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Alienation In The Revolver, Housewife, And How It Feels To Be Colored Me

1943 words - 8 pages

When society thinks of the term alienation, are they referring to the person ostracized by society or are they referring to the person who is psychologically separated from themselves? There are several different uses of this term. However, two uses seem to be especially predominating: the sociological processes and the psychological states. In “The Revolver,” “Housewife,” and “How it feels to be colored me,” Bazan, Chughtai, and Hurston respectively, relate both the social and the psychological aspects of alienation with respect to fear, oppression, and identity.
Exactly what is Alienation? Bloom’s Literary Reference states the definition as to “turn away in feeling or affection; make unfriendly.” While only looking at the sociological aspect, this definition does not address the term in its entirety. When alienation is present, there is a “divergence between human existence and human essence,” (political economy of socialism 84) meaning that the actual is not the same as the potential. German Philosopher G. W. F. Hegel coined the term alienation. Hegel believed it was the “gap between human consciousness and the natural world” (Quinn); the private life versus the public life. Karl Marx later added to the term to describe how workers are alienated from their work in a capitalistic society because they are no longer the creators of the product, they are simply part of the production line. “Through work man becomes a human being” (political economy of socialism 86), and when the workers are stripped of their work, they are no longer able to show off their own individuality.
Emilia de Pardo Bazan wrote from an original female perspective relaying how women were treated in Spanish society. She grew up as part of the elite class in Spain, and yet did not respect the Spanish traditions in relation to women. Bazan believed that the females were either sex objects or burdens in this male-dominated society. (cite bio on her) This well-known feminist used her literature to spread her ideas. “The Revolver” has both social and psychological forms of alienation from a female perspective.
While looking at “The Revolver,” Bazan directly states the sociological alienation. Readers immediately see this when the jealous husband, Reinaldo, begins to treat his wife, Flora, as a hostage in her own home. Flora relayed that she was “deprived of [her] innocent amusements, now separated from [her] friends and relatives, and from [her] own family” (Bazan). Reinaldo had socially alienated Flora from any form of contact with anyone other than him. This is imposed alienation, imposed fear.
A famous quote by Franklin D. Roosevelt states, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” This is the case in “The Revolver.” It was not the revolver itself that Flora was fearful of, it was merely the idea of the revolver, for it brought about depressing past memories. This idea of the revolver is what indirectly brought about Flora’s psychological alienation. Flora had...

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