” He was a writer and one of those who struggled with the dichotomy of their upbringing during the WWII and the new upsurges in consumerism that filled the world at that time. Perecs book, a runaway best-seller in France, which, in 1965 was awarded the Prix Renaudot, Le Choses (Things) brought him into the limelight and he became a writer.
The young people of the day, introduced to a bit of wealth, were quickly caught up in earning and spending. Perec was one of the ambiguous ones who wanted to both be a dreamer and a consumer. His writings reflect this and in the book, Things: A Story of the Sixties & A Man Asleep, he writes a story of a young couple who get caught up in desiring consumer goods and Things in the story called Things: A Story of the Sixties (Perec, 2002).
Money, sometimes, consumed them entirely.” The young couple begins to enjoy the comsumer life. However, not only did they become consumers, but they were consumed themselves. “They tried to run away,” but once they got jobs, they enjoyed the good things too much. Even as they enjoyed them they sensed they were giving in to the bad. As they try to run away, they found themselves becoming enmeshed in the life and succumbing to its ties.
In Section II of the story, “Things could have carried on in the same way,” but of course, things change. Even as they settle down into the good life, there is the hint of future regrets to come. The story talks constantly about “them” and what “they” do. They feel they are living, but they limit how much of real life is allowed to come into their consciousness.
Algeria and Frances disagreement colors the general news of the time, depressing all France. It is mentioned in the book, but is not part of the couples consciousness. They are possessed by memories of their past and its innocence.
Suspicion and fear…. have been responsible to a vast extent for the anxieties of the inhabitants of Europe,” said Monnet in his speech to the Common Assembly in 1953. (Monnet 554)
The quest for truth must itself be true.” A quote from Marx at the end suggests the means are as significant as the ends, but Jerome and Sylvies quest lacks this ethical motivation. “They wanted lifes enjoyment, but all around them enjoyment was equated with ownership.” They wander the streets of Paris and shop in its boutiques, finding no meaning in anything, walking through the world they had fantasized, “the film they would have liked to live,” yet finding it not enough. “Because, for men, reality is only satisfactory when it fulfils their hopes at the same time.” (Monet 557).
Monnet, Jean. “Joint Meeting of the Members of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe and of the Members of the Common Assembly of the European Community of Coal and Steel.” Official Report of the Debate, Strasbourg, 22 June 1953. 8-12, 118, 120-23