Art & Identity in New Orleans

HNRS 109 Spring '18

Subtexts

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Binx and Kate are two characters that pivot around the world, attempting to get a foothold in the world. Their understanding of their roles in the world waver constantly as this can only find dissatisfaction in their lives. In this manner, Binx and Edna Pontellier are similar. It takes the introduction of an external figure to make them realize they want something more out of life. Robert provides a channel through which Edna can experience a new culture, a place where she can find freedom, and finally discover and embrace herself. In this manner, Kate is Binx’s channel through which he sees true sorrow, as well as a hidden joy. In taking care of Kate he finds purpose, and eventually love that he was previously lacking. Unlike Edna, Binx had the means to continue to live his frivolous lifestyle prior to meeting Kate. He was able to advance, and still be accepted by society. Eventually, due to his newfound inspiration in Kate, he is able to return to the lifestyle his family wished upon him. Edna was not able to have this opportunity, as her freedom contradicted her status and familial obligations – which ultimately resulted in her quietus.

 

I believe that Kate and Blanche are similar in their backstories, and personalities. Both have lost a loved one, which has driven them to depression and “madness”. Yet under this madness, there appears to be underlying control, as if the madness is a subterfuge. They are both able to perceive the people around them; as Blanche knows Stanley’s true motives, and Kate understands Binx’s aim to calm her when he takes her to “Panic in the Streets” after her anxiety attack. Despite their outward¬†disconcerted appearances, they understand the subtext of the world, the complex and contradictory manners in which people think which allows them to continue to venture through the world.

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