William H. Burke suggests that transience in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping is a type of pilgrimage, and that “the rigors and self-denials of the transient life are necessary spiritual conditioning for the valued crossing from the experience of a world of loss and fragmentation to the perception of a world that is whole and complete” (717). The world of reality in Housekeeping is one “fragmented, isolated, and arbitrary as glimpses one has at night through lighted windows” (Robinson 50). Many of the characters that precede Ruth in the narrative rebel against something in this world that is not right. Edmund Foster, her grandfather, escapes by train to the Midwest and his house is “no more a human stronghold than a grave” (3). His daughters, Molly, Sylvie, and Helen, all abandon their home and their mother; Helen, in fact, makes the greatest “leap” away from the world into death when she cannot effectively deal with the expectations placed on her to “set up housekeeping in Seattle” with husband and children (14). Ruth takes up a transient life with her mentor and aunt, Sylvie, to escape from history and the past into a new life, a new awareness. Crucial to this spiritual awakening is the abandonment and the isolation of the self. Transience is Ruth’s escape from the impermanent illusory world, a world that rejects one of the tenets of transience, that “the perimeters of our wanderings are nowhere” , in favor of fixity and stasis (218). She acknowledges the world’s illusory nature when she admits that she has “never distinguished readily between thinking and dreaming”, and that “Everything that falls upon the eye is apparition, a sheet dropped over the world’s true workings...
... middle of paper ...
Burke, William H. “Border Crossinsgs in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.” Modern Fiction Studies. 37 (Winter 1991): 716-724.
Mallon, Anne-Marie. “Sojourning Women: Homelessness and Transcendence in Housekeepking.” Critique 30 (Winter 1989): 95-105.
Miller, Heather. Grace Through Isolation in Herland, Housekeeping, and Ellen Foster. Masters Thesis. University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg. December 1991.
Ross, Dianne Lillian. The Circle in the Waters: Unity and Visions of Regeneration and Immortality in Housekeeping, To the Lighthouse, and Surfacing. Masters Thesis. UVA May 1986
Schuler, Carol. Crossing the Boundaries with M/Other: Beyond Dualism into the Dream of a World made Whole in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping. Masters Thesis. California State University, Stanislaus. May 1994.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping - Beyond Reason Marilynne Robinson gives voice to a realm of consciousness beyond the bounds of reason in her novel Housekeeping. Possibly concealed by the melancholy but gently methodical tone, boundaries and limits of perception are constantly redefined, rediscovered, and reevaluated. Ruth, as the narrator, leads the reader through the sorrowful events and the mundane details of her childhood and adolescence. She attempts to reconcile her experiences, fragmented and unified, past, present, and future, in order to better understand or substantiate the transient life she leads with her aunt Sylvie.... [tags: Robinson Housekeeping Essays]
955 words (2.7 pages)
- Housekeeping Housekeeping is a novel written by Marilynne Robinson, whose title heavily implies a deeper meaning within itself. The story is centered around two girls, Ruth and Lucille, who have been left in the hands of others as a result of their mother 's suicide. The novel is very simplistic in it’s nature paralleling the type of lifestyle that most of the members of the family live, excluding of course Molly who goes to do missionary work and China, and also Helen who drives herself off of a cliff.... [tags: Family, Meaning of life, English-language films]
844 words (2.4 pages)
- The Bible and Housekeeping The book of Genesis in the Bible presents many important people, events, and ideas that have been often been referenced to in literature and other arts. The novel Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, published in 1980 is considered to be one of the most prominent books of the recent era. The novel is a generational saga that is told from the point of view of Ruthie, who along with her sister Lucille is abandoned at her grandmother’s house after their mother kills herself.... [tags: Bible, Old Testament, Book of Genesis, Patriarchy]
1772 words (5.1 pages)
