These tendencies increase in his next works. “Manhattan Transfer” (novel) is a kaleidoscope of numerous episodes, names, dates where the reader can hardly find the characters. It consists of independent stories, which are all mixed. The only similar feature is the place & the time. Dos Passos considered that such composition will enable him to show the reality objectively, a stream of New York life. Characters represent different social layers. The author introduces clips from newspapers, some glimpses of literature, which are not connected with the novel. It produces disorder. But it was his intention – city is a chaos; life is a chaos. Reaction to the novel was contradictory. Some thought that it was a collectivist novel. Dos Passos was not in the individual lives, troubles or joys. A collectivist writer was interested in social relations but the paradox was that social relations were abstract from his work. He didn’t dispose social. His attitude to the events is not clear. The lack of objective conclusions was intentional but the writer can’t do that. He tried to produce such works where the generalization should be.
He was popular in 20-30’s in Soviet Union, unfortunately his popularity was short-lived for political reasons. As soon as he began to criticize & warn against totalitarianism he fell out of grace. He lived through the economic crises of 1929 & this found its expression in the novel “USA”.
Dos Passos wrote “USA” – a big epic where he paid more attention to generalization. He wrote it for 20 years. It consists of 3 novels: “The 42 Parallel”, “1919”, “The Big Money”. Dos Passos tried to be more precise with the composition, developed a scheme of it. It is a big panoramic work. The real hero is American society, the country. It is shown against the social background of the nation. It is an epic of American life. The structure is very logical & coherent. Each chapter falls into several parts, which are made up of for components & the combination of these components is very different. These four components are:
novel - the portraits of literary characters
biographies of historical personalities
news-reel, i.e. news of the day
camera obscure (eye) – inner monologue of the author
Each piece has a title & a number. The biographies of historical personality were intended to create the historical background, dedicated to famous people of political, social, scientific, artistic activities. It included the stories about the outstanding people.
News of the day was to documentarize the specific moments in the USA history to create the historical colouring & objective picture of that epoch. It included popular songs, headlines from papers. Here they try to follow the stream of consciousness of the newspaper reader.
Camera obscure were to show the author’s attitude to life, to bring an individual lyrical touch to the story, personal meditations upon certain subjects, reminiscences of the things passed, expression of author’s ideas upon various aspects of life. It gave a picture of the author’s evaluation for 30 years.
Novels are fictions. The portraits of literary characters were imaginary literary heroes. There were 11 of them – typical representatives of all the layers of the American society. The central characters John Wool McHouse. The author tries to trace his relations with other characters but it doesn’t mean that he knows all of them.
From the unique combination of these elements the unique picture of American life springs up. The general mood is that of confusion, tension, tumult, frustration of hopes, feeling that the present is ugly & intolerable. People are too fussy about their daily routine. In this work he showed how life was lived on the national scale.
Dos Passos was concerned with the history of the country primarily. The writer must be an architect of history. His work was a literary conclusion – different elements were assembled. The work is considered to be an achievement in the American literature. The author tried to use cinematographic principles in writing: close up, precision in details, the art of assembly. He also used the technique of montage or juxtaposition. In his later works he perfected this technique & achieved quite a success in it. Later he became a radical writer. He was a passionate individualist & individual freedom was most important to him.
Francis Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
He belongs to the lost generation but he gave his own name to it – “jazz age”. Jazz was representative of the general atmosphere of the years – the feeling of instability in life. Age of transition of social values. To his mind jazz beat ideally expressed that feeling of hopeless despair with which his young men & women tried to experience the every passing moment of their lives, their age. There is a recurrent “capre diem”(ëîâè ìîìåíò) theme in his novels. His heroes indulge & overindulge. Jazz age expresses instability & changebility of life present in mind of many people who tried to flee from the feeling of being lost, for they no longer believed in life, so they tried to live it to their full. Fitzgerald was not very rich but was educated in Princeton. He dropped out of it because of poor health & poor performance, he didn’t get to front though he enlisted. He was painfully aware of the difference between himself & rich students. He had hatred for the rich. The main topic of his work – money & its corruptive influence. For him money & wealth were social categories. He regarded the rich to be another race, whose habits & moral principles differ very much. He looked into the phenomenon of being rich. For him a rich person is one for whom everything is permitted & they lack human qualities, he tried to penetrate to the very heart of the matter. So, money & wealth for him were not economic categories but social phenomena. He regarded rich as another race, alien kind of people whose habits, moral principles, views were not as the habits of the ordinary people. They are the people to whom everything is permitted & consequently they lack certain human qualities that of pity, compassion, and sympathy. In his works Fitzgerald striped this world of this mysterious veil. He tried to penetrate to the very depths exploring the ethics of the rich world. Wealth has dehumanizing impact on human personality. He had a feeling that something awful is coming. “All the stories that come to my head have touch of disaster”. He produced the collection of short stories “All the Sad Young Men”, “Tales of the Jazz Age”. They are permeated with appocaliptical feeling of tragedy of American life. Fitzgerald was not the only one who treated this topic – Theodore Dreiser in “American Tragedy” did the same.
Ðåôåðàò îïóáëèêîâàí: 31/01/2010