Samuel Beckett Short Fiction Analysis
Samuel Beckett does not write short fiction in the tradition of the short story as it has developed in Europe and the United States over the last 150 years. He is not interested in telling a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and there are no trick revelations; nothing is withheld to the last minute that makes everything suddenly clear. He is not interested in social problems, personal confrontations, or the day-to-day eccentricities of modern life. His characters are usually nameless, barely existing in unidentifiable huts and hovels, at no special time, in no special place. If his art is a comment upon the meaningless nature of the human condition, he does not explore that problem sociologically as many writers do but draws the problem into a barren landscape barely inhabited by characters who often do not know who they are, have little—if any—memory, and simply want to die. To die is not an easy thing in Beckett’s world, and to exist is often simply torment. Beckett, in a sense, piles on the agony of late twentieth century unhappiness and meaninglessness by isolating his characters in a symbolic landscape, often with faint echoes of a post-atomic-bomb desert.
His characters are often physically tattered and psychologically distraught, and they can sometimes be so traumatized that they are speechless, but there is always an overriding intelligence present that attempts to shape the situation with precision but often fails in the act....
(The entire section is 2438 words.)
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