Daydreams and Nightmares: Paradoxical Melancholy and Sally Bowles in Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin

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What comes almost as a fascinating insight in Sally’s world of songs, lovers, cigarettes and lonesomeness is a magnified view of the city, where destitution predominates and one never fails to turn a deaf ear, to the midnight calls from the street corners. Isherwood ponders in the opening lines of Goodbye to Berlin, this idea of being a disjointed wanderer upon a sensitive landscape. In the section, ‘Sally Bowles’, Isherwood traces acutely the problematic disposition of a woman, who also breathes the foreign air of the city and decides to live. If that is all it takes to be herself. In this paper I intend to look into the changing dialectics of hedonism and melancholia that traces the structure of Sally’s mind and experience. Her …show more content…
What comes almost as a fascinating insight in Sally’s world of songs, lovers, cigarettes and lonesomeness is a magnified view of the city, where destitution predominates and one never fails to turn a deaf ear, to the midnight calls from the street corners. Isherwood ponders in the opening lines of Goodbye to Berlin, this idea of being a disjointed wanderer upon a sensitive landscape. In the section, ‘Sally Bowles’, Isherwood traces acutely the problematic disposition of a woman, who also breathes the foreign air of the city and decides to live. If that is all it takes to be herself. In this paper I intend to look into the changing dialectics of hedonism and melancholia that traces the structure of Sally’s mind and experience. Her fragility, desperation, neuroses and her ingenious art to conceal them all, provides a fitting prelude to the reigning socio-cultural structure of Berlin under the Nazi regime. In Mourning and Melancholia (1917), Freud distinguishes ‘melancholia’ from ‘mourning’ and charges it with pathological implications. He states that unlike the physical manifestation of grief, in the form of lamenting over the lost object in ‘mourning’, the melancholic is in a perennial state of grief without any repercussive manifestation. Sally Bowles, the central character of Christopher Isherwood’s semi autobiographical novel, Goodbye to Berlin, almost immediately from the beginning, fits into this role of the melancholic. The introduction of Sally in Fritz’s

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