American Literature books summary

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Willie survives for a few days, and at first the prognosis from the hospital is that he will recover. But then he catches an infection, and Jack realizes that he is going to die. Just before the end, he summons Jack to his hospital bed, where he says over and over again that everything could have been difierent.

After he dies, he is given a massive funeral. Jack says that the other funeral he went to that week was quite difierent: it was Adam Stanton's funeral at Burden's Landing.

Chapter 10 Summary

After Adam's funeral and Willie's funeral, Jack spends some time in Burden's Landing, spending his days quietly with Anne. They never discuss Willie's death or Adam's death; instead they sit wordlessly together, or Jack reads aloud from a book. Then one day Jack begins to wonder how Adam learned about Anne and Willie's afiair. He asks her, but she says she does not know-- a man called and told him, but she does not know who it was. Jack goes to visit Sadie Burke in the sanitarium where she has gone to recover her nerves. She tells Jack that Tiny Dufiy (now the governor of the state) was the man who called Adam; and she confesses that Tiny learned about the afiair from her. She was so angry about Willie leaving her to go back to Lucy that she told Tiny out of revenge, knowing that, by doing so, she was all but guaranteeing Willie's death. Jack blames Tiny rather than Sadie, and Sadie agrees to make a statement which Jack can use to bring about Tiny's downfall.

A week later, Dufiy summons Jack to see him. He offers Jack his job back, with a substantial raise over Jack's already substantial income. Jack refuses, and tells Tiny he knows about his role in Willie's death. Tiny is stunned, and frightened, and when Jack leaves he feels heroic. But his feeling of moral heroism quickly dissolves into an acidic bitterness, because he realizes he is trying to make Tiny the sole villain as a way of denying his own share of responsibility. Jack withdraws into numbness, not even opening a letter from Anne when he receives it. He receives a letter from Sadie with her statement, saying that she is moving away and that she hopes Jack will let matters drop--Tiny has no chance to win the next gubernatorial election anyway, and if Jack pursues the matter Anne's name will be dragged through the mud. But Jack had already decided not to pursue it.

At the library Jack sees Sugar-Boy, and asks him what he would do if he learned that there was a man besides Adam who was responsible for Willie's death. Sugar-Boy says he would kill him, and Jack nearly tells him about Tiny's role. But he decides not to at the last second, and instead tells Sugar-Boy that it was a joke. Jack also goes to see Lucy, who has adopted Sibyl Frey's child, which she believes is Tom's. She tells Jack that Tom died of pneumonia shortly after the accident, and that the baby is the only thing that enabled her to live. She also tells him that she believes--and has to believe--that Willie was a great man. Jack says that he also believes it.

Jack goes to visit his mother at Burden's Landing, where he learns that she is leaving Theodore Murrell, the Young Executive. He is surprised to learn that she is doing so because she loved Judge Irwin all along. This knowledge changes Jack's long-held impression of his mother as a woman without a heart, and helps to shatter his belief in the Great Twitch. At the train station, he lies to his mother, and tells her that Judge Irwin killed himself not because of anything that Jack did, but because of his failing health. He thinks of this lie as his last gift to her.

After his mother leaves, he goes to visit Anne, and tells her the truth about his parentage. Eventually, he and Anne are married, and in the early part of 1939, when Jack is writing his story, they are living in Judge Irwin's house in Burden's Landing. The Scholarly Attorney, now frail and dying, lives with them. Jack is working on a book about Cass Mastern, whom he believes he can finally understand. After the old man dies and the book is finished, Jack says, he and Anne will leave Burden's Landing--stepping "out of history into history and the awful responsibility of Time."


(Joseph Heller)


b. May 1, 1923, Brooklyn, N.Y., U.S.

American writer whose novel Catch-22 (1961) was one of the most significant works of protest literature to appear after World War II. The satirical novel was both a critical and a popular success, and a film version appeared in 1970.Heller flew 60 combat missions as a bombardier with the U.S. Air Force in Europe. He received an M.A. at Columbia University in 1949 and was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Oxford (1949-50). He taught English at Pennsylvania State University (1950-52) and worked as an advertising copywriter for the magazines Time (1952-56) and Look (1956-58) and as promotion manager for McCall's (1958-61), meanwhile writing Catch-22 in his spare time. The plot of the novel centres on the antihero Captain John Yossarian, stationed at an airstrip on a Mediterranean island in World War II, and portrays his desperate attempts to stay alive. The "catch" in Catch-22 involves a mysterious Air Force regulation, which asserts that a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions; but, if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he is sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. The term Catch-22 thereafter entered the English language as a reference to a proviso that trips one up no matter which way one turns.His later novels including Something Happened (1974), an unrelievedly pessimistic novel, Good as Gold (1979), a satire on life in Washington, D.C., and God Knows (1984), a wry, contemporary-vernacular monologue in the voice of the biblical King David, were less successful. Closing Time, a sequel to Catch-22, appeared in 1994. Heller's dramatic work includes the play We Bombed in New Haven (1968).

Реферат опубликован: 31/07/2007