UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Aspects of form as world : an interpretation of the novels of Mordecai Richler Basman, Itzik Zacharias 1971

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1972_A8 B38.pdf [ 6.79MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0302203.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0302203-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0302203-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0302203-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0302203-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0302203-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0302203-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0302203-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0302203.ris

Full Text

ASPECTS OF FORM AS WORLD: AN INTERPRETATION OF THE NOVELS OF MORDECAI RICHLER by ITZIK ZACHARIAS BASMAN B.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1964  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n t h e Department of ENGLISH  We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o t h e r e q u i r e d standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA November, 1971  In p r e s e n t i n g  t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r  an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y  a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and  I - f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  copying of t h i s  be g r a n t e d by the Head of my  thesis  Department or  I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g or p u b l i c a t i o n  of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l  g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t  written permission.  Department o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada  Date  study.  my  -i-  Abstract  Starting from the premise that form and content are one, and seeing interpretation as the elucidation of t h e i r unity, t h i s thesis attempts to interpret the novels of Mordecai Richler.  Taking form to be that which forms the  world of the novel, and to be that world as an organized whole—form as process and as product, t h i s study examines the nature of the worlds of Richler's novels, how t h e i r nature r e f l e c t s p a r t i c u l a r l y i n character, setting and plot, and, f i n a l l y , how the l i t e r a r y forms Richler uses bear upon the worlds he depicts.  The Introduction describes t h e o r e t i -  c a l l y the basis and nature of t h i s interpretive  approach,  and defines i t s scope and d i s c i p l i n e . Chapter One deals with Richler's f i r s t three novels, The Acrobats, set i n a war-weary Spain, both r e a l i s t i c a l l y treats Andre Bennett's search f o r d e f i n i t i o n and dramatizes symbolically how e v i l , as a constant force i n man's l i f e because i t i s a permanent part of h i s nature, takes i t s t o l l in Andre's death.  Son of _a Smaller Hero, Richler's most  formally r e a l i s t i c novel, describes Noah Adler's search f o r d e f i n i t i o n within a p a r t i c u l a r and t i g h t l y - k n i t s o c i a l context, and explores how the fundamental tension between man's need for passion and h i s passionate need f o r security, which  -ii-  r e s u l t s i n him suppressing h i s passions i n order to gain security, complicates t h i s search.  A Choice of Enemies  t  the most b i t t e r l y pessimistic of the f i r s t three novels, projects a world which overwhelms any attempt to f i n d meaning and value i n i t , and i n which, as the t i t l e suggests, a choice of enemies i s the only kind of choice the characters can make. Chapter Two discusses The Apprenticeship of Duddv Kravitz. focussing on how t h i s novel marks a departure from the novels which precede i t , how Richler's controlled use of the picaresque and comic forms a f f e c t s the world he projects, and how t h i s world i n i t s ambiguity and r e f l e c t s i t s e l f i n Duddy, who successful character.  corruptness  i s undoubtedly Richler's most  It i s the argument of Chapter Two that  Duddv Kravitz i s not a comic novel, and that the point at which Duddy's world absorbs him marks where the novel's overriding pessimism absorbs the comic. Chapter Three concerns i t s e l f with The Incomparable Atuk and Cocksure, and seeks to demonstrate how the pessimism of the previous novels i n t e n s i f i e s and darkens as Richler moves from a predominant mode of verisimilitude to the caricature, grotesquerie, and fantasy of s a t i r e and black humour.  The  point at which the s a t i r e turns into black humour i s the point at which the malevolence Richler depicts establishes i t s  -iii-  predominance, i t s power and significance beyond s a t i r e ' s a b i l i t y to diminish i t by r i d i c u l e .  For i t subsumes the  moral norm satire needs to make i t s r i d i c u l e e f f e c t i v e . Because Richler incorporates so much from h i s previous novels into St. Urbain's Horseman  T  Chapter Four treats i t  both as a work unto i t s e l f and as a kind of summing up. Seen from the perspective of the l a t t e r , i t serves well as the basis for a conclusion about Richler's work thus f a r . . Controlling t h i s conclusion i s the contention that the return to a mode of verisimilitude i n St. Urbain's Horseman i s i n t e g r a l to i t s accommodation of the growing pessimism of the previous novels.  Rather than being c l e a r l y affirmative,  t h i s accommodation—Jake's a b i l i t y to find some meaning and value i n the world, i s q u a l i f i e d by the unabated of the sources of Richler's pessimism.  continuance  The tension here,  paradoxically, i s the synthesis of Richler's pessimism and a new p a r t i a l resolve.  -iv-  interpretation i s not (as most people assume) an absolute value, a gesture of mind situated i n some timeless realm of c a p a b i l i t i e s . Interpretation must i t s e l f be evaluated, within a h i s t o r i c a l view of human consciousness. In some contexts, interpretation i s a l i b e r a t i n a c t . . . i n other c u l t u r a l contexts, i t i s reactionary, impertinent, cowardly, stifling.  Susan Sontag, Against I n t e r p r e t a t i o n p f  - V -  Contents  Introduction  1  Chapter One: Richler's F i r s t Three Novels  .  .  Chapter Two: The Apprenticeship of Duddv Kravitz Chapter Three: The Incomparable Atuk and Cocksure .  .  .  . .  10  . .  51 7S  Chapter Four: St. Urbain's Horseman: Bibliography  A Summing Up  .  .  109 127  -1-  Introduction  This thesis i s an attempt to interpret the novels of Mordecai Richler; and interpretation, as Northrop Frye suggests, i s an act of t r a n s l a t i o n — " t h e process of t r a n s l a t i n g into e x p l i c i t or discursive language what i s i m p l i c i t  i n the poem."^  Susan Sontag, however, i s j u s t i f i e d i n objecting harshly to that kind of interpretation which, basing i t s e l f on the f a l lacy of the d i v i s i o n between form and content, seeks to reduce the work of a r t to i t s content, and thereby seeks to make i t manageable and conformable.  In contrast to t h i s kind of  approach, Ren'wellek and Austin Warren, throughout Theory of L i t e r a t u r e . argue for the necessity of seeing the work as a t o t a l i t y , and f o r a view of "form" as "the aesthetic structure of a l i t e r a r y work—that which makes i t l i t e r a t u r e . . . t h a t which a e s t h e t i c a l l y organizes i t s 'matter: '^ ,T  Herbert Read's account of Martin Heidegger's analysis of the  concept of form amplifies what Wellek and Warren argue f o r .  Form, for Heidegger and Read, belongs to the very essence of being, since being i s that which achieves a l i m i t f o r i t s e l f : "'That which places i t s e l f i n i t s l i m i t , completing i t s e l f , and so stands, has form.'"^  Form, as a p r i n c i p l e of order,  that which forms, i s what makes a r t "complete i t s e l f " and have  -2-  autonomy, o r , as Wellek and Warren would put i t , have i t s own mode o f e x i s t e n c e .  As an o r d e r i n g p r i n c i p l e , form, t o  Heidegger, i s i d e n t i c a l w i t h l o g o s "gathering  f  which he d e f i n e s as  and t o g e t h e r n e s s : " 'gathering...maintains i n a common bond t h e c o n f l i c t i n g and t h a t which tends a p a r t . . . I t does not l e t what i t h o l d s i n i t s power d i s s o l v e i n t o an empty freedom from o p p o s i t i o n , but by u n i t i n g t h e o p p o s i t e s main_ t a i n s the f u l l sharpness o f t h e i r t e n s i o n . ' ^  T h i s d e s c r i p t i o n o f dynamic u n i t y c o u l d e a s i l y be a paraphrase of Coleridge's  conception  o f a work o f l i t e r a t u r e as an organic  u n i t y which e x i s t s i n i t s own way and w i t h i t s own k i n d o f l i f e as the whole i s s u e from the harmonious involvement o f a l l i t s p a r t s , and as the p a r t s a r e u n i f i e d by the whole t o which they belong.  F i n a l l y , i t i s c r u c i a l t o understand t h a t t h e  form o f a l i t e r a r y work i s the same whether seen as s t a t i o n a r y o r as moving through t h e work from beginning t o end, whether seen as process o r as product, s i n c e these a r e but a s p e c t s o f each o t h e r ,  i n t r i n s i c a l l y r e l a t e d ways o f speaking about t h e  »-.thlBg.« J u s t as Wellek and Warren argue t h a t a work o f l i t e r a t u r e i s a s e l f - d e f i n i n g t o t a l i t y w i t h i t s own mode o f e x i s t e n c e , so they a l s o argue t h a t "the n o v e l i s t o f f e r s . . . a world...recogn i z e a b l e as o v e r l a p p i n g self-coherent  t h e e m p i r i c a l world but d i s t i n c t i n i t s  intelligibility."?  This "self-coherent  intel-  l i g i b i l i t y " c h a r a c t e r i z e s the form o f the n o v e l ' s world, i t s  -3-  e x i s t e n c e as a s e l f - d e f i n i n g t o t a l i t y informed by a u n i f y i n g principle.  Dorothy Van Ghent makes t h i s  explicit:  A n o v e l i t s e l f i s one complex p a t t e r n , o r G e s t a l t , made up o f component ones, i n i t i n h e r e such a v a s t number o f t r a i t s , a l l o r g a n i z e d i n s u b o r d i n a t e systems t h a t f u n c t i o n under t h e governance o f a s i n g l e meaningful s t r u c t u r e , that the nearest s i m i l i t u d e f o r a novel i s a 'world.' This i s a u s e f u l s i m i l i t u d e because i t r e f l e c t s the r i c h m u l t i p l i c i t y o f t h e n o v e l ' s elements and, a t t h e same t i m e , t h e u n i t y o f t h e n o v e l as a s e l f - d e f i n i n g body.g More, no n o v e l i s t o f f e r s a w o r l d , an i l l u s i o n o f r e a l i t y , w i t h o u t s i m u l t a n e o u s l y o f f e r i n g a w o r l d - v i e w o r view o f l i f e — t h e two phrases a r e synonomous—which d i s t i n g u i s h e s the n o v e l ' s w o r l d as a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d o f w o r l d , and makes i t cohere.  Indeed, i t i s w o r l d - v i e w w h i c h F r y e d e s c r i b e s  when he d e s c r i b e s form "as meaning, h o l d i n g t h e poem t o g e t h e r i n a simultaneous  structure."^  These c o n s i d e r a t i o n s d e f i n e g e n e r a l l y t h e scope and d i s c i p l i n e o f t h i s t h e s i s , o f what i t means by i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , f o r i t seeks t o e l u c i d a t e what o r d e r s t h e w o r l d s o f R i c h l e r ' s n o v e l s , p a y i n g a t t e n t i o n t o how w o r l d - v i e w  simultaneously  i n f o r m s and i s i n f o r m e d by t h e p a r t s o f t h e s e w o r l d s . s u r e , i n t e r p r e t a t i o n can o n l y be a p p r o x i m a t i o n ,  To be  since ultimate  meaning r e s i d e s o n l y i n t h e work i t s e l f , and i t i s not t h e i n t e n t here t o engage i n h e r e t i c a l p a r a p h r a s e . understand  Seeking t o  t h e r e c i p r o c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e p a r t s and  -4-  the whole i n R i c h l e r ' s n o v e l s opens up p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r d i s c u s s i o n as m u l t i t u d i n o u s and d i v e r s e as are the p a r t s . A c e r t a i n e c l e c t i c i s m i n t h i s d i s c u s s i o n i s , t h e r e f o r e , una v o i d a b l e , and, indeed, necessary. "The  To quote Frye a g a i n ,  sense o f t a c t , o f the d e s i r a b i l i t y o f not pushing a  point o f i n t e r p r e t a t i o n  'too f a r , ' i s derived- from the f a c t  t h a t the p r o p o r t i o n i n g o f emphasis i n c r i t i c i s m should n o r m a l l y bear a rough analogy t o the p r o p o r t i o n i n g o f emphasis  i n the poem,""^ The t r u i s m t h a t n o v e l s are about people, and the synon-  omy o f the phrases world-view  and view o f l i f e ,  r e f l e c t how a  view o f the world i s i n s e p a r a b l e from a view o f the c o n d i t i o n of  e x i s t e n c e i n t h a t world, and from, i t can be deduced, an  i n s i g h t i n t o the sources o f t h a t c o n d i t i o n . sources make l i f e  And, as these  the way i t i s , determine the nature o f t h e  n o v e l ' s world, so they render the n o v e l ' s world ly  i n t e l l i g i b l e , and so become form as meaning.  self-coherentT h i s i s why  Wellek and Warren equate the n o v e l ' s " ' a t t i t u d e toward w i t h i t s " f o u r t h and l a s t  life'"  stratum, t h a t o f the 'metaphysical  q u a l i t i e s ; " " ^ and t h i s i s why, as the c o n d i t i o n o f e x i s t e n c e 1  is  embodied i n the l i v e s o f the c h a r a c t e r s , c h a r a c t e r s cannot  e x i s t i n any f i c t i o n a l worlds except t h e i r own, and why i t i s c r i t i c a l l y i n v a l i d t o t r e a t c h a r a c t e r as an i s o l a b l e w i t h i n the t o t a l p a t t e r n o f the n o v e l .  element  To understand the  world o f R i c h l e r ' s novels i s t o understand what makes  life  -5-  the way  i t i s , and i s to understand how  the way  i t i s reflects  in the characters' l i v e s . Just as characters cannot be treated as i s o l a b l e elements within the t o t a l pattern of the novel, so they must be seen i n terms of setting and plot.  Setting functions i n Richler*s  f i c t i o n both as s o c i a l causation and as metonymic expression of the condition of existence.  The Montreal Jewish ghetto  settings are the powerfully formative s o c i a l environments which most of Richler's young protagonists—Noah  Adler, Duddy  Kravitz, and Jake Hersh as a youth—grow up i n and can never f i n a l l y leave behind, just as Richler has stated that he i s himself, as a writer, rooted i n the f i r s t twenty years of h i s l i f e , and that, as a r e s u l t , and even though he l i v e s , and writes i n , England, he always writes out of his Canadian 12 experience.  The London settings, i n contrast, tend to be  backdrops for the homeless, rootless exiles who  people h i s  novels, tend to be o b j e c t i v e - c o r r e l a t i v e s for t h e i r alienated condition.  Only i n the world of Cocksure. i n which fantasy  overtakes r e a l i t y , and i n which a l l power l i e s i n the hands of the Star Maker, does setting have r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e  impor-  tance . Dorothy Van Ghent suggests that "human experience i s organized into patterns that are i n movement...'events,'"13 and E.M.  Forster has wisely defined plot as "a narrative of  -6-  events, the emphasis f a l l i n g on causality." ^  Causality,  that which orders events, which accounts for why and when things happen, i s precisely the p r i n c i p l e which orders the novel's world, and i s i m p l i c i t i n the conjunction of the events which are bodied f o r t h .  The plot of the romance, f o r  example, which unravels a complicated pattern of chance and coincidence that works mysteriously toward some end, expresses a world order of inscrutable Fate and r e l i g i o n , while the ordered disorder of the picaresque plot expresses an i n t u i t i o n 15 that the world i s without order, i s chaotic.  As the novel  thrives on p a r t i c u l a r i t y , so plot i s the p a r t i c u l a r i z i n g of world-view i n space and time.  To understand the world of  Richler's novels i s to understand how the organization of events implies the form of the novels' worlds. A consideration of form as world must take into account the l i t e r a r y forms Richler uses insofar as they structure the worlds of h i s novels, structure t h e i r world-views.  Indeed,  an examination of how h i s darkening world-view i s consistent with h i s s h i f t from a dominant mode of v e r i s i m i l i t u d e to the caricature and fantasy of satire and black humour l a r g e l y guides the course of discussion i n t h i s thesis, while the accommodation of t h i s growing pessimism i m p l i c i t i n the return to a mode of v e r i s i m i l i t u d e i n St. Urbain's Horseman provides an excellent basis f o r a conclusion. There i s no desire here  -7-  t o make c a t e g o r i c a l l g e n r e novels; rather  d e f i n i t i o n s i n which t o f i t R i c h l e r ' s  the d e s i r e has been t o e s t a b l i s h working  n i t i o n s which can be u s e f u l as t o o l s f o r b e t t e r his novels.  defi-  understanding  And these d e f i n i t i o n s have behind them a p a i n f u l  awareness o f t h e i r i n e s c a p a b l e a r b i t r a r i n e s s and o f t h e i r i n e v i t a b l e tendency toward r i g i d i t y . conscious n o v e l i s t , and a s . n o v e l i s t s  As R i c h l e r i s a s e l f imitate  l i t e r a t u r e as  w e l l as n a t u r e , ^ so he uses the technique o f submerged form, which, as d e s c r i b e d  by Johnathon Rabkin, c o n s i s t s o f u s i n g a  l i t e r a r y form i n order t o undermine i t , t o i n v e r t the view o f reality implicit presented.I?  i n i t , and so r e i n f o r c e the a c t u a l view being  Richler consistently, buries  forms w i t h i n h i s  n o v e l s , and t o understand, as much as i t can be understood, when these forms begin and end, where t h e i r views o f r e a l i t y begin and end, i s to have an i l l u m i n a t i n g i n s i g h t i n t o the k i n d o f world he i s g i v i n g form t o .  -8-  Footnotes  N o r t h r o p F r y e , Anatomy o f C r i t i c i s m (New York: Atheneum, 1969;, p. »6. Susan Sontag, A g a i n s t I n t e r p r e t a t i o n (New York: D e l t a 1966), p. 8. 2  -i  /  Rene W e l l e k and A u s t i n Warren, Theory o f L i t e r a t u r e (New Y o r k : H a r c o u r t , Brace and W o r l d , 1956), p. 241. ^ H e r b e r t Read, Tj_e O r i g i n s o f Form i n A_rt (New York: H o r i z o n P r e s s , 1965), p. 79. 5  6  I b i d . , p. 80. F r y e , p. 83. W e l l e k and Warren, p.  214.  . Dorothy Van Ghent, The E n g l i s h N o v e l (New York: H o l t , R i n e h a r t and W i n s t o n , I 9 6 0 ) , p. 6. d  9  F r y e , p. 83.  1 0  I b i d . , p. 86.  1 1  W e l l e k and Warren, p. 225.  Nathan Cohen, "A C o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h M o r d e c a i R i c h l e r , " Tamarack Review ( W i n t e r , 1957), p. 7. 1 2  1 3  Van Ghent, p. 5.  ^ E.M. F o r s t e r , A s p e c t s o f the N o v e l P e n g u i n , 1963), p. 130.  (Harmondsworth:  15 S t u a r t M i l l e r , The P i c a r e s q u e N o v e l ( C l e v e l a n d : P r e s s o f Case Western U n i v e r s i t y R e s e r v e , 1907), pp. 9-12.  -9-  1  6  Frye, pp. 95-96.  17 Johnathon Rabkin, The Technique of Modern F i c t i o n (London: Edward Arnold, 1 9 5 5 ) , pp. 122-125.  -10-  Ohapter One Richler's F i r s t Three Novels  In The Acrobats. Andre's search f o r values, for an i d e n t i t y with i n t e g r i t y , i s made next to impossible by the world's e v i l , which, i n i t s heedless destruction, define's l i f e ' s absurdity.  In the world of t h i s novel, e v i l , the w i l l  to cause suffering and destroy l i f e , i s universal i n the sense that i t exists i n a l l men. l y , man  Consequently, to l i v e moral  must struggle against the e v i l within himself:  idea or cause...will save us a l l . In spite of t h i s necessity, man  "no  Salvation i s personal.""'"  tends to evade his moral  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y by l i v i n g i n i l l u s i o n s , by defining the problem as existing outside of himself, or by simply resigning himself, as Derek does, to what i s worst about himself. Further, since e v i l exists i n a l l men, predictably and as quickly as one man  i t can strike as uncan harm another, and  i t can become as abstract and entangled as the ways i n which men  s o c i a l l y and p o l i t i c a l l y organize themselves. George Woodcock i s accurate i n describing the style i n 2  The Acrobats as "derivative e c l e c t i c i s m . "  Further, the  s t y l i s t i c variations structure the search for values.  The  realism of the concentrated descriptions of the setting, pregnant with concrete, sensory d e t a i l , and the realism of  -li-  the presentation of character and action, projects the world i n i t s objective r e a l i t y .  Andrews  In contrast, i n the rendering of  tormented inner l i f e , t h i s description s h i f t s into a  style which juxtaposes and merges r e a l i s t i c d e t a i l and impress i o n i s t i c images which at times become s u r r e a l .  Not only i s  the inner world of nightmare, h a l l u c i n a t i o n and paranoia seen from inside i t s e l f , but i t i s b u i l t into the narrative as a way  of seeing the world and as a way  insanity.  