Ch. Isherwood – Mr Norris Changes Trains

I may be a little overwrought at the present moment, but I must confess that, to me, the countries of Europe are nothing more or less than a collection of mouse-traps. In some of them, the cheese is of a superior quality, that is the only difference.

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Pleasure as a source of suffering – population control in ‘Brave new world’, ‘Naked Lunch’ and ‘Infinite Jest’.

<some paper I’ve written for classes, why not post?>

„For the first time it was inside, do you see.

The control is put inside. No more need to suffer

passively under ‘outside forces’ – to veer into any wind.”

– Thomas Pynchon ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’

 

 

I. Introduction

 

The main question that we would like to deal with in this paper is whether pleasure plays an instrumental role in controlling the way people act. This is neither a new idea, nor is it groundbreaking, and as we will see, there are at least a few major examples of literature works that explore the said topic. However, as we would like to take a look on novels written in quite different moments in history, that is, more or less, in: the beginning (1931), the middle (1959) and the end (1996) of the 20th country, it might be a move resulting in some interesting conclusions. The specific way that the pleasure is used, the way people react to it, the effects of such enterprise and finally the way in which the great authors chose to write about it are all subject to considerable and meaningful changes. It is understood by us that even though literature may not always hold the key to the ultimate truth, it does vividly show how we, collectively, think about certain issues at certain points in time. In other words, it is to be more of a hermeneutic work, than a rigorous, scientific securitizing of the possible ways our present civilization might develop.

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