Voice Authenticity

Submitted By meliray
Words: 1280
Pages: 6

Voice Authenticity Essay Through a feminist approach to discover an authentic voice, four novels are examined. The women's journeys are not based on identity, but in their alienation from their world. In A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare, and A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, Helena and Blanche become alienated through their want of love, but inability to access it. With Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, and Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, Ophelia and Elizabeth convey their alienation through their death at the cause of the man they love. In A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche's behavior alienates her from people who strive for a normal life. She imposes upon people, drinks too much to forget, and her sensuality is overused. Causing those around her to feel uncomfortable and out of place. Blanche's life stopped the moment Allan Grey died. She aged physically, but mentally she is still trapped in the moment of Allan's death. Stella grew up, moved away, got married and became pregnant- her life continued forward. Stanley went to the war to fight, returned, assumed a job, married Stella and is going to be a father -his life continues. Blanche's preoccupation with weight and appearance, which is taken to the extreme by her covering naked bulbs with a lantern and dating Mitch only at night when the reality of time passing cannot be seen, showing Blanche trying desperately to clutch onto the physical nature of her youth. Blanche over-dresses as if to hide the fact that men would find her to be a low woman, and she uses her charms in a way that comes out looking like she is plainly asking for trouble. Worst of all are her "spells", when the light focuses on her and she remembers her dead husband, alienates her as well. Her speech, manners and habit are foolishly passé, but still she cannot abandon this sense of herself as someone special, as a "lady" in the grand tradition. Her need to be special, to adhere to codes and a tradition no longer valid, creates an intense isolation, while simultaneously her desire not to be alone, to be loved, threatens to break through this isolation - the eventual outcome. Betrayed by love once in her life, she nevertheless seeks it in the effort to fill the lonely void; thus, her promiscuity. But to adhere to her tradition and her sense of herself as a lady, she cannot face this sensual part of herself. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Helena becomes alienated from her friend Hermia by Demetrius's lack of love. She cannot relate to Hermia's happiness and feels herself less worthy than she once did because of Demetrius's scorn. Even though Helena and Demetrius end the play happily married; their marriage is a farce brought forth by Oberon’s love “juice”. After the “juice” is applied to his eyelids, Demetrius praises Helena. “O Helen, goddess, nymph, perfect, divine!/ To what, my love, shall I compare thine eyne?” (Shakespeare, III, 2, 137-8). The “juice” distorted his perception of Helena to the extent that instead of loathing her, he loves her. Helena entertains a concrete notion of love from the very beginning. She explains, “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, / And therefore is wing’d Cupid painted blind” (Shakespeare, I, 1, 234-35). Demetrius announcement to all that “The object and the pleasure of mine eye,/ is only Helena” (Shakespeare, IV, 1, 164-5) shows he does not love like Helena, "with the mind". Helena knows that though she, “found Demetrius like a jewel,/ mine own, and not mine own” (Shakespeare, IV, 1, 185-6). Though they are married shortly after, Demetrius’ perception of Helena and his love for her remain distorted even after the play ends. Even though Helena truly loves Demetrius, he only loves her because he has been magically enchanted to believe he honestly loves her. Both Blanche and Helena become isolated because of love for a man. Blanche's love of her young husband caused her to alienate her self from all around her. With