Clear Opposition In Nervals Sylvie English Literature Essay

Gerard de Nervals Sylvie, is an geographic expedition of clip and memory, dream and world. The first individual storyteller is besides the chief character, who is indecisive and can non perpetrate himself to any of the three adult females in his life: Aurelie, Sylvie and Adrienne, he is undependable because his position is badly distorted. Sometimes his memory fails him and he does non understand his ain motivations and behavior, which is both inactive and unprompted at the same clip. The narrative he tells us is about himself and merely himself, because he has small apprehension of the people around him.

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It is obvious that the storyteller of Sylvie is so lost in his vision of the ideal – this is partially symbolised by the color descriptions and the fact that most of the novelette is set at dark and in ‘a dark wood ‘ . At the beginning, the storyteller appears to be analyzing himself with examination and seems to be on the manner to self-discovery after he has found out that his love for Aurelie is merely a present manifestation of his past love, of Adrienne: “ Aimer une religieuse sous La forme d’une actrice! aˆ¦et si c’etait La meme! ” ( Chapter 3, p. 46 ) – the storyteller seems to be more than content with holding found a manner to go on to love Adrienne through Aurelie. He has consciously chosen between an ideal and world and therefore begins a novel based upon self-deception.

The storyteller is capable to the ideal on more than one degree. Most significantly he has significant semblances about memory and the yesteryear, which so later cause many of the other semblances. Sometimes he is non able to state whether a fugitive minute was existent memory, a present reverie or a reverie of the yesteryear, for illustration his memory of Chaalis ( Chapter VII ) , which has manifested itself as a valid memory -perhaps through eternal repeat, desirous thought or even more unconscious procedures. Again, he is semi-conscious of this job when he says: “ Ce keepsake est une compulsion, peut-etre! ” ( Chapter VII, p.72 ) , but remains quite indifferent.

Most of his semblances about the past seem to arise in his romantic ideals. To him, life in the countryside is perfect and timeless, untouched by the corrupting forces of the town and the Valois has come to mean his childhood. One could even state that here his romanticising has gone so far as to transform the whole part into a landscape of his ego. His Valois is non-existent in the existent universe, nor was it of all time existent. Its people and imposts are changed, merely he can non or will non see this, as his memories invariably come back to him in the signifier of overmastering reveries and his yesteryear is therefore invariably at work at the deformation of his perceptual experience of the present. The witting and the unconscious are so readily intertwined it becomes about impossible to separate the two.

Similarly, his thought of Sylvie as the ‘paysanne ‘ , the countrified and hence ‘bonne et pure de coeur ‘ county miss has become intrinsic with his childhood memories and his idyllic perceptual experience of the Valois: “ je sentis le besoin de revoir Sylvie, seule figure vivante et jeune encore qui me rattachat a Ce wages. ” ( Chapter VIII, p. 81 ) .

This brings us to the following degree of ideal that the storyteller is lost in – his ideals and misconceptions of the nature of love and of class about the adult females who dominate his life and the nature of his feelings towards them. It may merely be natural that we should idealise who we are in love with, but in conformity with his character, here once more the storyteller goes into extremes, which may no longer be called sane. His love is obsessional and at the same clip it is without object. This is most obvious in his worship of the long dead Adrienne, whom he describes as ‘l’apparition ‘ , ( p. 72 ) ‘l’image vain ‘ , ( p.77 ) , or ‘spectre funeste ‘ , ( p.78 ) . Although, here this sounds as though he was terrified and the spectre unwelcome, this is however partially what the storyteller is looking for in love ; for he has his ain romantic ( and once more distorted ) definition of it: “ Amour, Hel! diethylstilbestrols formes vagues, diethylstilbestrols teintes roses et bleues, diethylstilbestrols fantomes metaphysiques. “ , ( Chapter I, p. 38 ) . In this definition all the above facets are already included, but elsewhere, they are even more clearly expressed. His romantic demand to idealise and idolize the adult females could non be more obvious than when he says: “ Il fallait qu’elle apparut reine ou deesse, et surtout n’en pas approcher. ” ( Chapter I, p. 38 ) , and the universal and broad nature of his love is apparent in the undermentioned quotation mark: “ aˆ¦c’etait Adrienne ou Sylvie, – c’etaient les moities d’un seul affair. L’une etait l’ideal sublime, l’autre La douce realite. ” ( Chapter XIV, p. 106 ) .

Finally, his compulsion becomes evident when he tells us about Aurelie: “ Je me sentais vivre en elle, et elle vivait pour moi seul. ” ( Chapter I, p.34 ) , when the reader knows that at this point she does non even know him yet. Clearly, projection has taken topographic point here, which means that a feeling that was unacceptable to him was projected onto person else and we can safely presume that it is hence merely the other manner around, viz. that the storyteller merely lives for her, which is moreover supported by the fact, that, he comes to see her dramas about every dark and has eyes merely for her and non for the public presentation.

In certain disrupting comments of his there is grounds of a battle against these ideals.

Throughout the novelette, the reader is frequently addressed straight. For illustration it is as if the storyteller was inquiring for aid when he says: “ reprenons nous lupus erythematosuss pied sur lupus erythematosus reel ” , ( Chapter III, p. 46 ) , therefore bespeaking that he can non accomplish this alone. Similarly when he says: “ recomposons les keepsakes du temps ou j’y venais souvent. ” ( Chapter III, p. 48 ) , therefore stating us that he has problem to retrieve events right. So it appears as though the storyteller was inquiring the reader to maintain observation over him, to analyze his memories and to happen out for him which are valid and which are merely confounding him. This inquiring for aid is possibly most obvious in chapter Thirteen: “ Qu’allais-je Y faire? Essayer de remettre de l’ordre dans Maines sentiments. ” ( p.101 ) .

