General Observations about Harlan's Writings

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Jan
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General Observations about Harlan's Writings

Postby Jan » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:01 pm

Last edited by Jan on Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:58 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Jan
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Postby Jan » Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:43 pm

Recurring themes and elements in Harlan's literature (first attempt)

20 Technology
19 Materialism and superficiality
18 Being at the mercy of a superior force
17 Mental illness
16 Rigidity and ignorance
15 Change for the worse
14 Being streetwise
13 Love and caring
12 Childhood
11 Being unable to control one’s destiny
10 Uniqueness of character
9 Pain
8 Violence
7 Friendship
6 Aloneness
5 Character flaws
4 Lack of compassion
3 Independence
2 Persistence of evil
1 Responsibility

Additions 21-12-07:
21 Social strata and barriers
22 Hypocrisy and dishonesty
Last edited by Jan on Sun Nov 11, 2007 5:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:01 pm

Some of these already overlap, but I would still suggest substituting "Freedom" or "The supremacy of individuality" or something like that.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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Jan
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Postby Jan » Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:25 pm

"Some of these already overlap"
Um, nope. That's completely impossible. I came up with the list myself. (And if there is indeed overlap, it's only because I want there to be overlap.)
(And plenty of it!)

Anyhow. Calming down...

Freedom... In my mind, what interests Harlan in his stories is lack of freedom, covered by (11) "inability to control one's destiny", and a particular kind of freedom, (3) "independence" (from God, from parents, from money etc.). You can correct me if I'm way off, as you have read more Harlan than I have. (Yes, I know my masters and apologize for my bad, bad behavior earlier.)

Re: the term "supremacy of individuality" which you suggested. Problems associated with (10) "uniqueness of character" and the achievement of or longing for (3) "independence" seem to appear as seperate elements in Harlan's stories, and I think your term for it might be a mixture the two things, if I'm not mistaken.

Both things you suggest are things Harlan wishes for, but are they recurring parts of his fiction?

By the way, the list is indeed very preliminary and I hope it will be challenged some more.


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