S-Space Researcher Institutes (연구소) American Studies Institute (미국학연구소) 미국학 미국학 Volume 36 Number 1/2 (2013)
쇼팬의 『각성』에 나타난 에로스와 타나토스
Eros and Thanatos in Chopin's The Awakening
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.36 No.1, pp. 77-114
- Eros (삶의 본능, 자기 보존적 본능); Thanatos (죽음의 본능); American transcendentalism (미국적 초월주의); Creole society (크레올 사회); surrogate mother(대리모); Robert (로버트); Edna (에드나); Foucault (푸코); prison (감옥); woman-angel(천사로서의 여성); woman-monster(괴물로서의 여성); motherhood (모성); The Great Thunderstorm (대폭풍)
- This paper is to investigate how the dynamics of Eros (sexual instinct, the instinct of self-preservation) and Thanatos (death instinct) work with each other in Chopin’s The Awakening. In truth, Eros is not incompatible with Thanatos. Instead the highest self-love inevitably goes with the self-destruction (physical death) as we can see in Tristan and Isolde. At the end of the 19th century, American society witnessed a very intense conflict between the traditional Victorian moral values and the new awakening for women that mainly stemmed from both the philosophy of enlightenment and American transcendentalism. As for Edna, the heroine of The Awakening, everything which surrounds her, especially the 19th century Creole society in Louisiana rigorously prohibits her from realizing her real identity, her so-called essentials. The role assigned for her by society is nothing but that of a wife or a mother. At first, Edna repeatedly tries to overcome these social barriers through the salvation of the ‘surrogate mothers’ (Adele Ratignolle, Mlle. Reisz) or the ‘perfect lover’ (Robert Lebrun) which is destined to fail. Gradually the ‘home’, the counterpart of Foucault’s ‘prison’, is suffocating her to the extent that she cannot sustain herself as an integrated individual any more. Motherhood is one of the most unwilling duties imposed on her by society. She neither wants to be a woman-angel nor a woman-monster. Like the great thunderstorm that hit all of Louisiana in 1893, the Thanatos in Edna finally induces her to take her own life. Her suicide should be regarded as not a defeat to her fate but a victory to achieve her true self which is the only worthwhile object of her highest Eros.