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Benefits of doubt

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Benefits of doubt

Affleck, Sara Jane (2007) Benefits of doubt. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The interplay between "self" and "other" is one of the predominant themes of this work of long fiction. The story's two narrators, Hannah and Elinor, struggle with re-creation of self in a "foreign" context, that of teaching conversational English in contemporary Japan. For both women, this re-creation involves relationships occurring in many modes of social interaction: colleagues and students, friends, and romantic involvements. For Elinor, this self-re-creation primarily involves a pattern of successive short-term romances, often of a non-sexual nature, with other Westerners. At the root of Elinor's apparent inability to commit is a deep-seated fear of rejection, and of losing herself in love. After much trial and error, she meets a man with whom she thinks she can be happy; despite her constant "otherness" as a Western woman in Japanese culture, she opts to stay, almost revelling in the bizarre status her very otherness affords. By contrast, Hannah--in order to forget failed loves--immerses herself in work, and rather passively accepts the identity that is thrust upon her in this new context. She too becomes involved with a man--a married Japanese man who is also a former student. This relationship is also non-sexual, though Hannah clearly would prefer otherwise. She struggles to overcome her desires and her attachments aided by the Buddhist study in which she rather superficially engages. But despite Hannah's philosophical inquiries, and her passivity, she is unable to completely erase her "self" nor her desires.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Affleck, Sara Jane
Pagination:iii, 180 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:English
Date:2007
Thesis Supervisor(s):Sterns, K
ID Code:975391
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:07
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:40
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