Every Man for Himself Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 57 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Every Man for Himself.
This section contains 290 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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Every Man for Himself Summary & Study Guide Description

Every Man for Himself 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 Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge.

Every Man for Himself, published in 1996, is a brilliant retelling of the story of the Titanic. It is Beryl Bainbridge's second historical novel and one of her favorites. She deals with the decadent life of upper class Edwardians in an ideal setting: the most opulent ship afloat. Titanic's second class accommodations match other liners' first class, and her first-class areas, where readers spend most of the time aboard, defy comparison. She is the only vessel that can boast a Turkish bath.

Bainbridge incorporates in the novel some of the social elite of England and America who actually made that fateful voyage, and her portrayal of them, mostly older folks of fabulous wealth, deftly captures, in very few words, what dry history records about them.

Bainbridge blends them splendidly with characters from her imagination, largely younger people, chief among them a quartet of youthful male friends and three young ladies. She adds a mysterious older philosophic figure, a beautiful but deeply troubled singer and an ambitious dress designer, and she succeeds in making them all are very real to the reader.

In 200 pages, Bainbridge allows readers to participate in the very human, however superficial, relations of her first-class passengers and step into the shoes of some of the personnel who serve the elite, experiencing the haughtiness they have to endure and rather enjoying the cheek they give in return. We feel Titanic beneath our feet for five days and then feel her tilt and sink, with little melodrama but great pathos, following as the narrator, no longer a shallow youth, rises to the occasion and rushes about the ship, helping friends and strangers in their hour of need. Reading Every Man for Himself is a remarkable experience.

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