Master of Arts
This thesis is going to provide a comparative study of three novels: Sabbath’s Theater (1995) and Everyman(2006) by Philip Roth and Au revoir là-haut(2013) by Pierre Lemaitre. Although at first glance these three works seem to bear little or no resemblance to each other, certain crucial parallels can be drawn between and among the dominant themes in these novels. This study considers how death, loss, and their implications affect the main characters: Mickey Sabbath in Sabbath’s Theater, the nameless character in Everyman, and Édouard Péricourt in Au revoir là-haut. How bodily decay and trauma affect these characters will be the next problem to be interrogated. Moreover, the relation between shame, disgust and transgression will be illustrated and the reasons that trigger the characters to make transgressions will be explored. The investigation of the theme of death and its implications draws heavily on the theory and criticism of Martin Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot and Georges Bataille. Moreover, what links these characters is their confrontation with trauma and decay, their obsessional neuroses, and how these problematics will be investigated through the work of Cathy Caruth and Slavoj Žižek. As disgust and shame play pivotal roles in provoking certain reactions in the characters, my study relies heavily on William Ian Miller’s ideas on disgust and Helen B. Lewis on shame; drawing on Helen B. Lewis on shame, humiliation and embarrassment, and the interconnectedness of these feelings with disgust this study is going to explain why and how shame feelings happen in the characters. A close reading of the ways these characters converse and act brings us to a better understanding of the underlying reasons behind their actions.
Summary for Lay Audience
What makes Sabbath’s Theater and Everyman by Philip Roth and Au revoir là-haut by Pierre Lemaitre comparable is that the main characters of these novels deal with some shared themes such as death, loss, and their implications. While these characters are traumatized by their bodily decay, they suffer from shame, humiliation and embarrassment, and in order to deal with these problems, they show a tendency to make transgressions in their life. This thesis is going to consider how these problematics and their implications affect the main characters and why and how shame feelings happen in them. Therefore, a close reading of the ways these characters converse and act brings us to a better understanding of the underlying reasons behind their actions.
Izadpanah, Shahrzad, "Shame and Its Other Family Members in Philip Roth's Sabbath's Theater and Everyman and Pierre Lemaitre's Au revoir là-haut" (2020). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7468.