In Une Semaine De Bonté, Max Ernst portrays Monday as a great flood of destruction. To understand that this was a commentary on technology and industrialization, one needs to know the historic and economic context of the time period in which Ernst created these collages. I personally did not know that this was one of the interpretations of these collages until today’s lesson.
Up until today, I was convinced that Ernst was depicting a woman’s recount of her nightmare to her maids. I guess the prominence of sleeping women throughout Monday is what made me reach this conclusion.
I thought pages 41 to 47 show the horrible dream that a woman was having.
Then pages 48 to 51 show the slow switch from the dream to reality because we see the woman in the real world as well as the water from the flood in her nightmare.
Then on page 53, we see her telling her maids about her dream in the real world in real time. I decided that this was the real world because of the lack of violent flood waters. Then on page 54 to 67, we are taken back to her dream world and we see the rest of the dream that she is telling her maids about.
Maybe this was just me projecting my own (and perhaps the popular) opinion of what a nightmare Mondays are. In my case it would be because of either having a flood of unfinished work from the weekend, and/or receiving a flood of new assignments on top of the ones I am yet to complete.
This is the beauty of a novel without any words. It leaves the images up for countless different interpretations by the audience. These interpretations usually reflect the reader’s emotional state, mental state, or subjective opinions on certain matters, which was definitely the case in my understanding of the collages.