of expressing the world's  Indeed, at times i t i s confusing whether c e r t a i n  descriptions are A n d r e ' s impressions  or the narrator s l i p p i n g  into impressionistic description: "Lamp post l i k e the luminous yellow s p i t t l e of gnarled immobile c r i p p l e s . Neon cafe* l i g h t s , wavering kaleidoscopic breeze i n a cash-and-carry limbo, adv e r t i s i n g p a r t i c u l a r brands of g l i t t e r death" (p. 154). Regardless of t h i s confusion, just as Susan Sontag suggests that "every style embodies an epistemological decision, an interpretation of how  and what we perceive,"3  so t h i s contrast  i n styles projects the d i a l e c t i c between inner and outer worlds, i n which the conscious  s e l f i s the point of i n t e r s e c t i o n and  synthesis between them.  Just as Andre^ as an a r t i s t , remakes  external r e a l i t y i n his a r t , so, as a man, r e a l i t y i n h i s mind.  he remakes external  And, while others generally tend to avoid  what i s worst about themselves, Andre's descent into d e l i r i u m — "There was no longer an outer objective world" (p. 1 4 1 ) — i s  the  -12-  measure o f how deeply he c o n f r o n t s h i s own e v i l i n order t o remake h i m s e l f .  Generally,  s i n c e s t y l e i s an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n  o f how and what we p e r c e i v e , t h e . v a r i a t i o n s i n s t y l e i n The A c r o b a t s p r o j e c t v a r i o u s ways o f s e e i n g , and being world which d e f i n e and q u a l i f y each o t h e r .  i n , the  The j u x t a p o s i t i o n  o f t h e sympathetic d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e f u l l - b l o o d e d , v i o l e n t l y passionate,  s t r e e t - d a n c i n g c e l e b r a n t s i n t h e i r e c s t a s y and t h e  s a t i r i c d e s c r i p t i o n o f the thin-blooded,  b r i t t l e Mrs. Ina  B i c k s i n her f o r m a l i t y i s an obvious example o f t h i s  (pp. 3 7 -  40). George Bowering has d e s c r i b e d e x c e l l e n t l y t h e novel's panoramic s t r u c t u r e : The book i s made up o f s h u f f l e d scenes, the s e a r c h i n g s p o t l i g h t s , s h i f t from a c r o bat t o a c r o b a t . . . The l i g h t s probe a l l over V a l e n c i a i n the present, but a l s o i n the past o f Montreal and Madrid and B u s i nesstown U.S.A. The d i f f e r e n t p l a c e s , t h e whole a c r o b a t i c r o u t i n e , and s n i p p e t s o f knowledge a r e exchanged with handholds. We watch not the performance o f one man's l i f e , but t h e tumbling p a t t e r n o f t h e human c o n d i t i o n . ^ What the " s h u f f l e d scenes" p r o j e c t , however, i s not j u s t "the tumbling p a t t e r n o f the human c o n d i t i o n , " but more, t h e performance o f p a r t i c u l a r l i v e s w i t h i n t h i s p a t t e r n . the panoramic s t r u c t u r e i s an e x p r e s s i o n o f man's unique s e l f and u n i v e r s a l s e l f .  Indeed,  o f the simultaneity This  simultaneity  i s c r u c i a l t o the novel's world-view: t h a t the human c o n d i t i o n  -13-  as such i s the generalized state of a l l men, and i s , given an e s s e n t i a l human nature, man's metaphysical condition, a dimension of which i s the world's e v i l .  Each man i s a unique  embodiment of t h i s condition, and h i s actions are i t s part i c u l a r manifestation i n time and place.  This i s expressed  i n the beginning of Book I I as i t moves from a quotation from Maimonides' A Guide of the Perplexed, to a d e s c r i p t i o n of "the world at large" during "an ordinary day," to the actual setting of the novel: " I t i s now 11:30 a.m., Sunday, A p r i l 18, 1951. Valencia, Spain."  In terms of the world-  view, the various s i m i l a r i t i e s between characters suggest t h e i r sameness i n r e l a t i o n to universal human nature; and, the tension between the foreshadowed  i n e v i t a b i l i t y of Andre's  death and h i s search for meaning springs from the concurrence of the symbolic dramatization of e v i l taking i t s t o l l , and the r e a l i s t i c treatment of his search. Just as Richler personally contemplates a world o f f a l l e n absolutes, so the world of The Acrobats i s a p h y s i c a l l y and s p i r i t u a l l y f a l l e n world.  And i f , as George Bowering percep-  t i v e l y suggests, Toni symbolizes Spain, "war-weary...expressing the desire to get out o f the ideological war, and seeking means to survive,"5  then the f a l l e n innocence and n o b i l i t y  of her ancestral past symbolizes the f a l l e n innocence and n o b i l i t y of Spain's past: "She was a fisherman's daughter, from the Island of I b i z a .  The n o b i l i t y o f that Mslandi people  -14-  ...was p l a i n l y on h e r f a c e "  (p. 3 2 ) . The i d e a o f an i r r e -  deemable i d y l l i c past i s suggested when Andre's dream, which t r a n s l a t e s h i s agonizing  quest i n t o an e x o t i c adventure o f  romance i n F r y e ' s d e f i n i t i o n o f t h a t term as a f i c t i o n a l mode characterized  by an i d e a l i z e d world o f marvels midway between  myth and r e a l i s m ,  i s undercut by the i n t r u s i o n o f a compara-  t i v e l y harsh r e a l i s m :  "So he s e t s a i l again l o o k i n g  i n t o the  wind... The f l o o r was a l i t t e r o f p a i n t - s o i l e d r a g s , l i n s e e d drippings, The and  brushes, p a i n t s "  (p. 19).  predominant imagery o f f i l t h , d i s e a s e ,  body u g l i n e s s ,  r a t s , which evokes the s q u a l o r o f the " f a l l e n w o r l d , "  becomes i n i t s t o t a l i t y a metaphor o f man's d i s e a s e d ality.  spiritu-  And the i m p l i c a t i o n i n t h i s metaphor -is t h a t the  world's s q u a l o r i s an e x t e n s i o n o f man because he has d e f i l e d the world w i t h h i s e v i l . polluted I d a — h i s  "filth  Thus, Toni t e l l s Andre', who has i n s i d e her"  (p. 116), "There i s some-  t h i n g r o t t e n i n s i d e you"(p. 137). The f u r t h e r i m p l i c a t i o n i s t h a t man must s t a r t from the s q u a l o r and misery o f h i s s t a t e i n h i s search f o r v a l u e s . recurrent  fallen  T h i s i s symbolized by t h e  image o f t h e c r i p p l e d beggar: man, c r i p p l e d by h i s  f a l l e n n e s s , the r e s u l t o f h i s e v i l , i s reduced t o s e r v i t u d e i n order t o survive.  As T o n i exclaims t o Andre'', "You can do  n o t h i n g . . . K i l l , and k i l l ,  and k i l l .  on mv knees" ( p . 43, i t a l i c s mine).  Me, I would r a t h e r  live  And as Barney's r e a l l a s t  n a m e — L a z a r u s — i m p l i e s , man i s a l e p r o u s beggar, but one whom  r  -15-  C h r i s t w i l l not r a i s e from the dead.  That the crippled beggar  o b j e c t i f i e s the s p i r i t u a l state of the people i n the novel i s e x p l i c i t : just as he sings "an imbecile tune...arms outstretched as i f awaiting c r u c i f i x i o n " (p. 30, i t a l i c s mine) so "the f i f t y year old men-children attempted to renew...calculated i d i o c y " (p. 29, i t a l i c s mine) and so the "new  post-war generation" s i t s  "sad and unknowing.. .waiting,, waiting f o r something they were at a. loss to explain" (p. 29, i t a l i c s mine) , locked into t h e i r s p i r i t u a l void as the beggar i s immobilized by h i s severed legs. The carnival i s the attempt to escape the f i l t h and u g l i ness of l i f e through f e s t i v i t y , and i s the r i t u a l i s t i c to exorcize e v i l by burning the f a l l a s .  attempt  And just as "They put  our Spain, / That sorely wounded Spain, i n carnival dress" (p. 5) so the v i s i t i n g Americans are, f o r Andre^ "superimposed upon the catastrophe of Spain" (p. 72), t h e i r own carnival the aimless s o c i a l i z i n g at the "Mocambo Club."  Related to the perva-  sive celebrating i s the laughter which recurs so frequently as to become a l e i t m o t i f .  The laughter i s s i g n i f i c a n t as a res-  ponse to the cosmic joke of an absurd world, a response which i s a self-protective stance that attempts to accommodate the meaninglessness.  For laughter can be seen as e g o - g r a t i f i c a t i o n  which derives from a sense of superiority, l i b e r t y and  triumph,  just as to laugh at a joke i s to revel i n the triumph of understanding i t . ? Thus, to laugh at an absurd world which defies  -16-  the meanings imposed on i t ,  i s t o apprehend t h e joke o f i t s  a b s u r d i t y , and i s , i m p l i c i t l y , t o f e e l s u p e r i o r t o those who s t r i v e t o c r e a t e meaning.  Some o f t h i s i s what l i e s  behind  Derek's c y n i c a l g i g g l i n g and behind Andre's statement t o G u i l l e r m o t h a t " E v e r y t h i n g i s a j o k e " ( p . 69). kndve  Yet, after  has h i s r e v e l a t i o n and r e a l i z e s t h a t he i s s u p e r i o r t o  what he has b e e n — " I am a b i g g e r man now... My f e e l i n g s are more than anger"  (p. 161)—"His  laugh began s l o w l y then s w e l l e d  up and broke out h a p p i l y " (p. I 6 l ) . d e s c r i b e d as a "melancholy  S i g n i f i c a n t l y , Chaim,  clown," combines both an i r r e v e r e n t  and a s e r i o u s a t t i t u d e toward t h e world and h i m s e l f .  By h i d i n g  h i s v u l n e r a b i l i t y behind s e l f - d e p r e c a t i n g jokes and by absorb i n g h i s past o f anguish, he s t r i k e s a s u r v i v a l balance o f buoyancy through humour and humanity through humanistic  serious-  ness. The metaphor o f people as a c r o b a t s i s r e l a t e d t o the image o f t h e c r i p p l e d beggar.  I n i t s broadest sense, t h i s metaphor  d e s c r i b e s the i n o r d i n a t e d i f f i c u l t y o f o r d e r i n g chaos, o f , m e t a p h o r i c a l l y speaking, m a i n t a i n i n g balance on the t i g h t r o p e o f e x i s t e n c e i n an a n n i h i l a t i n g w o r l d — t h a t i s , the a c r o b a t i c s of survival.  I f i t seems d i s t o r t e d t o see a s i m i l a r i t y between  the image o f t h e c r i p p l e d beggar and the metaphor o f people as a c r o b a t s , i t i s l e s s so when understood t h a t j u s t as t h e v u l n e r a b l e , immobilized beggar depends upon o t h e r s f o r s u r v i v a l , so the acrobat i n animated  suspension, where p r e c i s e l y h i s  -17-  animated freedom makes him most vulnerable and most immobil i z e s h i s capacity f o r the sure footing of s u r v i v a l , i s t o t a l l y dependent upon the other's handhold.  This metaphbric  meaning and the description of Andre doing "tightrope dances on high and windy places" (p. 127) c r y s t a l l i z e i n h i s encounter with'Kraus on the bridge, i t s e l f a symbol of the tightrope. The simultaneity of Andre's death and the explosion of the giant gypsy f a l l a aligns the r e a l i s t i c treatment of h i s search for meaning and the symbolic dramatization of the world's e v i l .  His death i s the climax i n t h i s dramatization.  Just as i n Romeo and J u l i e t where the abundant foreshadowing T  implies the f a t a l i s t i c i n e v i t a b i l i t y of the "star-crossed lovers'" death, and just as t h e i r death i s the inevitable r e s u l t of t h e i r parents' s t r i f e , so the heavy foreshadowing of Andre's death implies l i k e i n e v i t a b i l i t i e s : w i l l be k i l l e d .  "Andre'T  You  I t i s the w i l l of society and unavoidable.  Even i f i t i s only a symbolic death" (p. 68). And, at t h i s l e v e l , while Andre i s a helpless victim of the world e v i l , Kraus, described as a " L i t t l e wooden soldier...a puppet" of "reflexes, emotions, reactions" (pp. 178-179), "slow to comprehend but quick to violence" (p. 18) i s the automaton agent of t h i s e v i l .  His personal proximity to h i s symbolic role  suggests how much as an i n d i v i d u a l he contributes to the force of which he i s the agent.  f  -18-  That Kraus as one i n d i v i d u a l i s one contributor to e v i l as a universal force i l l u s t r a t e s that t h i s force i s man-made, and that the dramatization of i t s workings i s the dramatization of the havoc men reap upon themselves.  Consequently, while the  f a l l a s are s a t i r i c caricatures, to the extent that men are subject to universal forces inexorably exerting themselves, and to the extent that the f a l l a s , as the projections of men,  embody  these f o r c e s — " T h e i r construction hadn't sprung from the spontaneous mischief of a fiesta-minded c i t y , but instead was part of the master plan of some d i a b o l i c a l s p i r i t " (p. 4 6 ) — s o  men,  as the embodiment of these forces, are themselves f a l l a s , the caricatures of the caricatures they construct.  Thus, just as  the f a l l a s are burnt as inanimate scapegoats because " i n a l l of us there i s some e v i l and we're just too weak to burn i t . So we build e v i l toys...and burn them" (p. 146), so Andre becomes an inanimate scapegoat for Kraus who cannot face h i s own e v i l . And just as the f a l l a s hover constantly and menacingly i n the background as expressions to men of what they are, so Kraus and Andre hover menacingly i n each other's backgrounds as reminders to each other of t h e i r own e v i l .  Further, Andre and Toni are both linked  to the giant gypsy f a l l a : Andre i s "the doomed gypsy," and the inevitable burning of the f a l l a presages h i s own death; Toni whom he loves so that she can destroy him (p. 20), expects him "to pop o f f or be shot any moment (p. 7 7 ) , Chaim as a "gypsy" (p. 7 7 ) .  and i s described by  Because men r e f l e c t the r e f l e c t i o n s  -19-  o f t h e m s e l v e s , the e x p l o s i o n o f the g i a n t gypsy f a l l a c o i n c i d e n t w i t h Andre's death b o t h m i r r o r s and the w o r l d e v i l t a k i n g i t s i n e v i t a b l e At the p e r s o n a l l e v e l , each man and  conquer the e v i l w i t h i n him.  i s mirrored  toll. must c o n f r o n t ,  recognize  And t h i s e f f o r t on Andre's  p a r t marks h i s h e r o i c and p a r a d o x i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e , explicitly  by  and  d e n i e s the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n t h a t "the moral seems t o  be t h a t by t r y i n g t o s t a y uncommitted, Bennett i s . . . d e s t r o y e d . " ^ Andre i n v i t e s a g o n i z i n g c o n f u s i o n i n o r d e r t o g a i n a p r o p e r understanding  of things:  "There was  s t r o n g enough he would f i n d i t . would be c o n f u s i o n " attendant  (p. 6 l ) .  the t r u t h . . . a n d  i f he  But u n t i l t h e n . . . h i s  was  centre  That t h i s c o n f u s i o n and i t s  a n g u i s h are the source o f h i s m o r a l s t r e n g t h e x p r e s s e s  i n the n o v e l ' s terms the e x i s t e n t i a l paradox t h a t man's i n s e c u r i t y i s the source o f h i s freedom, t h a t h i s dread i s the b e g i n n i n g illusion  o f h i s " a u t h e n t i c i t y , " because s e c u r i t y i s an  i n the f a c e o f the sheer i n c o m p r e h e n s i b i l i t y o f  existence.  W h i l e the r e f u s a l t o get i n v o l v e d w i t h the  i s non-action  which i s cowardice (p. 56)  i s a coward (p. 70)  world  (Derek a d m i t s t h a t  he  and t h a t he i s bored and impotent (p. 1 5 0 ) ) ,  Andre i s courageous t o the e x t e n t t h a t he i s i n v o l v e d w i t h  the  w o r l d , even though i n t h i s i n v o l v e m e n t he s h a r e s i n i t s f i l t h . As Chaim says t o him, uncommitted.  "You  are not bored.  You are  You a r e always t a k i n g p a r t . . . The  not...  e a r t h i s i n your  -20-  hand and you are d i r t y " (p. 128).  And w h i l e Andre desper-  a t e l y d e s i r e s to b e l i e v e i n something, h i s l a c k o f committment i s i n a c t u a l i t y h i s r e f u s a l t o d e f i n e h i m s e l f g l i b l y o r , l i k e Kraus, t o d e f i n e h i m s e l f by making a c h o i c e o f enemies. To r e c o g n i z e , c o n f r o n t and conquer one's e v i l demands meeting s q u a r e l y one's p a s t , f o r , as S a r t r e argues,  "the  r e l a t i o n o f the present t o the past i s the r e l a t i o n o f . . . consciousness to b e i n g . . . The past i s the being which I I t i s t h a t which I cannot  am...  change, although I can g i v e i t new  meanings through my a c t i o n s . " "  Andre, t h e r e f o r e , must l e a r n  " t h a t he c o u l d not sever h i m s e l f from h i s past but i n s t e a d c o u l d absorb i t i n t e l l i g e n t l y " ( p . 73). h i s past through  f l a s h b a c k , anecdote,  The r e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f nightmare and  c i n a t i o n becomes c o r r e l a t i v e t o h i s r e l i v i n g i t and  halluabsorbing  it. I n p a r a d i s e , man's mind i s f i l l e d w i t h the b l i s s o f innocence, but i n the n o v e l ' s f a l l e n world, he i s steeped i n tormenting ness.  s u b j e c t i v i t y , the i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n o f h i s f a l l e n -  Consequently,  s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n , where the  conscious  s e l f i s the p o i n t o f i n t e r s e c t i o n between i n n e r and  outer  worlds, demands r a i s i n g t h i s s u b j e c t i v i t y t o the l e v e l o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s , the awareness o f the o u t e r world, t i v i t y tends toward i n s a n i t y .  s i n c e subjec-  Thus, a t a peak p o i n t i n h i s  d e l i r i u m , Andre's near i n s a n i t y i s due t o the encroachment  -21-  o f s u b j e c t i v i t y upon o b j e c t i v i t y : "There was  no l o n g e r an  o u t e r o b j e c t i v e w o r l d " (p. 141); and w h i l e h i s f e a r o f r a t s may  be a r e p r e s s e d f e a r o f c o n f r o n t i n g h i s own  presence  evil,  the  o f the r a t on h i s body becomes the c o u n t e r p a r t i n  e x t e r n a l r e a l i t y f o r h i s i n n e r torment which now i n t o consciousness:  i s released  "Suddenly something snapped... The  the booming i n h i s head...easing  up...  had been, r a t s i n the room" (p. 158).  There were, and  strain, always  And when, a t t e m p t i n g t o  c l u t c h the r a t , he d i g s h i s f i n g e r n a i l s i n t o h i s own c l u t c h e s h i m s e l f as the source o f h i s own  evil.  skin,  Andre has  emerged from the womb o f h i s f a l l e n n e s s ; he has been born awareness.  he  into  T h i s i s s i g n i f i e d by the f a c t t h a t h i s i n i t i a l  r e v e l a t i o n i s o n l y a b e g i n n i n g which w i l l need growth: he was not y e t c e r t a i n o f what was happening t o him. t a k e t i m e , he t h o u g h t "  "But It will  (p. l 6 l ) , and by Chaim's comment t h a t  Andre " d i e d b e f o r e he reached m a t u r i t y " (p. 188). To the e x t e n t t h a t Andre i s one more i n d i v i d u a l i n an i n d i f f e r e n t w o r l d , h i s death r e n d e r s h i s e n t i r e s t r u g g l e poignantly f u t i l e .  H i s i n s i g n i f i c a n c e i s p o w e r f u l l y conveyed  i n h i s death-throes  as the r e a d e r , p r o j e c t e d i n t o h i s mind,  i s moved t o awe his 'No.  by h i s t e n a c i o u s f i g h t f o r l i f e — " S u d d e n l y ,  f i n g e r s d i g g i n g i n t o the mud,  he p u l l e d h i m s e l f upwards...  J u s t a b i t - y e t ' " (p. 1 6 5 ) — a n d t h e n i s d i s t a n c e d and  numbed as t h e n a r r a t i v e s h i f t s t o an i n d i f f e r e n t e x t e r n a l  -22-  p o i n t o f view: away." (p. 165)  "the man And  saw t h a t he was  dead and he walked  j u s t as the n o v e l c o n t i n u e s i n t o Book  IV, so h i s death becomes one p a s t event i n an ongoing meaning more o r l e s s t o d i f f e r e n t people who out t h e i r l i v e s i n t h e i r own ways.  world,  c o n t i n u e to  S t i l l Book IV and  live  the  " A f t e r w a r d s " s i g n i f y t h a t a t l e a s t t h e r e i s an a f t e r w a r d s . The  same p a t t e r n s c o n t i n u e :  l a r i t i e s suggest  j u s t as c h a r a c t e r s ' s i m i -  t h e i r sameness i n r e l a t i o n t o u n i v e r s a l  human n a t u r e , so Sam,  as has Andre, t h i n k s e v e r y t h i n g i s p a r t  o f a tremendous j o k e , and has Kraus' a t h l e t i c b u i l d .  Toni's  baby, Kraus' son named Andre, c o n t i n u e s w i t h i n h i m s e l f the p a s t , and b e a r s , presumably h i s own  burden o f e v i l , , As  the  n o v e l ends on a note o f "hope", so a l l t h a t has gone b e f o r e has been the e x p l o r a t i o n and p r e s e n t a t i o n o f i t s p o s s i b i l i t i e s . Andre's s e a r c h f o r d e f i n i t i o n o c c u r s i n a f a l l e n w o r l d rendered absurd by the d e s t r u c t i v e n e s s o f i t s e v i l , and i n w h i c h t h e absence, o f a s t a b l e s o c i a l s e t t i n g i s p a r t o f the chaos.  Jewishness,  as p e r s o n i f i e d by Chaim, becomes a  u n i v e r s a l model f o r h u m a n i s t i c s u r v i v a l .  I n Son o f a S m a l l e r  Hero. which'George Woodcock d e s c r i b e s as "the o n l y n o v e l by R i c h l e r t h a t , i n a customary sense, can be c a l l e d r e a l i s t i c , "-^ the i n t e n s e l y v i s u a l i z e d r e a l i s m p r o j e c t s the  tightly-knit  s o c i a l s e t t i n g which frames and s t r u c t u r e s Noah's s e a r c h f o r d e f i n i t i o n , as R i c h l e r e x p l o r e s the p o s s i b i l i t i e s f o r s e l f -  -23-  d e f i n i t i o n offered by Jewishness as i t exists within the " i n v i s i b l e walls" of the g h e t t o T h o u g h the i n s c r i p t i o n of Son of a Smaller Hero, Dostoievski's proposition that " I f God did not e x i s t , everything would be lawful," a n t i c i pates a metaphysical theme, i t i s a measure of the novel's social-rootedness that i t i s concerned as much, i f not more, with the quest for d e f i n i t i o n within a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l context, than within the vacuum caused by God's death. •The e x i s t e n t i a l concerns i n Son of a Smaller Hero underline why i t i s a r e a l i s t i c rather than a n a t u r a l i s t i c novel. Naturalism  posits a deterministic universe i n which character,  and destiny are completed, shaped by heredity and environment. In contrast, e x i s t e n t i a l i s m asserts that a man cannot be reduced to his "givens", that, as a consciousness, he can project beyond them and make them over for himself.  