Jerzy Kosinski American Literature Analysis
Referring to his earlier life in Communist Poland, Kosinski said that the artist in a police state “has always been trapped in a cage where he can fly as long as he does not touch the wires. The predicament is: how to spread your wings in the cage.” Kosinski’s notion of flying and cages are metaphors he used to describe his career throughout his life. In Poland, he saw himself imprisoned by a “mad best-selling novelist, [Joseph] Stalin”; he escaped that prison with a flight to America.
Writing in America certainly brought freedom to Kosinski; he wrote two best-selling books in an adopted language. Yet there, too, his own writing began to form still another cage. Writing can free; writing can also imprison. He gave up his mother tongue, Polish (and Russian), and wrote in, as he phrased it, his “stepmother tongue,” English. In 1971, he said in an interview that “no prison is as impregnable as language,” suggesting that it is just as difficult to break into the prison of an alien language, English, as it is to escape the confines of one’s mother tongue.
The writing of his books formed still new patterns, new cages, which he then attempted to escape. He said in 1980 of Passion Play that “because I have written the books that I have written—they form my destiny as it has been lived until now. There is a pattern.” The pattern of books forms a cage from which the only escape is new writing. This is Kosinski’s...
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