of what he terms "the modes of thinking of those in power" or dissent from his retrospective viewpoints on his own work. In 1985, Pinter recalled that his early act of conscientious objection resulted from being "terribly disturbed as a young man by the Cold War. And McCarthyism ... A profound hypocrisy. 'They' the monsters, 'we' the good. In 1948, the Russian suppression of Eastern Europe was an obvious and brutal fact, but I felt very strongly then and feel as strongly now that we have an obligation to subject our own actions and attitudes to an equivalent critical and moral scrutiny." Scholars agree that Pinter's dramatic rendering of power relations results from this scrutiny.
Pinter's aversion to any censorship by "the authorities" is epitomised in Petey's line at the end of The Birthday Party. As the broken-down and reconstituted Stanley is being carted off by the figures of authority Goldberg and McCann, Petey calls after him, "Stan, don't let them tell you what to do!" Pinter told Gussow in 1988, "I've lived that line all my damn life. Never more than now." The example of Pinter's stalwart opposition to what he termed "the modes of thinking of those in power"—the "brick wall" of the "minds" perpetuating the "status quo"—infused the "vast political pessimism" that some academic critics may perceive in his artistic work, its "drowning landscape" of harsh contemporary realities, with some residual "hope for restoring the dignity of man."Funny, but not too funny. As Pinter wrote, back in 1960: "As far as I am concerned The Caretaker IS funny, up to a point. Beyond that point, it ceases to be funny, and it is because of that point that I wrote it."
His dramatic conflicts present serious implications for his characters and his audiences, leading to sustained inquiry about "the point" of his work and multiple "critical strategies" for developing interpretations and stylistic analyses of it.
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