• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Mad Shadows Essay

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

11/26/2008 Mad Shadows; Explore the ways in which the presentation of the family has shaped the characters' experiences in the novella. Mad Shadows, by Marie-Claire Blais is a bizarre novel in which the extremities of dysfunctionality are explored through various characters, where each have their own problems to overcome. The family portrayed by Blais is truly flawed as they each drive each other towards total destruction, whilst living in a metaphorical hell. The characters of the family; Isabelle-Marie, Patrice, Louise and later on Lanz, are each presented with different flaws that prevent them from overcoming their hatred for each other. These flaws are a key reason as to why they all mentally decay. Aiding this 'decay' is the death of Lanz which triggers the downfall of the family. It is due to the bleak presentation of characters, the lack of a fatherly role, and the callous behavior of the members of the family, that the fate of the family was predetermined to collapse. The presentation of the characters is essential in the depiction of their personality. Each character from the immediate family is presented in the same way; that is, they begin in sentences with a vertical format, which can ultimately foreshadow each of their downfalls. ...read more.

Middle

He has a gold cane, and a wig in which he uses to cover up his aching knee and aging features. He is eventually trampled to death by a horse. But as he is dying, his true identity is being revealed; "Patrice watched the gold cane disappear... and also Lanz's wig as it parted from his scalp... Lanz's false beard was falling apart" (75). Therefore it is the presentation of Lanz that shaped his unfortunate outcome. The lack of stability in the family can only contribute to the dysfunctionality as once Lanz dies, a chain reaction of events takes place. Without a fatherly figure, there is no stability in the family and therefore they cannot bring themselves back from their world of disdain. Lanz plays the key, archetypal role of the fatherly figure that comes in to save the family. However, once he dies Isabelle-Marie is left with that role and she struggles to carry it out. "Isabelle-Marie, close mouthed, her soul withered, had worked too hard in the fields. She was growing thinner, uglier, as crabbed as an old witch"(90). ...read more.

Conclusion

Their callous behavior towards each other is a key reason as to why they died horrid deaths. In any family where there are cold relationships, a happy ending is not obtained. This is exactly the case in this novel as right from the start, heartless emotions are portrayed through Isabelle-Marie on the train; "aloof and motionless... Isabelle-Marie sat... against the window. Her alarming eyes, so often full of anger seemed glued to backbone (15). It is the cold, crude behavior of the family that caused them to separate themselves and it is this behavior that foreshadowed their horrible descents. The bleak presentation of the characters, the lack of a fatherly role and the callous behavior of the family are all factors in the destruction of the family, as they were foreshadowed right from the start to end tragically. Blais genius technique of vertical alignment is a great way in which the downward presentation of characters foreshadowed their descent over the course of the novel. By exploiting the family's dysfunctionality through the presentation of characters, one is now able to determine the direction the character is heading in, and ultimately their fate for the rest of the novel. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Free essay

    Kite Runner - Relationship Essay

    changed; from his youthful days when he constantly vies for his fathers attention to now when he is an adult, prepared to go his own way and not the way of his father. Additionally the reader is able to see the final development of Baba through his acceptance and pride

  2. EXtended Essay - Portuguese

    histeria colectiva, foram internados de urg�ncia por julgarem estar infectados pelo mesmo v�rus que atingiu os jovens actores na s�rie transmitida pela TVI. Doutor em Sociologia da Comunica��o e autor do livro "A televis�o no quotidiano das crian�as", Manuel Pinto admite que os estudos cient�ficos sobre as consequ�ncias da sobreexposi��o

  1. Engligh Extended Essay on Egdgar Allen Poe

    This holds a further opinion that the past is not reality but, like dreams, malleable and fluctuating. In Dreams Poe contrasts reality and dreams by wishing his life were an "everlasting dream" with connotations that dreams are good and reality is filled with sorrow but that is one of the only facts separating the two.

  2. Mad Shadows Essay

    Isabelle-Marie reveals that essence demands a blindness and appreciation of spiritual substance. Louise's physical beauty exists as false desire, one that sidetracks Louise from her fundamental needs and wants - unselfish love and freedom. While Louise highlights the despair and isolation in surface-level desires, Isabelle-Marie illustrates the openness and freedom

  1. Macbeth Essay

    His "black and deep desires" (I.iv.51) were released, evil itself was awakened in light of his horrific murder. His intentions to disrupt the moral order were hidden well within the darkest, deepest, and blackest portions of his soul. Darkness was the chaos and vileness that resulted from a broken Chain of Being.

  2. The Rocking Horse Winner

    Paul receives this faulty guidance from his mother when asking the questions a young child would normally do. Lawrence uses the little dialogue between Paul and his mother to his advantage, signifying changes in Paul's life through the lack of interaction and the symbolic description of Paul's eyes.

  1. Oral Presentation about Pokmon (Media and Advertising)

    Most other names were also Anglicized. In addition, the monsters were given clever English names like Squirtle for the water-squirting, turtle-like pocket monster. As Pikachu was expected to be the key global character it was the only pokemon out of the 151 first ones whose name would be maintained in all markets.

  2. Motif of Motherly Affections Towards Benjamin and Shinji

    shows how Fiela protected her right to keep Benjamin, especially because he did not want to let go of her. The two men who were trying to take Benjamin away were comparing him to a boy named Lukas, who, coincidentally, was a white boy who was lost in the forest

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work