Failed Quest in Samuel Beckett’s How It Is

Alireza Najafi, Parvin Ghasemi, Farideh Pourgiv

Abstract


In this paper Beckett’s novel, How It Is, is discussed in the light of the monomyth of quest. It is argued that this novel does not follow the traditional framework of novel and it has an antihero of the twentieth century with a vague and uncertain quest. In most works of fiction, the quest is followed by fulfillment and accomplishment to make the protagonist worth his painstaking labor and suffering, while with Beckett’s characters, failure becomes the dominant issue. Most of his characters are narrators of their own tale who face failure of expression though they are obliged to express it. The characters with one syllable names of Bem, Bom and Pim represent the mankind stuck in the "mud" of the present unable to distinguish past, present or future. There is a constant tendency to reach the goal which is unattainable. 

 


Keywords


Beckett, Quest, Monomyth, How It Is, Failure, Joseph Campbell

Full Text:

PDF

References


Alighieri, Dante. (1955). The Divine Comedy. (2nd edition). Tran. & ed. Thomas G. Bergin. New York: Appleton, (Purgatory).

Barge, Laura.(1977). Colored Images' in the ' Black Dark': Samuel Beckett’s Later Fiction. PMLA, 92, 237-84.

……………... (1977). Life and Death in Beckett’s Four Stories. South Atlantic Quarterly, 76, 332-47.

Beckett, Samuel. (1964). How It Is. (3rd edition). New York: Groves Press.

………………(1979). Murphy. (3rd edition). New York: Grove Press.

……………... (1958). The Unnamable. (3rd edition). New York: Grover Press.

Ben-Zvi, Linda. (1980). Samuel Beckett, Fritz Mauthner, and the Limits of Language. PMLA, 95, 183-199.

Brater, Enoch. (1974). The I in Beckett’s Not I. Twenty Century Literature, 20, 3189-200.

Campbell, Joseph. (1949). The Hero with a Thousand Faces. (1st edition). Princeton: Princeton UP, (chapter 7).

…………... (1988). The Power of Myth. (2nd edition). New York: Doubleday, (chapter ten).

Chambers, Ross. (1965). "Beckett’s Brinkmanship" in Samuel Beckett: A Collection of Critical Essays. (3rd edition). Ed. Martin Esslin, New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs, (chapter five).

Cornwell, Ethel F. (1973). Samuel Beckett: The Flight from Self. PMLA, 88, 41-51.

Davies, Paul. (1994). The Ideal Reader: Beckett’s Fiction and Imagination. (1st edition). London: Associated UP, (chapter 3).

Fletcher, John. (1967). Samuel Beckett’s Art. (1st edition). London: Chatto and Windus, (chapter 1).

Gidal, Peter. (1986). Understanding Beckett: A Study of Monologue and Gesture in the Works of Samuel

Beckett. (5th edition). London: Macmillan, (chapter 8).

Hassan, Ihab. (1973). Radical Innocence: Studies in the Contemporary American Novel. (5th edition).

Princeton: Princeton UP, (chapter 2).

Helsa, David. (1871). The Shape of Chaos: an Interpretation of the Art of Samuel Beckett. (3rd edition).

Minneopolis: University of Minnesota Press, (chapter 5).

Kenner, Hugh. (1973). A Reader’s Guide to Samuel Beckett. (2nd edition). London: Thames & Hudson, (chapter 5).

Knowlson, James and Pilling John. (1979).’’ How It Is’’ in Frescoes of the Skull: The Later Prose And

Drama of Samuel Beckett. (1st edition). London: John Calder,(chapter 2).

Levy, Eric P. (1980). "How It Is: An allegory of Time and Personal Identity." in Beckett and the Voices of

Species: A Study of the Prose Fiction. (1st edition). Dublin:. (chapter 10).

Nathan, A. Scott. (1962). The Recent Journey into the Zone of Zero: The Example of Beckett and His Despair of Literature. The Centennial Review, 6, 167-178.

Singer, Alen. (1983)."The Need of the Present: How It Is with the Subject in Beckett’s Novel." In A Metaphorics of fiction. (3rd edition). Gainesvillee: UP of Florida, (chapter 4).

Steinberg, S. C. (1972). The External and Internal in Murphy. Twentieth Century Literature, 18, 92-109.

Waston, David. (1991). Paradox and Desire in Samuel Beckett’s Fiction. (3rd edition). London: Macmillan, (chapter 3).

Wellershoff, Dietor. (1965). ‘’Failure of an Attempt at De-Mythologization: Samuel Beckett’s Novels’’ in Samuel Beckett: a collection of Critical Essays. Ed. Martin Esslin. (2rd edition).New Jersey: Englewood Cliffs, (chapter 9).




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/ijalel.v.1n.6p.247

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.