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《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

摘要

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读

宋继红

本文通过追溯玛格丽特阿特伍德虽初两部小说《可食的女人》和《浮现》中主人公无名叙事者和玛丽安的某一特定阶段的生活经历、探索她们的生活来讨论两部小说中的存在主义成分。存在主义关注人的生存条件,认为人不断经历着荒唐、拒绝、痛苦;存在主义的首要原则是存在先于本质,人有自由创造自己的权利,同时也必须承担随之而来的责任;尽管一个人常常感觉受到排斥,他还是应当努力与他人和谐相处,从而为他的存在找到理由。

存在主义理论适用于全人类。女人和男人一样.是自由独立的个体。她们有自由选择的权利,也乐于承担随自由而来的责任。女人需要为他们的生存找到理由,需要创造生命的意义。然而男权社会对他们的愿望充满了冷漠和敌意。它试图按照自己的利益塑造女人。一些妇女像小说中的无名叙事者和玛丽安一样,暂时做出让步,接受了禁锢人的女性形象。但是他们的良心从内心深处召唤他们进行反抗,从而使他们无法平和的在这种假相中生活下去。因为失去自我而已经变得冷漠麻木的无名叙事者踏上了去往灵魂深处寻求自我的路程。旅途结束时,她找到了失去的自我,决心带着新近获得的感悟回归社会。此时的她有信心能够在保留自我的同时与社会和谐相处。另一方面,玛丽安通过拒绝食用特定食物来开始她无意识的反抗。随着未婚夫彼得对她的压迫不断地强力起来并最终在订婚晚宴上达到高潮,马丽安的反抗有无意识渐渐变成有意识的。最后她制作一块女人形状的蛋糕作为她的替身,把女人被吞噬的命运转移到食物身上从而把自己从困境中解脱出来。她重新获得自由,决心按照自己的意愿安排生活。两部小说中的主人公都乐于为自己负责,他们不再把自己看成是毫无力量的受害者。这两部小说对主人公生活经历的描述体现了存在主义的基本理论。

关键词:存在主义成分,女人失去自我,真实存在

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

A.TheAuthorandHerLifeWorks

CHAmRIINTRODUCllON

MargaretAtwoodisthemostprominentcontemporaryCanadianwriterwhohasalsoachievedworld-widecredit.Bestknownforhernovels,Atwoodisalsoadmkedforheraccomplishmentsasapoet,critic,essayist,andshort—storywriter,andshehascontributedaswell

tochildren’sfiction,Canadianhistory,andtheeditingofvolumesrangingfromprestigiousanthologiestoaliterarycookbook.Thequantityofheroutputsincepublishingherfh'stbookin1961hasbeenimpressive,withmorethanfortybookspublishedsofar,aswellasbookreviewsandoccasionalwritingofallsorts.Inaddition,shehasworkedinothermedia,includingmotionpictures,television,theater,cartoons,librettos,andvisualart.

MargaretEleanorAtwoodwasbomon18November1939inOttawa,OntariotoMargaretDorothyandCarlEdmundAtwood;shewasthesecondofthreechildren.UntilherteensAtwoodandherfamilyspentmuchofeachyearinthebushcountryofQuebecandOntario,whereherentomologistfatherconductedhisresearch.ThischildhoodexperienceoflivinginthenorthernwoodsnotonlypreparedAtwoodwellforhertypicalCanadianteenageemploymentatsummercamps,butalsoprovidedthebackgroundforherlaternovelSurfacing(1972)andmuchofthethematicmaterialforher’’nature”verse

Asawriter,Atwoodisperceptiveenoughtorecognizetheimportantsocialissuesofhertimeandwasnotafraidtobethefirstonetospeakup.Raisedduringatimewhengirlsweretaughtthattheyshouldonlyspeakifandwhentheywerespokento,or,alternatively,iftheyhadnicethingstosay,Atwood’shonestandforthrightwayofspeakinghermindisstriking.Usingsuchdevicesasirony,symbolism,andself-consciousnarrators,sheexplorestherelationshipbetweenhumanity

and

nature,unsettlingaspectsofhumanbehavior,andpowerasitpertainstogenderandpoliticalroles.Herauthorialvoicehassometimesbeendescribedasformalandemotionallydistant,buther

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

dissertationwilltakeAtwood’Sfirsttwonovels,SurfacingandTheEdibleWomanasexamplesandtracetheexistentialistelementsinthemthroughacarefulreadingofthewomencharactersstmggleforfreedom.Thisgoalmakesitnecessarytofocusonthetheoryofexistentialismfirst.B.ABriefIntroductiontoExistentialism

