Analysis

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 224

Saturday Night, Sunday Morning is a classic novel of social realism; rather than glorifying life, it exposes its seedy side. The author, Alan Sillitoe, portrays a grim picture of working class life in the prosperous years following World War II when the world was experiencing massive industrial growth. The story’s hero—or anti-hero—is an angry, rebellious, and self-indulgent young man who rages against the monotony of factory work and envisions his life and future as a nothing more than a struggle for survival.

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Arthur Seaton, the story’s protagonist, sees no purpose to his working-class existence. He gets no satisfaction, and he takes no pride in his work. His job, which is dull and repetitive, provides stability, and Arthur craves excitement. So, when he escapes from his work, he breaks the rules and bucks the establishment. When Arthur is beaten for his indiscretions, he changes his ways, although readers get the feeling that he will continue to be just as frustrated as he was. Arthur feels angry and isolated, like many others during the post war era who became disillusioned with the capitalist system and distrustful of the ruling elite. At the end of the story, when Arthur attempts to live a conventional life, it appears he has abandoned his will to rebel and given in to the system that enslaves him.

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