Art & Identity in New Orleans

HNRS 109 Spring '18

Drifting

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In many ways, Binx in The Moviegoer is a similar character to Edna Pontelier in The Awakening. Of course, Binx is male and Edna is female, but their struggles are eerily reminiscent of one another. Binx is a man who is perfectly content to drift through life; that is, until he discovers the idea of a search. What is he searching for? Not even he is entirely sure of that, but he is struck with a sudden desire to find himself. Edna is in a nearly identical situation. She knows that she is not happy, but she cannot figure out why. She is told by everyone around her that she should be content with what she has, but it is not enough. She too is drifting through her own life, until she starts to take control. The main difference is that Binx is happy with his lot in life until he discovers something to search for, but Edna is never happy. There are also similarities between Edna and Kate, who is Binx’s cousin. She is depressive and lost, floating through her life. Everyone tries to control her, like Edna is controlled. The two women have to break free of the restraints of their life in their own way. Both books even have tones that mirror one another. The sense from both stories is one of existentialism, which contributes to the depressive and uncertain mood of the characters as they go through their search. The similarity is striking.

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