Existentialismaimsatdescribingandevaluatingthesituationinwhicheverymanfindshimself,andfromwhichhelooksuponsociety,natureandGod.Itisaphilosophywhichstartsthatmaniseverything;itsconcenlfortheindividualisunique.Itisconcernedprimarilywithananalysisofhumanexistence.Thoughtheexistentialistthinkerscanhardlybesaidtohaveformedaschoolorcoherentgroup,someimportantnotionsarestressedbythem.Existentialismmaintainstheabsurdityofmall’sexistence,alienationmanexperiencesintheworld,thepriorityofexistencetoessence,man’squestforauthenticself,man’sfreedomtocreatehimselfandhisresponsibilityandinterpersonalrelationshipmanwantstoattain.

Existentialismaroseinthewesternworldinthetwentiethcenturywhenthewesterncountriesexperiencedageneralcrisisineveryfield.AfterexperiencingtheFirstWorldWar,peoplebegantolosetheirsenseofsecurity.Theysawthemselveslivingalonely,helplessandunstablelife.Theynolongerbelievedinthepolitical,religious,andethicaltheoriesandrulesthathadbeendominatingpeople’Sthinkingforcenturies.Theyattemptedtoseekanewtheorybywhichtheirpresentlifecouldbejustified.

Existentialismisanideologicaltrend,whichismadeupofdiversifiedtheoriesofmany

formedaschoolorevenacoherentgroup,thinkers.Theseexistentialistscan

hardlybesaidtohave

however,ratherthanbeingasystematicphilosophy,existentialismisaformoftheindividualisticanti-rationalistcurrent.

SorenKierkegaard,theDanish

thefatherofthe

philosopher,iscommonlyregardedas

whobearstheexistentialtitle.modemexistentialism,andisthefirstEuropean

philosopher

ExistentialismreceivesitsphilosophicalsupportfromMartinHeideggerandKarlJaspersin

GermanyandGabrielMarcel,Jean-PaulSartreandAlbertCamusinFrance.ModemExistentialismpermeatesliteratureaswellasphilosophy.ItwasSartrewhogavetheschoolofexistentialismitspresentnamethoughthetermeludesanexactdefinition.Existentialismisastyleofphflosophizingratherthanabodyofphilosophicaldoctrines.Althoughtheoriesconcerningexistentialismarenotsystematic,wetrytocrystallizethemandpresentsomeoftheimportantnotionsputforwardbytheseexistentialists.Aprimethemeofexistentialismisman’sexperienceoftheworldasabsurd.Manyexistentialistthinkersviewlifetobeabsurd.Forabsurdityiswhatabeingisgiven,unjustifiableandthatalliscontingentandmakesmanfeelsuperfluousandunwanted.Thenotionofabsurdityliesinarelationshipbetweenmanandtheworldthatisjarringlydissonant.Theabsurdityofthehumanexistenceliesinitsinsecurity,itsrejections,itsagony,anditsdisappointments.Theworldisutterlywithoutmeaningandmanislefttoinventhisownpersonalmeaningforhisexistence,whichheleadsasanisolatedstrangerbesetbyconditionsthatrestrictandthwarthim.Alienationisathemewhichexistentialismopenedupforthemodemworldonmanylevelsandinmanysubtleforms.Theword“alienation’’bearstheconstantnotionofbeingorfeelingastrangeLanoutsider.Alienationisalsousedtodenotewhatischaracteristicoftheindividualinthemodemworld,hissenseofinwardestrangements,ofmoreorlessconsciousawarenessthattheinnerbeing,thereal…I’wasalienatedfromthe‘‘me”,thepersonasanobjectinsocietyAmongthemostfamousandinfluentialexistentialistpropositionsisSartre'sdictum,“existenceprecedesessence,’’whichisgenerallytakentomeanthatthereisnopre-defmedmoralorspiritualessencetohumanityexceptthatwhichwemakeforourselves.Humanbeingsarenotpre—determinedinanywaybutarefreetodoastheychoose~theymustbejudgedbytheiractionsratherthanby“whattheyare”.sincethey“are”entirelywhattheydo.InEx妇tentialismandHumanism,Sartredefinesitthus:’’Whatdowemeanbysayingthatexistenceprecedesessence?Wemeanthatmanfirstofallexists,encountershimself,surgesupintheworld—anddefines

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himselfafterward...Manisnothingelsebutthatwhichhemakesofhimself.Manexistsfirstandthendefineshimself'’(28).

