American Literature in the Post World War II Essay

American Literature in the Post World War II Essay

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The post World War II period had an enormous impact on American society and literature. Many important events occurred and affected directly to the movement of American literature. During this period, American Literature reflected the movement of disillusionment, and portrayed the lost generation. Many WWII writers adapted new approaches and philosophies in writing their novels. They portrayed the lost generation, anti-war perspective and explored the true meaning of “war hero”. Among them, the pioneers are Bernard Malamud, Ken Kesey and Joseph Heller, who wrote the Natural, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Catch-22.
The Natural was Bernard Malamud’s first novel. Borrowing the mythological story of Fisher King and Waste Land legend, Malamud developed an appealing story about a baseball player named Roy Hobbs, whose natural talent had been discovered by a scout, Sam Simpson. On the train to Chicago, Roy met Max Mercy, Walter “Whammer”, and the mysterious Harriet Bird. At the stopover, Roy struck out Whammer. After this event, Harriet Bird was attracted by Roy’s God gift. However, in a Chicago room hotel, Harriet Bird mysteriously shot Roy after he failed to answer her question. Throughout the book, Malamud used the cycle of time to explain the continuous cycle of death and rebirth. Just like Roy defeated Whammer to become the newborn star, he brought rain and new hope to the New York Knights when he replaced Bump Baily. We can also see this cycle in the end of the story as later Roy was defeated by Youngberry.
Malamud symbolized his main character Roy Hobbs as Sir Perceval knight, who comes to Waste Land to deliver the Holy Grail and rescue Pop Fisher, the Fisher King of the novel. On the other hand, the team pennant is the r...


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...y themes and perspectives. Affected by World War II, they found a new direction and their works highlighted the inevitability of death and the circle of life. In the darkness, there is always existence of a hero who will rescue and give hope. The destruction of war also helped them to understand human conditions with weakness and fears of death. With the changes in modern society, Kesey and Heller emphasized their work on declining humanity and individualism of civilization machines. Also, the extreme power of institutions and bureaucracy restricts people from their free will and making their independent decisions.



Works Cited

Malamud, Bernard. The Natural. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1952. Print.
Kesey, Ken. One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, a Novel. New York: Viking, 1962. Print.
Heller, Joseph, and Brice Matthieussent. Catch 22. Paris: B. Grasset, 1985. Print.

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