Light and darkness: the development of Ethel Wilson's protagonists
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AbstractThe proliferation of light and dark descriptions in the novels and short stories of Ethel Wilson suggests their extreme importance to her purpose . On closer examination, we find these images closely connected to the development of almost all of her characters. Mrs . Wilson combines her keen interest in the quality of human experience with her belief that no person stands alone in life and that everyone has his or her own particular place within humanity. To illustrate this point of view, she employs shades of light and dark, for she believes as strongly in their purpose as she does in mankind. The suggestion is that life is a personal journey with both shadows and light, doubt and happiness. Mutations of light have the ability to tr a nsform that which is viewed and the manner in which anything - an object or a person - is perceived is simply a matter of falling light. When shadows are thrown on a subject, they prevent clarity of vision, so what is seen may actually be a false impression. An individual who experiences this darkness must get beyond this barrier i n order to progress in life. In Wilson's fiction, darkness is generally equated with ignorance or innocence. She develops her characters through the obstacles created by darkness to a point where they are prepared to accept knowledge. With this method, Wilson demonstrates that all existence is a combination of blotting-out and illumination. We must get beyond the moments of darkness and blotting-out to the moments of enlightenment and self-awareness, where our path through life lies clear. In using this technique, Wilson offers hope that it is within our ability to reach a point of self-discovery in which we know and understand ourselves, our goals and our world.
Bibliography: p. 143-148.