The Theme Of Alienation In The Count Of Monte Cristo, Invisible Man, Steppenwolf, Not Like Other Boys, And The Outsiders.

1436 words - 6 pages

AlienationThe Merriam Webster dictionary defines alienation as "a withdraw or separation of a person or a person's affections from an object or position of former attachment." (Merriam Webster Dictionary, "alienation") As one explores literature related to the topic of alienation, one discovers profound patterns that seem to persist in each story. The relationship between an individual, his/her peers, and his/her environment are directly dependent upon the existence of that individual in that society. Complications resulting in the drift of an individual's ability to function with society impact the individual in many ways. A central theme regarding alienation can be commonly found in The Count of Monte Cristo, Invisible Man, Steppenwolf, Not Like Other Boys, and The Outsiders. That theme is that alienation leads to the psychological degradation of an individual and his/her inability to function in society stimulating changes that the individual must be able to respond to in order to be restored to that particular society or be faced with drastic consequences.In stories related to this theme, the plot usually centers on a main character, or protagonist who becomes secluded from society due to various reasons. The protagonist undergoes change, either physically, mentally, or both, in order to become part of the society that he/she so desired to be a part of. In The Count of Monte Cristo, the protagonist, Edmund Dantes, seems to have the perfect life. He is about to become the captain of a ship, he is engaged to a beautiful and kind woman, and he is well-liked byalmost everyone who knows him. This perfect life, however, stirs up dangerous jealousy among some of his so-called friends. These friends betray him, send him to prison for ten years, and steal his fiancée. (Dumas, 56-63) Separation from his loved ones, and society as a whole causes him to repeatedly attempt suicide in confinement. His mentality degenerates as he begins to count the stones that make up his prison. Dantes's mind is torn and twisted at as he begins to unravel the elaborate scheme that landed him the France's most notorious prison. (91) Thoughts of revenge, anger, and despondency cloud his mind and judgment leading to a final showdown in which Dantes himself concocts a plan to take back everything that was stolen from him. However, had it not been for the company of a priest while Dantes was in prison, he surely would not have been able to return to society. The priest is symbolic of friendship, preventing the alienation that leads to a disastrous end of many characters common in many stories.Another example of alienation is illustrated in the story Invisible Man. The Narrator, protagonist of the story, faces many challenges in his quest to find a part of society that would accept him. His desire to advance himself intellectually was crushed by Dr. Bledsoe's expulsion and defaming letters of recommendation to other institutions. (Ellison, 56) White Americans reigned...

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