July 03, 2006

Dissatisfied man - a pose?

A recurring figure in modern literature is that of the Questioning or Dissatisfied man - distanced, for this or that reason, from the customs and codes of his own society, but also rendered strangely immobile, apathetic, rootless by his rebellion, and almost chronically discontented and splenetic, ill at ease wherever he goes and whatever he does - the figure, in other words, of an alienated human being. But this condition, while never pleasant, is nevertheless a fashionable attitude towards life, which is why it is the task of readers coming across this predicament in literature, whether in autobiography or even fiction (for fiction can be untruthful), to judge whether it is genuine or merely a pose - fruitful dissatisfaction with fossilised ways of life, or merely the caterwauling of a selfish being. Chandrahas, permalink

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