Summary (Masterplots II: World Fiction Series)
A School for Fools is a fictional autobiographical journey through the mental landscape of a nameless, schizophrenic adolescent, told with the assistance of an author-persona who may be the boy’s older self. Through the kaleidoscopically chaotic prism of the teenager’s schizoid mind, the reader sees incidents reflecting his bizarre perceptions and his attempts to come to terms with the surrounding world.
The boy’s aberration has two primary features: doubling, and the absence of linear time. He perceives himself and several other characters as two distinct but related persons, each with his or her own name. Much of the narrative is either interior dialogue between the two halves of the boy’s mind or interior monologue directed toward unidentified persons. He cannot perceive time, or events in time, in any fixed chronological order. Past, present, and future are random and intermixed. These peculiarities determine the unorthodox form of the novel. There is, in the ordinary sense, no plot. It is replaced by an ever-swirling verbal collage.
The boy’s remembered experiences arise from his relationships with his parents, with residents of their vacation summerhouse community, with his doctor, and with staff members of the “School for Fools” that he attends. His prosecutor father is a caviling misanthrope of the genus Homo soveticus. The boy has spent several periods in a mental institution where he was treated by a Dr. Zauze,...
(The entire section is 872 words.)
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