On the degree of the narrative line, he is speaking to himself and seeking to convert himself that he is making the right thing that is to ship on a journey of self-discovery. But it is a journey, which, as we know, has already begun in bad religion for he fears its result and does non truly desire to hear it. ‘Finding out ‘ would surely intend the devastation of his revery and nostalgia, which after all are his most profound and profoundly routed semblances.

Consequently, the journey he describes is one full of lost chances and misconceptions, which finally bring about the cruel sarcasm of destiny and gives grounds of his many ideals ; he could hold proposed to Adrienne every bit shortly as he hear of her traveling to a convent- or at least he could hold rationalised that because of their different category backgrounds he can non hold her and hence must come to footings with it. Then once more being with Adrienne was ne’er truly his purpose ; he does non state us whether such a idea of all time crossed his head and we have already seen that familiarity is non what he wants organize a adult female. Equally, he could hold proposed to Sylvie, who made her purposes reasonably clear during the mock matrimony scene at her aunt ‘s: “ nous etions l’epoux et l’epouse pour tout un boyfriend matin d’ete ” , ( Chapter VI, p. 67 ) . Again, if that had truly been his purpose, he would surely hold taken the last chance that Sylvie gave him shortly before she married Le expansive Frise.

Finally, every bit shortly as it occurred to him that in Aurelie he was truly merely prosecuting his long lost Adrienne, he could hold tried more ardently to happen out what has become of her. Here once more it is obvious that the storyteller really prefers the province of uncertainness to holding his revery interrupted and all reveries and nostalgia shattered. It is this nostalgia that allows him to happen pleasance and comfort in eternal journeys through memory and guess about “ what ifaˆ¦ ” . It is possibly for the same ground that he does non desire to hear of Sylvie ‘s matrimony programs and accordingly they ne’er even enter into his image of her and the picturesque Valois.

The most indispensable misinterpretation is likely his idealistic image of Sylvie as his small ‘paysanne ‘ and the consequence that he has on her. Although he says in chapter II, “ je ne serais pas corrupteur ” , ( Chapter I, p. 40 ) , he involuntarily and unwittingly does pervert Sylvie by promoting her to read books such as Rousseau ‘s La nouvelle HeloA?se. What makes this misconstruing so cruelly dry is the fact that she merely changes to delight him and it is his incompatibility or instead his twofold needs that eventually destroy their relationship. When Sylvie is ‘l’enfant sauvage ‘ ( p. 83 ) , he turns to Adrienne, and when Sylvie accordingly becomes a ‘fine lady ‘ , ( p. 85 ) , the storyteller is in hunt of the old ‘paysanne ‘ .

The fact that his memory is so full of lost chances which he does non even perceive as such but remembers as wholly happy memories – the mock matrimony scene for illustration -demonstrates how the the beginnings and footing for nostalgia, revery and melancholy and the mechanisms are what eventually lead to a loss of world. To the storyteller these are the most fulfilling sentiments and a great beginning of pleasance or possibly about honorable felicity or instead the lone sort of felicity the storyteller of Sylvie is capable of sing and keeping on to.

All the manner along the storyteller is in changeless demand of the distance, which allows him to construct this kingdom of idealization and therefore make his semblances. He needs to alter the adult females that he wants to fall in love with in conformity with his semblances. And he does this by modifying his perceptual experience and his memory of them. The storyteller perceives Sylvie, Adrienne and Aurelie as about fabulous or literary figures. It is clear that they do non carry through the ideals that he has formed of them, but so life in a different clip, a universe of myth and phantasy is rather an effectual manner of maintaining the distance and semblances he needs to love the adult females in his life.

In his wooing of Aurelie, he installs himself in far off Germany and the love he imposes on her by agencies of the drama he writes for her is nil but a role-play. Again the adult female is turned rather literally into a fabricated character. The farther the adult females are off from him, the more content and enamored he is with them. Ironically, it is hence about fortunate for him that Adrienne has died in a nunnery and Sylvie is married to person else.

In the terminal he is merely excessively happy with what is a good sum-up of his love life: “ C’est un image que je poursuis, rien de plus ” ( Chapter I, p. 39 ) and therefore one of his happiest minutes is when Aurelie speaks aloud the words which he has put into her oral cavity and the projection of love and the storyteller ‘s demand of projection and semblance are to the full satisfied ( every bit good as to the full exposed ) . Yet whether this is really due to the fact he truly consciously prefers his ideals or whether he is merely in bad religion remains a different affair.

The mechanism of supplanting is obvious, when his love for Adrienne is transferred onto Aurelie. Displacement can frequently be found, where emotions need to be transferred on less unsafe objects or people, and the actress surely is less endangering to the storyteller than the ‘spectre ‘ of Adrienne. Isolation besides comes into drama: an emotion is separated from its context to do it less scaring. In Sylvie, the storyteller ‘s love has been separated from the adult females in all three instances and therefore go objectless. Some facts besides do non come in the storyteller ‘s consciousness at all as some elements of denial are invariably at work, excessively for illustration, when he merely does non desire to cognize anything about Sylvie get marrieding Le Frise or his ain function in ‘corrupting ‘ her. His regular escapades into the yesteryear besides indicate a sort of arrested development, which permits him to avoid committedness even in adult-life ; his position of world is so to a great extent disturbed.

On these evidences we must therefore conclude that although the storyteller can non consciously choose between the ideal or dream and world, his being deluded is however preferred in some respects in order for him to stay happy.


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