The Conflict between Man and Machine in The Naked and the Dead Essay

The Conflict between Man and Machine in The Naked and the Dead Essay

Length: 2332 words (6.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

While the surface of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead centers around World War II, its focus is on “the conflict…between the mechanistic forces of the ‘system’ and the will to individual integrity” (Waldron 273). The ultimate domination by the ‘machine’ makes for a very depressing, hopeless novel. Mailer explores this conflict mainly in the interactions between General Cummings and Lieutenant Hearn, and although less extensively through their lower ranked counterparts, Sergeant Croft and Private Red Valsen. It is in these interactions that The Naked and the Dead makes a statement about not only war, but society. Therefore, in order to fully understand the novel, Cummings, Hearn, Croft, and Valsen must be examined and understood for both their admirable and contemptible qualities and also analyzed in their interactions with each other. Once the personalities of the characters are established, the conflict between man and machine asserts itself, and Mailer’s idea of this conflict in society becomes clearer.
Much of the realism that The Naked and the Dead has come to be known for comes from Mailer’s experience during World War II. Although he wished to be sent to fight in Europe, Mailer was instead sent to the South Pacific, specifically the Philippines. While there, Mailer did see some limited combat, and he strove to describe it in realistic detail in the novel.

As the backdrop for the conflict between machine and man, Mailer supplies the fictional island of Anopopei in the South Pacific during World War II. Anopopei itself takes on a kind of personality all its own.
“The island of Anopopei, which presented itself as a bright vision, proves to be a nightmare. It is the mysterious world in which men live, worki...


... middle of paper ...


...etimes one can write something too realistically.


Works Cited

Glicksberg, Charles I. "Norman Mailer: The Angry Young Novelist in America." Wisconsin Studies in Contemporary Literature 1.1 (1963): 23-34. JSTOR. Web. 30 Jan. 2010.
Goldstone, Herbert. "The Novels of Norman Mailer." The English Journal 45.3 (1956): 113-21. JSTOR. Web. 30 Jan. 2010.
Horn, Bernard. "Ahab and Ishmael at War: The Presence of Moby-Dick in the Naked and the Dead." American Quarterly 34.4 (1982): 379-95. JSTOR. Web. 30 Jan. 2010.
Mailer, Norman. The Naked and the Dead. New York: Picador, 1998. Print.
Siegel, Paul N. "The Malign Deity of The Naked and the Dead." Twentieth Century Literature 20.4 (1974): 291-97. JSTOR. Web. 30 Jan. 2010.
Waldron, Randall H. "The Naked, the Dead, and the Machine: A New Look at Norman Mailer's First Novel." PMLA 87.2 (1972): 271-77. JSTOR. Web. 30 Jan. 2010.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay about Dead Man Walking (1996)

- Dead Man Walking (1996) The film dead man walking was released in 1996 by MRM and directed by Tim Robbins (Husband of the starring female actor Susan Sarandon; It is a tale of a murderer and a rapist Mathew Poncelet, Poncelet is soon to be put to death, alone and afraid he writes to a nun Sister Prejean, despite the warnings for various people, she organises a visit to the prison to visit him, from the moment they meet she has mixed feelings as is the film it is saying that Poncelets death is a waste of life, however he brutally murdered two people....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
826 words (2.4 pages)

Free Essays - Dead Man Walking

- Dead Man Walking The motion picture Dead Man Walking provided a non-fiction insight into the world of crime, justice, and capital punishment. The film cast several characters from different backgrounds and opinion sets in direct conflict with one another. Several small topics and one major topic, capital punishment, were explored over the duration of the movie. While the opinions and reactions of people to Dead Man Walking may vary, the one constant is that people will have a reaction....   [tags: Dead Man Walking]

Free Essays
1476 words (4.2 pages)

The Effects Of Violence On Man By Machine Essay

- The theme of violence in regards to violence on man by machine is shown throughout Fahrenheit 451 by the usage of the mechanical hounds, cars, and also through the hunt for Montag that had been broadcasted to the world. Rafeeq Mcgiveron, a professor from Michigan State University, Lansing Community College, and Western Michigan University has written numerous essays in regards to Fahrenheit 451 and states, in regards to the portrayal of violence in the text, “violence is endemic on the streets and in broadcast entertainment, and jet bombers circle ominously in the night....   [tags: Fahrenheit 451, Dystopia, Ray Bradbury]

