Alienation in the novels of Sargeson and Davin. A study of four novels : I saw in my dream ; I for one...; Cliffs of Fall ; Roads from home
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis argues that, in four novels, Sargeson and Davin are writing variations on a similar theme, which we may call simply "alienation". At the risk of becoming tedious, these variations must be defined. We will make an arbitrary distinction between two types of isolation. One is brought about through feelings, or emotion. The other is reached through thought, or intellect. It is suggested that, while Sargeson writes about a solitude which is attained through the senses, Davin concerns himself with a solitude which is attained through the intellect. Sargeson's sympathies are with the underdog: in this case someone who has the worst of an encounter, and is therefore compelled by his emotions to become an outcast. Davin's sympathies, on the other hand, are with the overman: in this case someone who thinks himself superior to moral restrictions, and chooses to keep his distance from conventional codes of behavior. For convenience, we will usually refer to both types of solitary by a neutral word, "outsider" : meaning a non-member of some group. The novels, which have been chosen because they seem representative of their authors' early work, are: I Saw in My Dream and I for One... by Frank Sargeson; and Cliff's of Fall and Roads from Home by Dan Davin. Close attention will be paid to the narrative techniques each author employs, for there appears to be an important correspondence between that which each is intent upon saying, and the manner in which it is said.