Miss Lonelyhearts Summary
Many themes help define this spiritual problem as it appears in the Depression. From suffering come false visions and numb despair. The narrow innocence of Betty, Miss Lonelyhearts's girlfriend, brings a failed return to Eden on the farm. Shrike's comic cynicism, in denying all escape from suffering, fails absolutely to help. Miss Lonelyhearts's vision of religious order fails to communicate to his correspondents because, due to Shrike's omnipresent rhetoric, among other things, the language has lost the power to tell the truth. As Shrike's words emphasize, both nature and Christ fail to bring the moral order needed to deal with the people's problems. Only apocalypse promises to make a big enough change to heal this wound.
In the face of these moral questions without answers, Miss Lonelyhearts oversimplifies his mission. Chapter by chapter, he moves from compulsions to their opposites, from ascetic Christianity to sensual paganism, as simplistic visions...
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The Miss Lonelyhearts Study Pack contains:
Miss Lonelyhearts Short Guide
Nathanael West Biographies (5)
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The work of the American novelist Nathanael West (1903-1940) is strikingly original. It is characterized by its use of mythic themes in contemporary settings, terrifying symbolism, profound pessimism,...
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Nathanael West wrote four novels, The Dream Life of Balso Snell (1931), Miss Lonelyhearts (1933), A Cool Million: The Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin (1934), and The Day of the Locust (1939), a play, Goo...
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Early in the twentieth century it was quite common for young Jewish men, especially those whose parents had come from Poland and Russia, to change their names. In an effort to make it easier to succee...
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