Son of  a Smaller Hero explores the s o c i a l side of the e x i s t e n t i a l route to s e l f - f u l f i l l m e n t . world of ready-made  Because man finds himself i n a  meanings and modes of behaviour, he must  separate himself from the conventional and negate i t s authority i n order to reconstruct i t . This necessity i s complicated by man's passionate submitting  need f o r security, which he s a t i s f i e s by  to the authority of the conventional.  In doing so,  he invariably denies h i s passions which are a threat to h i s security.  Thus, i n contrast to The. Acrobats  f  i n which e v i l i s  -24-  symbolized  as a cosmic force, e v i l i n Son of a Smaller Hero  i s the explosion of these denied passions i n private perversions concealed by the facade of conventional l i f e ,  and  i s the hypocrisy and deception inherent i n t h i s l i f e .  Noah  negates conventional authority and exposes i t s inherent hypocrisy, but he also creates confusion tending toward chaos by disrupting the order t h i s authority provides. The organization of the novel into seasons projects both c y c l i c a l and l i n e a r motion, which relate subtly to the tension between conventionality and i t s d i s r u p t i o n . C y c l i c a l motion i s the motion of conventionality perpetuating i t s e l f without any change i n i t s essence,  just as the r i t u a l of the Adler  family meetings continue, and just as Melech, who  lays down  the law to his family, i s as b i t t e r at the end of the novel as he i s at the beginning.  Just as l i n e a r motion occurs i n  time, within the recurring seasons, so i t i s change within the context of what does not change, just as Noah transforms h i s Jewish i d e n t i t y but cannot step outside h i s Jewishness, and just as V i v a l d i ' s The Four Seasons i s perpetually b e a u t i f u l , but p a r t i c u l a r l y l i b e r a t i n g and transforming to whomever i t affects. To an extent, people are what shapes them.  And i n Son  of _ Smaller Hero people are the unique embodiments of t h e i r f  environments, inter-related by the s o c i a l bonds between them  -25-  and by t h e i r common need f o r order.  Thus, just as the  shuffled scenes of The Acrobats project the performance of p a r t i c u l a r l i v e s within the tumbling pattern of the human condition, so the shuffled scenes i n Son of a. Smaller Hero, as they s h i f t from the teeming Jewish ghetto, to the Adler household, to Theo's apartment, to Noah and Miriam, to Noah alone, project Noah as a unique i n d i v i d u a l , whose i n d i v i d u a l i t y both i s d i f f e r e n t from and similar to, and both influences and i s a product of, who  and what are around him.  Moreover,  just as the plot i n The Acrobats i s the p a r t i c u l a r working out of universal human nature i n time and place, so, i n Son of a Smaller Hero. the s o c i a l setting becomes embodied i n plot to express how the environment  i s embodied i n those l i v i n g i n i t .  Thus, a f t e r the f i r s t long and excellent description of the ghetto, the narrator moves to the s p e c i f i c plot detail-:  "On  that Sunday morning i n the summer of 1952...Melech Adler...sat ...considering the prospects before him" (p. 18). s o n i f i e s the Jewish "nouveau-riche."  Max per-  The union of the Jews  "with the great prime minister i n the great fight against communism" finds expression i n Shloime's heroic struggle against the red menace.  Indeed, "Shloime's speech was an incongruous mix-  ture of newspaper e d i t o r i a l s , army lectures and ghetto fear... Shloime had found h i s l e v e l . (p. 209).  He was a f u l l y adjusted member"  Just as "the o l d men  sipped...tea on t h e i r balconies,"  -26-  (p. 16) so Melech s i t s "on the kitchen chair on h i s balcony" (p. 18).  And at exactly the same time that Noah feels the  " s h i f t i n g of the ghetto sands," he feels "a need to re-define himself" (p. 203). "Defining...Against" (p. 203) secures i d e n t i t y i n Son of a Smaller Hero, and underlies the divisiveness and enmity so pervasive i n the novel.  Defining against involves stereo-  typing, thus objectifying,  the existence of the other, and i s  tantamount to a cowardly fear of s e l f .  As Rene Lafarge puts  it: So i f the Jew did not already exist, we would invent him. Americans...have... the Negro who symbolizes i n t h e i r mind the e v i l of humanity. I t i s always t h i s same desire to s h i f t onto someone else the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y we are refusing.12 Both Jews and Gentiles consolidate t h e i r i d e n t i t i e s at the expense of each other.  Thus, Melech t e l l s Panofsky, "What,  t e l l me, do Yoshke's children do on New Year's? get—like Why?  Drunk they  pigs... So they got the nerve to c a l l us d i r t y Jews.  We're too smart for them, that's why"  (p. 91).  And  though Panofsky argues that "a Jew i s no smarter and no dumber than a Goy" (p. 91), he sees the world as a struggle between communists and c a p i t a l i s t s .  Within the ghetto i t s e l f , enmity  broods between the r e l i g i o u s and the non-religious, between families, between classes and between generations; and the m i l i t a r y imagery and the violence convey t h i s enmity.  Noah's  -27-  family "presented a s o l i d front to the Goyim" (p. 4 0 ) ; Noah "had  threatened  and  to report uncles and cousins for war  p r o f i t e e r i n g " (p. 4 0 ) .  Shloime and his gang rob and  nearly  k i l l Panofsky; and Shloime eventually joins the army. sharp contrast, Noah and Miriam overturn temporarily generational and conventional  In  ethnic,  barriers i n t h e i r love; and  Noah, i n h i s search for i d e n t i t y , requires, l i k e Andre'', "a bigger reply than No"  (p.  203).  Melech, the overbearing  father and the father-figure  against whom almost everyone i n h i s family rebels, embodies the way  of l i f e of the f i r s t - g e n e r a t i o n Jews insofar as he  t y p i f i e s them.  Intensely p a t r i a r c h a l , stern and  unmerciful,  his i s the Old Testament God who  he creates i n his own  "Each man  image.  creates God  i n his own  image:  Melech's God...was  ...stern, just, and without mercy" (p. 4 4 ) .  Exemplary i n  defining against, his cowardly hatred of the "Goyim," defines h i s own  limited s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n , as he allows the way  thinks the Gentiles see him,  control the way  he sees, and  toward, them, and as he uses them to j u s t i f y h i s own ''Wolf Adler died because h i s father was the Goyim to define him"  (p. 216).  he acts  dishonesty:  a coward and allowed  Indeed, he personifies  Isaac Deutscher's comment that: In t h i s period of h i s t o r y . . . i s not Jewish consciousness a r e f l e x . . . o f anti-semitic pressures? I suppose that i f anti-semitism  -28-  had n o t proved so t e r r i b l y d e e p - r o o t e d , p e r s i s t e n t and p o w e r f u l i n C h r i s t i a n c i v i l i z a t i o n , t h e Jews would n o t have existed...as a d i s t i n c t community.^ A g a i n i n sharp c o n t r a s t , Noah does n o t want t o need enemies the way h i s " g r a n d f a t h e r  needs t h e Goyim" ( p . 3 1 ) .  R a t i o n a l i z i n g h i s d e s i r e f o r revenge as a d e s i r e t o avenge, M e l e c h d e s i r e s t o p u n i s h Noah f o r p u n c t u r i n g h i s sense o f h i m s e l f : "Melech's God...would reward him and p u n i s h the boy" ( p . 2 3 2 ) .  Thus, s i n c e Melech c r e a t e s God i n h i s own  image, h i s God o f j u s t i c e i s i n a c t u a l i t y h i s own s e l f - j u s t i fication.  Nairn K a t t a n i s i n a c c u r a t e , t h e r e f o r e , when he  suggests: Noah i s . . . r i g h t t o r e b e l a g a i n s t p a r e n t s who e x p l o i t a u t h e n t i c t r a d i t i o n s . . . F o r t unately, the grandfather i s there t o remind one t h a t t h i s r e l i g i o n which h i s u n s c r u p u l o u s c h i l d r e n have debased had... a t r u t h t h a t has...been o b s c u r e d and concealed.-^ The  i n a c c u r a c y l i e s i n . t h e f a c t t h a t Melech e x p l o i t s a u t h e n t i c  t r a d i t i o n s as much as h i s c h i l d r e n do, and i n t h e f a c t t h a t Noah r e b e l s a g a i n s t h i s g r a n d f a t h e r does a g a i n s t h i s p a r e n t s . turned  a t l e a s t as much as he  That Melech's laws can be o v e r -  i s a measure o f t h e tenuousness o f t h e a u t h o r i t y w h i c h  i s t h e i r source, authority.  s i n c e a l a w i s a r u l e o f a c t i o n s u s t a i n e d by  The imagery o f y e l l o w i n g decay a s s o c i a t e d w i t h  M e l e c h suggests t h e decay o f t h e way o f l i f e he has e n f o r c e d ;  -29-  and since Melech's authority derives from the God he believes i n , the decline i n his authority i s at one with a decline i n the acceptance of God as a source of authority.  This leads  to the heart of one of R i c h l e r s major concerns: without  God  1  as an absolute source, from where does authority derive?  And  i f "laws i n order to be true only required followers" (p. 4 0 ) , what laws does one follow, and how does one avoid being merely a follower? While the s o c i a l worlds of the Jews and Gentiles are posited against each other, the need for order underlies and i n t e r - r e l a t e s both worlds, which, i n t h e i r d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s , r e f l e c t d i s t i n c t ways of s a t i s f y i n g t h i s need.  Miriam's  chaotic past dictates her passionate .need for order which i s simultaneous with her need for passion.  Indeed, just as the  tension which springs from the i r r e c o n c i l a b i l i t y between the need for security and the need for passion i s c e n t r a l to the novel, and just as character can be seen as a thematic  con-  struct, so Miriam l i v e s out t h i s tension as she veers sharply from staid, repressive security with Theo to passionate  ful-  fillment with Noah to the lack of either i n her pathetic degeneracy.  Theo comes from an excessively ordered  past  which results i n him hurrying "through his days t r y i n g to catch up with his self-imposed of "the word Art l i k e a man  schedules" (p. 81).  His use  at his prayers" (p. 46) i s  -30-  p a r a l l e l t o Melech's need f o r r e l i g i o n because "Freedom was too  much f o r man"  (p. 72).  Indeed, i r o n i c a l l y ,  Theo's  atheism p a r a l l e l s Melech's orthodoxy: " b e l i e f o r n o n - b e l i e f amounts t o the same t h i n g i n the end. in  t h e i r t h i n k i n g " (p. 72).  He i s s t i l l  a factor  F u r t h e r , j u s t as Noah's candid  f o r t h r i g h t n e s s i s d i s r u p t i v e t o the caged-in Jewish w o r l d , so  he s i m i l a r l y d i s r u p t s the H a l l s ' caged-in world: "He  sensed t h a t Miriam and Theo were u n i t e d a g a i n s t him i n the same way as Melech and Wolf had j o i n e d f o r c e s much e a r l i e r " (p.  119).  And he r e f l e c t s t h a t " t h i s s o c i e t y has as  little  v e r a c i t y . . . " a s "the one t h a t I have sprung from" (p. 119). Because people's passions explode i n t h e i r p r i v a t e perv e r s i o n s , d e c e p t i o n i s c r u c i a l t o decorum.  Melech's  strong-  box, which he keeps l o c k e d i n a safe i n an i n n e r o f f i c e , o b j e c t i f i e s t h i s d e c e p t i o n ; and i t s hidden contents r e v e a l the  unorthodox p r e o c c u p a t i o n s which throb beneath h i s o r t h o -  doxy.  S i m i l a r l y , Wolf keeps a coded d i a r y , a r e c o r d o f the  " t e r r i f y i n g banality" of h i s l i f e , drawer;-^  a n  d  i n a false-bottomed  j u s t as the l e t t e r s i n the d i a r y are " e l a b o r -  a t e l y formed," (p. 200) so each o f Melech's s c r o l l s "had been l a b o r i o u s l y formed (p. 160).  That Noah reads o f t h i s  banali-  ty  j u s t w h i l e the " E t h e l Gordon Chapter o f Hadassah" proposes  to  send a f u l l y equipped ambulance  to I s r a e l i n memory o f h i s  f a t h e r , i s , o f course, a measure o f the gap between appearance  -31-  and r e a l i t y .  More d i s t u r b i n g , however, i s the gap between  conscious behaviour and the p s y c h i c depths beneath i t . unconscious  s i d e o f Noah's attempt  The  t o escape from h i s mother  i s conveyed by the boat and water imagery.  F o r j u s t as  water s u r f a c e i s an archetype o f consciousness, and j u s t as underwater i s an archetype o f the unconscious,  and j u s t as  oars have p h a l l i c a s s o c i a t i o n s , so, when Noah f a l l s  asleep  d u r i n g "Shivah," he dreams " o f h i s ship being p u l l e d back i n t o a w h i r l p o o l " and o f h i m s e l f rowing But the oars were broken"  "madly w i t h both o a r s .  (p. 1 7 8 ) , and so, j u s t a f t e r a g r e e i n g  to  move back i n w i t h h i s mother, "The broken oars b u r s t f r e e  of  their locks.  The boat i t s e l f broke up underneath  him. And  Noah, who d i d not c a l l out f o r h e l p f e l t the waters c l o s e over him"  (p. 185).  J u s t as the a r c , which Noah's name i m p l i e s ,  symbolizes p r e s e r v a t i o n , so Noah saves h i m s e l f , gets back i n his  boat, when he s a i l s f o r E u r o p e . ^ At t h e l e v e l o f conscious behaviour, t h e gap between  appearance and r e a l i t y c r y s t a l l i z e s i n Wolf A d l e r ' s f u n e r a l ; : and i t i s p l a u s i b l e t h a t the c a s k e t , which c o n t a i n s the l i e of  h i s martyrdom, i s an e x t e n s i o n o f the strong-box  false-bottomed drawer.  and the  In the d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e f u n e r a l ,  more than any p l a c e e l s e i n the n o v e l , the n a r r a t o r deneutral i z e s h i m s e l f t o become i r o n i c , d e r i s i v e , s a t i r i c and grim,  -32-  and t o i n c o r p o r a t e a g r e a t many p o i n t s o f v i e w , as the t e x t u r e o f the crowd i s made g r a p h i c by t h e b r i l l i a n t d e p i c t i o n o f the mourners' speech and  behaviour.  The  funeral i t s e l f i s  a t once a l i t e r a l f u n e r a l , a r i t u a l by w h i c h a people p e r p e t u a t e s i t s i d e n t i t y , which i s t o say i n t h i s c a s e , a farcical  ceremony by which i t p e r p e t u a t e s  i t s own  lies,  and,  from the most d i s t a n t p e r s p e c t i v e , an attempt t o c r e a t e i n an i n d i f f e r e n t u n i v e r s e :  order  "Away, f a r away, the c i t y was  a  g r e y p u l p y mass looming i n c o h e r e n t l y out o f the hot brown e a r t h " (p. 167).  As s a t i r i c  i r o n y p r o v i d e s a double v i s i o n  by d i s t o r t i n g t h e normal t o expose i t s f o l l y , so the  satiric  i r o n y r u n n i n g t h r o u g h t h e d e s c r i p t i o n o f the f u n e r a l exposes s h a r p l y t h e f o l l y t h e r e , i t s l i k e n e s s to an  entertainment  spectacle.  As Aaron P a n o f s k y , whose p o i n t o f v i e w can  respected,  comments, " I don't go t o the c i r c u s . t o t e a s e  lions.  I go t o watch" (p. 166).  be the  H i s f a t h e r summarizes the  t r u t h about the f u n e r a l , and h i s t h o u g h t s f u r t h e r demonstrate R i c h l e r ' s embodiment i n p l o t o f what i s u n i v e r s a l i n the o f h i s n o v e l : "a s m a l l man  world  died f o r nothing i n a f i r e i n a  time from b i g , b i g bombs and made f o r us a s m a l l e r hero t h a n we  u s u a l l y put up"  (p. 176).  The  i m a g i s t i c l i n k between "bombs"  and " f i r e " i m p l i e s t h a t the u n i v e r s a l c o n t e x t o f "a time from big;,  b i g bombs" m a n i f e s t s  f i r e ; and t h a t a s m a l l man  specifically  i n the i n c i d e n t o f  the  d i e s f o r n o t h i n g makes c l e a r the  -33-  a l i e n a t i o n and n i h i l i s m i m p l i c i t bombs."  " i n a time from b i g , b i g  F u r t h e r the p r e c i s e c o n t r a s t between "a s m a l l man"  who  i s "a s m a l l e r hero" and " b i g , b i g bombs" suggests t h a t j u s t as the  enlargement  o f Wolf's "heroism" i s a measure o f the moral  smallness o f the Jewish community, so the very l a r g e n e s s o f the bombs i s a measure o f the moral smallness o f the time. Noah's simultaneous r e p u l s i o n and involvement d u r i n g the f u n e r a l i s p a r t o f h i s p a r a d o x i c a l r e l a t i o n t o h i s Jewishness. While, as he i s t o d i s c o v e r , he can never r e j e c t h i s Jewishness, he does r e j e c t , and t r y to work p a s t , the c o n v e n t i o n a l Jewish i d e n t i t i e s , whether r o o t e d i n God,  I s r a e l , Marx o r g o l d .  T h i s r e j e c t i o n makes him an o u t s i d e r ; and t h a t he i s an outs i d e r , and t h a t he i s c o n s t a n t l y on the move, are the c o n d i t i o n s of  h i s search f o r meaning, and are a p r e c i s e c o n t r a s t t o the  d e s c r i p t i o n o f a s o c i e t y imprisoned w i t h i n i t s l i m i t e d perception of i t s e l f .  The i d e a o f a ghetto immediately suggests r e s -  t r i c t i o n , and as s e t t i n g i s embodied i n p l o t , so the i m p r i s o n i n g r e s t r i c t i v e n e s s o f the Jewish ghetto i s embodied i n the A d l e r household: "The A d l e r s l i v e d i n a cage" (p. 39). to (p.  the extent t h a t he has " f l u n g open the door t o the cage" 40),  and t o the extent t h a t he f a c e s anguish,  provoked by the t e r r i f y i n g i n s e c u r i t y o f freedom. the  Noah i s f r e e  itself Thus, i n  f l a s h b a c k t o the Labor Z i o n i s t meeting, he i s estranged  because he r e f u s e s to a b d i c a t e freedom and c o n s c i o u s n e s s ,  -34-  refuses to define himself against, and refuses to lose hims e l f i n something larger than himself: The deal had been made...intelligence, could be done without. The enemy...had been shaped ... They seemed to shed t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l i t y l i k e unwanted skins, trading i n anguish and abandoning freedom for membership. (pp. 29-30, i t a l i c s mine) Though Noah sees himself, a f t e r the flashback, as being " l i k e that yellow bulb overhead, weak, nameless and swaying..." (p. 31), an image somewhat similar to the image of the f i l m i n "Frost at Midnight," his very weakness and namelessness are, as they are f o r Andre Bennett, h i s strengths.  The  apparent strength of those around him i s i n a c t u a l i t y t h e i r weakness, just as a l i e i s "the strength that holds the Goldbergs together" (p. 205). The paradox that Noah's weakness i s his strength i s part of the more general paradox that people must confront the worst about themselves, must accept t h e i r l i m i t a t i o n s , i n order to begin to f u l f i l l themselves.  As Wallace Stevens writes i n "The  Poems of our Climate", "The imperfect i n our paradise / . . . i n t h i s bitterness, delight, / Since the imperfect i s so hot i n us, 17 Lies i n flawed words and stubborn  sounds."  Wolf's "martyrdom"  r e a l l y means that he "had been swindled...by death" (p. 212). And only by stripping his father of his false heroism, by being true to the r e a l i t y that he i s indeed the son of a smaller hero, can Noah continue to move i n a p o s i t i v e d i r e c t i o n . The necessity  -35-  accepting l i m i t a t i o n s i s movingly expressed i n the scene i n which Noah asks Melech for one of his s c r o l l s .  Though Melech  protests that they are not well done, Noah r e p l i e s ,  accepting  the flawed s c r o l l s with love, "You have given me what I wanted" (p. 2 3 l i .  Further, just as s e l f - r e a l i z a t i o n must involve  anguish, so self-concern, necessary to i n d i v i d u a l s e l f - r e a l i zation, strains'against human r e l a t i o n s h i p which demands s e l f s a c r i f i c e for the sake of the larger s e l f which i n turn threatens to overwhelm i n d i v i d u a l i t y .  As Noah thinks, " I t i s  necessary, at times, to hurt others" (p. 28); and, as he asks Miriam, "how f a r do you think two people can r e a l l y go" (p. 134).  Thus, that Noah's "ruthless" self-concern leads to h i s  mother's death and Miriam's degeneration (for which he i s not to blame) dramatizes the price self-concern  exacts.  These paradoxes make sombre the novel's ending.  Noah's  progress i s i n e x t r i c a b l y t i e d to the ruin which i s i t s r e s u l t . The tension here runs through the heart of the novel's view of the world, a world i n which people are so dishonest and cowardly that an honest i n d i v i d u a l ' s growth necessarily harms others who i n turn l i m i t i t s p o s s i b i l i t i e s , a world so corrupt that to restore to a smaller hero his r i g h t f u l greed and mediocrity i s to redeem him. The Acrobats ends on a note of hope, however desperate; and Noah refuses to define himself against, whatever the cost.  -36-  In Richler's t h i r d novel, however, as i t s t i t l e suggests, survival necessarily involves making a choice of enemies. That i s , i n contrast to a world of i n f i n i t e p o s s i b i l i t i e s which constitute the source of man's anguish and potential greatness, the world of A Choice of Enemies i s . so circumscribed that choice, which i s a necessary condition f o r freedom,  i s shackled by negativity, that, because man makes him-  s e l f by choosing, and because to choose an enemy i s to become an enemy, defining against i s the very ground of man's identity. The world of A Choice of Enemies i s so r i f e with human f r a i l t y as to be meat for a s a t i r i s t ; but Richler, working within verisimilitude, presents t h i s world i n i t s own  terms,  18  not through the agency of fantasy.  