2013 | 19 | 110-130
Article title

Pokuta bez rozgrzeszenia. Samobójstwo i jego skutki w powieści drugiej połowy XIX wieku

Title variants
Penance without Absolution. Suicide and Its Effects on the Novel from the 2nd Half of the Nineteenth Century
Languages of publication
The text is based on detailed interpretation of the source novels: "Kobiety i mężczyźni" by Józef Wojciechowski, "Syn znajdy" by Piotr Jaksa-Bykowski, "Pasierbowie fortuny" by Natalia Korwin-Szymanowska, "Plotka" by Marian Gawalewicz, "Matka" by Emma Jeleńska, "Zamieć w stepie" by Michał Grabowski. In addition, some novels and short stories by such authors as Adolf Dygasiński, Tadeusz Jaroszyński, Eliza Orzeszkowa, Maria Konopnicka, Ignacy Maciejowski (Sewer), Michał Bałucki were selected as a background for comparison. The article proves the following thesis: suicide in the family, or among close friends, becomes a border that makes a new stage of life difficult to bear psychologically and socially; psychologically because people cannot stand the fact that someone close to them violated the taboo, so either they go mad, or they are silenced (suffering and silence are the only one life style strategies within observed material); socially because living after the suicidal death of a member of a small community are stigmatized, partially excluded from the community, they live on the margins of social communities, become specimens/ exemplars to teach socio-moral values, and serve to strengthen the religious and social group cohesion. The trauma of the survivors after the suicide of a family member leads to the adoption of rationalising attitude consent to the judgement of fate, which one does not try to understand, or to an attitude of humility before the social community power whose rights have been ignored. Attempts to surround with love and worship the suicide are signs of the crisis of the socio-moral system based on Christian ethics (J. Wojciechowski, M. Gawalewicz, E. Jeleńska). Statistically speaking, in the novel from the 2nd half of the nineteenth century the motif of the suicidal death is still maintained as a final of the action, however, there appear some works where the suicide provides functionally a plot twist. Those works, associated with the “nervous age”, were previously seen only in the psychological and decadent perspective. The suicidal trauma forces us to recognise in them the signs of the crisis of traditional ethics.
  • Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny im. KEN
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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