His finest achievement is the novel “The Great Gatsby” which showed the contrast between material wealth & the spiritual poverty of the heroes. Concerning this work in Soviet criticism the term “ïîýçèÿ îòðèöàòåëüíûõ âåëè÷èí” was used. It means that he tried to show people who were real characters, strong individuals, but this all is directed not to a right channel – to make one’s life to the top, to get something from life, strive for the world success. For Gatsby wealth is not the purpose but means to have everything that money can give, a key to personal happiness = relations between Jay Gatsby & Daisy whom he loves. In youth he suffered feeling of inferiority, for she was the daughter of rich parents & he was a poor soldier. He seeks to get money by bootlegging but it turned out that happiness could not be achieved even with money because Daisy had changed, she is very deaf & blind spiritually, feeling of all-permissiveness increased in her. She doesn’t stop short in the fraud (car accident). Gatsby was killed, Daisy departed, fled with her husband without any remorse. Gatsby’s tragedy lies in the fact that he hoped to find happiness, sympathy, love in the world where these feelings don’t exist. The tragedy is that money changes people & money changed him & Daisy & he didn’t understand this tragedy couldn’t foresee it.
Was he a positive or a negative character for the author? He possesses good moral qualities but he is not the paragon of moral beauty, he obtained his wealth by not clear ways. It’s clear that he is a tragic person. He wastes his talent for money. Very often he is compared to Clyde Griffite (Dreiser’s). But Gatsby is a personality.
Fitzgerald’s own story in a way repeats Gatsby’s story: he lived bohemian life, gradually writing became an obligation. He appeared to be a hostage of his own success. He also had drinking problems, & his wife whom he loved very deeply had some mental problems.
The other works are “This Side of Paradise”, “Tender is the Night”, “The Last Typcoon”, “The Beautiful & the Damned” where he developed the same topic. Fitzgerald also had a dilemma & he had to choose to write for money that ruined his health. He died in 1940.
William Faulkner (1897-1962)
A unique personality born in small town of Oxford (Mississippi) he grew up in an impoverished southern aristocratic family & it had impact on him (the spirit of the South). His education was not systematic. He inherited the tragic confrontation of white & black. In 1925 he mat Sherwood Anderson, dropped out of the university. He tried his hand in different areas. After an unsuccessful attempt to become a pilot (was wounded in the WWI), he did different odd jobs, worked in a bank, had a published collection of poems. He wrote a couple of books imitating lost generation novels. He produces novels “Soldier’s Pay”, “Mosquitoes”. Though published they were not welcomed by critics. Their words were rather hush: “Faulkner has no voice of his own, he has nothing to say.” So he decided to write in a unique style, did not bother himself with any literary tradition. If you don’t like it – it is your problem. All his life he lived in that small town &it became a background for most of his books. It is known as “Yoknapatawpha County”
But he found writing to be a pleasure for him. In 1929 he wrote “The Sound & the Fury”, “Sartoris”. This year was a turning point for him. He wrote as he pleased disregarding traditions. His perspective was to make things clear to himself. He began to write about the things that he knew firsthand. Both these novels look into the decay of south’s families. Faulkner mercifully exposes the degradation of the South. There are moral reasons for this: here the topic of slavery springs up, topic of incest, moral impurity of people living there, their sins. At the same time one can feel Faulkner’s anxiety even hatred about the civilization, contemporary life. The civilization did only harm. The alternative is a patriarchal way of living. Much as he scorned the past he still longed for those times.
He needn’t invent anything – “The Sound & the Fury” is taken from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. He alluded to the words that Macbeth said before his death:
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts & frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound & fury,
It seems that the same feeling of confusion is familiar to Faulkner. The story is about the decay of the Compson’s family. The novel consists of four parts. The first is told by Benjamin Compson who is mentally handicapped. He is that very idiot who tells the story of life’s confusion. Events are given as fragments of his perception as if through the stain glass. He doesn’t know what’s going on, he is subconsciously aware of the conflict in the family. Everything is blurred, mixed, no chronology. We can indicate time by the hints the characters drop now & then. He uses device of interrelated temporal plains. The second part is told by Quentin. He is a romantic type of a person who feels deeply & suffers deeply. He is too fragile, too frail. He cannot cope with the harsh world (committed a suicide). The third – by Jason Compson. He is practical, persistent, knowing what he waits from life, a tenacious man. The fourth is told by Faulkner himself. He tries to be objective, was to put everything their places. Everything is centred round their sister Caddy. Use of subjective viewpoint, inner monologue, stream of consciousness – achieved a striking effect – highly individual characters become universal types: Bengy – childish perception, Quentin – adolescent consciousness, Jason – pragmatic. All of them are contrasted to authors representation of things – combining particular & general. The degradation of one family is the symbol of the decline of the South in general. He shows that the family gradually collapses, people are driven to death & despair. Life is chaos of sound & fury. Another message was that Faulkner himself didn’t put up with darkness & gloom. Positive note is present in the book. His intentions are realized in the fourth part.
Ðåôåðàò îïóáëèêîâàí: 31/01/2010