Indeed, just as Sartre  has suggested that the "'white s t y l e ' " q,f The Stranger "—impersonal, expository, l u c i d , f l a t — i s i t s e l f the vehicle of Mersault's image of the world (as made up of absurd, fortuitous moments),"1^ so the detached, sardonic narration i n A Choice of Enemies i s s i m i l a r l y appropriate to the world i t describes. The detachment, empty of sympathy and emotionally distancing reader from character, i s not only the vehicle of Norman Price's image of the world, but also expresses how depersonalized and alone the characters are, and how barren t h e i r world i s .  The sardonicism fixes them i n t h e i r  -37-  ridiculousness: decadent. 20).  "I'm decadent, he thinks.  Jesus.  Me, Norman thought,  Feeling better he went out f o r a walk" (p.  The matter-of-fact narration which fragments thoughts,  speech and behaviour into jerky d e t a i l s — " T h e y went back to t h e i r room and unpacked.  S a l l y wept" (p. 150)..."Sally  walked" (p. 131)..."Norman f e l t stupid" (p. 153)—expresses how people are automaton-like, t h e i r actions reflexes; and Ernst;':. exemplifies t h i s when he methodically and mechanically k i l l s Nicky.  So encompassing i s the dry, detached narration, that  i t seems inaccurate to suggest the characters take form 21 "through the inner drama of dream and h a l l u c i n a t i o n . "  For,  i n contrast to The Acrobats, i n which Andre's nightmarish paranoia i s commensurate With nightmarish paranoia o f h i s world, and provides a d i s t i n c t and t e r r i f y i n g way of seeing that world, i n A Choice of Enemies. "dream and h a l l u c i n a t i o n " are  rendered prosaic:  " S a l l y woke again; at three a;;:m. when  Ernst l e t out a wild scream.  He had had a bad dream, he said.  He was feverish with a tendency to tremble, but he gradually quietened down.  He" f e l l asleep with h i s head on Sally's  breast" (p. Ilk). It might seem that Karp "belongs not to the world of 22 verisimilitude, but to the world of fantasy."  That h i s  deformed body, dwarfishness, ambiguous sexual nature and lust for malice place him s o l i d l y i n the t r a d i t i o n of the grotesque  -38-  would seem to s u b s t a n t i a t e t h i s . Karp i s what the war  has  The  done to him,  beyond b e l i e f t h a t the war  can  p o i n t i s , however, t h a t and  t h a t i t i s not  so d i s t o r t a man.  A r i e h Sachs notes that "Modern p s y c h o l o g i s t s behaviour' as a t e c h n i c a l term to d e s c r i b e schizophrenia  use  Moreover, 'grotesque  a c e r t a i n type o f  whose symptoms are t h e a t r i c a l i t y ,  exhibitionism  23 and  incongruous g e s t u r e s . "  T h i s n e a t l y d e s c r i b e s what might  p  amount to Karp's s c h i z o p h r e n i a  r e s u l t i n g from h i s f u t i l e  attempt to negate h i s Jewishness, f o r the  symptoms Sachs  mentions are e x c e l l e n t d e s c r i p t i o n s o f h i s behaviour. f u r t h e r , j u s t as Karp o b j e c t i f i e s human d e p r a v i t y ,  Still  j u s t as  h i s meddling o b j e c t i f i e s the e x p a t r i a t e s ' meddling, so h i s grotesqueness i s strewn about the n o v e l ' s background i n , f o r example, d e s c r i p t i o n s o f "A hunchback i n a corduroy cap a smile l i k e a clenched  fist"  (p. 5 l ) ,  "A  with  non-objective  p a i n t e r w i t h the n e c e s s a r i l y r o t t e n 'teeth" (p. 68) , and obese a r t c r i t i c w i t h s t i n g i n g red eyes" (p. 6 8 ) . Sachs a g a i n , reversed  how  men  and  norm." ^ 2  Acrobats, R i c h l e r embodies u n i v e r s a l human nature  i n p l o t to show how i n Son  quote  "Only i n the world o f b l a s t e d e x p e c t a t i o n  nature...does the grotesque become the  In The  To  "an  men  d e f i n e , and  of a Smaller Hero. he d e f i n e , and  are d e f i n e d  by,  i t ; and  embodies s e t t i n g i n p l o t to show  are d e f i n e d by t h e i r environment.  Choice of Enemies, c h a r a c t e r  and  In A  a c t i o n are the c o n c r e t i z a t i o n  -39-  of the effects of the p o l i t i c a l ideologies, which have shaped the novel's world.  Thus, just as Norman has once t o l d Joey  that "Ernst was...the creation of t h e i r own 254),  idealism" (p.  so Ernst, the product of what Nazism and Communism have  done to him,  personifies the r e a l i t y behind the expatriates'  flabby idealism, and so his n i h i l i s m i s the a r t i c u l a t i o n of that r e a l i t y .  The i n t r i c a c y of the plot closes the  gap  between what i s professed and what i s by dumping what i s on the lap of the professor.  Thus, for example, to the  extent  that Norman's idealism has created the chaos which "made a necessary s a c r i f i c e of the Nickys and S a l l y s " (p. 254),  "he  i s responsible for his brother's death (indeed, more responsible morally than Ernst).  And when he confronts  Ernst  about h i s brother's death, he i s a c t u a l l y confronting his guilt.  own  As defining against involves the desire to s h i f t on  to someone else the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y man  refuses, so he  eagerly  receives Ernst as h i s enemy, his hatred giving him something to l i v e for again (p.  221).  While the setting of an exhausted, war-torn Spain i n The Acrobats i s somewhat counterpoised  by the youthful i n t e g r i t y  of Andre Bennett, i n A Choice of Enemies, the enervated postwar  setting finds i t s c o r r e l a t i v e i n the thirty-eight-year--•  old protagonist who  i s "thickening around the waist"  (p.  10).  -40-  Sodden, gray rainy London o b j e c t i f i e s the world-weariness Norman Price f e e l s : "Greatness and power and youth had passed: the c i t y , l i k e you, was r e l i e v e d " (p. l l ) .  The London o f t h i s  novel r e c a l l s the London of The Wasteland: and, as i t does, i t becomes part o f a p a r t i c u l a r l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n whose worldview i s one with the world-view of the novel.  As Irving Howe  suggests, " L i f e i n the c i t y i s shackled to images o f sickness and s t e r i l i t y . . . a n d what seems f i n a l l y at the base of t h i s t r a d i t i o n i s a world-view we might designate as remorse over civilization." 5 2  Further, London i s an a l i e n c i t y to aliens  not at home anywhere i n the world.  The expatriates, Norman  comes to r e a l i z e , "were aliens l i k e himself" (p. 1 5 6 ) . Ernst, without papers, and S a l l y , because of her love f o r him, "have to flee to another country...Fugitives" (p. 1 4 6 ) . And Karp, after resigning himself to h i s Jewishness, i s not trusted i n I s r a e l because he i s a survivor.  A l l the walking and running  in A Choice of Enemies i s the motion of the aliens' r o o t l e s s ness. That the images of sickness which Irving Howe mentions are everywhere i n the novel underlines the relevance of h i s comment.  These images, which anticipate the i l l n e s s motif i n  The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, suggest diseased physical and s p i r i t u a l l i f e i n a sick world.  Malcolm Greenbaum's neck  i s bandaged because of b o i l s ; and, at one point, Joey f e e l s  -41-  "the fear bursting l i k e a b o i l inside her" (p. 1 4 2 ) .  In the  " j a z z k e l l e r , " "a body alone, l i k e an open wound, was something -to be quickly bandaged" (p. 2 6 ) .  And Ernst, who suffers from  a cough, and has some v i t a l i t y , i s , at the end of the novel, immobilized i n the hospital with a broken l e g , easy prey f o r Frau Kramer. Because A Choice of Enemies projects what might well be the worst of a l l possible w o r l d s — " a time to weed one's private garden" (p. 2 5 3 . ) - — i t i s not only a p o l i t i c a l novel, or a novel about what p o l i t i c s does to people; i t i s as much, i f not more, a novel about the p o l i t i c s of s u r v i v a l .  That i s , just as an  ideology i s a systematic rationale designed to serve a vested interest, and just as Norman i s a f e l l o w - t r a v e l l i n g Communist, because Marxism gives "him the benefit of a code, of a system of responses, that was of singular value to him"  (p. 1 1 4 ) , so,  at bottom, the expatriates' p o l i t i c i n the administration of chaos i n order to serve the vested interest of t h e i r own identities.  And just as p o l i t i c s implies power i n the sense  that "sexual p o l i t i c s " refers to the power struggles between men and women, so the p o l i t i c s of survival involves deprecating the enemy i n order to gain a sense o f power and superiority.  Ironically, the expatriates' use of McCarthyite tac-  t i c s equates them with the enemies they have chosen.  When  Norman takes Ernst's side, he v i o l a t e s the code which orders  -42-  h i s l i f e , and, subsequently, sands...shift under him"  f e e l s , as Noah has f e l t ,  "The  (p. 127), and fears that he w i l l no  longer know where he stands, "Or how to stand" (p. 127). After his argument with Sonny Winkleman, B e l l a sees him as "a threat to the whole structure of t h e i r happiness"  (p. 127),  "structure" here implying that t h e i r happiness has been caref u l l y constructed, the "threat" implying i t s tenuousness.  What  complicates the p o l i t i c s of survival and i s a measure of the novel's sardonic pessimism i s that the f a l l e n absolutesoof God, Marx and gold have now  been replaced by enemies who,  in  the past, seemed absolute: "But i n those days, Norman remembered fondly, the choice of enemies had been c l e a r .  Today you  were no longer altogether sure" (p. 76). In contrast to the p o l i t i c s of survival which demands choosing enemies, the love between S a l l y and Ernst ("Sally's choice of a lover" (p. 157, i t a l i c s mine)) exemplifies the attempt at humanistic  survival.  And i n the descriptions of  them together, the narrator, more than any place else, loses his sardonicism and becomes almost mawkish: "And there f o l lowed for...them  a loud time of pleasure, discovery, foolery  and dream-castles"  (pp. 109-110).  That t h e i r love i s an  example of what can lead to a positive reordering of things i s suggested  at the party—juxtaposed with Winkleman's p a r t i e s —  i n which Karp's dour, lonely tenants, o r i g i n a l l y coming to  -43-  complain, take p a r t , and i n which Karp h i m s e l f f a i l s " t o i n j e c t h i s customary c h i l l "  (p. 115)*  S a l l y and E r n s t are the p r e c i s e o p p o s i t e s o f each o t h e r . She comes from the ordered innocence o f Canada and has not "been born y e t " (p. 129); he emerges from c h a o t i c experience in  Europe, having "been brought back from the dead" (p. 215).  Between the p o l e s o f her innocence and h i s e x p e r i e n c e , the argument o f the theme pursues i t s d i a l e c t i c a l course: There's s t i l l such a t h i n g as r i g h t and wrong, you know... There i s no r i g h t and wrong. There are c o n d i t i o n s , rewards, punishments, and s i d e s , but that's a l l . . . No E r n s t , i f circumstances meant t h a t much t h e r e would be no sense i n l i v i n g . Is there. (pp. 129-130) And j u s t as love i t s e l f i s d i a l e c t i c a l , so t h e y change each other.  Because o f her, he begins t o c l o t h e h i s n i h i l i s m w i t h  moral concern; and because o f him, pragmatic s e l f - c o n c e r n begins t o crack the cocoon o f her n a i v e m o r a l i t y .  Thus, when  arguing what t o do d u r i n g Norman's amnesia, she t e l l s him t h a t he now  sounds l i k e a p r i e s t , w h i l e he c h a s t i z e s her f o r  wanting t o run away.  As they f i n a l l y r e s t t h e i r hopes on  their  f a i t h t h a t Norman w i l l f o r g i v e E r n s t , and as h i s f o r g i v e n e s s would l i f t  A Choice o f Enemies out o f i t s pessimism, so h i s  response t o E r n s t i s d e c i s i v e i n the thematic argument between m o r a l i t y and n i h i l i s m .  And i t i s not the case t h a t Norman has  chosen h i s enemy too l a t e , ^ 5 f  o  r  k  e  ^  s  wrong t o choose an  -44-  enemy at a l l . As a result of his choice, Ernst, l i k e the young g i r l i n the concentration  camp, i s "murdered a second  time" (p. 215). As the world of the novel i s depleted of moral energy, and as i t tends to k i l l o f f i t s young, so Norman Price personifies i t to the extent that he lacks moral energy, to the extent that he i s responsible f o r his brother's death and i s , f i g u r a t i v e l y , Ernst's second murderer, and, generally, to the extent that he has made t h i s world and has been made by i t . Like his world, whatever has been best about him i s far behind him:  a former bomber-pilot, a decorated hero, he now writes  t h r i l l e r s , and has resolved, because he i s an amnesiac, to keep h i s l i f e free of disturbances.  Unlike Andre, whose  i n t e g r i t y flows from his willingness to d i r t y . h i s hands with the world as he dies with "his fingers digging into the mud" (p. 177), Norman's "hands are clean" (p. 153), h i s r e s t r a i n t and cold aloofness the means of his resolve.  A man of h i s  t i m e — a time too enfeebled and corrupt to sustain i t s young, the descriptions of him as an old, not quite middle-aged man make c l e a r the oneness of his and h i s world's enfeeblement. After discovering that S a l l y has chosen Ernst as a lover, he feels "old.  Very o l d " (p. 83); and, at the end of the novel,  he sees that he i s "an ageing pinko...and, as f a r as Haig's  -45-  crowd could see, the f o s s i l of a s i l l i e r age" (p. 2 5 3 ) . Again, just as Norman embodies a world of limited alternatives, so the pattern of h i s movement i n the novel, which could be traced step by step, i s a progressive loss of i d e n t i t y , as he increasingly loses h i s friends, and, as mentioned, increasingly f e e l s the sands s h i f t under him and increasingly forgets where and how to stand.  This pattern  begins with his f i r s t meeting with Hale who jars h i s sense of himself and culminates i n his f i t of amnesia, during which he i s t o t a l l y estranged  from himself and h i s surroundings.  His loss and rediscovery of s e l f during and a f t e r h i s amnesia f i t s into the archetypal pattern of death and r e b i r t h .  That  the overwhelming pressure of events causes h i s attack i s i n l i n e with Maud Bodkin's notion that the "deep organic need for release from c o n f l i c t and tension" i s fundamental to archetypal death.27  And just as she suggests that t h i s r e -  lease "gives opportunity for the a r i s i n g impulse of some new form of l i f e , " ^ so Pip t e l l s Norman, "Think of i t . 2  were unhappily married.  Maybe you  Maybe your boss gave you the sack.  Maybe a l l your l i f e you've wanted to make a fresh s t a r t " (p. 200).  I t i s s t r u c t u r a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t , therefore, that just  after he has been "reborn," just when he could transcend what he has been, he becomes the murderer i n Ernst's second death. When Ernst loses h i s i d e n t i t y and becomes Joseph Rader, he  -46-  can do no better than f a l l prey to Frau Kramer. In his perceptive interpretation of A Choice of Enemies. Peter Scott argues that Norman, emptied of h i s affected strength, i s better f o r learning f i n a l l y to l i v e by accident, and that he and Vivian acquire a certain value i n the l i f e of the other, such that the book's "humble but haunting power" when "we are l e f t with Norman and Vivian, poised, on the break of an ordinary day" q u a l i f i e s the barrenness of i t s theme.^9 But i t i s to be remembered that S a l l y has said that " I f c i r cumstances meant that much there would be no sense i n l i v i n g " (p. 129).  L i f e reduced to circumstances means that the  factors of l i f e overwhelm manJ.s capacity to order them.  If  man i s at the mercy of circumstances, then he i s at the mercy of accidents which are, by d e f i n i t i o n occurrences a f f e c t i n g a person, over which he has no control.  Thus, i f S a l l y i s  r i g h t , "to l i v e by accident" i s to l i v e meaninglessly. more important than such semantics, A Choice of Enemies  But, f  like  The Stranger. i s f i l l e d with "absurd, fortuituous moments"^ which drive l i f e into senselessness, just as Ernst's accident i n Montreal renders f i n a l l y h i s l i f e senseless. Further, Norman's f i n a l choice of an enemy i s the world around him, because "The enemy was the hit-and-run driver of both sides" (p. 253, i t a l i c s mine), h i s menacingness commensurate with Norman's choice of a private l i f e .  F i n a l l y , when the reader  -47-  sees Norman and Vivian poised on the break of an ordinaryday, rather than seeing the value each acquires i n the l i f e of the other, he finds Vivian frightened by the difference in her and Norman s ages, and i n despair at the prospect of 1  a middle-aged l i f e , and he finds Norman pouring himself yet a s t i f f e r drink and thinking about Kate.  While Norman's  strength has been his weakness, unlike Andre and Noah, h i s weakness i s , and remains, h i s weakness.  -48-  Footnotes  M o r d e c a i R i c h l e r , The A c r o b a t s (London: Sphere Books, 1970), p. 107. Subsequent q u o t a t i o n s a r e from t h i s e d i t i o n and a r e c i t e d p a r e n t h e t i c a l l y . George Woodcock, M o r d e c a i R i c h l e r ( T o r o n t o : M c C l l e l a n d and S t e w a r t , 1970), p. 34. 2  3 S o n t a g , p. 35. Susan Sontag a l s o w r i t e s t h a t "An a r t i s t ' s s t y l e i s . . . t h e p a r t i c u l a r i d i o m i n which he d e p l o y s the forms o f h i s a r t . I t i s f o r t h i s r e a s o n t h a t problems r a i s e d by t h e concept o f ' s t y l e ' o v e r l a p w i t h t h o s e r a i s e d by t h e concept o f 'form,' and t h e i r s o l u t i o n s w i l l have much i n common" ( p . 3 4 ) . ^ George Bowering, "And t h e Sun Goes Down," Canadian L i t e r a t u r e (Summer. 1966), p. 1 1 . 5  I b i d . , p., 10.  6  F r y e , pp. 134-140.  7  W.K. W i m s a t t , H a t e f u l C o n t r a r i e s ( L e x i n g t o n : U n i v e r s i t y o f Kentucky P r e s s , 1965), pp. 90-95. 8  Desmond Pacey, C r e a t i v e W r i t i n g i n Canada ( T o r o n t o : R y e r s o n , 1 9 6 l ) , p. 34. ^ Jacques S a l v a n , To. Be and Not To Be ( D e t r o i t : Wayne S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1962), p. 34. 1 0  Woodcock, p. 29.  H M o r d e c a i R i c h l e r , Son o f a. S m a l l e r Hero (London: Andre D e u t s c h , 1955), p. 107. Subsequent q u o t a t i o n s a r e from t h i s edition. 12 Kok  Rene L a f a r g e , J e a n - P a u l S a r t r e . t r a n s . M a r i n a Smyth( N o t r e Dame: U n i v e r s i t y o f N o t r e Dame P r e s s , 1970), p. 101.  -49-  13  Isaac Deutscher. The Nbn-Jewish Jew ed. Tamara Deutscher (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968), p. 4 6 . T  Nairn Kattan, "Mordecai Richler: Carftsman or A r t i s t , " i n Mordecai Richler. ed. G. David Sheps (Toronto: Rverson, 1971), p. 95. 15 Woodcock,'p. 2 6 . This pattern of imagery i s especially i n t e r e s t i n g i n the l i g h t of D.G. Jones' discussion of archetypal imagery i n Canadian Literature i n B u t t e r f l y on Rock (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970). 17 ' Poems by Wallace Stevens. ed. Samuel French Morse ' (New York: Random House, 1959), p. 94. 18 Woodcock, p. 3 5 . 1 9  Sontag, pp. 16-17.  20 Mordecai Richler, A Choice of Enemies (London: Andre Deutsch, 1957), p. 11. Subsequent quotations are from t h i s edition. 21 Woodcock, p. 3 4 . 2 2  Ibid., p. 35.  ^ The English Grotesque. ed. Arieh Sachs (Jerusalem: I s r a e l U n i v e r s i t i e s Press, 19&9), p. x x v i i i . 2  2 Z f  Ibid., p. xxv.  ^ Irving Howe, "The C i t y i n L i t e r a t u r e , " Commentary (May, 1971), p. 65. 2  2 6  Woodcock, p. 34.  -50-  Maud Bodkin, Archetypal Patterns i n English Poetry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1962), p. 66. 28 Ibid., p. 74Peter Dale Scott, "A Choice of C e r t a i n t i e s , " i n Sheps, p. 79. 2 9  ^  Sontag, p. 18.  -51-  Chapter  Two  The A p p r e n t i c e s h i p o f Duddv K r a v i t z  The o v e r r i d i n g pessimism o f A Choice o f Enemies c o n t i n u e s i n The A p p r e n t i c e s h i p o f Duddv K r a v i t z • even though i n Duddv K r a v i t z t h e r e i s a marked s h i f t i n tone and s t y l e , a s h i f t which i n d i c a t e s a new  s t r a t e g y f o r e x p r e s s i n g t h i s pessimism.  Warren Tailman has o u t l i n e d t h i s s h i f t v e r y w e l l : The nightmare i s s t i l l t h e r e , but i t i s not the same nightmare...the scope c o n t r a c t s . . . a l l . . . a r e caught up by p e r s o n a l d i s o r d e r s r a t h e r than world d i s o r d e r , f a m i l y s t r i f e r a t h e r than i n t e r n a t i o n a l s t r i f e , i n d i v i d u a l c o n f l i c t r a t h e r than i d e o l o g i c a l c o n f l i c t . And w i t h i n the l o c a l i z e d dream we meet an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t dreamer. We meet the d i r e c t i n t e l l i g e n c e and c o l l o q u i a l exuberance t h a t i s Daddy's s t y l e . i The comic and p i c a r e s q u e forms w i t h i n the n o v e l s u i t "the l o c a l i z e d dream," as "the pure sense o f l i f e , " which i s f o r Suzanne Langer the u n d e r l y i n g f e e l i n g o f comedy,  2  and  resque dance o f roguery combine i n Duddy's " c o l l o q u i a l  picaexuber-  ance" and d i f f e r e n t i a t e i t from a n y t h i n g t h a t has gone on i n R i c h l e r V s work b e f o r e .  