Estrangement in Joseph Conrad's Amy Foster and in Rebecca West's The Return of the Soldier

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Estrangement in Joseph Conrad's Amy Foster and in Rebecca West's The Return of the Soldier The concept of male estrangement in an alien environment is portrayed in both Joseph Conrad’s short story, Amy Foster, as well as in Rebecca West’s book, The Return of the Soldier. First, there are adverse reactions to the male protagonists’ placement in their environments. The reactions vary between the protagonists and the people they come into contact with. Second, there are similarities and differences between the way the two authors chose to explore the situations presented. Third, both protagonists handle their estrangement differently. It is hard to behave appropriately when you are among peculiar customs. It seems ironic that…show more content…
This causes him to develop “A complete case of amnesia…His unconscious self is refusing to let him resume his relations with his normal life, and so we get this loss of memory” (West 79). In a sense, Chris becomes trapped in his past. Fifteen years earlier to be precise. Because of his amnesia, Chris responds to the reality of his “current life” with a sort of disbelief. For example, when his wife Kitty is mentioned, he replies: “I haven’t got a wife! Has some woman been turning up with a cock-and-bull story of being my wife? Because it’s the damnedest lie!” (West 20). Of course his wife has her own take on the entire matter, and one that is hardly full of sympathy and support. For example, West writes on page 31: “…her pink mouth went on manufacturing malice. “This is all a blind,” she said at the end of an unpardonable sentence. “He’s pretending…”. Kitty refuses to accept the current situation, and views it with a sort of vindictiveness. In both situations, the protagonist is alienated, and in both situations, others treat the protagonist harshly. The people involved in the harsh behavior are not consistent in both stories. In Amy Foster, the people conducting themselves in a harsh manner are the average citizens with which Yanko Goorall has contact. For example, there is the milkman, who whipped at Yanko; Mrs. Finn, who berated Yanko with an umbrella; and Mrs. Smith who failed to ever trust Yanko. There are

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