Published in 1929 The Last September written by Elizabeth Bowen highlights the difficulties which faced the Irish-Anglo genre. It was one of many novels published in the nineteenth and twentieth century, based on “Big House” life in Ireland. Bowen herself is critical of the Anglo-Irish gentry as she believes that they are responsible for the downfall in the society. The denial of their predicament and also their refusal to except change had caused Bowen to be censorious of them. She expresses her points of symbolism, imagery and characterization using a variety of tactful techniques. In the analysis these factors and techniques will be discussed in greater detail.
“ She was to later describe her writing as ‘verbal paintings’ …show more content…
The end of the novel portrays the burning down of the big houses and the author symbolizes that this is the end of an era. The younger generation is freed from continuing on with the big house life and values. They are now able to make their own choices in life and follow their dreams, with out being obligated to continue with this fixation.
In The Last September Bowen illustrates how Anglo-Irish life had reached the end of an era due to failures among themselves. Themes throughout the book are visibly present with main points being sterility and incest. As we figured the Naylor’s and the Montmorency’s are childless and references had also been made about Lois’ confused parentage. Lois is unaware that Hugo may be her father as he had a relationship with her mother Laura. Lois indicates an attraction to Hugo and this could lead to an incestuous encounter between the two. These themes illustrate how the obsession of the aristocracy to be married with in the class and to inherit and obtain the property has failed these Anglo-Irish societies. These factors describe this group of people who have lost their values and feel their lives have disintegrated.
“ This autumn is a symbolic one, transforming their world into one of shadows, twilight and darkness.”
(Genet., J, p146, 1991)
BOWEN, E., (1998) The Last September. London: Vintage
GENET, J., (1991)