Saul Below is prominent American Writer of the 20th century. He is the author of number outstanding creations such as “Herzog”, “The Adventures of Augie March”, “Seize the Day”, “Ravelstein”, “Mr. Sammler’s Planet” and “Humboldt’s Gift”. He was awarded Noble prize in Literature, Pulitzer Prize and The National Medal of Arts for his eminent contribution in the United States literature. One of his most noticeable creations is “Seize the Day”, written in the 1950-s the important period for the creation and development of American middle class. The story describes one day in the life of Wilhelm Adler (known as Tommy Adler) who failed all his life being in his forties. The main hero is unemployed, insolvent, living separately from his wife as she refuses give him a divorce and alienated from his father and his children. During this day Tommy Wilhelm examines his life to understand in what kind of situation he appeared.
The significant role in whole story is given to the city. New York City amazes the reader by the carnival-like picture of Broadway Street. The main hero is immersed in the exciting beauty of the city, where the stock-market, the supposed “dream factory”, where you could earn a number of money in a moment (Saul Below, 1956).
The image of the city suggested by the author reflects the situation typical for the United States in the 50-s of the 20th century. The new wave of country dwellers moving for the better life into the big cities was in the 50-s that caused a serious influence on formation of middle class in the United States. Â Moving to big cities for promotion of perspective work and realization of ”˜American Dream’ has become popular.
But the results may differ. Depicting the images of Dr. Tamkin and the main hero Saul Below shows how different could be the city to different people. The supposed good luck could become an epic fail.
The streaming crowd of people, who hardly pay attention to the main hero and his problems, is masterfully depicted in the last chapter of the novel. During the whole story the author describes alienation of Tommy Wilhelm in the big city. His wife, demanding money (big city needs big money, it is a well known fact), his father refusing to sponsor and help him (hinting that his son is failure), his partner Dr. Tamkin, who actually hoodwinked the main hero. All these people as a part of New York City society show alienation of one, particular, person, who failed his life.
Actually the author depicts the image of contemporary city as aggressive environment, where people are indifferent to the problems of the others, where their personality is above everything and they do not want to notice and take into consideration.
The contradictory statement is perfectly observed, when the main hero, deceived by his companion Dr. Tamkin. He lost his last dollar in the stock market. The same time his wife is demanding the money. He was buried under his problems, and the city crowds, the wave of energy, carried him into the funeral of unknown man. Looking at the casket, Tommy Wilhelm understands what is waiting for him in future and inanity of ambition. He comes to understanding that all men are dying (Saul Below, 1956). The author masterfully depicts the suffering of the main hero, the thorny path of understanding and the indifference the moving developing world of contemporary city to the problems of ordinary figure.
The contradictory depiction the author uses to show that there is nothing to wait from the big city. It won’t give any indulgence. The heart of the city is stock market ”“ it could give the great perspectives and great failures. The example of the main hero shows the indifference of the big city to the newcomers and ”˜paradise seekers’. It won’t leave the chance for the failures and those who do not know the rules of the game.
Many critics noted this novel’s devotion to the contemporary society, actually the middle class. The definite image of the city and its inner contradiction to the country life showed the realities of city-life and its pure difference to the country life. The author masterfully showed the indifference and unwillingness to the other people’s problems. The cult of personal interests is typical feature of contemporary city dwellers. They would not like to change their manners and style of life. It is essential for the world of highly developed technologies and swift scientific progress.