Reading Alienation Through a Character: “Meral” of Peyami Safa
Tokat Gaziosmanpaşa Üniversitesi, Fen-Edebiyat Fakültesi, Türk Dili ve Edebiyatı Bölümü, Tokat/Türkiye.
Keywords: Alienation, novel, character, Peyami Safa, Yalnızız.
The concept of alienation is a situation in which a person who lives in the society and communicates with other individuals gradually changes as a result of a state of conflict arising from the incompatibility of the values they believe in, the thoughts they have, and their perception of life with their environment and feel that they do not belong in that environment. Another person who has studied this concept, which has been defined by various philosophers and sociologists, is Melvin Seeman. He studied alienation along five dimensions. These are powerlessness, meaninglessness, normlessness, isolation and selfestrangement. Powerlessness is the inability of the individual to take action to realize the thoughts in his/her mind; meaninglessness is the inability to attribute a meaningful meaning to his/her existence and the world; normlessness is the belief that he/she can only achieve the goals he/she has designed in his/her mind by breaking the rules; isolation is the inability to attribute a meaning to the society he/she lives in and its values; and self-estrangement is the deep despair and loneliness after his/her expectations for the future disappear one by one. Meral, a character in Peyami Safa’s novel “Yalnızız”, will be analyzed in this study, according to Seeman’s theory of alienation, as the character who reflects this issue most clearly in the novel.
Meral is analyzed in this context, it is seen that she violates some social norms and values out of concern that her personal freedom is being restricted, takes part in immoral situations, and makes friendships that her family and Samim do not approve of. Although she occasionally suffers a twinge of conscience because of the things she has done, Meral, unable to find answers to her self-inquiry, begins to find her life and the rules that she thinks make it unbearable meaningless. Thinking that she has no strength left to fight against the difficulties she faces, Meral eventually becomes alienated even from her own existence, and when she cannot realize her idea of escape, which she thought would provide her with unlimited freedom, she sees death as the only solution for salvation. The note left behind by Meral, who, despite contemplating suicide, burns to death at the end of the novel due to an accident, shows that the most important reason for her descent into destruction is in fact her loneliness in the world.