Free Essays - Yorick's Attitude Towards Women in A Sentimental Journey
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If we are to read Laurence Sterne's A Sentimental Journey, we must abandon the fixed idea about ordinary travel, which are filled with detailed descriptions of the landscapes. In Sterne's work, however, there are unique descriptions of human feelings, compared to the other ordinary travelogues. Consequently, the whole work makes readers confused at first. However, once we are absorbed in that story, we can easily follow Yorick's unique thoughts. Especially his attitude towards women is interesting. He meets many women and his attitude towards them does not change. That is, we can see there exists some principles when Yorick faces women. Therefore I will discuss Yorick's attitude towards Lady at the Remise; the Grisset in Paris; the fille de chambre; Maria and Eliza.
Why does Yorick meet so many women in such a short time? As there is not a single passage about his own profile in the story, we cannot assume what he is and what he does in his country. Nevertheless, Yorick seems to be single, because nobody ever told Yorick not to go abroad in the first episode. And also Yorick is really afraid of being kept in prison. Though it is a sort of general fear that everybody can be scared, Yorick seems to be even more sensible about being limited to a particular place or group of people. He tries to set free the "starling" (71-3), because he does hate the feeling of confinement. A marriage possibly can be a sort of confinement to Yorick. That is, being a free single man, Yorick does not want to be tied to particular person. And that makes him meet so many women in such a short time and have lots of relationships with them.
Then what is Yorick's attitude towards these women? First of all, he is a little bit passive when he approaches them. Yorick is usually left with a woman in some place, such as "the Remise", "Desobligeant". It is totally different from other's way of making acquaintance with someone. For instance, in case of La Fleur, he directly goes to some girl and have a good time with her (101). As the following example show, Yorick, is not active at all. : "Mons. Dessein left us[Yorick and a lady] together with her hand in mine" (16). When he is in the shop with the Grisset, she willingly asks him to feel her pulse (53).