A c c o r d i n g l y , a measure o f the s h i f t  i n tone and s t y l e , and o f the s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s behind i t , lie.s i n the t r a n s i t i o n from MacPherson when the r e a d e r encounters MacPherson  t o Duddy.  That i s ,  at the b e g i n n i n g o f the  n o v e l , he f i n d s h i m s e l f i n the midst o f the nightmare o f the  -52-  f i r s t three novels, i n the midst of heavy drinking, frustrated idealism and c r i p p l i n g self-delusion; but then, almost as i f Richler has somehow unburdened himself of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r nightmare. he leaves MacPherson behind, as i n Chapters Eight and Nine,^ the focus f i n a l l y centres on Duddy himself. It i s c r u c i a l to understand that, given a certain d e f i n i t i o n of the comic form, The Apprenticeship of Duddv Kravitz i s not a comic novel, but, as mentioned, a novel which contains the comic form.  Northrop Frye suggests that comedy  moves toward a happy ending which evokes the response, " ' t h i s should be,'" and that the society emerging at the conclusion of comedy i s a "pragmatically free society" which represents a kind of moral norm.4-  These c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s seem to inform  much of William H. New's interpretation of Duddv Kravitz i n his  essay "The Apprenticeship of Discovery," i n which he argues  that the novel ends i n a "comic triumph" because Duddy, "adult, i n d i v i d u a l , and master i n h i s own terms i n h i s own land," i s on h i s way "toward inhabiting a new world and f u l f i l l i n g a s o c i a l i n d i v i d u a l i t y , " h i s destructive tendencies a possible means of constructing l i f e . ^  In contrast, t h i s chapter argues  that the society at the end of the novel remains what i t has been throughout the novel, the antithesis of any moral norm, that rather than having f u l f i l l e d  himself i n h i s own terms  and rather than moving towards a s o c i a l i n d i v i d u a l i t y , Duddy  -53-  i s f i n a l l y absorbed  i n t o the n e g a t i v i t y o f the  society  around him, and t h a t a t t h e p o i n t o f t h i s a b s o r p t i o n t h e comic becomes encompassed w i t h i n the o v e r r i d i n g  pessimism.  I n t e r e s t i n g l y , w h i l e comic a c t i o n u s u a l l y l e a d s t o p o s i t i v e s o c i a l r e i n t e g r a t i o n , i t would seem t h a t R i c h l e r ' s move t o a c r i m o n i o u s s a t i r e and b l a c k humour i n The Incomparable A t t u k and i n C o c k s u r e , a move presumably a t one w i t h h i s growing s o c i a l d i s g u s t , f o l l o w s from t h i s  pessimism.  The p i c a r e s q u e w o r l d i s a w o r l d o f chaos governed by change, i n w h i c h t h e p i c a r o , t h e rogue-hero,  u s u a l l y o f uncer-  t a i n o r i g i n s , i s educated out o f h i s innocence and  into  r o g u e r y d u r i n g t h e course o f h i s a d v e n t u r e s , i n which he i s c o n s t a n t l y on t h e move, o v e r t u r n i n g c o n v e n t i o n a l n o r m s — s o c i a l b a r r i c a d e s a g a i n s t chaos.  I n o v e r t u r n i n g t h e s e norms, t h e  picaro d e f i e s c o n v e n t i o n a l l y l o g i c a l cause-and-effect  rela-  t i o n s h i p s , and the n o r m a l l y a c c e p t e d demands o f t i m e , m o r a l i t y and s o c i a l n e c e s s i t y .  The chaos o f the p i c a r e s q u e w o r l d i s  r e f l e c t e d i n the i n s t a b i l i t y o f t h e p i c a r o ' s p e r s o n a l i t y  and  i n h i s c h a o t i c e x p e r i e n c e s ; and, as t h e r e a d e r undergoes v i c a r i o u s l y the shocks o f t h e s e e x p e r i e n c e s , he f e e l s t h e e m o t i o n a l e f f e c t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f the p i c a r e s q u e n o v e l — a disorganization of feelings.  G e n e r a l l y , the picaresque  n o v e l i s w r i t t e n i n an unorthodox i r r e g u l a r s t y l e i n o r d e r t o r e i n f o r c e t h e image o f chaos i t p r o j e c t s and i n o r d e r t o  -54-  enhance t h i s disorganization of f e e l i n g s . ^ Richler purposefully disorganizes the reader's feelings by disrupting the smooth flow of the narrative, by making chance c r u c i a l to the development of the plot, by e s t a b l i s h i n g then undercutting patterns of expectation, by: s h i f t i n g d r a s t i c a l l y the point of view, and, most importantly, by confusing the reader's response to Duddy as he i s jarred from involvement  to detachment, from admiration and sympathy to  revulsion and p i t y , and to combinations of these.  Indeed,  Richler builds t h i s confusion into the meaning of the novel as a r e f l e c t i o n of the chaos of the novel's world.  Duddy's  ignorance about h i s mother i s somewhat comparable to the t r a d i t i o n a l picaro's uncertain o r i g i n s .  And Duddy receives  the t y p i c a l picaresque education—"I come from the school of hard knocks" (p. 197)—as he i s educated out of h i s r e l a t i v e innocence and becomes a successful t r i c k s t e r .  Thus, when  Warren Tallman says that Duddy i s "a naive yet shrewd l a t t e r day Huck Finn, f l o a t i n g on a battered money r a f t down a sleazy neon r i v e r through a d r i f t of lives,"'' ' he could be saying that 1  Duddv Kravitz i s a picaresque novel translated into twentieth century terms.  The picaro's t r a d i t i o n a l adventures,  Huck's adventures,  say  take form i n Duddy's apprenticeship which,  as the imagery i n Mr. Tallman's statement suggests, i s a t r a i n i n g i n the materialism which vulgarizes the novel's world.  -55-  U l t i m a t e l y , j u s t as the p i c a r e s q u e p a t t e r n o f e d u c a t i o n i n t o r o g u e r y by the w o r l d r e f l e c t s more on t h e w o r l d t h a n on t h e p i c a r o , so Duddy's t r a i n i n g i n t h e m a t e r i a l i s m o f h i s w o r l d r e f l e c t s more on t h a t w o r l d t h a n on  him.  Duddy's c o l l o q u i a l exuberance i s one w i t h t h e p l a c e from where he s p r i n g s , a p l a c e "Where...boys grew up d i r t y  and  sad, s p i k y a l s o , l i k e g r a s s b e s i d e t h e r a i l r o a d t r a c k s " ( p . 4 6 ) ; and t h e j a r r i n g d i s r u p t i o n s which d i s o r g a n i z e the r e a d e r ' s f e e l i n g s a r e i n p a r t a metaphor f o r t h i s exuberance which i s so d i s r u p t i v e t o c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y .  Indeed,  i n the v e r y sen-  t e n c e "Where Duddy K r a v i t z sprung from t h e boys grew up  dirty  and sad, s p i k y a l s o . . . , " the phrase " s p i k y a l s o " j a r s a g a i n s t i t s smooth rhythm by s t r a i n i n g a g a i n s t t h e smooth b u i l d - u p of t h e adverbs as " a l s o " r e p l a c e s "and" and f o l l o w s r a t h e r than precedes  "spiky."  The c o l l o q u i a l q u a l i t y o f " s p i k y "  and t h e pungent s i m p l i c i t y o f a l l t h e words i n the e x e m p l i f y ; . how  t h e s e t t i n g r e s o n a t e s i n the  sentence  language.  G e n e r a l l y , the sheer v i t a l i t y o f t h e n o v e l i t s e l f i s an s i o n o f t h e sheer v i t a l i t y o f Duddy's c o l l o q u i a l  expres-  exuberance.  And i f , as Suzanne Langer s u g g e s t s , drama a b s t r a c t s from r e a l i t y t h e pure sense o f l i f e ,  t h e n the n o v e l i n p l a c e s ,  i n i t s v i t a l i t y , approaches t h e c o n d i t i o n o f drama.  Thus,  i n t e r e s t i n g l y , w h i l e Duddy alone meets Dingleman head on, t h e r e i s i n the background a f u t i l e , c h o r u s - l i k e debate about  - 5 6 -  th e Boy Wonder's mystery, which t y p i f i e s the way Richler weaves the community's voice into the texture of the narrative: they always brought up i n a whisper the r i d d l e of the Wonder's sex l i f e . . . He was s t i l l capable. But some i n s i s t e d he was now indefagitable and others said he had picked up some d i r t y s p e c i a l i t i e s . . . Nobody r e a l l y knew. (p. 133) And, though Milton i s turning over i n h i s grave at the analogy, somewhat as the chorus i n Samson Agonistes i s a f o i l f o r Samson's heroic stature, so the chorus-like debate about Dingleman marks Duddy's superiority; and somewhat as Samson consistently rejects the conventional wisdom of the chorus' advice i n h i s determination to do God's w i l l , so Buddy's energy and commitment to h i s dream define by contrast the torpor of the world around him. Richler i n t e r n a l i z e s the picaro's movement i n Duddy, whose frenetic a c t i v i t y i s the manifestation of h i s l i f e - f o r c e . Ahdithe t i g h t l y - k n i t s o c i a l setting of Son of a Smaller Hero, projected by i t s intensely visualized realism,tends to recede in Duddv Kravitz into a picaresque background through which Duddy moves e a s i l y .  In contrast to Noah's more or less  p r i n c i p l e d search f o r an i d e n t i t y with i n t e g r i t y , Duddy can move e a s i l y through e t h n i c i t y , r e l i g i o n , art and conventional morality because he i s more or less unprincipled i n h i s use of them to advance himself.  In being so, he parodies those,  -57-  l i k e Benjy and Lennie, who seem able to define themselves only i n terms of l a b e l s — a s s i m i l a t i o n i s t , and who d r i f t from one l a b e l to the next.  socialist,  Zionist,  Generally, while  the novel begins with rapid s h i f t s i n narrative focus which suggest the shuffled  scenes of the f i r s t three novels, and  which project how various people and events affect each other, a f t e r Chapters Eight and Nine, when the focus i s almost always on Duddy, who and what he meets i n the course of h i s apprent i c e s h i p are s i g n i f i c a n t p r i n c i p a l l y i n r e l a t i o n to how they affect him and how he affects them. Richler depicts how Duddy's society perpetuates i t s i d e n t i t y through i t s r i t u a l s — t h e Commencement and the Bar Mitzvah.  And just as r i t u a l s are formalized events, so the  Commencement and the screening of the Bar Mitzvah f i l m are set-pieces which express s t r u c t u r a l l y t h e i r formality. Further, rather than flawing the novel's unity, Richler purposely uses these pieces to disrupt the novel's flow i n order to disorganize the reader's feeling, and thus creates a formed formlessness.  The juxtaposition of the set-pieces  and Duddy's regular progress through the novel contrasts how society c o d i f i e s the s o c i a l growth of the members with Duddy's particular growth within t h i s s o c i a l context, just as the regimented movement i n "The March of the Fletcher's Cadets" contrasts with h i s own frenetic movement, and just as the idea  -58-  o f a b e g i n n i n g i s common both t o a commencement and an apprenticeship.  As r i t u a l s generate  enacting t r a d i t i o n s  d e f i n i t i o n by r e -  and thus c o n t i n u i n g t h e p a s t i n t o t h e  p r e s e n t , so t h e comic a c t i o n w i t h i n t h e s e t - p i e c e s s p r i n g s from the i n c o n g r u i t y i n t h e meeting between p a s t and p r e s e n t ; and, i n t h i s n o v e l ' s w o r l d , t h e v u l g a r i t y o f t h e p r e s e n t u l t i m a t e l y p r o f a n e s t h e sacredness  o f the past.  F o r one o f  the f u n c t i o n s o f r i t u a l i s t o p r e s e r v e those taboos e s s e n t i a l t o an o n g o i n g s o c i e t y through t h e sense o f awe t h a t i t i n v o k e s ; and i t performs t h i s f u n c t i o n by d r a m a t i z i n g s a c r e d power, which i n t u r n demands a c l e a r d i s t i n c t i o n between t h e s a c r e d and t h e profane agreed upon by t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s i n t h e c u l ture.  I t f o l l o w s , t h e r e f o r e , t h a t i n a s o c i e t y w h i c h does not  s t a r t w i t h t h i s fundamental d i s t i n c t i o n between these two realms o f b e i n g , t h e r e cannot be a n y t h i n g l i k e a ritual.  meaningful  Thus, a t t h e s c r e e n i n g o f t h e B a r M i t z v a h  film,  where t h e r e i s an u n d e r l y i n g e q u a t i o n between t h e g r o s s mater i a l i s m s u r r o u n d i n g t h e f i l m and t h e p r o f a n a t i o n o f a s a c r e d r i t u a l i n t o a r i t u a l o f g i f t - g i v i n g , not o n l y does t h e r e a d e r n o t i c e t h e comic c o n t r a s t between t h e o r t h o d o x a p p r e n t i c e s h i p t o p o s i t i o n w i t h i n r e l i g i o n and Duddy's unorthodox a p p r e n t i c e s h i p t o h i s own i d e n t i t y , ^ but a l s o and more d e e p l y , he n o t i c e s that, both Duddy and t h e g i f t - g i v e r s a r e commonly and u n c o m i c a l l y enmeshed i n a s o c i e t y t h a t c e l e b r a t e s i t s own  -59-  profanity. T h i s p r o f a n a t i o n o f the s a c r e d becomes c l e a r when i t i s u n d e r s t o o d how  R i c h l e r m o c k i n g l y i n v e s t s the w o r l d  h i s n o v e l w i t h a r e l i g i o u s a u r a t o e x p r e s s the  profane's  i n h a b i t a t i o n o f the s a c r e d ; and t h i s a n t i c i p a t e s the cance o f the S t a r Maker as a t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y God. l e v e l , Dingleman, the Boy Wonder, i s a God.  of  signifiAt  one  In h i s r i t u a l  t e l l i n g o f the s t o r y o f t h e Boy Wonder's r i s e t o w e a l t h fame, Max  and  t h r i v e s on t h e d i s t i n c t i o n between h i s meagre  f i n i t e n e s s and the Wonder's g o d l i n e s s : "Now Donald... We  mere m o r t a l s , we'd  you o r me  Mac-  r i g h t away put some o f i t i n  the bank... But not the Boy Wonder.  No S i r " ( p . 2 5 ) ' .  The  word "Wonder," t h e r e f o r e , connotes t o Dingleman's w o r s h i p p e r s d i v i n e power and d i v i n e m y s t e r y .  To quote the background  debate a g a i n : t h e y always brought up i n a w h i s p e r t h e r i d d l e o f the Wonder's sex l i f e . . . some i n s i s t e d he w a s . . . i n d e f a t i g a b l e . . . There was the q u e s t i o n o f the g i r l s . . . a rumor o f i n c r e d i b l e f i l m s , and amazing s t a t u e s ... I t was i n t r i g u i n g . ( i t a l i c s mine.) Moreover, on " S c h n o r r e r ' s  Day...the s u p p l i c a n t s came and went"  (p. 1 4 ) ; and, most e x p l i c i t l y , "Mike G o l d once s a i d , "Dingleman s i t s l i k e God ( p . 135,  i n t h a t o f f i c e and t h i s one,  i t a l i c s mine).  a regular St. Peter"  R i c h l e r p l a y f u l l y underlines  this  parody by r e p e a t i n g f r e q u e n t l y the number t h r e e t h r o u g h o u t t h e  -60-  n o v e l i n o r d e r t o undercut i t s m y s t i c a l symbolism o f t u a l s y n t h e s i s — t h e harmonic p r o d u c t  spiri-  o f the a c t i o n o f u n i t y  upon d u a l i t y , and i t s a s s o c i a t i o n xvith t h e t r i n i t y .  Thus, f o r  example, Dingleman b e g i n s h i s c a r e e r by s e l l i n g t r a n s f e r s f o r " t h r e e c e n t s a p i e c e ; " O l i v e D r u c k e r , h i s former g i r l f r i e n d , has gone t h r o u g h t h r e e husbands and never s t a y s i n M o n t r e a l more t h a n t h r e e weeks a t a t i m e ( p . 133); and M i c k e y  for  'The  M a u l e r ' Shub, "a r e g u l a r S t . P e t e r , " has been knocked s i l l y  by  Ike W i l l i a m s i n t h r e e r o u n d s — " T h r e e , you b a s t a r d . Three" (p. 135). Depleted  sacredness i s c l e a r l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h Duddy s 1  l a n d — " G o d ' s L i t t l e A c r e " — a n d i s p r o o f o f the v u l g a r i t y his  dream.  The  of  i n t i m a t i o n o f b a p t i s m when he d i v e s i n t o h i s  l a k e a f t e r s e e i n g i t f o r the f i r s t time i s u n d e r c u t by s c r a t c h e s he g e t s on h i s forehead he g e t s l i t e r a l l y and  and  chest  (p. 9 7 ) .  the And when  s y m b o l i c a l l y l o s t d u r i n g h i s second v i s i t  to h i s l a n d , he r e c a l l s from " B i b l e Comics" t h a t "Moses d i e d without  e v e r r e a c h i n g t h e Promised Land," and t h i n k s "but  got my f u t u r e t o t h i n k o f " (p. 212). the green w o r l d , i t s e l f an a r c h e t y p e "the r i t u a l theme o f t h e t r i u m p h waste l a n d "  1 1  W h i l e t h e comic drama o f of paradise, celebrates  o f l i f e and l o v e o v e r t h e  and w h i l e i t would seem t h a t Duddv K r a v i t z :  c e l e b r a t e s i t when Duddy e x p e l s s t e r i l i t y embodied by man  I've  Dingle-  from h i s l a n d — " O n my land...no c r i p p l e s " ( p . 314),  that  -61-  Duddy i s eager t o peddle the pine t r e e s on h i s land at " C h r i s t mas-time" (p. 212),  t h a t what he p r o j e c t s f o r h i s land  will  make i t i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e from the mess which has a l r e a d y  been  made o f S t e . Agathe des Monts (p. 71),  i m p l i e s t h a t he w i l l  his  This implication i s re-  "Promised Land" i n t o a wasteland.  i n f o r c e d by the c i r c l e imagery.  While the c i r c l e can  symbolize  d i v i n e p e r f e c t i o n , i t can a l s o , from a more mundane p o i n t view, image the u s e l e s s k i n d o f a c t i v i t y i n "going around i n c i r c l e s . " and  symbolically lost  (p. 212). end  Thus when Duddy gets l i t e r a l l y  on h i s l a n d , he  "circles  round and  o f the n o v e l when Duddy, f i n a l l y r e a l i z i n g as a somebody, "grabbed Max,  that  v o i c e suggests an awe  and  The  fortune  and  signifies  as deeply f e l t as Max's awe  spun  him  fortune bad  a w o r l d o f i n s t a b i l i t y and m u t a b i l i t y .  And  everything  The n a r r a t o r i n t i m a t e s as much:  Duddy...might have been born i n Lodz. but f o r t y - e i g h t years e a r l i e r h i s g r a n d f a t h e r had bought a steerage passage to H a l i f a x . Duddy might have been born i n Toronto t h a t ' s where h i s grandfather was bound f o r , T  the  f o r Dingleman.  around the poles of good and  i n - the world o f Duddy K r a v i t z chance i t s e l f frames t h a t goes on.  at  marvel i n  C i r c u l a r motion i s a l s o the motion o f the wheel o f which s w i r l s u n p r e d i c t a b l y  round"  society  hugged him,  around...his v o i c e f i l l e d w i t h marvel" (p. 319). his  of  t h a t gets nowhere as  T h i s i n t i m a t i o n o f u s e l e s s motion i s intended  a c c e p t s him  turn  -62-  but Simcha K r a v i t z ' s CPR took him o n l y as f a r as M o n t r e a l . (p. 46, i t a l i c s mine) And Duddy, on h i s way  t o Toronto t o get Lennie, r e f l e c t s , " i f  my g r a n d f a t h e r had had another t e n bucks i n h i s pocket when he came t o Canada I would never have been born here.  I would  never have gone t o FFHS o r found Lac S t . P i e r r e " (p. l £ l ) . Indeed, the  j u s t as the p l o t s o f R i c h l e r ' s f i r s t t h r e e n o v e l s are  working out i n time and p l a c e o f what i s u n i v e r s a l i n  t h e i r worlds, so the p l o t i n Duddv K r a v i t z i s the p a r t i c u l a r working out i n time and p l a c e o f contingency.  The r o l e t h a t  contingency p l a y s i n the n o v e l i s r e f l e c t e d i n i t s importance to  the development  o f the p l o t ; and w h i l e E.M.  Forster defines  p l o t as "a n a r r a t i v e o f events, the emphasis f a l l i n g on c a u s a l ity,"I gency.  2  i n Duddv K r a v i t z much o f the emphasis f a l l s on c o n t i n What George Woodcock d e s c r i b e s as "the l i n e o f d e f e a t s  t h a t runs p a r a l l e l t o Duddy s stage-by-stage v i c t o r y i n winning 1  his  l a n d " ! 3 suggests how  success and f a i l u r e f o l l o w upon each  o t h e r ' s h e e l s i n a p a t t e r n which i t s e l f suggests the constant t u r n i n g o f f o r t u n e ' s wheel.  Thus, "Duddy found the land he  wanted q u i t e bv a c c i d e n t " (p. 6 7 ,  i t a l i c s mine).  And  just  a f t e r the s u c c e s s f u l s c r e e n i n g o f the Bar-Mitzvah f i l m , Lennie d i s a p p e a r s : " j u s t when e v e r y t h i n g i s beginning to move. what you c a l l l u c k " ( p . - 1 6 2 ) .  That's  When Duddy i s a t one o f h i s  -63-  low p o i n t s , broke and hounded by c r e d i t o r s , V i r g i l appears w i t h the s l o t - m a c h i n e s ;  and,  c o n v e r s e l y , " j u s t when e v e r y t h i n g  seemed t o be g o i n g r i g h t " (p. 247), V i r g i l has h i s a c c i d e n t . That a d v e r s i t y and s u c c e s s are borne o f each o t h e r i s t h e f a c t o f t h e i r i n e x t r i c a b i l i t y , and u n d e r l i e s the h u r t d e s t r u c t i o n t h a t Duddy's w i n n i n g  and  o f h i s l a n d engenders.  I n a r r e l i g i o u s u n i v e r s e , f o r t u n e i s i n a c t u a l i t y the w o r k i n g out o f God's w i l l ;  and  f o r t u n e s i n c o n s t a n c y can  overcome by f a i t h i n God's c o n s t a n c y .  be  1  C o n t r a r i l y , i n Duddv  K r a v i t z . the w o r l d o f chance p a r a d o x i c a l l y houses a  determi-  nism which i s apparent i n t h e s o c i a l and p s y c h o l o g i c a l p r e s s u r e s which mould Duddy and d r i v e him c o m p u l s i v e l y t o get money i n o r d e r t o get l a n d i n o r d e r t o be a somebody.  In t h i s  sense, h i s f o r t u n e i s f i x e d , j u s t as the wheel he gambles w i t h a t Rubin's i s f i x e d . that "Duddy...lives  A.R.  Bevan suggests  t h i s , when he w r i t e s  i n a l a r g e l y d e t e r m i n i s t i c world...where  d e c i s i o n s a r e not d e c i s i o n s and where c h o i c e i s not r e a l l y choice."!^  J u s t as Duddy hungers f o r f o r t u n e ' s shimmering  r e w a r d s — m o n e y , p o s s e s s i o n s , s t a t u s , so t h e i r l a c k o f permanent v a l u e i s one w i t h the i n s t a b i l i t y t h a t haunts the  novel's  world. P B l i o , h e a r t c o n d i t i o n s , c a n c e r , e p i l e p s y , impotency, complexes, nervous headaches, a l c h o h o l i s m and f e v e r s crowd t h e n o v e l i n a frequency  impossible to ignore.  