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The Presentation of the Theme of Isolation in the Characters of The Hour of the Star and The Bone People by the use of symbolic imagery

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Comparative Essay - The Presentation of the Theme of Isolation in the Characters of 'The Hour of the Star' and 'The Bone People' by the use of symbolic imagery Every human has, at one point in his/her life, been through a period of isolation, wherein he is either rejected by or rejects society. This theme of isolation is now and then explored in the world of fiction and has always been a topic that has been looked upon with interest. Isolation of a person means seclusion or solitude, which is, lack of contact with other people.1 There are two types of isolation, it being deliberate or unintentional. People may seek physical seclusion to remove distractions and make it easier to concentrate, reflect, or meditate. On the other hand, some people are unaware of the isolation they are in, as in; it is enforced upon them by society. The authors Clarice Lispector and Keri Hulme portray an unusual amount of isolation, both deliberate and unintentional, in the characters of their books The Hour of the Star and The Bone People. In The Bone People, Kerewin chooses to be in isolation while on the other hand, in The Hour of the Star, Macabea plunges into seclusion because of societal constraint. ...read more.


(Lispector, 41). Thus, it is inferred from this that her happiness or depression in a state of solitude is subjective to the context, as in, the events that precede this state of isolation. It is these events that force her into seclusion in the first place. Similarly, in The Bone People too, the portrayal of solitude is exemplified by the usage of mirrors as symbolic of self-awareness. Kerewin has a strong desire to be isolated, and this is shown through various means. "She [Kerewin] opens a bottle of champagne, and sets the mirror by the candle. She can see her face in it, a candlelit ovoid, with gouges for eyes, shadowmouthed" (Hulme, 275). It is the perfect setting for discovering oneself, and she seems to love it. She keeps talking to herself reminiscing over past events and actions. At one point, she says, "I used to get afraid that I'd look up into the mirror and see nothing there" (Hulme, 275). This is very similar to Macabea, as in she too feels that she casts no reflection in the mirror, and that her existence has vanished. Kerewin has an akin attitude to life, and indulges in exploring herself "...to use image and living light as pointers to the self beyond self" (Hulme, 275). ...read more.


She is attacked by vampires, in the sense, that they are sucking her 'desire' for isolation away from her. The two novels are very similar in terms of the portrayal of isolation in the main characters. While deliberate isolation is evident in Kerewin's character throughout the story, it is quite the opposite for Macabea. She resorts to solitude because of societal pressures. And this is well portrayed by Lispector and Hulme by the use of the mirror symbol and vampire imagery. The mirror is a reflection of oneself, and self-evaluation takes place when confronted by it, both in The Hour of the Star and The Bone People. It is a means of getting away from the external world and spending time with oneself; rediscovering oneself. The imagery of vampires is also used to great effect. While in The Hour of the Star, it is used in the context of the protagonist considering herself to be a recluse from society, in The Bone People, Kerewin feels attacked by the vampires, Joe and Simon, and they present themselves as an obstacle to her drive to isolation. Therefore, symbolic imagery is used widely to depict isolation as a characteristic of the respective main characters in The Hour of the Star and The Bone People as well as bringing out the characters' gradual attainment of awareness with respect to the isolation and ephemeral sense of their individual existences. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solitude 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampire ?? ?? ?? ?? Rahul English A1 SL 1 ...read more.

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