Identity Loss In St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves?

840 Words 4 Pages
Identity Loss In the case of social classes, two distinct tiers of society come into play: the higher society and the lower class. Though most fall under the latter, many go to great lengths to achieve a lifestyle of glamour and prosperity, lengths that can lead to losing one’s entire identity. This easily recognizable line between lifestyles appears in both Thomas Hardy’s poem, “The Ruined Maid,” and Karen Russell’s story, “St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised By Wolves.” In Hardy’s poem, a “country girl” runs into ‘Melia, an old friend, in town who has adopted a lifestyle of misleading luxury which the girl envies and strives to achieve, unaware of the consequences behind it. Russell demonstrates the same desire for a seemingly better lifestyle …show more content…
“The Ruined Maid” was written during the Victorian Era, in which women 's’ sexuality was frowned upon and achieving a more luxurious lifestyle was nearly impossible. However, if one were to adopt the “ruined” lifestyle, one could attain extravagance at the price of their social reputation, “Some polish is gained with one’s ruin” (line 12). On the contrary, Russell creates a fictional world in “St. Lucy’s” in which the wolf style of living was slandered and many human children raised by werewolf families were forced to learn human mannerisms in order to achieve acceptance into society, “When the nuns showed up, our parents couldn’t refuse their offer. The nuns, they said, would make us naturalized citizens of human society. We would go to St. Lucy’s to study a better culture,” (238). The “country girl” strives for a lifestyle traditionally frowned upon, blinded by her desire for glamour while Claudette, a girl sent to St. Lucy’s to achieve normality, has no initial desire to change her ways, but becomes pressured into adjustment by society’s expectations. In their differences they both create the same caustic feel, criticizing the strain put on women in society to conform to certain …show more content…
Lucy’s, she is made to watch a video in which bold text asking, “Do you want to end up shunned by both species?” (243) appears at the end. Though shown as a drastic and unlikely outcome, in an ironic twist of events, Claudette does end up an outcast among both species. She goes back to her family in the end but no longer belongs, stating, “‘So,’ I said, telling my first human lie. ‘I’m home’” (252). Though she completes her human training and no longer feels ties to her old lifestyle, she still isn’t completely human either; Her wolf mannerisms still appear in times of panic, “In a flash of white-hot light, my months at St Lucy’s has vanished, and I was just a terrified animal again,” (249). Within a few seconds, she goes back to her old ways and loses sight of her humanity, proving that she will not fit in with either species, just as ‘Melia no longer belongs to either social class.
The portrayal of identity loss through striving for societal expectations cuts through the satiric and almost comedic nature of the drastically different literary pieces and creates similar instances of both desire and rejection. One sees ‘Melia, once in the same position as the “country girl” now resigned into her demeaning lifestyle and Claudette, forced into humanization, now feeling opposition and detachment from both her old species and her new one, both stuck in a grey area of belonging. Each girl within the texts endeavours

Related Documents