The Use Of A Narrative Voice In
Conjunction With Sympathy And Rejection Essay, Research Paper
July 5, 2000
The Use of a Narrative Voice in Conjunction with Sympathy and Rejection
The narrator’s job is to speak to the reader in a way that gives him/her a sense of emotion. Although the reader is first led to sympathize with Kugelmass in the beginning, s/he later rejects him because of his insensitive personality. This is the emotion that the narrator is putting forth on the reader.
The narrator tries to give the reader the implication that we should try to sympathize with Kugelmass at first glance. Although the reader has no idea how bad Kugelmass’s life is from the beginning; the only information about his life is given to the reader in from the narrator in reference to Kugelmass. When speaking from this point of view the reader is not apt to seeing any other part of Kugelmass’ life other than that of the tormented. The narrator starts off well describing how bad Kugelmass’s family life is. He/she speaks of a horrible wife, “Daphne Kugemass was an oaf?she’d let herself go and swell up like a beach ball (Allen 30).” This from the start shows that the narrator’s description of Kugelmass’s wife is that of a horrible nature. I mean, “an oaf” doesn’t sound too striking and then swelling up like a beach ball gives the reader the sense that she may have once been beautiful, but just let go and doesn’t care anymore. So in part, Daphne has become lazy and over weight probably because Kugelmass pays no attention to her anymore. He describes her this way to give the reader the sense that his life is horrible and that we should stand on his side and believe what he says because the
narrator is trying to make the reader believe that Kugelmass needs a change in his lifestyle.
The reader also gets the sense that Kugelmass is being mischievous and that he is on his way to trying something “new.” And in fact this is true for Kugelmass. Since the reader is already starting to sympathize with him about his wife, changing his life and trying something different, “I need to have an affair” (Allen 30) makes a good transition for the upcoming events. Now any person knows that an affair is morally wrong from the start. Cheating on your wife is breaking that vow that people take about loving and cherishing their wife for the rest of their lives until death do they part, but since you see that Mr. Kugelmass is so unhappy; the thought of this being morally wrong escapes the readers mind or does it. The fact that this morally wrong is because if one is to have soul and depth, they need not be lying to that one woman that they at the beginning of their life meant to hold true. So by having this affair, Kugelmass is not only lying to himself but also to Daphne. Through all of this, the reader is shown via the narrator’s words, that Kugelmass is “bald and as hairy as a bear, but he had soul” (Allen 30). This shows the reader that although he is not an ordinary man, he must be given a chance because he has “soul.” Again sympathy is played into how we see Kugelamss, but the reader is slowly beginning to feel otherwise because of Kugelmass’s feelings toward those the reader would believe that he should love.
Since the reader is presented with the idea that sympathy is the only feeling that should be felt towards Kugelmass, the thought of rejection is a surprise. The rejection the
reader begins to feel starts with the fact that the reader can’t identify with Kugelamss’ speaking. “‘It’s called a leisure suit,’ he said romantically ‘[i]t was marked down’”
(Allen 33). Truthfully, there is nothing romantic about a leisure suit especially if it was bought only because it was marked down.
In addition to the way Kugelmass speaks, his word order is not very proper, “[i]‘m right now late?.” First of all, the reader wouldn’t speak like this. It would be, “I’m late right now?.” This doesn’t allow the reader to get in touch with Kugelmass; it in fact pushes you further away because you can’t understand his form of speech. And since Kugelmass is supposed to have soul, he shouldn’t be saying that he is “doing it with Madame Bovary”, but rather that he is “making love” to her. This gives the reader the impression that he in fact has no soul, and that he is looking just to get a little sex with no feeling of compassion. He in fact is just a bald Jew.
It is not only the language in which Mr. Kugelmass uses to cause the reader to feel rejection, but it is also how he no longer feels anything for Madame Bovary and is
beginning to see what a hitch she is. He sees her as just another “troglodyte”, which is referring to both his first and second wife. The reader now sees how insensitive Mr. Kugelmass is. By believing that Madame Bovary consumes twice her weight in room service, the reader is given that feeling Kugelmass believes she is no longer beautiful but ungrateful and just takes takes takes. Also Mr. Kugelmass says, “Nuance, my foot. I’m pouring Dom Perignon and black eggs in this little mouse?”(Allen 36). He sees the breakdown of his life all over again. He sees someone who is just a “ball and chain,” and someone who will bring him down all over again just like his first and second wives.
In the beginning, Kugelmass is presented to the reader to be a man with care and vigilance, but in truth he is no man to sympathize with because of the fact that
he cares for no one but himself and is only looking for anything that will better him. He never was a true man, just as “bald and as hairy as a bear” and with no soul.