• Resisting the cul-de-sac in Disgrace, Master of Petersburg and Life & Times of Michael K

    hnashef (see profile)
    CLCS 20th- and 21st-Century, Critical Studies in World Literature, GS Prose Fiction
    Coetzee, J. M., 1940-, South African literature, Twentieth century, Fiction, Twenty-first century
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Disgrace, Life and Times of Michael K, The Master of Petersburg, Childhood of Jesus, J.M. Coetzee, 20th century, Contemporary fiction
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    Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot ends in both acts with the two tramps not moving in spite of agreeing that they should leave. Even though Vladimir and Estragon realize the futility of their wait, they remain adamant in the hope that Godot may arrive. Likewise, the Unnamable who cannot go on chooses to go on. What essentially translates in both Beckett’s play and his novel is the insistence of holding on to a hope even though this relentless wait brings in its fold more of pain, hardship and failed promises. For the most part, Beckett’s work has been viewed as bleak and pessimistic, hardly following the conventions of storytelling, which demand that a work should have a beginning, middle, and end. In Beckett, as meanings in life have broken down, they result at best with severed communication, and with endings that are a priori silent in defiance to conventional norms. The endings in both his plays and novels generally leave the readers suspended. To a large extent, the same is true of J.M. Coetzee’s novels. Endings in Coetzee’s novels, on the whole, provide no answers or resolutions, and as with Beckett’s work, the novels are seen as dark renditions of the human existence, silent in their impasse.
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    6 years ago
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