Norman Mailer Writing Styles in The Naked and the Dead

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Structure

Mailer structured The Naked and the Dead to include not only the story of the armed conflict on the mythical Japanese-held island of Anopopei during World War II, but also the stories of each of the main characters involved in the struggle. He often breaks his main narrative with "Time Machine" vignettes of the past history of these men to provide readers with important information about their characters. This episodic structure illuminates character motivation and development; as a result, it also helps set up the novel's central conflicts and thematic concerns.

Symbolism

The jungle and Mount Anaka are important symbols in The Naked and the Dead. The oppressive heat and primitive nature of the jungle reflects the animalistic, primal nature exhibited by some of the men, especially Croft. His cruel desire for power causes him to coldly shoot an unarmed Japanese soldier, kill a small bird with his...

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This section contains 180 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
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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.