TLM argues that individuals cannot escape the roles that society imposes on them.
Living in a society where roles are imposed on each individual D’Aguair shows his novel ‘The Longest Memory’ how character are unable to change their status and break free of the struggles in fulfilling society’s expectations of them. The constant fear of oppression and other negative responses act as a deterrent for some to divert from their unwanted roles. For others there is no alternative role which they could adopt as they fear they would not be able to continue to belong to their community. While some manage to go against what they are expected to do but success is not achieved and the end result is drastically negative.
The different classes in society results in superiors and inferiors. For most who are governed by a superior, going against what they are expected to do is dealt with severely. Through experiences and understanding the harsh consequences for not fulfilling one’s duty, each individual remains under the constant threat of being affected by oppression whether physically or mentally. Whitechapel is depicted as a ‘perfect slave’ and lives obediently due to the constant fear of displeasing his master and therefore losing his ‘honor’ and sense of ‘dignity’ which he was awarded with. He is tested to the point where he has to choose whether to submit fully as a perfect slave or to act as a loving father. His duty as a slave however took precedence as he feared the ‘anger’ of his master which forced him to inform of his escaping son’s ‘whereabouts’. For some individuals the fear of oppression is also a deterrent from fully adopting other roles. Cook is expected from her master to act upon her name and from her husband to be an obedient wife who also accepts his idealism. With of them being her superiors their expectations overrule other roles she may want or need to fulfill. For instance, as she discovers her son’s ‘learning’ of how to ‘read and write’ she feels a sense of joy and happiness for her son as a loving mother but also at the same time feels as though she is betraying her master and her husband.
While oppression and fear of punishment stops many from rebelling some are ‘brave’ enough to desire a different life and are willing to take the risk. However,...