Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 406
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning is a novel by the British author Alan Sillitoe and centers on the life of the protagonist, Arthur Seaton, a lathe operator in a bicycle factory.
This quote is from the first chapter, and it describes a typical weekend night at the working-class White Horse pub, which Seaton frequents:
For it was Saturday night, the best and bingiest glad-time of the week, one of the fifty-two holidays in the slow-turning Big Wheel of the year, a violent preamble to a prostrate Sabbath. Piled-up passions were exploded on Saturday night, and the effect of a week's monotonous graft in the factory was swilled out of your system in a burst of goodwill. You followed the motto of "be drunk and be happy," kept your crafty arms around female waists, and felt the beer going beneficially down into the elastic capacity of your guts.
The novel is an interesting read from the perspective of gender studies, and it places a great deal of emphasis on the normative masculinity of Arthur Seaton, not only in his physical appearance but also in his habits: he fights a lot, he is sexually promiscuous, and he has an aggressive attitude toward the world at large. These qualities seem at least somewhat valorized in Sillitoe's depiction of Seaton. The following quotes are all uttered by Seaton and serve to sum up his character:
All I'm out for is a good time—all the rest is propaganda.
I'm me and nobody else; and whatever people think I am or say I am, that's what I'm not, because they don't know a bloody thing about me.
Ay, by God, it's a hard life if you don't weaken, if you don't stop that bastard government from grinding your face in the muck, though there ain't much you can do about it unless you start making dynamite to blow their four-eyed clocks to bits.
If you went through life refusing all the bait dangled in front of you, that would be no life at all. No changes would be made and you would have nothing to fight against. Life would be dull as ditchwater.
As soon as you were born you were captured by fresh air that you screamed against the minute you came out. Then you were roped in by a factory, had a machine slung around your neck, and then you were hooked up by the arse with a wife.
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