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|Title:||The Eclectic Vision: Symbolism in Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano.|
|Authors:||MacLeod, Elizabeth Catherine|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>That an explication of symbolism in Under the Volcano is crucial to an understanding of Malcolm Lowry's masterwork remains uncontested. Although the conviction that the novel is founded upon an enormous variety of symbols drawn from an extensive and diverse list of literary sources and traditions is the subject of a consensus of critical opinion, the available critical work has tended to give but cursory attention to the detailed analysis and the relating of the many symbols.</p> <p>In the examination of Lowry's use of a complex, striated, and endlessly reverberating matrix of symbols which provide the dynamic for the inexorable destruction of Goeffrey Firmin, ex British Consul in Mexico, the symbols are related to two basic "concepts", or overall thematic symbols. These "thematic symbols" are the wheel and the abyss, and this study thus falls naturally into two parts. The wheel provides an analogy for the malignant forces of "the gods", or the forces behind self-destruction, as the origins of Firmin's downfall are variously viewed. The abyss exists as the ultimate punishment for the Consul's condition, and, at a universal level, it is a symbol of twentieth-century dereliction both spiritual and physical, and of the punishment of the vast unspecified guilt of mankind as a whole.</p> <p>Ultimately, all attempts to objectify the causes of Firmin's downfall, and to delude the self that the origins of tragedy are external are in fact mere projections of the chaos within onto the landscape and social environment. In addition, the attempt to portray an objective and realistic environment culminates simply in a symbolic representation of the mind's disorder, and Under the Volcano emerges as a symbolic landscape of the mind's divide. The symbolic effigies of the Consul's mind point not only towards his inexorable fate, but also imply origins in anxiety, fear, and guilt which demand analysis for a complete interpretation of the novel.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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