Pierre: or, The Ambiguities | Criticism

This literature criticism consists of approximately 18 pages of analysis & critique of Pierre: or, The Ambiguities.
This section contains 4,874 words
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Buy the Critical Essay by Nicholas Canaday, Jr.

SOURCE: “Melville's Pierre: At War with Social Convention,” in Papers on Language and Literature, Vol. V, No. 1, Winter, 1969, pp. 51-62.

In the following essay, Canaday explores Melville's treatment of the individual's need to follow his or her moral imperative—even at the cost of defying social convention—and describes the writer's attitude toward the problem as ambivalent.

The elements in Pierre Glendinning's vision of himself as Enceladus, when late in the novel Melville's hero contemplates the ruin of his life “with prophetic discomfiture and woe,” provide by analogy a significant comment on Pierre's career in its penultimate moment.1 Like Enceladus he is a rebel, and the “doubly incestuous” (408) Titan prefigures Pierre in his relationship with his mother and Isabel. But another element in the Enceladus myth has not received sufficient attention: he was an armed giant, not an Olympian god, and his war was with a society of...

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This section contains 4,874 words
(approx. 17 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Nicholas Canaday, Jr.
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Critical Essay by Nicholas Canaday, Jr. from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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