How the Dead Live Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 17 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of How the Dead Live.
This section contains 946 words
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How the Dead Live Summary & Study Guide Description

How the Dead Live Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Related Titles on How the Dead Live by Will Self.

Preview of How the Dead Live Summary:

The major thematic cruxes of How the Dead Live are the slippery life/death opposition, the body, and addiction.

Perhaps the most obvious of the novel's themes involves the life/death barrier and its permeability. This threshold is crossed a number of times in the hovel, sometimes realistically, sometimes fantastically. Over the course of the novel, Lily Bloom moves from life to death and back again, and in doing so she discovers that there was always already death in life and vice versa.

She comes to believe that "the boundaries between life and death [are] provisional, confused and indeterminate." For Lily, the living imagine themselves concerned with the present, with life, when, in reality, "Their minds are full of dead ideas, images and distorted facts. Their visual field is cluttered up with decaying buildings, rusting cars, potholed roads . . ."

As we have seen already, death's presence in life is...

This section contains 946 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the How the Dead Live Short Guide
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Gale
How the Dead Live from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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