A Gentleman's Life: Analysis of 'Tristram Shandy'

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Tristam Shandy, A Gentleman's Life Tristam Shandy is the narrator of his own life story. The narrative is similar to an autobiographic account of his life, but the narrative goes farther than that. It examines his philosophy, provides a glimpse into the standards and ideals of the early 1700s. The work provides an interesting perspective on the life of a noble man of his time, At times the narration is humorous. Shandy cannot explain anything simply, but must embellish the tale with long explanations that wander in and out of the original topic, eventually arriving at the destination. Shandy uses the piece to rationalize the misfortunes of his life and to try to find meaning in his personal tragedies. This essay will explore Shandy's explanations of conception, birth, christening, accidental circumcision, and other circumstances about his own birth. It supports the thesis that Shandy presents his story because he feels he must rationalize how the philosophy of his father shaped his own opinions. At the time of Shandy's conception, it was believed that a traumatic experience or energy out of alignment could affect the mental and physical traits of a child, and that this imbalance would be present throughout their entire life. When Shandy was conceived, at the very moment of his conception, his mother asked his father an off topic question that annoyed and distracted his father, throwing the act out of balance and setting Shandy up for a life of mishaps and maladies. One

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