The Huge Season is closely related to Morris’s other novels in that it reflects one of his common themes: the hold of the past over the present. Where this book breaks fresh ground, however, is in its employment of raw material. It differs in that it is the first, and fullest, treatment that Morris gives to his experiences in college. Moreover, this is the first novel in which Morris shows a protagonist, Peter Foley, who actually escapes from the crippling forces of nostalgia and the mythic past.
In The Huge Season, the past is the 1920’s, an artistically heroic age that produced such great writers as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and William Faulkner. When compared with the dull, seemingly unheroic 1950’s, the past becomes magnified; in the minds of the main characters in the book—Montana Lou Baker, Jesse Proctor, Lundgren, and even Foley himself—it assumes blighting significance. All are, in a sense, captive to it and cannot free themselves from its compelling forces.
The central focus of the novel is one Charles Gans Lawrence, a tennis player and dormitory mate of Foley who, like Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), has everything—money, good looks, and athletic ability. Lawrence, like Gatsby, proves to be psychologically dazzling. Exhibiting a tough, unpredictable compulsiveness, Lawrence fascinates his friends by performing audacious deeds. He first astounds them by becoming a superlative tennis player, despite the fact that he has one arm that is practically useless. Later, near the end of his sophomore year, Lawrence pulls another...
(The entire section is 670 words.)