Manfirstofallexistsanddefineshimself.Toexististobefacedwiththechoicesofgainingexistenceinthefullersenseorlettingtrueselfhoodslipaway.Allowingoneselftobedominatedbyextemalforcesleadstoinauthenticself;however,authenticselfexistsasonewithoneself,offulfillingoneself.Toexistentialism,existenceappliestomanonceheattemptstodistinguish

himselffromthemassestorealizehisessence,orselfhood.Onlythencanhebetrulysaidtoexist.Oneexistentialideaisthatmanisconstantlyinprocessofbecoming.Existentialistspointoutthatachievingauthenticselfhoodisadifficult,eventragicprocess,sinceonemustconstantlyfightbothagainstone’SOWUinnerresistancesandagainstthemasses,whoselevelinginfluencedestroysthesingularityandqualitativedifferenceoftheself.Authenticselfisonlyrarelyattainedbythe

humanbeing;stillitiswhatthehumanbeingmuststrivetogain.Existentialismclaimsitisthecallofpersonalconsciencethatsummonsmantoachievehisownauthenticselfhood.Personalconscienceisanindividual’Sowndeepestawarenesstocallhimtoconflictwiththemassestoseek

hisauthenticself.

Fortheexistentialist,engagingone’spossibilitiesforauthenticselfhoodiscruciallytiedto

another.Manisfreetochooseone’Scompletefreedomtochooseacertainlineofactionabove

himselfandtoshouldertheresponsibilityforhischoice.Freedomisequatedwithexistence.One

doesnotfirstexistandthenbecomefree;tobehumanisalreadytobefree.Freedomislinkedwithchoice,action,andresponsibility.FreedomCannotbegraspedbytlloughtandcanbeknownonlywhenitisexercised.Sabreputsstressonpersonalfreedominalldecisionswhichgoesalongwithpersonalresponsibility,aresponsibilitywhichisnotlimitedtoone’Sprivateaffairsbutextendstoallthathappensintheworldinwhichoneisplaced.Thelimitlessfreedomofchoiceinwhichman’sexistenceconsistsisthusatthesametimeaboundlessresponsibilityforwhathemakesofhimself.

Responsibility,then,iscrucialinexercisingone’Sfreedom.“Whenamancommitshimselfto

anything”,saysSartre,”fullyrealizingthatheisnot

onlychoosingwhathewillbe,but

is

thereby

atthesametimealegislatordecidingforthewholemankind——atsuchamomentamallcannotescapefrom

thesenseofcompleteandprofoundresponsibility’’(ExistentialismandHumanism29).

Regardingtherelationshipbetweenmanandothers,theexistentialistsdifferfromtheiropinions.Sartreemphasizesprimacyofindividualityovercommunityashetestifies:“helliⅫIher

people”.Sartredescribestherelationbetweenselfandtheother.“Thefactoftheotherisincontestableandtouchesmetotheheart.Irealizehimthroughuneasiness;throughhimIainperpetuallyindanger…’’However,Sartrealsodeclareswe“feelourexistenceisjustified’’throughlove.(Raymond371)

Otherexistentialistsviewtheconflictcanbemitigatedbyopeningoneseiftoothersandseekinggenuine

communionwiththem.Theymaintainthattheselfwhichistheaimisnotmerely

apersonalselfbutasocial,acivicself.The

qualityofthisreciprocityshouldconstantlybe

enhanced,sincethepersonallifeasmuchachievedbythesolitaryindividualisanisolationandhenceimperfect;inthefactthatthroughtheciviclifehecomesbackintohispersonalitythepersonallifemaintainsitselfinahigherform.Toaccomplishthishigherformofselfhood,oneshouldstrivetotransformeveryrelationshipbetweenmanandmanintoarelationshipofconscienceandtherebyalsointoarelationshipoflove.Insuchrelationshipsmenliveasco-existents;withoutthem,theylivesimplyascontingentobjects.

AnimportantfigurewhohadcontributedagreatdealtoexistentialismandmustbementionedhereiSSimonedeBeauvoir.SheiSthefounderofthenewbranchofexistentialism.namely,existentialistfeminism.Believinginhumanbeings’freedomtodevelopthemselves,deBeavoirstronglyopposestheforcedsecondarystatusonwomen.Inthefamoussentenceintroducingthe

secondvolumeofTheSecondSex,deBeavoirwrites:“Oneisnotbom,butrather

becomesawoman”(Mahon189—90).Sheholdsthatmerebiologicaldifferenceneitherentailsnor

justifiesrelegationoffemalestoasubordinatestatus.Assigningasubordinatestatustofemalesis,

intheend,apoliticaldecisionand,needlesstosay,adeplorableone

Atanyrate,asapopularmovement,existentialismisabletoprovideamovingaccountofthespiritofthecontemporaryworldandaframeworkintheanalysisofhumanlivingcondition.

