Flora

     "Philip Roth has beaten pain and rage into a beautiful shape."

     The novel is a scathing critique of the commodifying process in the context of a thriving society that stirs up intense excitement but also intense hatred.Personal and political feuds bring about unwarranted violence shown through arresting images of defiance and despair that characterize both the prosperous but miserable glove manufacturer and his daughter Merry, a "hippie-turned-mad  bomb-thrower.

  • The project of Nathan Zuckerman is taking shape as he is searching for explanations and shaping them into a consistent and resonant whole, and analyzing the whole into its various constituents. Indignation, outrage are conveyed by the outrageousness of Levov's tone of voice. Thus, the novelist fires, excites the reader's imagination, who takes a passionate interest in following the meandering paths of Levov's train of thought.
  •                  1. Searching for explanations and shaping them into a story

                     2. Violence, outrage and outrageousness.

                     3. Firing the reader's imagination and arousing a passionate interest.

    Expert Answers

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    I have to disagree with the idea that "Indignation, outrage are conveyed by the outrageousness of Levov's tone of voice." If you mean Swede Levov, Roth's narrator goes out of his way to give Swede a benign tone of voice:

    The Swede smiled the smile that refused to...

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    I have to disagree with the idea that "Indignation, outrage are conveyed by the outrageousness of Levov's tone of voice." If you mean Swede Levov, Roth's narrator goes out of his way to give Swede a benign tone of voice:

    The Swede smiled the smile that refused to be superior, that was meant to reassure me that nothing in him ever could or would resist me ... "Well, fortunately for my father, he didn't have to. Jerry was the-son-the-doctor."... The vulnerability in that smile was the surprising element.

    It is the narrator who is the outrageous one, letting his mind drift into quandaries and absurdities while he sits waiting or in boredom, ultimately confessing that he is wrong:

    The Swede nodded ... I would swear I saw nothing, all this giving that gave nothing and gave away nothing, I had no idea where his thoughts might be or if he had "thoughts." ... I was wrong. Never more mistaken about anyone in my life.

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    Did you write this or is it a source you found? It is unclear whether you are asking us to critique your work or respond to it. This is a strong argument. I would add some more specific evidence. I do agree that Roth is a talented weaver of complex stories.
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    I suppose the quote that you start this posting with refers to the skill of Philip Roth, who in his literary work manages to create wonderful, skillful and elegant works of literature but by focusing on things that to us seem ugly in isolation: pain and revenge. The skill of this writer is the way that he can take these as his base materials and work them into something that is worthy of admiration and beauty.

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    It would help us, in giving you feedback, if you asked some specific questions about the material above.  Do you want us to assess the arguments? Do you want us to provide feedback on the phrasing?  Is the title of this submission -- "Flora" -- in any way relevant to what you are interested in?  Thanks!

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