The Delivery Driver - From Horse And Cart To Hire And Reward Insurance
Delivery drivers have always been an important part of the UK's infrastructure, providing a vital service for the nation. But what role do they play in literature? From the everyday to the epic, delivery drivers have been featured in a range of literature, both fiction and non-fiction, across the ages. From Chaucer to contemporary authors, the role of delivery drivers has been explored in many different ways. They can be seen as a symbol of progress and modernity, as well as a reflection of society's changing attitudes towards work and the importance of service.
This article will explore the various ways in which delivery drivers have been represented in literature, from the heroic to the mundane, and the importance of their role in the stories they inhabit.
How we view delivery drivers now
Whatever the weather the delivery driver, bringing our parcels from Amazon, our groceries from Tesco or even a pizza from the local takeout, is a heroic figure. There is no horse and cart now; The driver comes in a smart uniform in a shiny van equipped with every possible navigation aid and a fully comprehensive hire and reward insurance policy (which he probably bought from this website). We rely on them so much it is little wonder they are held in such high esteem; but it was not always thus.
Representation of Delivery Drivers in Literature Throughout History
The earliest examples of delivery drivers in literature were simply the everyday heroes of their time, tasked with the delivery of goods - and people - across the lands.
Chaucer's "The Reeve's Tale" provides an account of a delivery driver who is tasked with transporting a bride to her new home. Chaucer's description of the driver as a "bold carter" and a "lusty bachelor" demonstrates a hero who also has a twinkle in his eye. While this parodies the heroic image of the driver, it also shows that Chaucer was well aware of their everyday importance.
In other areas of literature, delivery drivers were seen as representative of the everyday, but also as a reflection of societal attitudes at the time. In works by Dickens, for example, the drivers were often seen as foolish and ill-equipped to their job, a reflection of the contempt in which society held the profession of delivery driver.
In contrast, in contemporary literature, the delivery driver is often portrayed as more competent and heroic. This may be partially due to the fact that the profession has evolved, but it also reflects the growing importance of the service and the social status of the delivery driver.
Chaucer's Portrayal of Delivery Drivers
Chaucer's portrayal of the delivery driver in "The Reeve's Tale" is certainly ironic. The driver is bringing a bride to her new home, and yet he is a "lusty bachelor". The portrayal of the driver is comic. Chaucer also creates a sense of foreboding in his description of the journey and the weather. The journey is long and arduous, and the driver is forced to leave his cart and walk with the horse because of the deep snow.
Chaucer also paints a vivid picture of the tempest, and the driver's skill as a cart driver are certainly tested as he is forced to drive through the storm.
The Heroic Image of Delivery Drivers in Modern Literature
More modern authors have also seen the heroic image of the delivery driver, although this is often reflected in their social status, rather than their profession. While Chaucer sees the driver as an ordinary hero, modern authors have tended to see the driver as heroic by virtue of their social status, with their working class position elevating them to heroic figures.
This is particularly reflected in the literature of the twentieth century, where the delivery driver often played a symbolic role. In J. B. Priestley's The Good Companions, for example, the delivery men are portrayed as heroic figures, playing an essential role in the community. The role of the delivery driver in the novel, however, is often to provide comic relief and a break from the social commentary in the story.
Delivery Drivers as Reflection of Society's Changing Attitudes
Delivery drivers are often used as a reflection of society's changing attitudes towards different professions. In the nineteenth century, for example, the delivery driver was often portrayed as a foolish man who was ill-equipped to his job. This reflected the attitude of society towards the profession, with the driver often seen as an inferior character in the narrative.
In the twentieth century, this image of the delivery driver had changed markedly. The delivery driver was no longer a foolish and incompetent character, but an essential member of society. This reflects the changing attitude towards the social importance of the profession. The delivery driver is often used as a symbol of progress and modernity, with their motorised vehicle representing a new and exciting technology at the time.
In James Joyce's "The Dead", the driver of the mail car is offered the traditional tip in the form of a coin. He refuses it, claiming that "he had no right to it", suggesting that modern technologies like the car had replaced the horse and therefore he should not be expected to provide the same service.
Delivery Drivers as Symbols of Progress and Modernity
The main function of the mail car in "The Dead" is to represent progress and modernity. It is a new form of transportation that has replaced the horse, and the driver is seen as a heroic figure. When Gabriel knocks on the side of the car, the driver does not acknowledge him because he cannot see him. The delivery driver represents new technologies that are inaccessible to the human eye, and the driver is an important symbol of progress.
The Mundane Image of Delivery Drivers in Literature
While the delivery driver can be seen as heroic, they are also often portrayed as a mundane character who is irrelevant to the plot of the story. In addition, the driver is often portrayed as comic, with their incompetence providing a source of humour in the story.
This is particularly evident in the Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain. In this novel, the driver is portrayed as foolish character who is unable to deliver the mail due to the extreme weather conditions. The driver's ineptitude provides a comic relief to the scenes, and the driver is depicted as an ignorant and unimportant character.
The same can be said for the character of the delivery driver in Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep. The driver is depicted as a foolish character who is unable to complete his job because of the weather conditions. He is portrayed as an unimportant character who is unable to complete the job assigned to him.
The Importance of Delivery Drivers in Literature
The importance of the delivery driver in literature is often reflected in the roles that they play. They can be seen as heroes, reflecting the social status of the profession, or as foolish characters who provide a source of humour in the story. The delivery driver may also represent progress and modernity, as well as a reflection of shifting attitudes towards certain professions.
The delivery driver plays an important role in literature because, helped by their shiny van, satnav system and hire and reward insurance policies, they provide a service that is essential to modern society. Without the delivery driver, we would not be able to shop online or purchase items in person, and who would bring our books to us then???