C.AnIntroductiontoSurfacing

Surfacingrelatesthestoryofayoungwomanwhotravelsnorthwithhercompanion,Joe,and

twofriends,amarriedcouple,DavidandAnna.ThewomanhasbeeninformedthatherfatherhasdisappearedfromhislakesidecabininnorthernQuebec,wherehehaslivedformanyyears.Thoughgeographicallydetachedandemotionallyestrangedfromherfather-hermotherhas

cancer--shefeelscompelledtoretumtothisoutpostofheralreadydiedsometimebeforeofbrain

childhoodtosearchforhim.Aftersettlingintoherfather’scabin,andduringwhathasalreadybecomeforherapsychologicalandnotmerelygeographicaljourney,shedivesbeneaththesurfaceofthewaterandseeswhatappeartobetheremainsofherfather.Surfacing(bothphysicallyandspiritually-一anindicationofthecomplexmeaninginherentinthetitle),shefindsthatdiscoveringherfather’scorpsehastriggeredyetmoreintriguingdiscoveriesaboutherself.Italsoleadstoaclimacticepisode—partparanoidfantasy,partquasi-mysticquest,parthallucination-一inwhich,sheddingalltrappingsofcivilization,sheattemptstoreturntotheprimitive,tomergewiththesurroundingwilderness,toescapehumanityandunitewithherparents’spiritsandherancestralpast.

Duringthispassagesherealizesthatherlatenthostilitytowardherparentshasresultedfromherinabilitytoaccepttheirmortality,theirdeathsseemingtoherarepudiationofherdesketokeepthem,inmemory,eternallyyoung.Whenshecomestogripswiththerealityofherparentsdeaths,whensheacceptsthatparticularhumanlimitation,shesurfacesfromthenon-rationalstateshehasentered,bringingwithherthewisdom—thegifts-?herparentshaveprovidedforher.She

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

CHAmRlIABSURDrIYThefirstprincipleofexistentialismis:existenceproceedsessence.Manfirstofallexists,encountershimself,surgesupintheworld,anddefineshimselfafterwards.Manisnotdefinablebecausetobeginwithheisnothing.Hewillnotbeanythinguntillater,andthenhewillbewhathemakesofhimself.Thereisnohumannatureandmallsimplyis.Manisnothingelsebutthatwhichhemakesofhimself.(Sartre,—Existentialism—andHumanism25)

Thisexistentialistprincipleappliestohumanbeingsasawholeinsteadofthemalespeciesparticularly.Woman,theotherhalfofthehumanspecies,hasthesalnerighttocreateherselfaccordingtoherownwilt.Woman,justlikeman,“isnotacompletedreality,butratherabecoming,anditisinherbecomingthatsheshouldbecomparedwithman;thatistosay,herpossibilityshouldbedefmed”(Mahon117).Thepracticeofestablishingforherafixedandinevitabledestinyonthebasisofmerebiologicalconsiderationsisunjustifiable.Thefactthatwomanisphysicallydifferentfrommandoesnotmakeitrighttosetupahierarchyofthesexes;itfailtoexplainwhywomanistheOIher—theseparateandinessentialexistence.

Yetwoman,afreeandautonomousbeinglikeallhumancreatures,neverthelessfindsherselflivinginaworldwheremencompelhertoassumethestatusoftheOther.Theyproposetostabilizeherasobjectandtodoomhertoimmanence.ShehasconsistentlybeenconsignedtothecategoryoftheOther:sheisdefinedanddifferentiatedwithreferencetomanandnothewithreferencetoher;sheistheincidental,theinessentialasopposedtotheessential.Heisthesubject,heistheAbsolute—sheistheOther.(Mahon114-5、

Atwood’sworksconstantlytriestorepresentthespecificityofwoman’sexperience.Inhernovelswoman’sdifferenceismarkedbyhermarginality,bythefactthatsheisatthesametimeinsideandoutsidethedominantculture.Deprivedofthestatusofafullsubject,relegatedatthefringeoftheworld,thefemalecharactersinhabititsperiphery,itsborders.Sheconstantly

11

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

《可食的女人》和《浮现》的存在主义解读 - 副本

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