Preview
Preview

The Combray Section of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way Essay

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 2603 words (7.4 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Combray Section of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way

 
     The "Combray" section of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way is an extended meditation on an idyllic past. The book begins, though, not with recollections of Combray, but with a description of the narrator's half-asleep state, a state of consciousness where he does not know where, or even who, he is. The expanded memories of his past, then, seem an attempt to establish a stable sense of self, a sense that continually eludes him. In this exploration, which constitutes the entirety of the "Combray" section, we find the narrator, a young man with literary aspirations, struggling to understand the characters of his childhood in a way that captures their contradictions, only to find that each person seems more like a spectrum of singular, varying selves than a single delimited identity.

 

When we encounter the narrator addressing the problems faced by the artist, he notes that "the ingenuity of the first novelist" lay in the realization that a simplification of characters that corresponds to the "suppression" of "'real' people" inevitably makes novels stronger, more effective in conjuring a sympathetic response from a sensitive reader. "A 'real' person," he begins, profoundly as we may sympathize with him, is in a great measure perceptible only through our senses, that is to say, he remains opaque, offers a dead weight which our sensibilities have not the strength to lift. If some misfortune comes to him, it is only in one small section of the complete idea we have of him that we are capable of feeling any emotion; indeed it is only in one small section of the complete idea he has of himself that he is capable of feeling any emotion either. (83)

...


... middle of paper ...


... key to inner life. As everyone is guarded, influenced by the conditions that surround them, the social conditions, it seems that only when alone may they be truthful.

 

But instead of confirming this, instead of giving us insight into the "core" essence of his characters, the "truth" that all their masks conceal, Proust confounds us by making the confessions imparted in solitude as constructed as any others. In fact, perhaps the only distinguishing factor, is that in solitude, his characters are free to feel and admit guilt, something they would be reluctant to admit in public. But even in private, their lives are organized as a sort of public confession, as they struggle to maintain the illusion of a stable self.

 

Work Cited

Proust, Marcel. Swann's Way. Trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. NY: Random House, 1981.

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on The Truth of Proust and Descartes - The Truth of Proust and Descartes In the Overture, Marcel first puts forth his task: to "piece together the original components of [his] ego." (Proust 6) In his synopsis of the Meditations, Descartes, too, puts forth his goal: to attain the "most certain and most evident… knowledge of our mind and of God" (Descartes 10). These projects are parallel: in two remarkably different literary forms and through two very different philosophical processes, the authors, Proust and Descartes, through their narrators, seek to comprehend truth....   [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays] 781 words
(2.2 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Three Essays on Proust - Three Essays on Proust Introduction In Candace Vogler’s Philosophical Perspectives on the Humanities class last winter, we were asked to write six short essays relating Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way to several cognitive philosophy texts, including Rene Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy and George Berkeley’s Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous. Our task was to make the ideas of Proust, Descartes, and Berkeley communicate with one another—to juxtapose and compare their ideas about what constitutes experience, what constitutes divinity, what is knowing, what is being....   [tags: Essays Papers] 2392 words
(6.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Within A Budding Grove by Marcel Proust and The Trial by Franz Kafka Essay - When interpreting characters in novels readers perceive characters by the impressions the author provides to writers. In the novels Within A Budding Grove by Marcel Proust and The Trial by Franz Kafka the characters Albertine and Josef K. can be looked at in many different perspectives. Proust portrays Albertine to be a multifaceted, unpredictable character but when taking a step away from the narrator’s thoughts she can be seem in a completely different light. Kafka’s main character Josef K....   [tags: Within A Budding Grove Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
2023 words
(5.8 pages)
Research Papers [preview]
Marcel Proust Defines the Self in Remembrance of Things Past Essay - Marcel Proust Defines the Self in Remembrance of Things Past Proust seems to be unique among the twentieth century authors in that his denial of rational thought is through the use of sensation to respond to the problem--instead of experience, for example--by defining the self as a retrievable essence comprised of all past experiences. Our human condition is defined by mortality, contingency, and discontentment. This reality combined with the new outlooks of relationships between our lives and the objects that surround us in our world, have caused authors in the twentieth century to question traditional Western thought....   [tags: Remembrance Things Past]
:: 1 Works Cited
1656 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Swann’s Way Essay - Memory takes centre stage in this novel, which departs from the traditional Nineteenth Century novel in that the narrative does not follow one protagonist throughout. In ‘Swann’s Way’ the protagonist is Marcel, but Proust, a modernist writer uses ‘distancing’ to create “an art of multiplication with regard to the representation of person ... creating aesthetics of deception for the autobiographical novel.” (Nalbantian, 1997, p.63). Also Proust referred to his narrator as the one who says ‘I’ and who is not always me.”(ibid)....   [tags: Literary Analysis] 795 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Biography of James Swann Jr. Essay - The Shotgun stalker is a serial killer who terrorized the Washington, D.C area for two months in 1993. He would do random drive-by shootings using a 12-gauge shotgun. His name is James Swann Jr., was African American he was born in 1964. James was a New Jersey native. He moved to Oxon Hill with his sister a few years prior to the shootings. He worked as a security guard; however, Swann was fired because he insisted on walking backward while patrolling the aisles of a drugstore. In the 1980’s mental illness began to show in James....   [tags: legal issues, shotgun stalker]
:: 3 Works Cited
960 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Controversy of Marcel Duchamp Essay - One of the most unique figures in the continuum of the art world, Marcel Duchamp changed the way we look at and produce art today. Marcel Duchamp was by far, one of the most controversial figures in art. Two of the most well known and talked about pieces by him are The Fountain and The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even . Duchamp created many other pieces that caught the attention of critics, other artists, and the population in a negative way; however, these two pieces alone, brought about the greatest amount of controversy....   [tags: Art]
:: 13 Works Cited
856 words
(2.4 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Dadaism and Conceptual Art: Marcel Duchamp - In this essay I will analyze and evaluate how Duchamp’s exhibition of readymade objects changed the status and value of artistic authorship. Readymade is a term devised by Marcel Duchamp in 1915 to label manufactured objects remote from their practical setting and raised to the prestige of art by the action of an artist’s choice and label. Marcel Duchamp was a French-American painter and sculptor. His work is linked with Dadaism and conceptual art, a movement that examined suppositions of what art must be, and in what way it should be arranged....   [tags: ready-made art, modern-day-art] 1332 words
(3.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Response to George Berkeley’s Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous - A Response to George Berkeley’s Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous The following essay is a response to George Berkeley’s Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, in which he argues that the Cartesian notion of substance is incoherent, that the word "matter" as Descartes uses it, does not mean anything. This essay is also about words as memories, and about the two fictional Marcels, young and old. Hylas is a Cartesian thinker, and Philonous is Berkeley’s voice of reason. Words are like vessels—they are merely novel constructions of sounds empty of meaning until we fill them....   [tags: Philosophy Religion Essays] 1021 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Technology and Gabriel Marcel Essay - Technology and Gabriel Marcel ABSTRACT: I present the arguments of Gabriel Marcel which are intended to overcome the potentially negative impact of technology on the human. Marcel is concerned with forgetting or rejecting human nature. His perspective is metaphysical. He is concerned with the attitude of the "mere technician" who is so immersed in technology that the values which promote him as an authentic person with human dignity are discredited, omitted, denied, minimized, overshadowed, or displaced....   [tags: Philosophy Essays]
:: 15 Works Cited
7140 words
(20.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]