An Interview For The New York Times By Philip Roth

1521 WordsApr 5, 20177 Pages
In an interview for the New York Times, Philip Roth stated, "Even more potent was the impact of the Vietnam War. That was the most shattering national event of my adulthood. A brutal war went on and on-- went on longer than even that other great milestone, World War II- and brought with it social turbulence unlike anything since the Depression.” A self-described member of the "most propagandized generation”, a product of World War II rhetoric, Cold War containment, and mass media, Philip Roth viewed the turbulence of the 1960s as an overtly "demythologizing decade" in which "the very nature of American things yielded and collapsed overnight.” Accordingly, American Pastoral exists as a social commentary upon the immense political and…show more content…
While the majority of revolutionary actions remained peaceful, militant actions against American society rose up through terrorist actions. Organizations such as the Weather Underground (Weathermen) and the Black Liberation Army (splintered off from the less-radical Black Panthers) assembled widespread protests and committed various acts of ‘direct action’, drawing media attention to such social upheaval. Such clashing ideologies of the Vietnam War are portrayed with tragic consequences within American Pastoral, due to the American Dream swiftly dying amid social turmoil and belonging to the nostalgia of the previous generations. With the emergence of protesting counterculture and the burgeoning Civil Rights movement, the narrative of American Pastoral eventually examines the inherent violence contained within the idealized American Dream, as well as depicting the nightmarish destruction of the social order. Narrated from the perspective of Roth’s alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, American Pastoral follows the quintessential American protagonist, Seymour "Swede" Levov, a third-generation Jewish immigrant and a romantic idealist, whose mere presence inspires hopes of eventual assimilation, as “...through the Swede, the neighborhood entered into a fantasy about itself and about the world, the fantasy of sports fans everywhere: almost like Gentiles (as they imagined Gentiles), our families could forget

More about An Interview For The New York Times By Philip Roth

Open Document