Miss Lonelyhearts Social Concerns

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West's primary focus was the spiritual suffering of the Depression, the people's despair and purposelessness, and the culture's inability to relieve the pain. W. H. Auden wrote of "West's disease." The victims have inner lives of wishes and daydreams but no outer reference to connect them to — no way to measure progress or test discipline, no way to work toward asserting themselves; thus their weakness worsens.

Typically, Depression people escaped into movies, historical novels, dance marathons, and jigsaw puzzles, without facing their disillusionment with America's promise. West's characters, beyond this escapism, have no homes, no sense of community, no link with the past, no love beyond sexuality, and no confirming external references in their lives. And West's message that even "the Christ dream" will not solve the problems, although pessimistic, is undeniable in its own terms.

The situation and the disease, being circular, admit of no cure...

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This section contains 313 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Miss Lonelyhearts Short Guide
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Miss Lonelyhearts from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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