And  t h i s rampant  -64-  i l l n e s s culminates i n Dingleman's "personal trouble" which o b j e c t i f i e s h i s moral degeneracy and the way materialism cripples the novel's world.  For to the extent that he domi-  nates peoples' ambitions and fantasies, and to the extent that they share v i c a r i o u s l y i n h i s success—"they...moved i n closer, t h e i r fears and hopes r i d i n g with the Boy Wonder" (p. 26-27)—they  are implicated i n h i s disease.  Moreover, just  as they create and c l i n g to i l l u s i o n s by refusing to see him as an ugly, cheap crook, so generally i l l n e s s and i l l u s i o n are inextricably, indeed causally, bound.  Self-deception i s  shown to be corrupting and c r i p p l i n g as time after time the substitution of i l l u s i o n for r e a l i t y causes harm and even death.  Thus MacPherson, for example, l u l l e d by liquor and  the f l a t t e r y of being taken for "a f r e s h l y scrubbed  idealist,"  succumbs to h i s old i l l u s i o n and stays on at a party despite the urgency of h i s wife's condition: "There might s t i l l be nostalgiac reunions i n h i s parlour... Mr. MacPherson tip-toed into the bedroom, but Jenny wasn't there. up on the h a l l f l o o r " (p.  He found her  crumpled  3 2 - 3 3 ) .  In contrast to those, l i k e Benjy and Lennie, who  impose  r e s t r i c t i n g meanings on a variable r e a l i t y and thus f a l s i f y i t with abstractions, Buddy meets t h i s v a r i a b i l i t y on i t s own terms and thus exposes the f a l s i t y of these abstractions. Just as he looks "thin and s h i f t y , " so he i s able to s h i f t  -65-  e a s i l y i n and out o f almost any p o i n t o f view.  T h i s appears  e v i d e n t e a r l y i n the n o v e l when he c r i t i c i z e s MacPherson f o r not h a v i n g marked the h i s t o r y papers o r when he complains h i s f a t h e r about "the m i s s i o n a r y who pamphlets o u t s i d e FFHS" (p. 2 7 ) . t h e i n t r i n s i c importance he e x p l o i t s t o h i s own  was  to  going to d i s t r i b u t e  F o r he i s not concerned  w h i c h t h e s e t h i n g s may  advantage h i s i n t u i t i v e  about  havej r a t h e r , understanding  o f what c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y r e g a r d s as i m p o r t a n t : "on the d i s t r i b u t i o n s i d e , he w a s . . . b u i l d i n g up l o t s "of g o o d - w i l l . . . h e showed f i l m s f r e e . . . a t . . . a K n i g h t s o f P y t h i a s ^ e v e n i n g f o r u n d e r - p r i v i l e g e d k i d s o r any c h a r i t y event i n S t e . Agathe" (p. 2 2 3 ) .  Duddy's e x p l o i t s are comic i n s o f a r as t h e y d e f i n e a  d i f f e r e n c e ^ ; between him and what i s around him, f o r o n l y i n terms o f t h i s d i f f e r e n c e does he c a r r y out t h e fundamental comic a c t i o n o f pragmatic  freedom's n e g a t i o n o f t h e  illusory,  o f , i n F r y e ' s terms, "whatever i s f i x e d and d e f i n e a b l e . " ^ ^  As  t h i s d i f f e r e n c e d w i n d l e s , so the comic s i g n i f i c a n c e o f h i s exploits  dwindle.  Duddy's e a s i n e s s w i t h r e a l i t y i s commensurate w i t h h i s lack of meaningful  self.  To the e x t e n t t h a t he does not  impose meanings upon r e a l i t y , he l a c k s meanings t o impose. Thus, w h i l e he d e l i g h t f u l l y mimicks the c l i c h e s around him, he i s a l s o reduced  floating  t o the emptiness he  assimilates,  j u s t as h i s v e r y dream i s "somebody e l s e ' s p l a t i t u d e " (p.  141)•  -66When Hersh t e l l s him t h a t MacPherson  i s i na lunatic  asylum,  a l l he c a n do i s echo Cuckoo K a p l a n : "That's show b i z , I guess" ( p . 2 2 5 ) .  Psychologically, t h i s lack of s e l f  partially  stems from t h e sense o f i n f e r i o r i t y c o n s t a n t l y , t h r u s t upon h i m . L a c k i n g a mother and, t h e r e f o r e , d o u b l y n e e d i n g a f a t h e r , he m o s t l y g e t s from Max i n s e n s i t i v e j o k e s , c r i t i c i s m s and l i e s . And from t h i s p o i n t o f v i e w , t h e n o v e l i s a good s t u d y i n e m o t i o n a l r e j e c t i o n , which i t s e l f l i e s b e h i n d much o f h i s o b s e s s i o n w i t h becoming a somebody. W h i l e Duddy's e a s i n e s s w i t h r e a l i t y l e t s him e n e r g e t i c a l l y p l a y f a s t and l o o s e w i t h i t , h i s energy a l s o f l o w s i n t o h i s spontaneous m o r a l i t y as he r a r e l y has t o q u e s t i o n h i s r e s ponses o r weigh h i s f e e l i n g s .  Over and o v e r a g a i n , he p r o v e s  t o be more generous, more l o y a l , more t r u s t i n g , and more l o v i n g t h a n anyone e l s e i n h i s w o r l d : "A f r i e n d i s a f r i e n d . You've g o t t o t r u s t somebody" ( p . Si). When I d a s t r u g g l e s w i t h h e r F r e u d i a n i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s , wondering whether o r n o t t o r e t u r n t o B e n j y — " I want t o be c l e a r i n my mind  about  motives" (p. 2 3 8 ) — h e cuts r i g h t through her m y s t i f i c a t i o n s : "He's  your husband and he's d y i n g . S o l " Y e t , c o n s i d e r i n g t h e  p s y c h o l o g i c a l impetus b e h i n d Duddy's a m b i t i o n s , i t i s a measure o f t h e n o v e l ' s complex i r o n y , o f how R i c h l e r c o m p l i c a t e s apparent meanings, t h a t I d a i s n o t e n t i r e l y i n c o r r e c t when she t e l l s Duddy t h a t "The human p e r s o n a l i t y i s l i k e an i c e b e r g . . .  -67-  Nine-tenths of i t remains submerged" (p. 239), and suggests that unconscious motives move him.  Further, that Duddy echoes  Ida when he t e l l s Yvette, "You've got a martyr-complex" (p. 251)  suggests how  subtly Richler complicates  Duddy and con-  fuses any clear-cut response to him the reader might be forming. Just as the comic differences between Duddy and h i s society are eventually encompassed by his s i m i l a r i t i e s to i t , so he shares i n i t s false values and i l l n e s s e s .  His s p e l l s  of fever a f t e r his f i r s t two v i s i t s to h i s lake make clear that h i s plans for i t are disease-ridden;  indeed, Cuckoo  Kaplan, describing Duddy's f i r s t fever, a r t i c u l a t e s the connection between i l l n e s s and  illusion:  He seemed so sick l i k e l a s t night...I mean s i c k . i n the head. He went on and on about some lake he'd found., and how he was going to build a whole town on i t . . . i s n ' t i t awful that a bright kid l i k e that should have to l i v e on pipe-dreams." (p. 102) The obvious irony here i s that Duddy w i l l begin to make h i s pipe-dreams come true, but the more complex and unsettling irony i s that Cuckoo i s more r i g h t than he can ever know, f o r while he defines Duddy's "pipe-dreams" by what he thinks Duddy can and cannot accomplish, i t i s precisely the novel's meaning that i t i s awful for Duddy to have to l i v e on the dreams he does.  Thus, again, when Max  asks Lennie, "you're  -68-  a doctor...Diagnose.  What's a i l i n g the k i d here" (p. 2 9 6 ) ,  Lennie, diagnosing better than he r e a l i z e s , r e p l i e s , "He needs some money, Daddy" (p. 2 9 7 ) .  And at the very end of  of the novel, a f t e r Duddy has gotten h i s land, Lennie t e l l s him that he looks sick. Though Duddy's energy separates him from and defines by contrast, the torpor of those around him, and i s the manifestation of h i s l i f e - f o r c e , p r e c i s e l y h i s energy causes h i s recurrent exhaustion and nervous a g i t a t i o n , which increase as the novel progresses, and precisely h i s energy i s the manifestation of h i s abnormality, i t s e l f a sign of the abnormality of his world.  And while i t i s c r i t i c a l l y i n v a l i d to make a  case-study of Duddy, he i s , as Lennie, whose medical opinion can presumably be respected, t e l l s him, "the manic-depressive type" (p. 314)•  His condition shows i t s e l f as swings from  manic elatedness, talkativeness and i r r i t a b i l i t y to the stupor, perplexity and delusions of g u i l t i n the depressiveness of h i s break-dox^n.  Interestingly, the delusions of g u i l t character-  i s t i c of the depressive type p a r t i a l l y answer the question of what makes Duddy run: "Run, run, always running...he even walk to h i s car" (p. 2 4 5 ) .  can't  For Duddy seems to be running  away from g u i l t almost as much as he i s running toward something.  Thus, h i s whole troubled past i s implicated when he  comes "charging out of a bottomless sleep...the a l i b i f o r a  -69-  crime unremembered a l r e a d y h a l f - b o r n , p a n t i n g , s c r a t c h i n g and ready to b o l t  f  i f necessary"  (p. 176,  i t a l i c s mine).  The  g u i l t he f e e l s about the death o f MacPherson's w i f e i s compounded by V i r g i l ' s a c c i d e n t and the f o r g e r y o f V i r g i l ' s cheque; and  so, a f t e r V i r g i l has a f i t upon d i s c o v e r i n g the  f o r g e r y , "Duddy r a n , he ran, he r a n " (p. 309). telephone r e c e i v e r dangled "dangled  l o o s e l y " above V i r g i l  That  "the  j u s t as i t  i d i o t i c a l l y " above MacPherson's w i f e i n t i m a t e s the  a s s o c i a t i o n between these  events.  Complementing Duddy's complexity, R i c h l e r d i s o r g a n i z e s the reader's f e e l i n g s towards him by p r e s e n t i n g hira i n d i f f e r e n t l i g h t s and  from d i f f e r e n t p o i n t s o f view; and  d i s o r g a n i z a t i o n i s R i c h l e r ' s c h i e f means o f undermining reader's e x p e c t a t i o n s . is  little  the  I n the beginning o f the n o v e l , t h e r e  t o c o n t r a d i c t MacPherson's view o f Duddy as a  " d e l i n q u e n t , " and l i t t l e k i n d o f a d m i r a t i o n and  t h a t e x p l i c i t l y prepares him  f o r the  sympathy he w i l l f e e l f o r Duddy.  w h i l e these f e e l i n g s i n d i s p u t a b l y grow, R i c h l e r never Duddy's l i m i t a t i o n s be f o r g o t t e n , and, t h e r e f o r e , he s i s t e n t l y shunts the reader between sympathetic and  this  c r i t i c a l detachment.  Yet,  lets con-  involvement  Thus, when Duddy b r i n g s Lennie back  from Toronto, the reader i s as c l o s e t o him as any p l a c e i n the n o v e l ; but, i n the very next chapter, the focus  jarringly  S h i f t s to Hugh Thomas C a l d e r , and the reader i s detached  from  -70-  Duddy who i s presented from the butler's point of view: "Edgar described him as a t h i n , s h i f t y boy.  He wore pointed  patent-leather shoes" (p. 194), the outlandishness of the shoes guaranteeing the detachment.  Generally, the closer  Duddy gets to h i s land, the more desperate and d i s t a s t e f u l he becomes, and the reader i s confusingly caught between h i s fondness f o r Duddy, which i s as large as Duddy i s v i t a l and good, and Duddy's v i o l a t i o n of the basis of that fondness, as when he causes Simcha to cry. That Dingleman reads Evelyn Waugh and reads, and understands the sentimentality of, Yiddish poetry i s a further example of how expectations are undermined. This confusion i n feelings relates to the moral confusion swirling about i n the novel's sick world i n which Dingleman buys the truth f o r f i f t e e n hundred d o l l a r s a day (p. 290). While Duddy f e e l s g u i l t y about MacPherson's wife and about V i r g i l ' s accident, the extent of h i s g u i l t i s impossible to know, though MacPherson and Yvette would l i k e to blame him entirely.  Where, f o r example, does V i r g i l ' s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y  for h i s own actions stop and Duddy's g u i l t i n using him as a driver begin?  Underlying t h i s confusion i s the fact that the  d i s t i n c t i o n between good and e v i l i s r e a l l y not a d i s t i n c t i o n at a l l .  For, while the paralysis of e v i l i s c l e a r l y imaged  i n Dingleman, crippled and c r i p p l i n g , good i t s e l f , presumably at one with the impulse which creates, enhances and preserves  -71-  l i f e , becomes paralytic and paralyzing, just as Yvette asserts her morality i n her self-paralyzing decision to look a f t e r V i r g i l f u l l time (she indeed has a martyr-complex),  and just  as V i r g i l ' s morality thrives on h i s misfortune: " i t was a blessing i n d i s g u i s e . . . i f not for the accident there'd be no Crusader. (p.  I t might have taken me years and years to get going"  275). In t h i s sense, "good" i s Satanic as i t feeds i n -  satiably on l i f e i n order to s a t i s f y i t s appetite; and t h i s i s underscored by the paralysis both Dingleman and V i r g i l suffer from.  The consuming power of "good" i s further appa-  rent i n the relationship between Duddy and Yvette.  Though he  must run to l i v e , to be creative on his terms, from the f i r s t time together, she i s oppressively after him to slow down, to  stop running.  And just as looking a f t e r V i r g i l seems to  f u l f i l l her, and just as she i s content when Duddy i s playing scrabble with V i r g i l , so V i r g i l ' s condition symbolizes what she would l i k e to turn Duddy i n t o .  While Yvette i s decep-  t i v e l y decent, i t i s simply too easy to say that Duddy "has rejected the clear image of Yvette's decency,"^ for, l i k e Cleopatra, she k i l l s with kindness. Since "good" cripples as much as e v i l , i t i s impossible to hold meaningful values i n the novel's world; indeed, i n t h i s world, i t i s get or be gotten. impossibility.  Duddy l i v e s out t h i s  Starting out as f r i e n d l y and t r u s t i n g , he i s  -72-  betrayed consistently and i s f i n a l l y reduced to being alone: "I have to do everything alone now...I can trust nobody" (p. 317).  Lacking s u f f i c i e n t friendship and lacking s u f f i c i e n t  t r u s t , he i s forced to be r u t h l e s s l y destructive i n order to get h i s land, and he i s forced to swallow h i s g u i l t about what he does.  For i n a world so t o t a l l y immersed i n wrong-  doing, g u i l t i t s e l f becomes a self-consuming emotion not s a t i s f i e d unless i t t o t a l l y i n h i b i t s . Thus, i n the g u i l t ridden stupor of Duddy's breakdown, during which he dreams that he has "the mark of Gain" on him, and that "A leering Mr. MacPherson waited round every corner" (p. 2 5 8 ) , he i s rendered so inactive that even h i s toes get stuck.  In his  thematically important conversation with Duddy, Cohen, the successful businessman, helps c l a r i f y the issues: . i t ' s not easy to earn a l i v i n g . . . There's not one successful businessman I know... who hasn't got something i n the c l o s e t . . . It's, either that or you go under, so decide right now. lou're going .to drive a t a x i a l l your l i f e or build a house l i k e t h i s and spend the winters i n Miami." (p. 2 6 6 , i t a l i c s mine) Cohen assuages h i s own g u i l t by making himself "hard."  The  only room Cohen enjoys i n h i s f i f t y thousand d o l l a r house i s the kitchen where he can burp i n peace. Given the grimness of the a l t e r n a t i v e — " I t ' s either that or you go under," Duddy rides dilemma's horns when he t r i e s  -73-  to decide whether or not to forge V i r g i l ' s cheque.  But,  more deeply than t h i s , although he does not r e a l i z e i t , he faces an impasse rather than a dilemma.  For just as i r o n i e s ,  levels of meaning which people do not understand, consist e n t l y run beneath what they say and do i n the novel, -so people do not know themselves, do not know the implications and consequences of t h e i r words and actions.  In the sense  that Cohen's success does not make him happy, i n the sense that materialism i s c r i p p l i n g , whatever Duddy decides w i l l box him i n ; and so his a l t e r n a t i v e s — f o r g e and l i v e one do not forge and l i v e another way,  way,  are not r e a l l y a l t e r n a t i v e s .  And so while he chooses, h i s choice, as Bevan suggests, i s r e a l l y not a choice at a l l , just as i n Measure f o r Measure,, where the choice between Isabella's chastity and Claudio's l i f e i s i n a c t u a l i t y a non-choice s i g n i f y i n g how Angelo tyrannizes human p o s s i b i l i t y .  One indicator of the impossi-  b i l i t y of r e a l choice i s that Benjy's advice, which urges Duddy to choose from among h i s many selves and so become a man,  i s r e a l l y pseudo-advice: "There's a brute inside you,  Duddel...and  t h i s being such a hard world i t would be the  easiest thing f o r you to l e t i t overpower you. a gentleman.  Don't... Be  A mensh" (p. 2 8 0 ) . Not only i s i t c l e a r l y not  within Duddy to be a gentleman, which alone makes the advice i n s e n s i t i v e , but also, gentlemanliness i t s e l f i s but a genteel  -74-  r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n o f the same i l l u s i o n s and i l l n e s s e s which afflict  the gentleman  a t l e a s t as much as everybody e l s e ,  j u s t as Benjy i s s i c k e r than most o f those around him. Duddy r e a l i z e s , and what makes the advice " I t ' s hard t o be a gentleman—A Jew, Period"  What  f a c i l e , i s that  I mean—it's  hard t o be.  (p. 2 9 6 ) .  In wanting t o g i v e Simcha some l a n d , Duddy t r i e s t o e s t a b l i s h the i n t e g r i t y o f h i s dream, and t r i e s to keep h i s business p r a c t i c e s c o i n c i d e n t w i t h a p r i v a t e sphere o f v a l u e s rooted  i n family.  t h i n g I wanted.  As Simcha t e l l s him, "You'd g i v e me  And t h a t w i l l s e t t l e your conscience when you  went out t o swindle o t h e r s " not  every-  (p. 315).  s u s t a i n meaningful v a l u e s ,  J u s t as the world can-  so Duddy's unscrupulous means  d e f i n e completely h i s ends and a l i e n a t e Simcha, a l t h o u g h o n l y through such means can the dream be made r e a l . Duddy K r a v i t z i s comic t o the degree t h a t Buddy t r a n s cends, and thus negates, the s t r i c t u r e s o f c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y by u s i n g them p r a g m a t i c a l l y  f o r h i s own  e n d s — t h a t i s , t o the  degree t h a t "he i s a f r e e and n a t u r a l s p i r i t "  (p. 9 ) .  a g a i n , w h i l e h i s commitment t o h i s dream makes him,  But,  like  Gatsby, s u p e r i o r t o those around him, makes him almost a k i n d o f "Great K r a v i t z , " and w h i l e he has the guts to make h i s dream r e a l , a l l t h i s i s d e l i m i t e d , j u s t as the comic i s d e l i m i t e d , by the f a c t t h a t h i s dream i s "somebody e l s e ' s p l a t i t u d e , "  - 7 5 -  and by the f a c t that h i s s o c i e t y deforms him more than he reforms i t , as the shoddiness surrounding him makes " f l o a t i n g on a...money r a f t down a s l e a z y neon r i v e r " h i s o n l y way o f t r a v e l l i n g .  -76-  Footnotes  1  W.  Warren Tallman, "Wolf i n the Snow," i n Sheps, p.  79.  Suzanne Langer, Comedy: Meaning and Form, ed. Robert C o r r i g a n (San F r a n c i s c o : Chandler, 1965), p. 120.  ^ Mordecai R i c h l e r , The A p p r e n t i c e s h i p o f Duddv K r a v i t q (Toronto: M c C l l e l a n d and BTewart, 1969), pp. 46-54. Quotat i o n s are taken from t h i s e d i t i o n . 4  F r y e , pp. 167-169.  W i l l i a m H. New, "The A p p r e n t i c e s h i p o f D i s c o v e r y , " i n Sheps, pp. 76-77. I t must be noted t h a t the context o f Dr. New* s essay i n v o l v e s a comparison o f the s t r u c t u r a l p a r a l l e l s between Duddv K r a v i t z and The Watch That Ends the N i g h t , and i n v o l v e s a c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f how both n o v e l s can be seen as t y p i c a l o f n i n e t e e n f i f t y - n i n e a t t i t u d e s . See a l s o h i s essay "The I s l a n d and the Madman: Recurrent Imagery i n the Major N o v e l i s t s o f the F i f t i e s , " A r i z o n a Q u a r t e r l y . (Winter, 1966) pp. 328-337. 5  ^ For a comprehensive treatment o f the p i c a r e s q u e form, o f which the p r e c e e d i n g paragraph i s merely a summary which i t s e l f i s intended as a working d e f i n i t i o n , see S t u a r t M i l l e r , The P i c a r e s q u e Novel ( C l e v e l a n d : P r e s s o f Case Western U n i v e r s i t y Reserve, 1967). 7 Tallman, p. Langer, p.  80. 120.  q D a n i e l B e l l , " S e n s i b i l i t y i n the 6 0 s , " Commentary (June, 1971), p. 72. New, p. 75. ,  1  1  F r y e , p.  182.  -77-  12  Forster, p. 130.  13 Woodcock, p. 4 1 . A.R. Bevan, "Introduction," The Apprenticeship of Duddv K r a v i t z , i n Sheps, p. $5. 1 5  Frye,. p. 169.  16 Woodcock, p. 42.  -73-  Chapter Three The Incomparable Atuk and Cocksure  The Incomparable Atuk and Cocksure mark a fundamental departure from what has characterized Richler's previous novels.  As G. David Sheps notes, Richler steps "from a  dominant narrative mode of r e a l i s t i c . c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n , v e r i s i m i l i t u d e of action and psychological p l a u s i b i l i t y to a dominant mode of conscious caricature i n characterization, purposeful i m p l a u s i b i l i t y of action and fantasy i n events.""" This s h i f t i n modes i s i n t e g r a l to Richler's turn to s a t i r e ; and though s a t i r e defies succinct d e f i n i t i o n , just as Mathew Hodgart states that Northrop Frye "has...the best d i s t i n c t i o n between s a t i r e and other conditions of l i t e r a t u r e , " so h i s description of Frye's d i s t i n c t i o n serves well as a working definition.  