The Naked and the Dead Essay

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In the following excerpt, Waldron argues that Mailer's novel "underlines ... the function of the machine as the controlling metaphor in World War II novels," and the "central conflict... is between the mechanistic forces of the "system" [personified by General Cummings and Sergeant Croft] and the will to individual integrity."

[The] informing influence of the machine [as the force of anonymous brute mechanism] can nowhere be studied with greater interest or reward than in Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead. To reread The Naked and the Dead in these terms is important on two counts. First, it views the book in a light that has not been trained on it before, and that illuminates and enriches our understanding of it as a novel. Second, it underlines and clarifies the function of the machine as a controlling metaphor in World War II novels by demonstrating the organic importance of...

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This section contains 641 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Naked and the Dead Study Guide
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The Naked and the Dead from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.