Financial which money could give,leisure,attention,beautiful surroundings.Things.Things.Things”(67) It is

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Financial capitalism  had several consequences  on the daily life of the citizens.The consumer became the main target. The advertising industry bloomed and discovered in the new woman, no longer confined in the domestic, a perfect target to direct the ads. Women found themselves with more liberty but at the same time moral discourses of society on women and sexuality had not underwent that many changes. Same old prejudices about women and sexuality were hidden under a layer of liberalization and deregulation; given in great majority by the irruption of the market. In that situation of blooming consumerism and consumption, and a supposed new feminine freedom are framed the three novels.The feminine entrapment between the new shaping discourses of feminine and racial  identity and the consumer ideology is greatly portrayed by Nella Larsen in Quicksand. Helga undergoes an internal struggle to be able to perform her biracial identity. Ever since the beginning, it is depicted the link between Helga´s desires and the accumulation of commodities: “All her life Helga Crane had loved and longed for nice things”(41) The quest for the unreachable object of desire leaves Helga anxious. Commodities help Helga to alleviate her sense of shallowness and to boost her mood. Later on, when all the new packages are spread in her bed she quickly forgets the feeling of perturbation for having been exhibited as an animal and she feels joyful for her new acquisitions “Gradually Helga´s perturbation subsided in the unusual pleasure of having so many new and expensive clothes and one time. She began to feel a little excited, incited” (74) Throughout the novel there is always an correlation between the extinction of her desire as a reason to abandon the place as well as her inability of settling in one place due to her fragmented self and her dislocated body. Helga´s attachment and desire to accumulate things clashes with her monetary needs “Always she had wanted not money but the things which money could give,leisure,attention,beautiful surroundings.Things.Things.Things”(67) It is in things, and not in money or objects where Helga finds the expression of her true desire of self and what she may achieve and become through aesthetics and colour.A different process occurs in  Jean Rhys Voyage in the Dark  with her protagonist Anna Morgan. Anna is a young lady who moves from her Caribbean home to England. She struggles to adapt to the Metropolis of the Empire while attempting to sustain herself financially and going on a quest to perform her sexuality and her colonial identity. The estrangement from her homeland causes Anna a trauma. As a Caribbean born, Anna finds impossible to adapt to the English way of life and she feels trapped by England and the Englishmen:” The damned way the look at you and their damned voices like high, smooth, unclimbable walls round you, closing in on you” (147)  Anna is rejected for her lack of manners, money and middle class values. She expresses this rejection in terms of clothes and consumption:”About clothes, it’s awful. Everything makes you want pretty clothes like hell. People laugh at girls who are badly dressed” (21) Karl comments on the meaning of expressing her anguish projected in her lack of clothes and manners:”That Anna articulates her exclusion from Englishness via her anxiety over “ladylike” sexual norms suggests the mutual implication of imperial, consumer and gendered economies of legitimacy and power. (57)Anna tries to overcome her exclusion and to embrace the Englishness trough consumerism but she never fully succeeds. Anna attempts to assimilate English culture through consumerism and consumption,entering a society mediated by the market in which all  sexual relationships are mere transactions. The desire for things serves in this novel as an instrument for working class women  to leave marginalization and rejection aside and to add themselves value into the sexual market, being both consumers and a commodities.In The Great Gatsby, uncontrollable consumerism and a love for commodities is not reduced to women but fully embraced by all the characters. However, it is female sexuality the one commodified and therefore the female protagonist will be analyzed. Daisy Buchanan belongs to the upper class and she enjoys the wealth and privileges of her social status. Nevertheless, she is constrained in the demanding and rigid upper class,being  also a victim of the socio economic system. Since her birth, Daisy is displayed as a commodity and taught who to desire :” How her mother had found her packing her bag one winter night to New York and say goodbye to a soldier who was going overseas.She was effectually prevented (73) Daisy is trapped in the conservative morality of upper classes and her mind is reified. Before getting married to Tom she receives a letter from Gatsby and she has serious doubts. However, her family makes her have a bath of ice, freezing her sexual impulses and she ends up choosing economic stability and a desire for security over sexual desire. Tom gives Daisy :” a string of pearls valued at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars” (74) Daisy is a marketable product being once again a consumer and a commodity at the same time. Later on she allows herself to display her sexual emotions when she contemplates Gatsby’s commodities: “Daisy admired this aspect or that of the feudal silhouette against the sky, admired the gardens…”(89) ” Daisy put her arm through his abruptly”(90)Commodities are a way for her to relate to her world through aesthetics or emotions,a symbol of affection,a desire enhancer because it guarantees security and stability.

Categories: Industry


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