Literary Analysis Essay on Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

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Harvey Mudd College
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Vile Bodies is considered to be one of the masterpieces in the world of literature today. This piece of art enables most scholars to draw out different debates on the characters, different themes being focused on among other things. In this essay, a discussion is focused on the thematic relationship between the final chapter and the rest of the novel. This debate will enable the reader to get a better understanding of the happy ending of the novel where some themes are mainly focused on by the author compared to other topics in the rest of the novel. In this novel, we can see a thematic relationship between the final chapter and the rest it. Most of the novel is focused on the life of young people who engaged themselves in different activities such as drinking and partying (Jacobs, 2000). Their actions end up determining their fate at the end of the novel in such a way that there is a connection between the themes that the author focuses on at the end and the rest of the novel.

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Most of the youngster in this novel seem to be the center of criticism, which makes the novel interesting. The kind of life that they were living is considered by the author to be full of time wasting since they were mostly getting drunk and engaging in sexual activities (Decoste, 2013). The central theme focused on this kind of life is the social life that the youth were living. In one way, the life that the youth were living was preparing them for the war that erupts at the end of the novel. Their lives did not care much about their well-being since the author says that they would sometimes get drunk until 2 a.m (Decoste, 2013). The social life of these youngsters was the best way of preparation since, in one way or the other, they would be able to have the courage to fight on the battlefield at the end of the novel which is mainly focused at the end of this novel.

Most of the youngsters in this generation are considered to be alienated from their parents and other older individuals. This affects their lives in such a way that they lack the proper role models to guide them on how to live their lives. They also lack the appropriate individuals to guide them on the right way to prepare themselves for the upcoming war, which would change their lives forever (Jacobs, 2000). One of the reasons why the youth at the Vile Bodies are considered to be a class group was due to their ability to communicate with each other appropriately. This enables their social group to develop the necessary skills required in the battlefield at the end of the novel (Decoste, 2013). Alienation can also be considered to be another theme relation between the happy ending of the novel and the other parts. The youth termed as the bright young people live aimless lives and this causes them to be separated from the society.

Apart from being isolated from the society, these individuals are also separated from their families, and this is what makes them develop some interest in the war that occurs at the end of this novel. The author considers the youth at this novel to be selfish in such a way that they were not putting other peoples considerations into account. Their lives were all about themselves, and the concerns of the society meant less to them. Due to the alienation, the society considers the youth in this society to be meaningless to them since they were doing less to contribute to the development of the community (Decoste, 2013). As a result, most of these young individuals are considered to be a liability since they were not contributing much to its growth. They are therefore regarded as perfect tools for the war that occurred at the end of this novel, and this shows the thematic relationship between the two parts of the novel. Alienation of the young individuals from different social tasks is the central theme that the author puts into consideration in this novel, and it does well in combining the ending parts of the novel to the rest of its parts.

One of the other themes that connect the ending parts and the other parts of the novel is the lack of feeling that the youngsters in this novel had about comradeship among themselves. Most of the characters in the novel did not agree with each other in different terms. One of the occasions seen in this novel is when a character, Agatha is defeated in a car race. Rather than offering support to her, Malpractice reacts to this occurrence by taking advantage and searching for his popularity (Decoste, 2013). This shows the lack of partnership between the different individuals involved in this novel. At the end of the novel during the war, characters had a difficult time due to lack of understanding between one another. The author connects the two parts of the novel to show how the lack of togetherness between individuals can sometimes lead to significant consequences. Rather, people should have an understanding of their different activities and should also support one another.

As discussed earlier, the central theme considered in this novel is alienation. However, the main causes of this separation are also deemed to be related in different ways between the ending and other parts of this novel. The search for the meaning of life is considered to be the main reason why the youth in this different end up living a devastating life and at the end, find themselves fighting in wars. The problems of the youths are highly focused by the author in this novel. They forget actual meaning of life due to the kind of meaningless life that they were living. Waugh, the author uses this novel to compare the life of the youth during those periods and the ending parts of the novel (Jacobs, 2000). He develops a thematical relationship between the two where these youths end up suffering due to the consequences of their lives, though it can be said that it was not of their will to end up suffering. The parental relationship between the youth and their parents is what the author claims to be the reason for the suffering of the youngsters in this novel.

The behavior of most parents where they lack to become involved in the development of their children is one of the reasons why they end up suffering at different occasions in this novel. Instead, parents should act as role models to their children, showing them the right way to live their lives and avoid suffering the consequences in the future. Another thematic relationship that can be looked into in this novel is the way that the author connects the other parts of the novel and the ending parts. The novel is mostly about the bad lives that the youth are living whereas, in the end, the author tries to offer a solution towards making this life better (Jacobs, 2000). He gives the possible ways on how the young people can live so as to ensure that they do not suffer as a result of making poor decisions in their lives. Waugh uses the main character, Adam to show how poor decisions can have consequences through the suffering that he endures.

Adam is portrayed as a protagonist in the novel due to the aimless kind of life that he lives though most critics would argue that he should have been given another role. The author picks him to be the focal character of the novel because through him he needed to depict the moral corruptness of the general public (Decoste, 2013). Hence, Adam turns into a handmaiden device of the storyteller to illustrate the social indecencies of the time. The thematic relationship is seen between the ending part of the novel and other parts in the way that the author fails to give the main character any heroic qualities.

In the long run, Adam is used by the author to deliver some lessons in life about how most of the audience in the present world end up making the long decisions in life and as a result, end up suffering (Jacobs, 2000). Adam is depicted as a character who is unheroic in both physicalities as well as mentally. This is because he ends up finding himself in the wrong situations most of the times and instead of finding a solution, he becomes ignorant. The disappointment of more youthful era to have steady and long enduring relationship additionally draws out the lightness with which they take genuine matters of life. The storyteller's worry gets to be distinctly clear on the eventual fate of this disintegrated current society that is breaking itself to pieces. In this way behind Waugh's satire, most researchers find a moral lesson for the more youthful and additionally the more established era.

Work Cited

Decoste, Damon Marcel. (And you get far too much publicity already whoever you are): gossip, celebrity, and modernist authorship in Evelyn Waughs Vile Bodies. Papers on Language & Literature 49.1 (Winter, 2013): no page numbers provided. Online.

Jacobs, Richard. Introduction. Vile Bodies. Evelyn Waugh. Ed. Richard Jacobs. Toronto: Penguin, 2000. ix-xxxiv. Print.

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