English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date

5-19-1952

Abstract

In any study of the works of James T. Farrell one is impressed by the author's relentless attack on man's traditional institutions and his furious loathing of the barren waste of life that characterizes certain strata of society. In a very real sense Mr. Farrell is exorcising the evil spirits of his blighted youth in southside Chicago, but in a more significant respect he is doing penance for us all. "Here," he seems to say to society, "is your bastard spawn. What will you do with it?"

Mr. Farrell, however, is no crusader. He considers his mission only that of revealing in credible fiction the actual conditions of a segment of lower middle class society. The rectification of these conditions, he believes, must be implemented by institutional and political reform--never by doctrinaire writing. It is because he has never wavered from this credo--because his writing attacks rather than builds--that the majority of his readers find despair and pessimism in his fiction. To this objection Mr. Farrell answers with Anton Chekhov: "Man will only become better when you make him see what he is like."

Degree Name

English

Level of Degree

Masters

Department Name

English

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ernest Warnock Tedlock

Second Committee Member

Willis Dana Jacobs

Third Committee Member

C. V. Wicker

Language

English

Document Type

Thesis

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