Theme Of Displacement In Paris

1650 Words7 Pages
The idea of traveling to a new country to explore different types of cultures has the ability to be a very exciting experience. From the abundance of new sights to see and food to taste, one can become caught up in all the hustle and bustle of locals. While exposure to an unfamiliar place is thrilling, one’s abrupt immersion into a completely foreign country tends to prove rather exhausting when it comes to beginning a completely new life. This quick change of pace from a familiar environment to, what feels like, another planet can be quite overwhelming. The theme of displacement while abroad, specifically in Paris, is evident in Jean Rhys’ novel Good Morning, Midnight and Joanna Walsh’s novel Vertigo. Rhys and Walsh both illustrate novels…show more content…
Longing for a place to fit in is very evident through Sasha in Good Morning, Midnight. Throughout the novel, Sasha continuously returns to the desire to buy a new dress and style her hair. “I must go and buy a hat this afternoon, I think, and tomorrow a dress. I must get on with the transformation act” (Rhys 63). Her wish to alter her appearance reinforces the goal to leave the identity of her past self behind. By doing so, she will be able to dissolve her paranoia of being an outsider. Much to Sasha’s dismay, this plan fails and only escalates her social anxiety. For example, she discusses her outright fear of the human race, proclaiming, “Of course I’m afraid of them. Who wouldn’t be afraid of a pack of damned hyenas” (Rhys 173). This continual dread of interaction and attention from others leads to the progression of her drinking addiction and suicidal thoughts. While she never attempts to commit suicide, on a number of occasions, Sasha mentions whether she should or not. In the midst of poverty, losing her child, and a failed marriage, Sasha cannot help but contemplate the end of her life. The ups and downs of navigating an unfamiliar territory while battling alcohol addiction and severe loss, would cause a person to doubt their purpose of existence, such as Sasha. While Vertigo does not illustrate a sense of paranoia and suicide to the degrees of Good Morning, Midnight, the novel still exhibits a longing for acceptance. Walsh eerily exemplifies the narrator’s feelings of uncertainty, writing, “You could employ someone to be me and get just the same thing, maybe even better, if you had the money” (Walsh 66). This short sentence really encapsulates the inner workings of the narrator’s mind. Not only is she paranoid about outside perceptions of her, but she has reached the conclusion that others have the ability to impersonate
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