Satire, the a r t of diminishing a subject by  making i t r i d i c u l o u s , i s distinguished by i t s m i l i t a n t a t t i tude to experience, by a content of at least"£token fantasy'" recognizeable  as grotesque and absurd, by at least an i m p l i c i t  moral standard, and, hence, by a double focus of morality and fantasy.  Generally, i f v e r i s i m i l i t u d e can be simply  defined  as that which seems completely beyond natural possibility,^" then characters and events i n Atuk  T  by staying within the  l i m i t s of natural p o s s i b i l i t y , are improbable but not fantastic  -79(token  f a n t a s y ) , w h i l e Cocksure moves i n t o pure  w i t h the S t a r Maker and  the cinematic  fantasy  l i f e o f P o l l y Morgan.  Though R i c h l e r ' s t u r n to s a t i r e i n Atuk and i s evident,  Cocksure  G r a n v i l l e H i c k s suggests that the ending o f Atuk  goes beyond the bounds o f s a t i r e by subsuming any norms, no matter how  implicit.Indeed,  the  incongruity  between the h o r r o r o f Atuk being g u i l l o t i n e d and o f him  moral  the  sound  being g u i l l o t i n e d — " k e r - p l u n k , " i s black r a t h e r than  s a t i r i c ; and  Twentyman, who  hovers shadowily yet'encompas-  s i n g l y i n the n o v e l ' s background, f i n a l l y emerges undiminished  and  i n complete c o n t r o l .  immoral standard  H i s c o n t r o l becomes an  which d i m i n i s h e s ,  which d e f i n e s by  the r i d i c u l o u s n e s s o f those, w i t h i n h i s grasp. t h e r e f o r e , t h a t Twentyman r e p r e s e n t s malevolence beyond the v i c e and  contrast  I t seems,  f o r R i c h l e r an order  f o l l y which are  the'satirist's  t r a d i t i o n a l t a r g e t s — t h a t i s , a malevolence which cannot contained  by r i d i c u l e .  And  i t i s the c o n t e n t i o n  i n t o b l a c k humor, which can be d e f i n e d as i n c o n g r u i t y  i n which h o r r o r and  own  black l a u g h t e r  inverted  morality.^  turns  arousing  death, and which i m p l i e s a world  e v i l so subjugate moral p o s s i b i l i t y  moral s e n s i t i v i t y i s turned  be  here t h a t  wherever t h i s malevolence r e a r s i t s u g l y head the s a t i r e  l a u g h t e r a t c r u e l t y , p a i n and  of  i n s i d e out,  r e v e a l s t o him  and  h i s own  so t h a t the  insensitivity  that reader's and  -80-  P h i l i p Toynbee suggests t h a t Cocksure i s weakened because " i t i s q u i t e impossible  to d e t e c t  form on w h i c h . . . R i c h l e r i s s t a n d i n g , "  the moral p l a t -  and suggests f u r t h e r  t h a t w h i l e "nobody wants...a solemn d e c l a r a t i o n o f f a i t h . . . t h a t d e c l a r a t i o n i s i m p l i e d by the best  s a t i r i s t s i n every-  t h i n g they w r i t e . . . a n d . . . b e f o r e R i c h l e r w r i t e s a r e a l l y good s a t i r e he w i l l have t o l e a r n not o n l y what he hates but where he hates i t from."?  And L e s l i e F i e d l e r r a i s e s t h i s  apparent flaw t o the l e v e l o f i n t e r p r e t a t i o n when he proposes t h a t Cocksure approaches " u l t i m a t e , burlesque t h a t i n c l u d e s  absolute  burlesque, i . e .  f i n a l l y t h e book i t s e l f and i t s  author, the s o r t o f n i h i l i s m i m p l i c i t unawares i n a l l pop a r t , and c o n s c i o u s l y i s an example."**  e x p l o i t e d i n 'Pop Art* o f which Cocksure  But t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n would appear i n  c o n f l i c t w i t h t h e f a c t t h a t R i c h l e r so d e r i s i v e l y c r i t i c i z e s pop  c u l t u r e , and would appear t o make him no b e t t e r , i f not  worse, than what he c r i t i c i z e s . o f the s a t i r e i n Cocksure d e r i v e s  The p o i n t i s t h a t w h i l e much from the i n c o n g r u i t y  between Mortimer G r i f f i n ' s c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y  and the d i z z y i n g  " w i t h - i t " world around him, as a moral norm i s i m p l i c i t i n his conventionality—"I  believe i n the p o s s i b i l i t i e s  each o f us f o r goodness" ( p . 2 2 1 ) , norm d i m i n i s h  9  within  the s a t i r e and the moral  as he i s s y s t e m a t i c a l l y oppressed and d e s t r o y e d ,  -31-  as aberrance and grotesquerie, and aberrant grotesque malevolence p r e v a i l .  For not only i s the " w i t h - i t " world  " w i t h - i t , " but i t s very "with-itness" thrives blackly on pain, cruelty and violence, and finds i t s apotheosis Star Maker.  As  i n the  i n The Acrobats, the malevolence which  p r e v a i l s i n Cocksure defines l i f e ' s absurdity: and  the  fantasy which encroaches upon the action of the novel, and upon Mortimer's attempt to get hold of some tangible r e a l i t y , o b j e c t i f i e s t h i s absurdity, and o b j e c t i f i e s how  the  God-like  Star Maker, as a r a d i c a l extension of Twentyman, reduces l i f e to surface and chimera by manipulating r e a l i t y through the images he projects.  and defining  And,  as i n Atuk, the  satire turns into black humor as the Star Maker, who  is  savagely derided, f i n a l l y emerges all-powerful, indeed deriving his power from p r e c i s e l y what makes him ludicrous and grotesque. The kind of l o c a l i z a t i o n i n Duddv Kravitz which Warren Tallman has described i s extended i n the parochialism of the setting and content of Atuk to the point of self-parody. parochialism r e f l e c t s how  The  inbred, thin, and inane Canadian  l i f e and culture can be, how  they can parody themselves.  And while t h i s i s only speculation, and i s not meant to r a t i o n a l i z e the l i m i t a t i o n s of Atujc, i t may  be that Richler  purposely wrote a limited book as an example of Canada, "Cut  -82-  o f f from American junk,"  producing her own junk, and as an  example of consumer-culture a r t . Be t h i s as i t may, the p u e r i l i t y of Canadian l i f e and culture i s consistently set against the Canadians' i n f l a t e d sense of themselves, as t h i s p u e r i l i t y and t h e i r self-esteem measure exactly t h e i r foppish mediocrity; and t h e i r g l o r i f i c a t i o n of Canada i s ultimately a self-serving means of masking t h e i r mediocrity, just as Seymour Bone, who i s "Mr. Big" i n Canada, and whose fame has i t s origins i n the misunderstood attention Time and The London Spectator pay him, i s a f r a i d to go to the United States because of "Too much competition for him there" (p. 88). Consequently, much of the s a t i r e i s high-burlesque, i n which the ridiculousness of the t r i v i a l i s exposed by being treated pseudo-seriously. superlatives.  This i s why the novel i s crammed with  "The Incomparable Atuk" i s "the Noblest Cana-  dian of Them A l l ; " Jean-Paul McEdwen i s "the most astute journalist i n Canada" (p. 11); and Bette Dolan i s "a legendary figure," because she has bettered Marilyn B e l l ' s time by an epic f i f t y - n i n e minutes.  l e t , i n sharp contrast to the  s a t i r e which so obviously cements the f o o l i s h into t h e i r f o l l y , Twentyman's power and significance are commensurate with h i s mysteriousness. Just as the s a t i r i s t ' s emotional distance from h i s material i s essential to his s a t i r i c control over i t , so the  -83-  i r o n i e s running through the n a r r a t i v e are p r o o f o f R i c h l e r ' s detachment and c o n t r o l , and ensure t h e reader's detachment. The  frequent  use o f i r o n i c overstatement, as w i t h t h e super-  l a t i v e s , i s c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h e h i g h - b u r l e s q u e ; and t o underl i n e the r e c i p r o c a l s a t i r i c r e l a t i o n s h i p between g l o r y i n Canada, and a g l o r i f i e d Canada, i n o r d e r t o damn by p r a i s i n g , R i c h l e r basks Canada i n t h e p r a i s e o f t h e mediocre, and basks them i n h e r p r a i s e :  " i f Canada l o v e d B e t t e . . . i t was a l s o  t r u e she...loved t h e c o u n t r y " ( p . 2 8 ) .  The great  amount o f  e x t e r n a l d e s c r i p t i o n f u r t h e r ensures detachment, and has the effect o f establishing a distancing perspective;  and when the  reader does get i n s i d e peoples' minds, he encounters i n a n i t i e s and  cliches which r e f l e c t t h e i r p e t t i n e s s and t h e i r o b s e s s i o n  with t h e p e t t i n e s s e s out B e l i v e a u .  o f t h e i r c u l t u r e : "Good day. L e a f s  Twentyman Pulp and Paper up t h r e e - q u a r t e r s  shut of  a p o i n t . . . Bowels r e g u l a r and f i r m " (p. 4 2 ) . R i c h l e r does not make the c h a r a c t e r s "self-evident~ stereotypes...caricatures  i n Atuk l a r g e l y of familiar attitudes  and  behaviour p a t t e r n s " ! ! j u s t t o s a t i r i z e these a t t i t u d e s  and  patterns,  b u t , a l s o , t o d e p i c t how complex humanity i s  reduced t o t h e a b s t r a c t i o n s by which people are d e f i n e d .  And  i n t h i s sense, these people f o l l o w from those i n Duddv K r a v i t z who f a l l prey t o t h e r e s t r i c t i n g meanings they impose upon reality.  R i c h l e r uses the p e r v a s i v e  concern w i t h e t h n i c and  -84-  n a t i o n a l i d e n t i t y t o expose the r e d u e t i v e n e s s and a b s u r d i t y of  these a b s t r a c t i o n s , e s p e c i a l l y i n the i n t r i c a t e and numerous  p a r a l l e l s between Canadian, Jewish and Eskimo chauvinism; and as Atuk f i n d s h i s " f a t s m e l l y bear o f a g i r l " i n G o l d i e Panofsky, the apparent d i s t a n c e between Eskimo and Jew i s g r e a t l y shortened.  F u r t h e r , almost every c h a r a c t e r i s domi-  nated by h i s sense o f h i s s o c i a l r o l e , and by the of  mythology  the c u l t u r e , and t h i s h e l p s u n i f y the v a r i o u s s t r a n d s o f  the  plot.  to  any man  Before Atuk, B e t t e Dolan i s unable t o g i v e h e r s e l f because  she attempts t o be what she symbolizes,  because she b e l i e v e s she belongs t o a l l o f Canada.  Jock  W i l s o n , caught bet\>reen h i s l o v e f o r Jim-Jean-Paul and h i s sense o f duty, sometimes even dares to t h i n k t h a t "a c o u n t r y can ask too much o f a man"  (p. 92);  begin with...awkward, i n h i s new  and w h i l e "Jock was,  role...it  to  wasn't l o n g b e f o r e  he l e a r n e d to answer to h i s code n a m e — J a n e — w i t h a b e w i t c h i n g t o s s o f h i s gorgeous blonde wig" (p. 87).  The c o n f u s i o n o f  sexual r o l e s between Jock and Jean-Paul a n t i c i p a t e s what i s at  once the c o n f u s i o n and union o f s e x u a l r o l e s i n the S t a r  Maker. The s p l i t  i n Duddv K r a v i t z between a c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y  l o c k e d i n t o i t s e l f and Buddy's sometimes d e l i g h t f u l sometimes r e p r e h e n s i b l e e x p l o i t a t i o n o f i t i s m a g n i f i e d i n Atuk i n t o a yawning  gap between the s t u p i d i t y o f the e x p l o i t e d and the  -35-  savageness o f the e x p l o i t e r s . an apparent  And while Duddy a t l e a s t  dilemma i n having to decide whether to be r u t h -  l e s s and "succeed"  or be c a r i n g and  exploiters exploit heedlessly. Kravitz  t  faces  fail,  i n Atuk, the  Even more than i n Duddv  the r u t h l e s s n e s s e s s e n t i a l t o any degree o f  i s woven i n t o the very f a b r i c o f the world  success  i n Atuk, from  murder to the c o u n t l e s s l a r g e and  s m a l l ways people  exploit  and h u r t each o t h e r f o r t h e i r own  advantage, the macabre  way  Panofsky p l a y s havoc w i t h human l i f e to support h i s t h e s i s , or the way  Gore's c a r i c a t u r e l i b e r a l i s m depends upon human models  as: stereotyped and dehumanizing as the ones he so m o r a l l y opposes: "Indeed, the P r o f e s s o r adored  Jews and Negroes so much  t h a t he f e l t put out when they e x h i b i t e d human t r a i t s "  (p. 1 3 5 ) .  As t h i s r u t h l e s s n e s s i s so predominant, m o r a l i t y becomes n o t h i n g more than a h y p o c r i t i c a l c l i c h e — " W e another o r d i e " (p. 52); and naive and  must l o v e  innocent Bette  one Dolan,  i n her d e s i r e t o h e l p Atuk, which i s a d e s i r e t o h e l p h e r s e l f , to which Atuk h e l p s h i m s e l f by p r e t e n d i n g to h e l p her h e l p l i v e s out the hopeless c o n f u s i o n between moral impulse s e l f i s h impulse,  s u f f e r i n g from how  him,  and  t h i s confusion i s v i c -  t i m i z e d by those not s h a r i n g i n i t . While Duddy's energy and c r a s s , c u l t u r a l l y determined  commitment c o n f e r value on h i s dream, and while he a t l e a s t  appears t o make c h o i c e s , a t the h e a r t o f Atuk broods a  -86\  c u l t u r a l determinism, manifest i n the engineering  s o c i a l and  mythological  o f Twentyman, so powerful that human p o s s i b i l i t y  i s tyrannized  t o the p o i n t t h a t even the appearance o f  choice does not e x i s t .  Thus Duddy's energy and  which are so profoundly  c a p t i v a t i n g , are  commitment,  s h a r p l y parodied  in  the c l i c h e s which express the f a l s e romanticism o f c a p i t a l i s m : "What you dare to dream; dare to do."  " I t ' s what you make  o f y o u r s e l f that counts i n t h i s w o r l d " (p. 40).  And  j u s t as  the k i n d s o f c h o i c e s a v a i l a b l e are the t e s t o f the q u a l i t y of l i f e ,  and  j u s t as the c a p a c i t y f o r meaningful c h o i c e  to l e s s e n i n each o f R i c h l e r * s n o v e l s , in  Atuk i s a counterpart  so the l a c k o f  seems  choice  to the c a r i c a t u r i z e d c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n .  T h i s l a c k i s p a r t i c u l a r l y r e f l e c t e d i n Atuk's l u s t f o r l u c k , which d e f i n e s the scope o f h i s dreams and  daring,;'as he  runs  from department s t o r e t o department s t o r e hoping to win t r i p o r be the l u c k y m i l l i o n t h customer. is  The  a free  i r o n y , however,  that even luck i t s e l f i s no l o n g e r much o f a f a c t o r i n  life;  i t s prospect  For on the other  i s o n l y an empty allurement  s i d e o f " l u c k , " on the o t h e r  cliche's, s e c u r e l y s i t s Buck Twentyman, who,  f o r the side of  empty. the  born w i t h m i l l i o n s ,  the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n o f monopoly c a p i t a l i s m which makes f r e e e n t e r p r i s e mean t h a t o n l y he i s f r e e t o e n t e r p r i s e , i s a " f e a r l e s s gambler" because he  can never l o s e .  the odds are on h i s s i d e : " I f the manoeuvre was  L i k e the house, typical  of  -87-  Twentyman i t was also, as usual, wholly successful" (p. 11). Luck as allurement, and Twentyman's utter control and savage heedlessness focus and culminate i n Atuk's appearance on "Stick Out Your Neck" with i t s intimation of take a chance. As quickly as Atuk sticks out h i s neck, he loses h i s head. Twentyman's power and control are r e f l e c t e d i n the progression of the plot, which i n i t s i n t r i c a c y , and i n Richler's b r i l l i a n t control over i t s unfolding, is-one of the most a r t f u l aspects o f Atuk, and implies an analogy between Twentyman's control and Richler's control.  Richler  employs the p a r t i c u l a r technique of providing d e t a i l s which only l a t e r become meaningful, as when the reader only a f t e r wards discovers that the "creamy-faced boy" and "luscious g i r l " who Rory Peel sees i n the park are Jock and Jean-Paul; and, generally, Richler only gradually and deliberately unfolds the main concerns of the p l o t — t h e nature of Atuk's crime, and, most importantly, the nature of Twentyman's plans for Atuk.  Consequently, a certain mysteriousness inheres i n  the plot which contrasts with obviousness and even heavyhandedness of much of the s a t i r e , a contrast which p a r a l l e l s the contrast between Twentyman's mysteriousness and the obvious f o l l y of most of the characters. That d e t a i l s only l a t e r become meaningful expresses s t r u c t u r a l l y how deception  -88-  i s a way  o f l i f e , how  almost  to h i d e which, i n one way him;  every c h a r a c t e r has  something  o r another, l a t e r catches up w i t h  be i t the t r u t h t h a t Snipes' morphine i s a s p i r i n ,  d i s g u i s e s o f Jock and Jean-Paul, Panofsky's or Atuk's crime.  And  the  secret research,  the p a r a l l e l suggests how  the working  out o f the p l o t i s the working out o f Twentyman's c o n t r o l , j u s t as he i s the c e n t r a l f o r c e i n the world o f Atuk, and j u s t as h i s deceptions encompass a l l the o t h e r d e c e p t i o n s . Indeed, j u s t as R i c h l e r ' s " d e c e p t i o n s " encompass a l l o t h e r d e c e p t i o n s , so the c o n t r o l and d e c e p t i o n both he and man  practice  * s suggest  each o t h e r .  Twenty-  Thus, f o r example, a t  the very beginning o f the n o v e l , the reader becomes p a r t o f the f r u s t r a t e d " c u r i o u s , w a t c h f u l crowd" which wants to f i n d out about "Twentyman's d r e a d f u l equipment."  And he s t a y s a  p a r t o f t h i s crowd f o r as l o n g as he i s caught enigma o f Twentyman's p l a n s .  up i n the  The t i t l e o f P a r t 3,  the Noblest Canadian o f Them A l l , " as a statement  "This  Was  o f what  P a r t 3 i s o b s t e n s i b l y about, i r o n i c a l l y a f f i r m s the s t a t u s o f martyr which Twentyman f a b r i c a t e s f o r Atuk, and i n t i m a t e s how  thus  the p r o g r e s s i o n o f the p l o t i s the p r o g r e s s i o n  o f Twentyman's c o n t r o l :  " I assure you e v e r y t h i n g i s under  c o n t r o l . . . e v e r y t h i n g w i l l work out f o r the b e s t . . . What we need i s a martyr...and  we  s h a l l have one"  (p.  173).  I t has been f r e q u e n t l y p o i n t e d out t h a t Atuk i s more o r l e s s modelled  upon ingenu s a t i r e , i n which an innocent i s p l a c e d  -89-  i n a c i v i l i z e d society so that i t s vices and f o l l i e s w i l l be magnified when seen through h i s innocent eyes.  Woodcock  i s perceptive to comment that Richler departs from the model "to...show that there i s no need to contrast our world with a mythical primitive innocence.  Even a rapacious savage... 12  can throw into absurd r e l i e f . . . o u r way of l i f e . "  And Sheps  i s accurate when he states that i n Atuk and Cocksure  "the  f i c t i o n a l time i s r e l a t i v e l y s t a t i c as the characters do not 13  grow and change."  J  Yet, i t i s the case that Atuk, at f i r s t ,  and i n p a r t i c u l a r ways, i s somewhat of an innocent as he walks i n unknowingly on Nancy Gore and her lover, as he wonders seriously what the secret i s to being world famous a l l over Canada, and as, generally, l i k e Lemuel P i t k i n s , he t a l k s seriously the cliches of c a p i t a l i s t romanticism.  And  i t i s the case, although the psychology of h i s change i s hardly given, that he does grow out of h i s naivete to become an "Eskimo Tycoon."  The point i s that, apart from the under-  l y i n g equation between h i s cannibalism and the cannibalism of capitalism, just as he i s shaped by h i s experiences i n Canada, just as he i s the victim of Twentyman's determinism,  so Atuk,  i n h i s movement through the novel, acts out and l i v e s (and dies) out what Canada and Twentyman do to him.  This i s sug-  gested i n the way he seems to learn from the deceit he keeps encountering, and i n the way he brings h i s family to Toronto  -90-  and e x p l o i t s t h e i r a r t , j u s t as "The Twentyman Fur Co" done t o him.  Both the u n d e r l y i n g c a n n i b a l i s m and the  has impact  o f the c u l t u r a l determinism c r y s t a l l i z e i n the p a r a l l e l between Atuk's murder o f h i s b r o t h e r and Twentyman's murder o f him.  F o r w h i l e the p a r a l l e l a s s e r t s the murderous equation  between them, i t a l s o r e f l e c t s how  murder i s the  logical  e x t e n s i o n o f the c o r r u p t n e s s o f the n o v e l ' s world where r u t h lessness i s e s s e n t i a l to success.  As such, these murders  b l a c k l y encompass and peer behind e v e r y t h i n g t h a t goes on, j u s t as, a g a i n , the  p l o t i n e x o r a b l y moves toward  Atuk's  f a t e d death which i t s e l f i s simultaneous w i t h Twentyman's u l t i m a t e c o n t r o l and s u c c e s s . I n Cocksure, Mortimer G r i f f i n t r i e s t o cope w i t h a world rendered absurd by a malevolence  as m e t a p h y s i c a l , m y s t e r i o u s ,  and menacing as the S t a r Maker h i m s e l f .  