The Role of Women in Tackling Isolation and Alienation
The aspects of isolation and alienation have a great impact on individuals in the sense that it creates some unprecedented behaviors for instance women though regarded as the minority I the society contribute largely to the well being of the society as they aid in shaping the characters and perceptions of individuals in the society. By providing company and assistance, they influence those within their reach by either advising or comforting their peers.
The aspect of Social isolation commonly occurs to individuals and its genesis might be as early as in childhood leading to a lifetime phenomenon for some individuals while for others be specific life occurrence, such as redundancy, getting divorced or the death of a partner or spouse. Gender also plays a critical role in the aspect of social isolation as women generally tend to live longer than men, so it is often women who are left alone in later life, but with divorce rates rising nationally, social isolation is increasingly an issue for men from middle age onwards. According to research men and women experience social isolation/loneliness differently while for men it might be as a result of the loss of a partner/spouse, for women it may be as a result of total lack of social networks.
Even though the women characters in “The Zoo Story” are not among the main actors occupying the main roles in the book, their roles are realized through the encounters with the main characters because they portray situations sensibly for the main actors that is Jerry and Peter who are referred to as the male characters affects, or have affected their perceptions and routines in life for instance Jerry has had many encounters with various women, while Peter speaks only of three. The roles that women engage in specifically in shaping the lives of the main actors lead to a clear portrayal of the characters of the men as they tend to develop some traits to Jerry and Peter (Walser320). Though their lives are not so overwhelmingly filled with joy and laughter, the wont bring them back to reality but the few women in Peter’s life keep him relatively tamed. Though regarded as the male underdog of the household, surrounded by a wife and two daughters, Peter does not appear to be an assertive man as the women of the house are the dominate decision-makers.
In his analysis, George Edward Woodberry, author of the Heart of Man, published in 1899, emphasized the significance of the role of the individual as an active and equal partner in American democratic rule: The doctrine of the equality of mankind by virtue of their birth as men, with its consequent right to equality of opportunity for self-development as a part of social justice, establishes a common basis of conviction, in respect to man, and a definite end as one main object of the State; and these elements are primary in the democratic scheme as he believes that there is cardinal in democracy to strive for a balance between the individual and the mass, so that the identification of the common man as an American ensures him of the promises proposed by the government. (226-227).the various causes of hopelessness in life might result from some unbearable situations such as incurable diseases leading to lack of quality of human futility in general such as the capitalist society that the characters in Melville’s piece erupt from.
Individual experiences are nonetheless influenced and shaped by wider factors. Most people are integrated within their families and communities to some degree, but opportunities for interactions can be affected by such trends as changing family structures (more people of all ages are living alone than in previous decades for example and families are more mobile and more likely to live apart) and changing access to social resources (the government’s welfare reform programme will undoubtedly have an effect for a significant number of people, as will the on-going cuts to public sector budgets) (Albee, 24). Likewise, physical location may impede or prompt interaction.
The authors engage a number of mechanisms that aide them to effectively communicate their main message, for instance, in the Zoo Story, the author uses a number of encounters with women to show how they influence the men in the text(Albee 27). He also aims to present the aspect of alienation by men as an influential aspect in the lives of the male actors. The few women that are in Peter’s life are seen to be a nuisance to him but in real sense the author aims at presenting the aspect of alienation in families which has been seen to be major challenge.
It might be hard for individuals to understand a situation an individual might be suffering when the person is alienated from the rest of the members (Walse 326). It might be even harder for the individuals to get the essence of the situations undergone by the person as a result of the great gap that exists between the individual and the other members in the society.
These two literary works provide readers with two different stories that have similar themes and have the same aftermath since the situations the characters are faced with at the end of the storyline are similar. By carrying out a deeper examination of the characters one gets the understanding of how these characters ends up meeting their demise at the end of the texts. At the beginning the characters are regarded to be portraying amiableness (Albee 15). The aspect of freedom is also fundamental in the text in a manner likely to portray that individuals vary from one individual to another, for instance in Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street,” freedom is stated as ability of individuals to have personal space, demonstrated though compassion from others as in the case of Brent who received lending hands in her journey to become free, but it was not achieved through others’ help as the people were there for her to lean on, especially her grandmother.
She was able to get the rightful assistance when she required and got the right kind of friendship however for all these time she did everything by herself since others could not grant her freedom while the kind of compassion the lawyer showed Bartleby was the benefit of the doubt and slack that the lawyer gave to Bartleby, allowing Bartleby to do as he wished in the office. As for Bartleby he got the lawyer who handled her as he pleased, it is however important to note that it was the result of the lawyer’s selfishness he did care for Bartleby and tried to help him, even if he was unsuccessful in the end (Walser 320). It is therefore evident that each and every character had different approaches to freedom with nothing given to them but support and other acts of kindness and knowledge proving that good-hearted people still existed which was ultimately enough for Brent and Bartleby to reach their freedom.
In the quest to ascertain the problems that caused Jerry to feel alienated, it is clear that his encounter with the women in his life, we also get the source of the pleasure he gets being the various illusions that he creates since there is no human contact but rather a sexual perversion which do not last until the period of transition. Jerry imagines non-existent sexual interactions that cannot be regarded as human relationships. He further encounters the landlady making us understand the state of alienation that he is suffering from through the different natures he is portrayed through such as the hostility that he faces from the dog as it viciously attacks him which is for sure a very hostile experience that is unbearable.
The notion of criticism is also evident in majority of the cases that are brought presenting, isolation and alienation, for instance Herman Melville, in the book Bartleby the Scrivener uses the idea of criticism to present to us how the society ends up in ruins where by each individual decides to survive by himself rather than depending on their peers and friends for guidance and assistance (Walser 312). The idea of hopelessness is further used as a an aspect used to separate individuals where we see more blame laid upon creation as the main source of the problems the society is undergoing for instance the demise that befalls Bartleby.
Albee, Edward. The Zoo Story, the Death of Bessie Smith, the Sandbox. Three Plays, Introduced by the Author. Coward-McCann: New York, 1960. Print.
Walser, Hannah. “The Behaviorist Character: Action Without Consciousness In Melville’s “Bartleby.” Narrative 23.3 (2015): 312-332.