The Hero in Contemporary American Fiction: The Works of Saul by S. Halldorson

By S. Halldorson

This e-book units out to put in writing not anything wanting a brand new concept of the heroic for cutting-edge world.  It delves into the “why” of the hero as a common better half piece to the “how” of the hero as written by way of Northrop Frye and Joseph Campbell over part a century in the past. The novels of Saul Bellow and Don DeLillo function an anchor to the speculation because it demanding situations our notions of what's heroic approximately nymphomaniacs, Holocaust survivors, spurious teachers, cult fans, terrorists, celebrities, photographers and writers of novels who all try to declare the precise to be “hero.” 

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Extra resources for The Hero in Contemporary American Fiction: The Works of Saul Bellow and Don DeLillo (American Literature Readings in the Twenty-First Century)

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Opdahl argues that “To read Bellow for the brilliance of his social scene, we discover, is comparable to reading Hemingway as a sportswriter . . However real their society, Bellow’s heroes are strikingly free from it; Bellow uses a sluggish draft-board or a grandfather’s million to place his hero outside of the usual social context” (The Novels 10). In the two novels that follow Augie March, Bellow, in a kind of tour de force, changes his social furniture back and forth, proving just how little hold either hero as type or hero as social action have on his narrative intentions.

Our struggle to apprehend it. Our need to unify and explain it. Our attempt to peel back experience and reveal the meaning beneath. 15 In the 1970s, DeLillo’s focus was clearly on these rational systems that, under examination, expand explanations like crystals. The closer one gets to these systems, the less one is able to control and unify. The systems self-deconstruct; the people fall into solitudes. In The Names (1982), DeLillo comes up against language itself. It is both arbitrary and consistent; it seems logical and transparent, and yet it hides chaos beneath it.

First of all, it would seem that the result would be nihilism, but this is not so. There is, of course, a kind of pop-culture social nihilism that is either 16 THE HERO IN CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN FICTION negatively or positively referred to as a postmodernist stance in which steady streams of images and factoids are pinned together as “events” if not meanings. As DeLillo himself notes in Mao II, these are novels of lists and repetition. Or, as Jonathan Franzen notes in his essay on the social novel in Harper’s: The American writer today faces a totalitarianism analogous to the one with which two generations of Eastern bloc writers had to contend.

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