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Literary Precedents for Something Happened

This Study Guide consists of approximately 9 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Something Happened.
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The major influence upon Something Happened is William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury (1929). Stylistically, Heller has adopted from Faulkner the use of a first person monologue, which in its fragmented chronology reveals the constant impinging of the past upon the present. Thematically, the similarities between the two works are quite apparent. Both chart the disintegration of a family, satirize the commercial orientation of the modern world, and lament lost innocence. Most obvious is the parallel between Heller's Derek Slocum and Faulkner's Benjy Compson, and in fact, Heller actually refers to Benjy in the section entitled "It is not true." Also Bob Slocum — in his bitter diatribes about modern life and his mistreatment of his wife and daughter — resembles Jason Compson.

In his penetrating self-diagnosis, Slocum is reminiscent of Dostoevsky's Underground Man and T. S. Eliot's Prufrock. Heller has said in concentrating upon the processes of...

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This section contains 287 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Something Happened Short Guide
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