Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Magnificent Ambersons Pt. 2- Revolutionary Literature when America was still revolutionary

At around halfway through the novel, I was struck with a very strange bit of deja vu, as the book was beginning to mirror the plot arc of a pro-communist work from the industrial revolutionary. The story sets up the protagonists as a bunch of lazy, overly self-indulgent stereotypes of the aristocracy while a hardworking proletariat family quietly and steadily undermines their way of life, the only difference being that the background of the novel and the fact that the proletariat characters are running an automobile factory would indicate that they weren't proletariat but highly capitalistic bourgeoisie. The connection between the two is incredibly striking- the two groups are the polar opposite of each other, politically opposed and highly volatile when forced into the same room, yet they both have a cannon of extremely similar literature which speaks to their cause. What's even more interesting, in my opinion, is the outcome of both groups- the world operates on a globalized capitalist system and communism has been, on a popular scale, marginalized to nothing more than a joke.

This connection has made me think about my relationship to literature, especially when it comes to rooting for the underdog and how that notion changes through time. The industrial make up of the US was in its infancy when this book was written, so the automobile manufacturers were the underdog at this point. Now they aren't, so it reads completely differently than it should. I see the aristocratic characters as being a nuisance and annoying, but I'm not rooting for the entrepreneurs either, since they already won. The proletariat of works like The Cherry Orchard, though, still pull in my support. This also may have to do with my political leanings, but I think it's still more than that.

As for the rest of the story, the plot is starting to get horribly annoying. I'm about 350 pages in and the whole story has shifted to the main character, George, running around getting in a tiff over people spreading rumors about his mom and ruining the family name. It makes sense for the characters, but I find it far more annoying than actually entertaining. The sarcasm has started to loose its effect as well, meaning I'm losing interest, but I guess that's expected in something that is almost primarily a comedy (and more importantly a romantic comedy)- plost has to be furthered at some point, and jokes don't always do that. Ah well, it had a good run and hopefully it can pull it back in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment