Saturday, October 26, 2019

Alienation and Fragmentation in Modernist Literature Essay example --

With Sasha Jansen, Jean Rhys created in Good Morning, Midnight a female character who does not have a place in the world. Sasha walks the streets of Paris, commenting, reflecting, remembering. Her few coping-mechanisms show how deeply she is already alienated from the world, even from herself. As a reader you get this fed bit by bit, in fragments, jumping between the actual narration, memories and inner monologues. As a woman in Paris in the late 1930s Sasha Jansen is far ahead of her time. In her book about Jean Rhys, Elaine Savory says about Sasha: "She lives in the 1930s, when women were supposed to gain social standing through marriage to a man (preferably of means), or, if they remained single, to hold onto respectability even in hard times." (p68) Sasha is on her own, her former husband left her at some point in the past, she lives in rented rooms, has very little money and is definitely having a hard time as she is very aware of and does not feel well with her own ageing. Instead of 'holding on to respectability' she drinks. Sometimes she cries in public. She takes men back to her hotel room and has random sex. Her drinking habits seem to be old, it seems that she has been drinking for a long time, regularly. Drinking is one of her main coping mechanisms. Every time she finds herself in an emotionally challenging situation, she longs for a strong drink to soothe herself, to feel less of the pain that is her life. After she started crying in the house of an artist-friend she says: 'I have an irresistible longing for a long, strong drink to make me forget that once again I have given damnable human beings the right to pity me and laugh at me.' (p. 78) While she lived in London, she tried to drink herself to death an... it wouldn't be too bad to be happy, to be in a better place within herself or just in a lighter, nicer room. But the end of the book is so shockingly bleak that it takes away all hope. She agrees to the one man on her floor she loathes and fears, she invites him in, into her bed, into her body: 'Then I put my arms around him and pull him down on the bed, saying: 'Yes – yes – yes†¦' (p. 159) She finally reaches this place of indifference where nothing matters, where she does not care if she lives or dies, as the stranger in the dressing-gown could just easily kill her. Works Cited Rhys, Jean. 2000. Good Morning, Midnight. London: Penguin Books Savory, Elaine. 2009. The Cambridge Introduction to Jean Rhys. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. A. L. Kennedy. 2000. Introduction. In: Rhys, Jean. 2000. Good Morning, Midnight. London: Penguin Books

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