UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

La tension entre la société et l’individu dans cinq romans Stendhaliens Ryu, Hyung Sook


In the five novels of Stendhal, the protagonists are a prey to conflicts between society and individual. Ambition for integration into society is replaced by repugnance to society, so that the protagonists experience ambivalence. Tension is created in this conflict, and the protagonists pursue self assertion. In the conflicts between society and the individual, the protagonists manifest ambivalence by complying sometimes with the reality principle and sometimes with the pleasure principle. For the purpose of self idealization, they conform to the rules of society, but, under certain circumstances, they abandon themselves to repressed instincts. The education of the protagonists intensifies ambivalence. The protagonists are able to perceive the discrepancy between the standards of society and personal desires because of their superior intelligence. The life of the protagonists can be described as alternation between integration into society and submission to personal needs. Experiencing this alternation, the protagonists realize their blindness and discover themselves. When relationships between parents and the protagonists are examined in the light of the theory of Marthe Robert, some protagonists conduct themselves aggressively or passively as bastards or foundlings, in agreement with the theory. But Lucien and Lamiel jar with the theory. The discordance could stem from the incompletion of the two novels as well as the exceptional aggressiveness of Lamiel as a female protagonist of the nineteenth century. The protagonists succeed in their integration into society under the protection of characters who play the role of surrogate father or mother while the protagonists are subjected to disgust facing the defects of society. But the protagonists meet characters who are capable of isolating them from the society. The characters express different views on life, not conforming to the common opinions of society. In the alienation from society, the protagonists feel uplifted and euphoric. In conclusion, the tension between society and the individual arises from the protagonists' pursuit of happiness. In the five novels of Stendhal, happiness consists in peace of mind, but not in attainment to power.

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