- In Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead narrator and reverend John Ames seeks to transcend the isolation he feels from the title town through a letter to his son. John Ames holds the ironic role of moral leader and recluse, which leaves him alienated from the people who respect him. His isolation is a byproduct of his independence; an independence that distances him from those he loves: Jack Boughton and his son. This estrangement is represented in the text by his heart condition which prevents him from watching his son grow up, metaphorically epitomizing the damage that his years of solitude have done to him.... [tags: Grace in Marilynne Robinson’s Fiction]
1630 words (4.7 pages)
In Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinso, Categorical Confines: Societal Boundaries in Opposition of Happiness
- ... “She walked up the bank, and stood looking across the bridge for a moment, and then she began carefully, tie by tie, out onto it. Slowly she walked on and on, until she was perhaps fifty feet out over the water… ‘I’ve always wondered what it would be like.’” (81-82) Sylvie knows that the only way to live unrestricted is to die, much the way Helen did. In reality, however, society even places restrictions death. While the decedent may not be sentient and aware of such things, the categories of natural death, accidental death, and suicide are all seen within Housekeeping, and are a way of defining the lives of those who die after their deaths.... [tags: boundaries, suicide, happiness]
1166 words (3.3 pages)
Emotional and Physical Isolation in Marilynne Robinson´s Housekeeping and Alfred Hitchcock´s Rear Window
- Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping both demonstrate isolation through interaction between neighbors, dialogue, setting or mise-en-scene, framing, close-ups, and camera cuts. People can be close to one another in a physical sense, but, on a deeper level, they are disconnected. They may interact and it will only be in passing. While the novel and film both demonstrate isolation, their methods in doing so differ as there are certain things each medium can do that the other cannot.... [tags: negihbors, dialogye, setting, framing, cuts]
2255 words (6.4 pages)
- Throughout Marilynne Robinson’s works, readers are often reminded of themes that defy the status quo of popular ideas at the time. She explores transience and loneliness, amongst other ideas as a way of expressing that being individual, and going against what is deemed normal in society is acceptable. Robinson utilizes traditional literary devices in order to highlight these concepts. Countless times throughout Robinson’s work, the idea of the home is used as a way to contrast society’s views, and what it means to the characters of Robinson’s novels.... [tags: Literature, Novel, Literary theory, Fiction]
1914 words (5.5 pages)
- Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo. The year Jackie was born was 1919 to a family of farmers. His Mother name is Mallie Robinson. She raised Jackie and four other of her children. They were the only black family around and people gave them a hard time about living around them since they were the only black family on the block. Jackie was the very first black baseball player ever to join the white man’s league. Jackie Robinson started playing baseball in 1947. He was the first player who played in the black man league and joined the white man team.... [tags: Jackie Robinson Essay]
856 words (2.4 pages)
- Back Back Back Back Back and GONE. This is what people heard many times when Jackie Robinson was up to bat whether they liked it or not. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the MLB in 1947 which changed the game of baseball forever (America’s). Jackie Robinson faced many hardships such as fans treating him harshly saying folderol while playing on the field, players treating him bad, and not having anywhere to sleep even though he was very athletic even at a very young age. Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919.... [tags: Jackie Robinson Essay]
830 words (2.4 pages)
- Robinson Crusoe is a character we get to know extremely well, thanks to Daniel Defoe and his informative descriptions. Because of this we can see how Robinson's attitudes and beliefs may or may not change throughout the book. In this essay I will look at how they do or do not change, and decide on whether Robinson is a changing or unchanging character. "I was born in the year 1623, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner.... [tags: Robinson Crusoe Essays]
874 words (2.5 pages)
- Schools and Education - Understanding the Rise in Apathy, Cheating and Plagiarism
- Writing as a Tool to Enlightenment in Invitation to a Beheading
- Language in Dante’s Inferno
- Medea and Nietzsche's Will to Power
- Comparing the Struggle in Dante’s Inferno and Book VI of The Aeneid
- Ethics for the 21st Century