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Theme Of Haunting In The Following Modernist Works: Rebecca, A Haunted House And The Painted Veil

2085 words - 8 pages

Modernism as a new genre emerged as a reaction to the previous one-Realism- and took its own place in literary canon. As being introduced to the literary world upon facing the brutal facts of life and its chaotic realities, it brought different aspects to the world of the writers. Its difference existed as a result of its newness not only in content but also in form. The genre of Modernism brought new dimensions to the literature by means of new techniques that are unconventional and unusual.In the field of art and literature, Modernism caused a shift in aesthetic and cultural sensibilities with the period of post World War One. The followers of the Modernism in literature got down to get rid of the aesthetic burden of Realism. They followed a different path. They introduced new devices,techniques and motifs that mark distinctive break with the previous genres. One of the motifs or themes that they deal with in Modernist novels is the theme of haunting, which we do not see in any Realist novel. In my essay, I am going to study this theme by referring to the various modernist works such as Rebecca, A Haunted House and The Painted Veil.
The theme of haunting with its distinctiveness is widely associated with Modernism and it is highly studied in the novels of the Modernist type. Since the Modernist writers downplay the content for the sake of the investigation of form, the use of haunting theme is an advantage for this aim.It contributes to the unusual fragmented and non-chronological writing style, it goes well with it. The circular, fragmented, jumping narration from here to there reinforces the sense of haunting. The narrator suddenly and let’s say constantly goes back to the past with flashbacks then comes to the present again.It makes you feel as if you are being haunted by these instant changes.
I will begin my examination of the haunting theme with A Haunted House by Virginia Woolf . In this story, we see a ghostly couple that is looking for a treasure of theirs in a house. There is a new couple beside this ghostly couple. We infer from the story that the ghostly couple is the old owner of the house(once they lived there, now the new couple lives). But if we approach to these couples in a symbolic way, we can say that the old ghostly couple may stand for the other selves of the new couple. They are not the same as they were before, some things have changed. The use of the word “ghost” does not literally mean the real, horrofying spirits of the dead. It is used to strenghten the feeling of haunting.
Long years[..] Again you found sleeping, in the garden reading, laughing, rolling apples in the loft. Here we left our treasure (p 26)

The old couple tries to find their treasure which we can interpret as love, joy, happiness they once had. They long for the old good days they were having once upon a time. We see nostalgia that is haunting them. The use of house is important in...

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