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Written by Micola Magdalena
Art in general is criticized in the novel by the main character. Jim believes art and culture in general to be pretentious, pointless, and devoid of any practical value whatsoever. This type of thinking can be considered as being typical in the society after the Second World War who began to thinks about what is important or not in a man’s life. Apart from not appreciating art, Jim also criticizes it harshly and expresses his opinion to those around him, making himself be even more unpopular among his well-educated peers.
The novel was written in a period when women had growing rights, yet society still harbored prejudices about them and about their capabilities. In this sense, the novel may seem to be misogynist because it portrays women as being dependent on men despite them being paid more than their male counterparts or being better educated than them. A woman’s role in the society and her dreams continue to be tied to the idea of getting married and having children and so a women’s role did not changed much from what it was before the World Wars.
Not what they seem
Another major theme in the novel is the idea that a person is not always what he or she seems. Many characters put on masks when they are with other people, but their thoughts do not always match with their actions; instead, such characters do certain things just because they feel compelled to do them. Jim for example, continues to write papers about the subject he teaches in college even though he believes that what he does is worthless and that his papers have no value. Christine is another character who feels compelled to behave posed and lady-like in social gatherings but behaves in a complete opposite way when she is alone or when she is surrounded by those she feels comfortable with.
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