Term Papers
1215 words (3.5 pages)

Analysis Of ' The Dead Man ' By Jennifer Kahn Essay example

- Jennifer Kahn graduated of Princeton at the University of California, Berkeley, fennifer. Kahn was a writer and contribute editor of magazines for wired and national geographic. Stripped for parts appeared in wired in 2003. Kahn was awarded award in 2004 for a journalism fellowship from the American Academy of Neurology. She wrote this short essay describing how organs can be transplanted. The Stripped essay is an- eye opener. Though not many people tend to think of how a body should be maintained after death....   [tags: Organ transplant, Organ, Organ donation]

Term Papers
1182 words (3.4 pages)

Why The Boys Will Be Naked Essay

- Seeing, they say, is believing. While the girls had all heard from their coach that the boys will be naked, they still had trouble believing it might be true, as doubt has a way of creeping in and altering recollections. In the week since “the announcement, ” as they had come to call it, disbelief had seeped back into the minds of the girls. That the boys will be completely naked was simply unbelievable. When Monday arrived and the final bell rang, ending the last class of the day, the girls on the swim team raced to the locker room, eager to finally know the truth....   [tags: Boy, Girl, Man, BOY]

Term Papers
1545 words (4.4 pages)

Essay about Dead Man's Path by Chinua Achebe

- Dead Man's Path by Chinua Achebe A story about the clash of two sets of values ============================================= This story by Chinua Achebe presents the conflict between world-views and value systems. Dead Man's Path is set in Nigeria in 1949. It is on the subject of a man named Michael Obi who is the new, enthusiastic and wholehearted headmaster of an underprivileged and disadvantaged school. This story explores the effects of European customs and beliefs on traditional African culture....   [tags: Papers Dead Mans Path]

Term Papers
865 words (2.5 pages)

Role of Female Characters in Fidelman's Epiphany in Naked Nude Essay

- Role of Female Characters in Fidelman's Epiphany in Naked Nude Word Count Includes Outline    Thesis:  In his picturesque short story, "The Naked Nude", Bernard Malamud uses the female characters to develop, enact, and resolve Fidelman's epiphany and to bring about the protagonist's final, artistic self-understanding. Bernard Malamud, a leading contemporary Jewish author, skirts between fantasy and reality in his almost allegorical short fiction, teaching the reader a lesson through coinciding elements of beauty and comedy.  Venturing away from his usual, inner-city Jewish element, Malamud tackles new challenges of subject and setting in his novelistic collection of short stories, Pictur...   [tags: Naked Nude Bernard Malamud]

Free Essays
1297 words (3.7 pages)

Battles With Weather and Terrain in The Naked and The Dead Essays

- Often times, when I think about war, I only think about the protagonist going against the antagonist. I think that the only thing worth worrying about is the enemy and their position. We never stop to think about the weather and terrain that these soldiers face on a day-to-day basis. My vision of war is clouded by what comes out of the Hollywood movies. Luckily, such war veterans like Norman Mailer write and publish novels like The Naked and the Dead, which gives me a better insight as to what war is really like....   [tags: American Literature]

Free Essays
452 words (1.3 pages)

Naked Lunch Essay

- Naked Lunch Naked Lunch has been described by the author as "brutal, obscene, and disgusting." It was declared "obscene, indecent, and impure... and taken as a whole... predominantly prurient, hardcore pornography and utterly without redeeming social importance," when brought to trial in Boston in 1965. However, declaring William Burroughs' novel to be completely without redeeming social importance seems inaccurate. Naked Lunch paints a vivid portrait of addiction in all its horror, and of the steady degradation of the addicts around whom the novel centers....   [tags: Naked lunch Essays]

Free Essays
406 words (1.2 pages)

Naked Essay

- Naked David Sedaris; Little Brown & co. 1997 “ The women’s open” 1. Throughout the essay “ The women’s open” David’s father obsession for golf is shown. The power of his obsession leads him to forget what should be important to him. 2. Sedaris expresses the lack of heart his father shows towards people and even his children when it comes down to golf. For example the first day Lisa ever got her period was out on the golf course while her dad was watching a professional tournament, at first while she complained about her back pains he just simply brushed her off....   [tags: essays research papers]

Term Papers
1841 words (5.3 pages)