The dialectics of fear : escapism, aggression and isolation, a study of five works of Le Clézio



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Central to this study of Le Clézio's early Works specifically Le Procês-verbal (1963), La Fièvre (1965), Le Déluge (1966), L 'Extase matérielle (1967 ) and Terra Amata (1967) is the element of fear which so pervades the character's emotional make-up that it dictates his entire mode of behavior. According to psychiatrist R. D. Laing (The Divided Self, 1965), an individual's fear is rooted in a lack of ontological security. Le Clézio's prototypical hero, assailed by a host of anxieties, is an extreme dramatization of Laing's insecure person who is threatened hy the ordinary circumstances of living, and, as a result, directs his efforts toward self-preservation. Those circumstances, which take the shape of people, ohjects and physical disorders, hecome sources of aggression for the le Clezian protagonist. Such sources are of a dual nature: the external ones such as the sun, the mirror and the eye form a triad whose récurrence throughout Le Clézio's works points to the existence of obsessive metaphors. With respect to the internai sources, they are disorders generated hy the individual himself, such as fever, pain, and fatigue. Both kinds of aggression affect the hero in a most destructive way as attested to by the various expériences of depersonalization to which he feels subjected. In this respect, Laing's concepts of engulfment and implosion, forms of anxiety encountered by the le Clezian character, are apt illustrations of the hero's experience of threat. [...]