doctoral thesis
From myth to irony: the character of the soldier in American novel of the 20th and 21st century

Jasna Poljak Rehlicki (2013)
Josip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Metadata
TitleOd mita do ironije: lik vojnika u američkoj književnosti 20. i 21. stoljeća
AuthorJasna Poljak Rehlicki
Mentor(s)Sanja Nikčević
Abstract
Predmet proučavanja disertacije su lik vojnika u američkim ratnim romanima 20. i 21. stoljeća i načini na koji se njegova ratna iskustva (ne)preklapaju s društveno uvriježenom slikom rata u američkom društvu. Namjera disertacije je ukazivanje na principe stvaranja (prije rata), raspada (tijekom rata) i remitizacije (nakon rata) američkog mita kroz vizuru i iskustva vojnika, istodobno proučavajući što se događa i sa samim likom vojnika. Metodologija rada sastoji se od iščitavanja izabranog korpusa i njegove kontekstualizacije unutar širih sfera američkog kulturnog nasljeđa – američkog mita o ratu i junaku. Pri tom je postupku također korištena i teorija modusa Northropa Fryea kako bi se likovi vojnika što preciznije mogli analizirati i klasificirati, odnosno ustvrditi njihovo pripadanje jednom dominantnom modusu. U prvom dijelu analize proučavana su tri američka romana Prvog svjetskog rata (Dos Passos Tri vojnika, Hemingway Zbogom oružje i March Satnija K) i uočeno je da je društvena slika tog rata bila izrazito mitska (misije osiguravanja mira za sva vremena), što je pogodno utjecalo na vojnike koji su se u ratu željeli dokazati i napredovati. Međutim, ratna je stvarnost otkrila rat kao okrutni patos, a vojnike kao niskomimetske junake i to alazone, one koji su precijenili svoje mogućnosti. Sva su očekivanja vojnika iznevjerena, a rat koji ih je uništio i isključio iz društva (mentalno ili fizički) nije ispunio svoj zadani cilj. Drugi dio analize posvećen je proučavanju lika vojnika američkih romana Drugog svjetskog rata (Mailer Goli i mrtvi i Heller Kvaka-22) iz kojeg je vidljivo da je američki mit o ratu prisutan, ali nije glavni fokus romana. Kako je to razdoblje američke ratne književnosti pa i društva prihvatilo ratovanje kao dio ljudske egzistencije, autori su svoje priče oblikovali oko odnosa vojnika unutar vojnog sustava koji je postao novi sloj američkog društva. Odnos zapovjednik-vojnik u romanima jednak je poziciji alazona i pharmakosa u Fryevoj terminologiji, što upućuje da junak s više slobode (zapovjednik alazon) ima veću moć nad junakom s manje slobode (vojnik pharmakos). Time stvarni neprijatelj američkim vojnicima u romanima Drugog svjetskog rata nije Nijemac ili Japanac, već vlastiti nadređeni. Treći dio analize promatra tri romana američke književnosti Vijetnamskog rata (Kovic Rođen 4. srpnja, Caputo Glasina rata i O'Brien Potjera za Cacciatom). U ovim je romanima američki mit kao temelj nacionalnog identiteta postavljen kao središnji problem, a likovi vojnika otkrivaju različite načine oblikovanja, serviranja i vlastitih konzumiranja ideje o svetoj američkoj misiji koja ih je dovela u uvjerenje da su junaci romanse i s kojim su u konačnici otišli u Vijetnamski rat. Jednako kao i u ranijim romanima, doživljaj stvarne slike rata vojnicima otkriva da su oni niskomimetski junaci koji su se precijenili (alazoni), a da ih je ratno iskustvo promijenilo do te mjere da se više nisu mogli uključiti u društvo iz kojeg su potekli. Zadnji dio analize obuhvaća tri romana Zaljevskih ratova (Swafford Gušter, Williams Volim svoju pušku više nego tebe i Buzzell Moj rat: ubijanje vremena u Iraku). Iz romana se ponovno mogu iščitati snažne društvene silnice koje su obnovile američki mit i postavile si novu misiju u svijetu. Likovi vojnika, koji naoko s rezervom prihvaćaju mit, ipak prihvaćaju jednu njegovu komponentu, a to je pozicija junaka romanse. Njihovo ratno iskustvo, ili izostanak borbe otkriva im stvarnu sliku američke misije i rata pa i ovi likovi vojnika shvaćaju svoju poziciju niskomimetskog junaka koji je precijenio vlastite snage, što ih u konačnici dovodi do isključenja iz društva. Analiza je pokazala da je vjera američkog naroda u vlastitu izvrsnost i premoć u svijetu još od doba Puritanaca ostala temelj američkog nacionalnog identiteta i kulturnog nasljeđa. Mit o narodu čija je zadaća biti uzor svijetu i čije su misije uvijek plemenite i za neko više dobro, stvara podlogu za stvaranje mita o ratu i junaku, odnosno plodno tlo za 248 opravdavanje bilo koje ratne intervencije. Analizirani romani upućuju na snagu američkog mita da se regenerira čak i nakon izgubljenih ratova, da iznova od svojih vojnika stvori ratnika, odnosno junaka romanse i kao takve ih pošalje u novi rat. Nakon rata, subverzivni glasovi razočaranih i isključenih vojnika alazona možda mogu raskrinkati zamke američkog mita i mita o ratu, ali ga nikako ne mogu uništiti.
