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Miss Lonelyheart and the Depression - Essay Example

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Miss Lonelyhearts and the Depression Miss Lonelyhearts, by Nathanael West was written in 1933 during the great depression period in U S. Itshows the story of a newspapercolumnist, whose is called “Miss Lonelyhearts” throughout the novel. “Miss Lonelyhearts” is considered the masterpiece of Nathanael West, the well-known U S author…
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Miss Lonelyheart and the Depression
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"Miss Lonelyheart and the Depression"

Download file to see previous pages West illustrated such aspects of life evolved during the depression era in his novel Miss Lonelyhearts. The novel is of relevance today as the global economy showing a sign of depression, which may in turn lead to the great depression II.Even though the events and circumstances described in the novel are from a period of a century ago, the theme of the novel has relevance in this modern age. “Miss Lonelyhearts” the son of an England priest, is involved in giving advice for reader’s distressing letters.These hurting stories which he receives are depressing and eventually he also becomes depressed by reading the painful letters. He started heavy drinking and occasional bar fights.William Shrike, editor of the New York newspaper where Miss Lonelyhearts works, uses the column to boost up the circulation. The characters of this novel do not possess moral qualities, or they do not have any strong spirituality, which may be the result of depression era. They are not really concerned about social values (Martin, 1970). For example, Miss Lonelyhearts was not sincere as a columnist. At the beginning Miss Lonelyhearts started as a columnist in a style existing at that time with a superficial way of analysing and solving problems of individuals in society. In the society of that time where people suffered from financial and economic problems, actual religious and spiritual values did not affect them. When Miss Lonelyhearts received hundreds of letters from people of all walks of life describing their individual problems of many types he became astounded on going through the actual life problems. The letters contained plights of diverse people. For example, the novel describes a letter by a 16 year old girl who was born without a nose. Her life was pathetic because her parents felt guilty and shamed of their daughter, and this girl wanted Miss Lonelyhearts to tell her if she should commit suicide. When Miss Lonelyhearts understands the problem, he gets a sense of shock, which is a clear contrast to the attitude that the editor William Shilke shows. This contrast is very true of the media in the modern world. Over the years, media has become insensitive and focuses more on getting the sensational news out just to get more publicity and increase their profit. Just like Shilke, many media houses put immense pressure on the journalists to compromise on their ethics and values, just to get more attention from the public. This results in a breakdown at some point, just that Miss Lonelyhearts faced in the novel. Therefore, the approach of the editor to exploit the current situation is very similar to the way in which media sensationalizes the news in today’s era. In addition, in today’s society, depression is often taken out by certain methods that are not moralistic, such as getting involved in extra marital affairs or taking refuge in drugs. For Miss Lonelyhearts, he chose to overcome this depression by indulging in an extra marital affair with one of his readers and with the wife of the editor. Only a very drastic situation, such as an encounter with the crippled husband of Mrs Doyle can bring out repentance in Miss Lonelyhearts. In real life too, only a very tragic instance gets the people to come out and remorse as most people do not understand their mistake unless the situation is very grave. Even though this work is a piece of fiction, it is very reflective of the current situa ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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