Writing Techniques in The Naked and the Dead

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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.

The episodic structure of the novel functions to sustain its Weltanschauung, or "world view"—in this case, a naturalistic impression of the forces that continually frustrate human will and action. Naturalism is a term used for a group of writers, including Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, and John Dos Passos, whose works reflect a pessimistic view of the...

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This section contains 410 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.