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Characters and Images

Author DuShuJuan
Tutor ZuoCongJu
School Shandong University
Course Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords Philip Roth Kepesh Books Characters Images Interpretation
CLC I712.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
Downloads 57
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Philip Roth (1933-) is a prolific Jewish American writer. By2011, he has finished27novels. His works had distinct time features. These works revealed the inner conflict and the perplexity of the Jewish immigrant and the embarrassed situation of human. This paper focused on the "Kepesh Books" of Roth------The Professor of Desire,1977; The Breast,1972; The Dying Animal,2001. In "Kepesh Books", Philip Roth remarkably wrote about sex. He directly hit the critical theme in the area of "sex" and revealed the plight of life using joke. Because of unusual style and large creation span, this series was a special one in Roth’s works. Through interpreting the characters and images, this paper aimed at revealing the thoughts of "Kepesh Books" and holding the overall of the series.Through understanding the text of "Kepesh Books" conscientiously, combined with the American politics, society and culture background, based on cultural analysis and text interpretation. This paper studied the characters and images of this series. Chapter Ⅰ analyzed the typical characters in "Kepesh Books" among which David Kepesh is representative. The Professor of Desire and The Dying Animal described the change of Kepesh’s desire from young to old. Kepesh, who struggled between moral and desire, betrayed and escaped the moral bondage, lost in the sea of desire at last. The Breast showed the alienation of Kepesh through Kafka’s metamorphoses. Meanwhile, this part analysed two males------Arthur Schonbrunns and Baumgarten, who greatly influenced Kepesh, and five females------Birgitta and the Stray Girls, Helen, Claire and Cosucra. They were the microcosms of different groups in society. The five females in novels made Kepesh feel fear, gratitude, or cherish. The different types of women revealed the desire of Kepesh, which was endless.Chapter Ⅱ analyzed the important images in novels. Firstly, the breast. As the female trait, the breast spurred the male’s desire. The desire which could not be met changed Kepesh into the breast. The Kafka’s metamorphose was absurd. The writer’s thought about desire, gender, and identity was hidden behind the absurdity. Secondly, as a metaphor, the disease provided the space for the writer to interpret the meaning. On one hand, as a disease, the cancer not only directly hit individual’s physical pain and pathological changes and made the individual mental declined, but also revealed the clammy fall and revelry of society. On the other hand, the mental disease suggested the suffering and struggle in characters heart which was caused by two cultures and variety identities. Thirdly, the music. The author combined music with sex, and let the rhythm of music match the degree of desire. Meanwhile, the rhythm of music respond to the pulse of life,which made Kepesh feel his limited future.

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