Download Character and Satire in Post War Fiction by Ian Gregson PDF

By Ian Gregson

This monograph analyses using sketch as one of many key options in narrative fiction because the battle. shut research of a few of the easiest identified postwar novelists together with Toni Morrison, Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, Angela Carter and should Self, finds how they use comic strip to precise postmodern conceptions of the self. within the technique of relocating clear of the modernist concentrate on subjectivity, postmodern characterisation has usually drawn on a far older satirical culture which include Hogarth and Gillray within the visible arts, and Dryden, Pope, speedy and Dickens in literature. Its key pictures depict the human as lowered to the prestige of an item, an animal or a computing device, or the human physique as dismembered to symbolize the fragmentation of the human spirit. Gregson argues that this go back to sketch is symptomatic of a satirical perspective to the self that is rather attribute of latest culture.

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Moreover, ‘the material perception and the symbolical imagination are continuous, as the part is continuous with the whole’ whereas ‘the allegorical form appears purely mechanical’ (191). The allegorical idiom, by contrast with the symbolic one, displays the fact that it is a construct. Clevinger’s physical appearance is flatly fictive: Cubism is a style of painting that draws attention to its frame and its flat surface. Heller’s Allegories of Money 43 Moreover, the relationship between the faces and the characters of Clevinger and Milo is purely mechanical, and made mechanistically explicit.

By contrast, the characters in Catch-22 are self-reflexively constructed – their fictiveness is fully in evidence – and this also suggests how much the system makes them what they are. The emphasis on how often the characters do and say and think the same things over and over makes them mechanisms rather than organisms. Heller’s point here is part again of the caricatural tradition, in this case that part which satirizes what Swift calls ‘the mechanical operation of the spirit’, where human behaviour is reduced to mindless, pointless and usually compulsive repetition.

Paul D, similarly, has hardened himself to such an extent that he has a ‘tobacco tin buried in his chest where a red heart used to be. ’ (72–73) In the realist novel an author might draw upon a caricatural image like that last one in order to define a personal inadequacy in an individual who would thus be contrasted with those characters, usually more central, who are sensitive and capable of love and are therefore celebrated by liberal humanist values. Here, by contrast, the origins of Paul D’s inhuman hardness of heart are located very deliberately not in him as an individual but as a general condition imposed by an appallingly inhuman system.

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