Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Type: Thesis
Title: Dialectical structures in the work of Norman Mailer
Author: Lohmeyer, Susan E.
Issue Date: 1988
School/Discipline: Department of English Language and Literature
Abstract: Dialectical structures in the work of Norman Mailer The thesis is divided into two sections; the first section comprises an introduction and six chapters, and the second section comprises a long chapter divided into three parts' Section One explains the thesis and provides the basis for Section Two, which demonstrates, through a close examination of three of Mailer's works, how this thesis is applied in the writing of Norman Mailer. The body of Mailer's prose, plays and poetry can be viewed as a holistic, self-referential system of work in which a consistent and complex structuring is the metaphorical means of delineating a dialectical conception of personality. Mailer's existential, Hip ethic Proposes that, in a situation of uncertainty (in which the outcome of one's actions is unknown), which is contextualised by a sense of one's fear, the individual is confronted with the buried motivations ' weaknesses and strengths which comprise the whole of one's being. Such an experience of "existential confrontation" reveals the dialectical nature of one's personality in the alternatives for action which present themselves. The decision to act in one way as opposed to another manifests the shape, or worth of one's being, which is the revelation of a capacity for courage, cowardice - the capacity for growth, or the character of inertia. The alternatives for action which are presented simultaneously entail the decision between "chaos" and "convention": the former expresses the principle of entropy, the formlessness which characterises the absence of the dialectic. The latter expresses the rigidities and fixities of the principle of totalitarianism, which is, in turn, the expression of the value structures and systems of "the Establishment" ( the maintenance of the status quo ). The individual faces these alternatives balanced "on the edge of the divide", a situational metaphor for the vision of truth afforded by the experience of existential confrontation. Most frequently, the specific character is poised on a parapet, on an overhang, or in some other situation which proposes the crucial alternatives for action. The achievement of balance whilst poised on the edge is also the means by which one progresses toward a "dream of being" - the process of self-individuation. The achievement of balance is the means by which one defeats the "dream of power" (totalitarianism) and the devilish principle of entropy (inertia or acquiescence), both of which entail the loss of the dialectic, which is the loss of one's self, the death of one's being.
Advisor: Westburg, B. R.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Adelaide, Dept. of English Language and Literature, 1989
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Lohmeyer1988_MA.pdf20.79 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.