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Essay/Term paper: The theme of diversity in novels

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Essays

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The Theme of Diversity in Novels

Diversity is an attribute that is seen among people, situations and
cultures. Everyone has encountered different situations at one time or more
during their lives that has either been pleasant or upsetting. Certain novels
written in the 1950's to the present show signs of multiformity very clearly.
In regards to culture, people are placed in unusual situations where their
diversity is shown.
Throughout the novella, "Good-bye, Columbus," written by Philip Roth,
conflicts are seen as far as social status among families. This novella was not
diverse in the written aspect, in fact I thought of it as easy reading. "Sure,
I should serve four different meals at once.... I should jump up and down twenty
different times? What am I, a workhorse?" (Roth 4) The reactions in Brenda's
house differ because they have a maid and Brenda's Mom doesn't have to pick up a
finger. Neal and Brenda's families are obviously placed in different social
brackets and this adds to the conflict that the relationship is not equal.
From the readers point of view, the tie that Neil feels toward Brenda is
one of physical attraction. "She dove beautifully and a moment later she was
swimming back to the side of the pool, her head of shortclipped auburn hair held
up, straight ahead of her, as though it were a rose on a long stem." (Roth 3)
He sees her only as a beautiful woman and allows that to get in the way of
actually realizing the true reasons for her actions. Brenda on the other hand
is using him to be her "slave." This is seen with all her actions that show
that she honestly does not care about his feelings, his wants or desires. ""
We'll be right back,' Brenda said to me. "You have to sit with Julie.
Carlota's off.'"(Roth 13) She finds Neil very accommodating in fulfilling her
needs. Neil is constantly being thrown into predicaments for the first time,
such as Brenda's country club, where Neil is viably not accustomed to being.
"My next question was prompted by a desire to sound interested and thereby
regain civility; it didn't quite come out as I'd expected- I said it too loud."
(Pynchon 13)
This couple has a strange relationship in how it functions throughout
situations where other characters are constantly commenting on the social
differences between two families. Even though the difficulties, ironically, the
social differences are not the reason for their break-up at the end of the
The Crying of Lot 49, written by Thomas Pynchon has a similar theme
running through it regarding the social aspect of diversity. The characters in
the novel have unique names in that they have different meanings. For example
on page 85 there is the introduction of the character named Koteks, which can be
thought of as a feminine products. Oedipa has a conflict with how she
approaches the situation she is placed in when she is informed that she is the
executor of her ex-boyfriend Pierce's will. Her life follows a ver sequential
set of events in the beginning. Then, after Oedipa attempts to locate the
attorney who is supervising the will, her life takes a different turn of events.
She finds herself in this alternate society where nothing is how she
remembers life as being. "Last night, she might have wondered what undergrounds
apart from the couple she knew of communicated by WASTE system. By sunrise she
could legitimately ask what undergrounds didn't." (Pynchon 124) This is
extremely different world can be thought of as factitious. The diversity in The
Crying of Lot 49, is a slightly different form, it is seen as an entirely
different world as the one we think of on a regular basis. The underground mail
system functions on its own without anyone knowing anything about it. This
proposes the question of whether it is completely a solipsism in Oedipa's mind.
She is an outcast in her society and is trying to investigate about the
underground mail system. Her diverse world that she lives in is completely not
as society tends to portray daily activities.
Maus I, A Survivor's Tale, My Father Bleeds History, written by Art
Speigelman, creates a society that a present generation has never been exposed
to. The novel itself is not diverse in its reading but extremely diverse in its
presentation. The Holocaust forced an alternate way of living that ran parallel
to an average lifestyle that may have been taking place in another part of the
world. The diversity that is evident throughout the Holocaust can not be
compared to any other situation. The horrendous lifestyle that people who lived
through the Holocaust are familiar with is very vividly animated in the art that
was drawn in the book. "The Germans intend to make an example of them! The
next day I walked over to Modrzejowska Street and I saw them. They hanged there
one full week." (Spiegelman 83) The images are graphic but the words have more
of an impact. It is a revelation to any reader who did not live through the
period or ever hear stories about the difficulties that people suffered in order
to save their own lives. "Therefore I arranged for us a very good hiding spot-
in our cellar where it was coal storage." (Spiegelman 110)
The diversity in the style of presentation that Art Spiegelman chose to
relay his father's story attracts the attention and can relate to a reader of
any age. There were several different types characters and they were expressed
throughout the novel as animals. The Jews were mice, Germans were cats, Polish
were pigs, and the French were frogs. The comic book style shows the reader in
many ways, how the characters react, feel and also sets the scenes extrodinaraly
well. The sketches depict the exactness of the bunkers and chambers that became
the homes of those who fought for their lives. The author can tell an entire
story in few words but with the same detailed structure as any novel.
These novels all portray life and life's struggles in different ways.
They all pose different situations, resolutions and meanings to the reader.
Even though all the situations were different, ironically they all were written
during the time period after World War II. The novels can all be tied together
in some way as the protagonist struggles to solve his or her own problem, as
diverse as the problems may be.


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