Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gray Flannel Suit

In the past week, we did a book discussion in class. The book was The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. I actually liked the book a little. In my literature class, I learned that the literature reflects the times. There was some things reflected in here, I hadn't picked up on when reading. For instance, the children in the story play a very small role. They are seen in the story enough to know their names, and a few other little details, but they're "flat" characters. They don't have any deep background history. This could be seen as a reflection of the role children played in reality in the 1950s (the time the story takes place). In previous books we've read in class, authors say that the people of this time are all about family; yet, this book tells something completely different.
We did a slight character analysis and a lot of people thought that Mr Rath needed more conviction. Someone said that he needed to find something he is happy with and go for it. For instance, he was happy with Maria. Maybe he should have gone back to that relationship and let things blossom. However, I think this is another reflection of the time. Things were difficult. People weren't exaclty having the time of their lives. They had just gotten out of the World Wars, Depression, etc. They were still in recovery mode.
While I agree, it was kind of annoying that he didn't show any real passion for anything, I don't think he could have gone for simply anything and given up at the slightest unpleasantness he felt. Any choice he could have made would have its positives as well as negatives. Again times were tough. He was a paratrooper, set free from the horrors of war, and survivor of the Great Depression. I think the lack of conviction was partly due to he "shell shock". What the author could be trying to communicate through this character was the difficulty the soldiers had trying to fit in with the city folk and adjust to the life after the war.

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