Keywordswar American myth myth of war soldiers Northrop Frye theory of modes alazon
Parallel title (English)From myth to irony: the character of the soldier in American novel of the 20th and 21st century
Committee MembersGoran Rem (committee chairperson)
Sanja Runtić (committee member)
GranterJosip Juraj Strossmayer University of Osijek
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
PlaceOsijek
StateCroatia
Scientific field, discipline, subdisciplineHUMANISTIC SCIENCES
Philology
Theory and History of Literature
UDK821.111
LANGUAGE. LINGUISTICS. LITERATURE
English literature
Study programme typeuniversity
Study levelpostgraduate
Study programmeLiterature and Cultural Identity
Academic title abbreviationdr. sc.
Genredoctoral thesis
Language Croatian
Defense date2013-02-21
Parallel abstract (English)
The objective of the dissertation is a study of the soldier character in American war novels of the twentieth and twenty-first century, and the ways in which soldiers’ war experience overlaps with the popular social idea of war in American society. The intention of the dissertation is to emphasize the principles of creation (before the war), collapse (during the war) and remythization (after the war) of the American myth through the lens and experiences of soldiers, while also studying what happens to be the portrayal of the soldiers themselves. The methodology of this dissertation consisted of a reading of selected novels and their contextualization within the broader sphere of American cultural heritage - the American myth of war and the myth of an American hero. Northrop Frye’s theory of modes was used in this procedure in order to more precisely analyze and classify characters of soldiers and determine their place within one dominant mode. The first part of the analysis examined three American novels of the First World War (Dos Passos’s Three Soldiers, Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms and the March’s Company K). It was observed that the social image of that war was distinctly mythical (the mission of ensuring peace for all time) and that it greatly influenced the soldiers who went to war in order to prove themselves by defeating the enemy. However, the war was revealed as a cruel pathos, and soldiers as heroes of the low-mimetic mode - alazons, those who overestimated their capabilities. Because the war had not fulfilled its aim, all soldiers’ expectations were betrayed; the war experience destroyed (mentally or physically) and excluded them from the society. The second part of the analysis was devoted to the study of soldiers in American novels of the Second World War (Mailer Naked and the Dead and Heller Catch-22). The 250 American myth was also present in these novels but not as the main focus since American society and soldiers had accepted war as a normal part of human existence. Instead, the authors focused on the relationship between soldiers within the military system, which had become a new layer of the American society. The analysis showed that the relationship between the commander and the soldier in these novels is identical to that of an alazon and pharmakos in Frye’s theory of modes, suggesting that a hero with more freedom (commander alazon) has greater power over the hero with less freedom (soldier pharmakos). Therefore the real enemy of American troops in the novels of World War II was not German or Japanese, but their own commander. The third part of the analysis included three novels of American literature of the Vietnam War (Kovic’s Born on the Fourth of July, Caputo’s Rumor of War and O'Brien’s Going After Cacciato). These novels showed that the American myth was the core of national identity and the soldier characters revealed different ways of shaping, serving and consuming ideas about the sacred U.S. mission. Also, that faith brought them into the belief that they were the heroes of romance, warriors who fight for a great cause (defending American freedoms against the Communist enemy). Just as in the earlier novels, the experience of the sensory and not mythical war once again revealed them as low-mimetic heroes that overestimated their power (alazons), and changed them to such an extent that they could no longer integrate in the society from which they had originated. The last part of the analysis included three novels of the Gulf Wars (Swafford Jarhead, Williams Love My Rifle More Than You and Buzzell My War: Killing Time in Iraq). It showed that the American myth had once more regenerated and set the USA on a new mission in the world. Characters of the soldiers, who seemingly accepted the new mission with reservations, accepted one component, and that is the position of the hero of romance. Their battle experience (or lack thereof) revealed the sensory quality of American mission and war, and their position of low-mimetic heroes who overestimated their own strength. The insights gained from the analysis of the previous sections suggest that since the Puritans the American myth and faith of the American people in their own excellence and supremacy in the world has remained a foundation of American national identity and cultural heritage. The myth of the nation whose sacred job is to be a role model to the rest of the world, and whose mission is always noble and for a greater good, creates a platform for the creation of the myth of war and the myth of the hero, and provides a fertile ground for the justification of any military intervention. The analysis of the novels demonstrates that the myth is so strong that it can recover even after the lost wars, and once again resurrect its soldiers as warriors and heroes of romance and as such send them into a new war. After the war, subversive voices of the disappointed and excluded soldiers alazons may be able to expose the pitfalls of the American myth and the myth of war, but they can never destroy it.
Descriptors
(NSK Kontrolirani rječnik)


Parallel keywords (Croatian)Rat američki mit mit o ratu vojnici Northrop Frye teorija modusa alazon
Versionaccepted version
Resource typetext
Access conditionAccess restricted to students and staff of home institution
Terms of usehttp://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Noteaccepted version
URN:NBNhttps://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:142:952063
CommitterGordana Gašo