Trainspotting Analysis

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Abandon all Hope: Impotence and Fragmented Communities in Last Exit to Brooklyn and Trainspotting The late capitalist novel has become an area of interest to authors, critics and readers alike. Novels such as Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis and the novels of J.G. Ballard, all gained notoriety as novels that commented on the effects of globalization, hyper-consumerism and hyper-individualism. However, these novels tend to focus on the upper and middle classes and do not comment on the effects that globalization and deindustrialization had on the working class. The much understudied Last Exit to Brooklyn (LETB) by Hubert Selby Jr. (1964) and Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh (1993), however do just that. The novels – although set almost 30 years and an ocean apart – share many commonalities, and with Welsh’s introduction to the LETB 2011 edition, it is surprising that no one has studied the two novels together. Perhaps this is because LETB has often been studied within the context of religion, violent sexuality and naturalism. While these are all valid contexts of studying the novel I would like to take a different approach by analyzing it together with Trainspotting. The novels have many similar themes, ideas and styles and it seems important to read them side by side because they both convey the conditions and effects of late capitalism and neoliberalism on the working class, and show what happens ‘when the working class stops working’
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