Containment Schemas, Scripts, And Connection In D.H. Lawrence's "Daughters Of The Vicar," Iris Murdoch's A Fairly Honourable Defeat, And Monica Ali's Brick Lane: An Examination Of Englishness
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ProgramMaster of Arts
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This study will look at the representation and manifestation of physical and emotional connections between people and how they reflect the need to belong through three texts which suggest the creation of modern Britain. They include D.H. Lawrence's short story "Daughters of the Vicar" (1914), Iris Murdoch's A Fairly Honourable Defeat (1970), and Monica Ali's Brick Lane (2003). In studying the representation of physical and emotional connections, the writer will use script theory and containment schemas to illustrate that the creation and need for a closed community is in many ways uniquely British. The definitions for containment schemas provided by Mark Johnson and Michael Kimmel, and the definitions of script theory given by Dennis Mercadal and Derek Edwards, will be used. The analysis reveals that characters exhibit the need for closed communities, and they are equally able to abandon these closed communities. The writer will also show that these texts are themselves containers and revision of scripts which serve to illustrate the nature of containers and scripts. These three texts are very appropriate because they exist at important moments in British history that are essential to the evolution of multicultural Britain. The texts are connected by characters whose existences are permeated by loneliness, which they attempt to escape-to different degrees of success-by changing containers and/or scripts. Englishness, the idea of a distinct English national identity, is a cultural construction rooted in England's identity crises. The meaning of Englishness changes according to the combination of social, economic, political, and historical forces at play. Regardless of what form English national identity takes, its exclusive nature brings the people of England together. Britishness, unlike Englishness, is tied to the British Empire. As the empire fell in the 20th century, so did the power of Britishness. Britishness and Englishness are distinct identities with many similarities, though members of the British Empire, who were not born in England and have no ancestral connection to England, are more likely to claim a British rather than an English identity. In the 21st century, Englishness and Britishness have become transient identities because nationalism has lost its allure, and the empire no longer exists. People no longer believe that it is necessary to be English all the time; instead, embracing a multiplicity of identities has become the norm. "Daughters of the Vicar" provides an insightful look into the social choices made by the family of a vicar, with a special focus on the vicar's wife, his daughters, and their husbands. Their social choices tie them to people. In this text, Lawrence anticipates a British movement away from defining success through social class, to defining success through the happiness or contentment found in relationships, with no regard for socioeconomic status. A Fairly Honourable Defeat is also an examination of relationships. Unlike "Daughters of the Vicar," which looks at the formation of relationships at the beginning of the 20th century, A Fairly Honourable Defeat looks at already formed relationships between lovers and friends during the peak of 20th century Britain (before the dismantling of the welfare state). These relationships are put to the test by Julius King, who is the incarnation of cynicism and whom Iris Murdoch casts as an ambiguous villain. Characters appear to be most happy when they come to the realization that happiness is not a product of one's self, but is created through genuine connections forged with others. The final work examined in this work is Monica Ali's Brick Lane, which is set in 21st century multicultural Britain. In this book, Nazneen is a citizen of Bangladesh, which was previously part of the British Empire. She migrates to London due to an arranged marriage to a much older man. Nazneen attempts to succeed in Britain while being pulled in one direction by her traditions and in another direction by modernity in Britain. The cultural conflicts are echoed by her sister Hasina, who remains in Bangladesh and, like Nazneen, attempts to find success and happiness. The sisters discover that regardless of whether they remain oppressed or free in Bangladesh, or oppressed or free in London, what matters is how they interact with others. The three works are written during the emergence of a new multifaceted cultural England. This England is a product of the influences of Britain's colonies, the dying throes of the Empire, and later, the influx of former colonials as immigrants. "Daughters of the Vicar" was written at the start of the twentieth century, and Lawrence made revisions to it as late as October 1914, during the First World War. Similarly, Murdoch's work was published after the Second World War, at the zenith of the welfare state, but immediately before its dismantling. During the late twentieth century setting of Murdoch's text, there are the beginnings of the new multicultural England that is seen in Ali's work. The three works combined produce a picture of a continually evolving Britain, with a continually evolving definition of what it means to be English or British.