Harlan Ellison's "Repent Harlequin!

This act makes the Harlequin a terrorist against the state, and the Master Timekeeper (the Ticktockman of the title) must discover the identity of such a trouble-maker before the system is utterly destroyed.

"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman - Wikipedia

"Repent Harlequin!" Said The Ticktock Man

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In Harlan Ellison's short story "'Repent, Harlequin!' said the Ticktockman" the Harlequin's first act of terrorism is described as follows: "He had tapped the first domino in the line, and one after another, like chik chik chik, the others had fallen." "'Repent, Harlequin!' said the Ticktockman" posits a ridiculous distopia where time is both the means and the end for fascism; in it, tardiness is eradicated by the constant exacting of biblical vengeance: if an individual is ten minutes late, ten minutes are taken off the end of his or her life.

'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman Flashcards | Quizlet

The ultimate point of the story, and the reason he subverts his own fable, is not that we should fight conformity or fight individuality because society or some author tells us we should (or because some flimsily-drawn character tells us so), but rather we should protect and fight for what we love and believe is right in our own hearts; that individuality is complex and cannot be summarized in a simplistic us-versus-them mentality. That is why both Pretty Alice and the Harlequin are the heroes, not one or the other, and that, in fact, you cannot really read the story as promoting individualism unless you realize both are the heroes. The story demands that the reader pay attention to all the complexities of the world (including all the subtle contradictions), think about their implications, and use this method to develop his or her own opinions. Only then can we discover the true meaning of individuality.

Said the Ticktockman.

Repent Harlequin, Said The Ticktockman - ScriptShadow

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the fable as a form of literature in which "a moral—or lesson for behavior—is woven into the story and often explicitly formulated at the end." Other scholars have noted that a fable functions "as a medium of political analysis and communication, especially in the form of a communication from or on behalf of the politically powerless" and often possesses a "comical" tone expressed "through a limited set of primary characters." By these measures, "'Repent, Harlequin,' said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison is a fable: its comical tone is expressed when the Harlequin drops thousands of multi-colored jellybeans upon an unsuspecting crowd; it has only a few primary characters; it has a political purpose (a message that can be interpreted as "fight the system"); and it offers an explicitly stated moral (presented in the words of Henry David Thoreau). As with most fables, Ellison's message seems pretty straightforward: individuality is good and restrictive societies that want to force you to conform are bad. However, Ellison places the Thoreau maxim not at the end of his tale, but at the very beginning (or the middle, in regards to the actual position of the plot). The question is begged: what purpose is served by tampering with the standard structure of the fable?

'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman Flashcards | …

Both the Harlequin and V represent ideas fundamentally opposed to those upon which their worlds rely, and both, though destroyed, plant seeds that have the power to demolish the worlds that broke them.

"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman - Revolvy