Aravinda has a number apathy related signs in his final years. Apathy is generally defined as a lack of motivation and decrease in activities of daily living performance. He has lack of effort, diminished concomitants of goal-directed behavior, unchanging affect and lack of emotional responsivity to positive or negative events. After he lost Sarojini and Bathie, Aravinda’s apathy increased.
Aravinda experiences social loneliness as well as emotional loneliness. As described by Clinton and Anderson (1999) social loneliness specifically indicates a lack of companionship and is related to the number of close friends. Emotional loneliness, in its turn, indicates a lack of intimacy with close friends and has nothing to do with the number of friendships. Aravinda has diminished inspiration to participate in social situations and activities. Also lack of perceived competence. His emotional detachment and apathy could be due to melancholic depression.
Aravinda seems to be having more restricted socio-sexual orientation. Simpson Gangestad (1991) illustrated Socio-sexual orientation which describes individual difference in the willingness to engage in sexual activity outside of a committed relationship. Individuals with a more restricted socio-sexual orientation are less willing to engage in casual sex; they prefer greater love, commitment and emotional closeness before having sex with romantic partners. However in Aravinda’s case his restricted socio-sexual orientation leads to sexual deprivation.
Aravinda’s sexual deprivation and sexual repression make him an isolated person. McClintock (2006) states that sexual repression is often associated with feelings of guilt or shame being associated with sexual impulses. Aravinda’s sexual deprivation and sexual repression has guilt based history. Adding up it is further reinforced by the Sinhala Buddhist village cultural traditions.
French philosopher Michel Foucault believed that the Western society suppressed sexuality from the 17th to the mid-20th century. As a British colony, Sri Lanka was affected by Victorian morality. Even though the Victorian literature emphasized strong
morality, in 1956 Martin Wicramasinghe valiantly conversed about de facto relationship in Viragaya.
Chattopadhyay (2011) points out that Victorian women were rarely offered fresh active fictions bearing imaginative possibilities of challenge. From infancy, women were kept in ignorance of their own bodies to experience puberty, defloration and sexual intercourse as mystery. There was a noticeable sexual ‘amnesia’ in women. Aravinda’s girlfriend Sarojini challenges Victorian morality and attitudes. Wicramasinghe describes female sexuality and sensations via Sarojini‘s character. Hence the reader finds that Sarojini was more advanced than an ordinary village girl of that era.
After Sarojini left him, Aravinda had no interests in worldly pleasure or accumulating wealth. His desolation and nostalgia begins to grow. He was sexually deprived. Aravinda’s loneliness makes him get close to his young servant girl Bathie. He begins to develop concealed erotic desire towards her. Bathie‘s beauty evokes his repressed content. Aravinda struggles between morality and biological instincts which leads to a despondent condition in him.
When Bathie was small Aravinda had a fatherly love which gradually transformed into a hidden desire without any physical intimacy. However he repressed his sensual desires due to ethics and moral pressure from the society. This condition could be explained using psychoanalytic tools. In Moses and Monotheism, Freud showed that ethics originates in “a sense of guilt felt on account of a suppressed hostility to God”. He further states thus.
Analyze any human emotion, no matter how far it may be removed from the sphere of sex, and you are sure to discover somewhere the primal impulse, to which life owes its perpetuation. … The primitive stages can always be re-established; the primitive mind is, in the fullest meaning of the word, imperishable. … Mans most disagreeable habits and idiosyncrasies, his deceit, his cowardice, his lack of reverence, are engendered by his incomplete adjustment to a complicated civilisation. It is the result of the conflict between our instincts and our culture.
Aravinda’s non –hedonistic attitude stemming from his cultural background and from his parsimonious childhood. His self-mortification is deeply embedded. But when he finds Bathie is arousing his biological urges he gradually tries to get close to her breaking social taboos. There are vast social and age difference between Bathie and Aravinda, however his erotic desires obscure these differences.
Anyhow Bathie finds no erotic attraction in Aravinda. Assuming her middle aged master’s motives Bathie shows strong resistance sometimes exhibiting rude behavior. When Aravinda comes to know that Bathie has a lover he becomes a jealous man. He becomes furious. Aravinda’s sexual jealousy is a complex emotional state filled with anxiety, worry, sadness, anger, hate, regret, blame, bitterness, and envy. His thoughts are egodystonic. However he covers it up. It does not develop into pathological jealousy or conjugal paranoia.
Following Bathie’s refusal to stay in his home and her decision to get married to her lover, make Aravinda more discontent. He feels the abandonment. He becomes emotionally shut-down and numbed. Bathie’s departure creates an emotional imprint on his psychobiological functioning. Bathie was his background object. Now the object is lost. Aravinda was prevented from expressing his sexuality for the second time.
At this point Aravinda’s physical and mental health are in jeopardy. His guilt and self-inflicted suffering grows. The emotional crisis leads to melancholia which pronounced in physical channels. We see some depressive elements in Aravinda after he lost Sarojini and Bathie. His Anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable) causes him to detach from social relations further. Since Depression and moral masochism are inseparable (Markson, 1993) Aravinda’s moral masochism leads to more seclusion. He is struggling with feelings of alienation.
When Aravinda becomes seriously ill, Bathie returns. She looks after her old master like a father. She has fatherly love towards him. At this stage Aravinda’s feelings are immensely numbed. He dies while he is in Bathie’s care.
Wicramasinghe’s Viragaya highlights meaninglessness and absurdity. Perhaps Wicramasinghe grasped the concept of absurdity, developed by the French Philosopher Albert Camus. According to Albert Camus life is meaningless unless one is willing to take a leap of faith to the divine or, alternately to commit suicide. And his third alternative was: acceptance of a life without prima facie evidence of purpose and meaning (Papadimos, 2014). Moreover Camus introduced two central concepts: absurd and the rebellion. Aravida was a rebellion who refused to lead a traditional life.
Albert Camus suggested metaphysical revolt to combat meaninglessness and absurdity. According to Camus metaphysical rebellion is the means by which man protests against his condition and against the whole of creation. It is metaphysical because it disputes the ends of man and creation. Aravinda launched his metaphysical revolt when he lost his girlfriend. But he was unsuccessful.
(To be continued)