Again, i t i s the  c o n t e n t i o n here t h a t the S t a r Maker i s beyond the range o f s a t i r e , j u s t as R i c h l e r ' s o c c a s i o n a l sympathy f o r , and i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h , Mortimer, who  a n t i c i p a t e s Jake  even  Hersh,  v i o l a t e s the s a t i r i s t ' s n e c e s s a r y detachment, and makes Mortimer more t h a n j u s t a s a t i r i c b u t t . To take a p a r t i c u l a r New  C r i t i c a l approach, two o f the  b l a c k e s t and most c h i l l i n g paragraphs i n Cocksure can serve as the a x i s o f the argument f o r t h i s c o n t e n t i o n , and, as such, are quoted a t l e n g t h :  -91-  Miss Fishman's mother, who had been r o a s t e d i n the ovens o f T r e b l i n k a , as had every o t h e r member o f her f a m i l y , was not merely another dry Jewish s t a t i s t i c , a l t o g e t h e r too h o r r i f i c , as they say, f o r the o r d i n a r y i m a g i n a t i o n t o cope w i t h . M i s s Fishman's mother was i n f a c t the o n e - m i l l i o n t h Jew to be burned, not counting h a l f o r q u a r t e r Jews o r babies who weighed under nine pounds before being f l u n g i n t o the ovens. T h i s made f o r a very, very s p e c i a l o c c a s i o n , and i n honor o f i t M i s s Fishman's mother was accorded treatment q u i t e out o f the o r d i n a r y . For her burning, the furnace chambers o f T r e b l i n k a were festooned with f l o w e r s and g a i l y c o l o r e d Chinese l a n t e r n s . J u s t as today's p r e s i d e n t s and prime m i n i s t e r s w i l l s i g n h i s t o r i c a l documents w i t h as many as t h i r t y pens, p a s s i n g them out as s o u v e n i r s , so Mrs. Fishman's g o l d f i l l i n g s and o t h e r v a l u a b l e s were d i v i d e d among e x t e r mination quota l e a d e r s from v a r i o u s concenr a t i o n camps, who had been i n v i t e d to T r e b l i n k a f o r the day. Thus, the burning o f the onem i l l i o n t h was one o f the most r i n g - a - d i n g n i g h t s i n the h i s t o r y o f the T h i r d R e i c h and to t h i s d a y — t h e S t a r Maker h i m s e l f assured Mortimer, once he got t o know h i m — i t i s commemorated by s u r v i v o r s o f t h a t s e n t i m e n t a l barbeque wherever they may be. (p. 40) Then he t o l d Mortimer how a f t e r the war was done but s t i l l a f e s t e r i n g wound, he and h i s f o l l o w e r s , a number o f s a i n t l y Jews among them, had t r a v e l l e d to Germany t o demonstrate to the world how l o v e , and o n l y l o v e , would conquer h a t r e d . They had c l e a r e d the r u b b l e from the bombed parks and f i l l e d i n the s h e l l e d t o r n f i e l d s . They had p l a n t e d a c r e s o f wheat and corn and orchards and b o t a n i c a l gardens... They were sweetly bound by such reverence f o r l i f e . t h a t they would not t o l e r a t e chemical f e r t i l i z e r s or sprays. But the gardens and f i e l d s and orchards bloomed, bloomed miracul o u s l y . . . i t seemed to some t h a t God above must have b l e s s e d the s e e d l i n g s . Of course the knockers s a i d no: they r u d e l y p o i n t e d out t h a t underneath the meadows and parks o f Germany  -92-  t h e r e r a n t h e most r a r e and n o u r i s h i n g o f f e r t i l i z e r s — r i v e r s o f human blood and mashed bone and burned f l e s h . T h i s f e r t i - > l i z e r - i n f a c t was s a i d t o be so enduring t h a t t o t h i s day, a c c o r d i n g t o t h e experts, i t accounted f o r t h e incomparably s u c c u l e n t asparagus o f Schwartzwald and the r e c e n t fecund years enjoyed by the v i n e y a r d s o f the Rhine, thereby b r i n g i n g d i v i d e n d s t o gourmets the world over, r e g a r d l e s s o f r a c e , c o l o r or creed. (pp. 4 2 - 4 3 ) The  analogy between the d i v i s i o n o f Mrs. Fishman's gold  f i l l i n g s and v a l u a b l e s among the " e x t e r m i n a t i o n  quota l e a d e r s "  and t h e contemporary p r a c t i c e o f p a s s i n g out t h e pens used t o s i g n h i s t o r i c a l documents i m p l i e s t h a t the h o r r o r s o f World War I I continue  i n the present,  and t h a t the r i t u a l s o f power  p o l i t i c s — t h e p a s s i n g out o f the pens, a r e the c e l e b r a t i o n o f these h o r r o r s . present,  As t h e h o r r o r s o f the past continue  so the s u p e r i m p o s i t i o n  i n t o the  o f the language o f commercial-  i s m — " t h e o n e - m i l l i o n t h Jew" (as i n o n e - m i l l i o n t h customer), and  the language o f h i p s t e r i s m — " r i n g - a - d i n g  nights,"  c a t e s commercialism and h i p s t e r i s m , and thus t h e and  entrepreneurs  h i p s t e r s i n Mortimer's world, i n the p e r p e t u a t i o n  horrors.  impli-  o f these  And the nature o f t h e i r c o m p l i c i t y i s i n t i m a t e d i n  the d e s c r i p t i o n o f human f e r t i l i z e r b r i n g i n g f e c u n d i t y t o the Schwartzwald and t h e v i n e y a r d s dividends  o f the Rhine, "thereby b r i n g i n g  t o gourmets the world over."  J u s t as the gourmets  p r o f i t from the dead, l i t e r a l l y feed o f f them, so t h e e n t r e preneurs and h i p s t e r s perpetuate these h o r r o r s by t h e i r  -93-  c e l e b r a t i o n o f v i o l e n c e and amusement and The  c r u e l t y and p a i n , by the way  their  success demands the d e s t r u c t i o n o f o t h e r s .  r e d u c t i o n o f the h o r r o r o f the r o a s t i n g to a " s e n t i -  mental barbeque," and the f e e d i n g o f f the dead, combine i n the sentimental  s a i n t l i n e s s o f Lord Woodcock, who,  i n t r i b u t e to  h i s humanitarianism, i s awarded "the Grand Cross o f the German Order o f M e r i t . . . o n  the p l a y i n g f i e l d s o f Dachau" (p. 175).  n a z i o f a s a i n t , h i s s a i n t l i n e s s i s f e r t i l i z e d by the t i o n o f the war,  j u s t as h i s seeds o f love and  A  destruc-  peace are  f e r t i l i z e d by "the r i v e r s o f human blood and mashed bone and burned f l e s h . "  H i s perverse v i r t u e e x e m p l i f i e s how  apparent  goodness i n Cocksure. even more than i n Duddy: K r a v i t z or Atuk. i s as v i l e as what i t claims t o abhor, and how  e v i l i s so  overwhelming t h a t i t n u l l i f i e s moral p o s s i b i l i t y and. t u r n s i t i n s i d e out.  T h i s i s made evident  i n the argument between M i s s  Fishman and Lord Woodcock over her a s s a u l t on F r a u l e i n R i n g l e r who  wears Mrs.  Fishman's n e c k l a c e .  While Lord Woodcock's  p a t r o n i z i n g arguments t h a t F r a u l e i n R i n g l e r was d u r i n g the war,  t h a t the Jews' own  only a c h i l d  h i s t o r y o f warfare  should  curb t h e i r i n d i g n a t i o n , and t h a t M i s s Fishman's a s s a u l t smacks o f nazism, seem reasonable soothe and  and  sound c o r r e c t , and w h i l e  calm Miss Fishman, they a l s o dehumanize her  smothering the e x i s t e n t i a l v a l i d i t y o f her f e e l i n g s . g i v e n what she has  they by  For,  s u f f e r e d , i t must be the case t h a t she i s  e n t i t l e d to her rage, although  i t i s not m o r a l l y  justifiable.  -94-  The  e v i l s o f World War  I I which c o n t i n u e i n t o t h e p r e s e n t  are p a r t i c u l a r l y connected w i t h t h e S t a r Maker; and t h e a s s o c i a t i o n s between him and naziam a r e p r o o f o f t h i s c o n n e c t i o n . I t i s the S t a r Maker who  a s s u r e s M o r t i m e r t h a t Mrs. Fishman's  r o a s t i n g i s s t i l l commemorated; and i t seems t h a t t h e m e n t a l i z i n g o f t h e r o a s t i n g i s extended  senti-  i n the pronounced  s e n t i m e n t a l i t y o f both Dino Tomasso, who  c r i e s over the  wages o f t h e B r i t i s h postmen, and o f t h e S t a r Maker who  low gets  l o s t i n a r e v e r i e w h i l e he r e m i n i s c e s about h i s Goy-Boys: "'Mini-Goy  passed f o r an i n t e l l e c t u a l ' . . . t h e S t a r Maker s a i d ,  s l a p p i n g h i s knee i n fond remembrance...'He blew up...Grown men  cried l i k e babies.  I t was  t e r r i b l e , ghastly.'  Maker's head hung low" (pp. 165-166).  The S t a r  The e f f i c i e n c y  implicit  i n Mrs. Fishman b e i n g "the o n e - m i l l i o n t h Jew t o be b u r n t , not c o u n t i n g h a l f o r q u a r t e r Jews who weighed under n i n e pounds b e f o r e b e i n g f l u n g i n t o t h e ovens," r e v e r b e r a t e s i n t h e S t a r Maker's "team o f e f f i c i e n c y e x p e r t s , " which i s headed by H e r r Dr. Manheim and w h i c h works out o f F r a n k f u r t .  And t h e  title  o f t h e s e r i e s f o r which t h e team p r o v i d e s v i c t i m s — O u r L i v i n g H i s t o r y . suggests t h a t t h e e v i l s o f t h e p a s t are a l i v e  and  w e l l i n the present. Some o f t h e c o n v e n t i o n s o f s a t i r e and t h e  grotesque—the  p o r t r a y a l o f e v i l through d e f o r m i t y , merge i n t h e S t a r Maker; b u t , j u s t as he i s beyond t h e range o f s a t i r e , so what i s  -95-  r i d i c u l o u s and grostesque about him i s the very source o f h i s evil  strength.  While t h e i d e a l tends t o be c h a r a c t e r i z e d by  p r o p o r t i o n , harmony, s e r e n i t y and beauty, t h e grotesque, as the i n v e r s i o n o f the i d e a l , tends t o be c h a r a c t e r i z e d by repulsive ill-proportion.  And so, not o n l y i s the S t a r Maker  the hideous c u l m i n a t i o n o f R i c h l e r ' s grotesques, but a l s o , as the i n v e r s i o n o f the i d e a l , he most f a l l e n l y and most absol u t e l y replaces the f a l l e n absolutes  o f the f i r s t t h r e e  novels  — G o d , Marx and g o l d , which a r e i n c r e a s i n g l y r e p l a c e d by t h e i n c r e a s i n g l y " d i v i n e " s t a t u s o f D i n g l e m a n — t h e Boy Wonder, and Twentyman—"Blessed be h i s name."  F u r t h e r , while  g u i t y i s a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c p a r t o f t h e deformity tesque, and while t h e s a t i r i s t  sexual  ambi-  o f t h e gro-  uses o b s c e n i t y and body u g l i n e s s  to reduce people t o t h e i r b a s i c common denominator, j u s t as Ziggy S p i c e h a n d l e r  s p l a t t e r s h i s f i l t h on Joyce, and w h i l e  much o f the S t a r Maker's o b s c e n i t y and u g l i n e s s s p r i n g from h i s t r a n s s e x u a l i t y , p r e c i s e l y h i s t r a n s s e x u a l i t y i s the manifestat i o n of h i s inverted godliness: contained (p. 236).  "Since God, t h e f i r s t  self-  c r e a t o r , Mortimer, I am now able t o reproduce myself" As the i n v e r s i o n o f the i d e a l , he a l s o i s the  i n v e r s i o n o f t h e m y t h i c a l p e r f e c t i o n t h a t men and woman, s p l i t h a l v e s o f a cosmic whole, a r e supposed t o r e g a i n with other.  each  H i s consummate s e x u a l i t y , which c o n t r a s t s w i t h Mortimer's  impotence, i s the f u l f i l l m e n t o f h i s s e l f - l o v e r a t h e r than o f  -96-  any  cosmic l o v e , and  c o u p l i n g o f the two  f i n d s an emblem f o r i t s v i l e n e s s i n the snakes.  The  grotesquely  o f the S t a r Maker which c o - e x i s t s w i t h him  whimsical side  as a " f i g u r e o f  nightmare, the monster l u r c h i n g out o f dreams""*" makes him 4  once the "'grotesque t e r r i b l e ' " and both i n h e r e n t incongruity:!5  at  the '"grotesque b u f f o o n , ' "  i n the grotesque, s i n c e i t s essence i s extreme "The  S t a r Maker blew him  a buzzer f o r M i s s Mott...'Get me explained...exactly  what had  a k i s s and  Tomasso'... The  t o be done" (pp.  then  pressed  S t a r Maker  237-238).  I t i s commonly argued t h a t both comedy and  s a t i r e have  t h e i r b a s i s i n the need f o r r e l e a s e from the t e n s i o n s o f authority's restrictions,  s i n c e comic and  a u t h o r i t y h e l p provide  s a t i r i c distortions of  t h i s r e l e a s e , and  since laughter  itself  i s caused by the r e l e a s e o f tension." *^ I t i s f u r t h e r argued t h a t 1  t h e r e i s a comic and  s a t i r i c impulse i n a l l s a t u r n a l i a n r i t u a l s ,  which a c t out t h i s need by i n v e r t i n g rank and u s u a l l y i n v o l v e blasphemy and  obscenity,  p r o p r i e t y and  and t h a t ,  which  conversely,  17 there  i s a s a t u r n a l i a n impulse i n a l l comedy and  satire.  As  c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y i s a mode o f s o c i a l a u t h o r i t y , so Buddy's d i s r u p t i o n o f i t s a u t h o r i t y , h i s exposure o f the a r b i t r a r i n e s s which pretends to be a b s o l u t e ,  generates comedy.  And  Richler lets  the  reader c e l e b r a t e i n t h i s d i s r u p t i o n u n t i l Duddy becomes harmful, which i s the p o i n t when he i s absorbed by what he has  been d i s r u p -  ting.  laughter  I n Atuk and Cocksure, however, the p l e a s u r a b l e  turns  -97-  i n t o aggressive m i l i t a n t l a u g h t e r — t h e arouses, to  laughter  satire  and, as the a r b i t r a r i n e s s o f s o c i e t y i s understood  be i t s puppet's dance i n t h e hands o f a malevolent  master, i n t o b l a c k h u m o r — t h e c e l e b r a t i o n o f h o r r o r .  puppetAnd  w h i l e Duddy c o m i c a l l y d i s r u p t s c o n v e n t i o n a l i t y , much o f t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l to which Mortimer t r i e s to c l i n g — h i s b e l i e f i n goodness and i n common sense, d e f i n e s the values h i s world g r i n d s t o dust. A r i e h Sachs p o i n t s out t h a t "Madness i s a p e r e n n i a l concomitant  o f t h e grotesque;"!^  and the r e f e r e n c e s t o madness  throughout t h e n o v e l , and t h e madness a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the S t a r Maker, r e f l e c t how he renders t h e world  insane and absurd.  The world's a b s u r d i t y , however, i s not o n t o l o g i c a l j r a t h e r , it  stems from the f a c t t h a t e v i l , knowledgeable o f i t s e l f and  meaningful and even harmonious unto i t s e l f , i s beyond comprehension.  Thus, j u s t as t h e S t a r Maker's l u d i c r o u s n e s s and  grotesqueness a r e h i s s t r e n g t h s , so t h e madness a s s o c i a t e d with him i s the measure o f o t h e r people's f a i l u r e t o understand him:  ' " I don't b e l i e v e a word o f i t .  You're  insane.'  ' F i f t y years ago would you have b e l i e v e d i n men f l y i n g i n t o space?'  Mortimer d i d n ' t answer" (p. 2 3 6 ) .  whelming i s h i s power, and so l i t t l e  Indeed, so over-  i s he understood, t h a t  people do hot r e a l i z e the extent t o which they have been made  -98-  by him. in  F o r , l i k e i n J e r z y K o s i n s k i ' s Being There. the world  Cocksure i s a world  o f e l e c t r o n i c derangement i n which  characters perceive l i f e and r e c r e a t e these  i n terms o f the images o f f e r e d them  images i n t h e i r images o f themselves.  Mortimer, f o r i n s t a n c e , " C o n v e n t i o n a l l y handsome... L i k e t h e o l d - s t y l e movie s t a r s " ( p . 39), i s l a r g e l y what the S t a r Maker, " c o n t r o l l i n g the images P r o t e s t a n t America worshiped" (p. 162), has taught  him t o be.  The S t a r Maker's Goy^Boys,  t h e r e f o r e , not o n l y d e f i n e those who watch them, but a l s o symbolize The  t h e i r p l a s t i c i t y and f a b r i c a t e d n e s s . f a n t a s t i c P o l l y Morgan, who, as an extension o f t h e  cinema, i s the i n v e r s i o n o f McLuhan's t h e s i s t h a t media a r e the extensions  o f man, i s f a b r i c a t i o n complete, and " p e r s o n i -  f i e s " t h e S t a r Maker's r e d u c t i o n o f t a n g i b l e r e a l i t y t o the images he projects.'  Consequently, h i s triumph and predominance  are i m p l i c i t i n her o b l i v i o u s n e s s t o t h e r e a l i t y o f Mortimer's p l i g h t — " P o l l y . . . T h i s i s no movie.  This i s r e a l "  (p. 249).  So s u c c e s s f u l l y does the S t a r Maker b l u n t r e a l i t y , t h a t he i s a b l e t o b l u n t the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f death i t s e l f ;  and so, w h i l e  Mortimer i s about t o d i e , P o l l y , c o n d i t i o n e d by too many happy endings, b e l i e v e s t h e sun always r i s e s , somewhat as Chance l e a r n s from t e l e v i s i o n t h a t death does not r e a l l y mean the end o f l i f e .  And as the focus s h i f t s t o P o l l y  while  Mortimer i s about to be murdered, as the reader i s amused by  -99-  P o l l y , he has no r e a l sense o f the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f what i s happening to Mortimer, and thus shares i n some o f her o b l i v i o u s n e s s , and i s d e l i b e r a t e l y made t o r e v e a l h i s own insensitivity. The S t a r Maker's n a r c i s s i s m and c a n n a b a l i s t i c  exploita-  t i v e n e s s are d i f f u s e d throughout the world o f the n o v e l . Somewhat as the S t a r Maker l i v e s o f f o t h e r s f o r h i s own  well-  b e i n g , so the c r u e l t y and v i o l e n c e so p e r v a s i v e i n the n o v e l are l i f e ' s d e f i n i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , because people are so steeped i n themselves they need the l e s s e n i n g o f o t h e r s t o feel their superiority.  Thus, when Mortimer i s f i r s t p r e s e n t e d ,  he i s a t a meeting where a " b i g b l a c k A f r i c a n . . . h i s smile l e t h a l " (p. 14) p l e a s u r e s i n c a l l i n g h i s Anglo-Saxon  audience  "swine," and i n c a l l i n g f o r t h e i r l i q u i d a t i o n ; and, a f t e r the meeting, Mortimer has t o persuade Agnes Laura Ryerson  "that  the Royal Shakespeare Company's l a t e s t venture i n t o t h e t h r e a t r e o f c r u e l t y " (p. 15) i s not f o r her.  Nothing f l u s h e s  Mortimer's son "out o f h i s room l i k e a q u a r r e l " (p. 24).  Hy  Rosen must beat up h i s w i f e , beat up s t r a y g e n t i l e s , and see h i m s e l f as part o f a great Jewish f i g h t i n g t r a d i t i o n t o assure h i m s e l f o f h i m s e l f . goodness, the l a t e s t  And i n a world which cannot abide  " t h i n g e e " i s the program I n s u l t , i n which  the c h a r a c t e r a s s a s s i n a t i o n o f decent people a l l o w s the audience t o r e v e l i n t h e i r common s h i t t i n e s s .  -100-  The  s e l f - c e n t e r e d n e s s which i s the source o f people's  need to a s s e r t themselves t h e i r hyper-defensiveness,  over o t h e r s a l s o m a n i f e s t s i n s i n c e the need to a s s e r t o n e s e l f  i s p r e c i s e w i t h a l a c k o f b e l i e f i n o n e s e l f , and  since pre-  o c c u p a t i o n w i t h i n f e r i o r i t y i s no l e s s s e l f - c e n t e r e d p r e o c c u p a t i o n with s u p e r i o r i t y .  than  S e l f - a s s e r t i v e n e s s and  hyper-  d e f e n s i v e n e s s become p a r t o f each o t h e r , t h e r e f o r e , and make human r e l a t i o n s h i p i m p o s s i b l e .  Their i n e x t r i c a b i l i t y  and  t h i s i m p o s s i b i l i t y i s made c l e a r by the r a c i s m which abounds i n Cocksure. of  and which has echoes o f nazism.  t h i s racism i s struck f i r s t  Again, the note  i n the argument between the  A f r i c a n and h i s E n g l i s h audience, and i t s d i s c o r d a n t tune c o n t i n u e s i n the s i m u l t a n e o u s l y a g g r e s s i v e and d e f e n s i v e Jewishness  o f S h a l i n s k y and Hy Rosen, i n Rachel Coleman's  a n t i - s e m i t i s m , and i n the way whelm Mortimer.  a l l o f t h i s combines t o over-  While he begins w i t h the f i r m c o n v i c t i o n t h a t  he i s u n p r e j u d i c e d , and w h i l e he goes out o f h i s xvay not t o o f f e n d , he cannot h e l p but o f f e n d . to  Thus h i s innocent remarks  Hy Rosen about S h a l i n s k y m i s t a k i n g him  f o r a Jew  spark a  feud; while he i s a t pains not to o f f e n d Rachel Coleman when he f i r s t meets her, which i t s e l f i s p a t r o n i z i n g , he earns a "Mother-fucker"  from her.  inevitably  Indeed, so p a r a n o i d i s h i s  world, t h a t not o n l y can he not h e l p but o f f e n d , but he i s i n c r e a s i n g l y thought  o f as a r a c i s t t o the p o i n t where he i s  -101-  approached by l u n a t i c f r i n g e n a z i o r g a n i z a t i o n s . The n a r c i s s i s m , v i o l e n c e and c r u e l t y , and racism focus in  the treatment  o f sex i n Cocksure,  s i n c e sex, as such a  fundamental and p e r v a s i v e p a r t o f l i f e , quality of l i f e .  i s an index t o the  N a r c i s s i s m permeates sex i n the n o v e l ; and  j u s t as s e l f - a s s e r t i v e n e s s i s a means t o s e l f - a s s u r a n c e , so sex becomes a mode o f s e l f - a s s e r t i v e n e s s , and a way  of  summating s e l f - l o v e r a t h e r than l o v e o f the o t h e r .  The  conStar  Maker, as mentioned, i s most a b l e t o consummate h i s s e l f - l o v e : he i s the most cocksure.  Z i g g y S p i c e h a n d l e r , who  i s rela-  t i v e l y cocksure and a b s o l u t e l y s e l f - s e r v i n g , shares i n some of  the S t a r Maker's grotesqueness,  grotesqueness of  and sheds some o f t h i s  on Joyce when he cuckholds Mortimer, as the h a i r  her armpits begins to grow w i l d l y i n maggotty clumps.  sex i s a mode o f s e l f - a s s e r t i v e n e s s , and  Since  s i n c e v i o l e n c e and  c r u e l t y , as proof o f one's power i n the s u f f e r i n g o f the o t h e r , are s e l f - a s s u r i n g , so v i o l e n c e and c r u e l t y and sex consort as i n t i m a t e l y as l o v e r s , j u s t as Hy*s need t o beat up h i s w i f e i s one w i t h h i s need to hurt her s e x u a l l y : "'You're going t o be too b i g f o r me. gargantuan,  You're going t o hurt me.'  charged w i t h menace" (p. 2 1 ) .  The  Hy's  laugh  was  p o l i t i c s of  sex becomes a k i n d o f nazism o f sex as manliness  and  anti-  semitism are g i v e n equivalence (p. 7 8 ) , and as v a r i o u s e t h n i c groups,  Jews and Negroes t o be exact, a s s e r t t h e i r v i r i l i t y  by  -102-  t y r a n n i z i n g the v i r i l i t y o f o t h e r s , and f i n d a v i c t i m i n Mortimer.  Rachel Coleman says much, when she says g l i b l y but  t r u l y , "Because t h i s world being imperfect...no o f a y c a t i s capable o f b a l l i n g a b l a c k g i r l without paying f o r i t " ( p . 180).  Behind a l l o f t h i s , looms the S t a r Maker's c o n t r o l and exploitation.  Thus the f i r s t  s u b j e c t o f The Our L i v i n g  H i s t o r y S e r i e s i s found hanging from a c h a n d e l i e r " i n a room r e p l e t e w i t h two-way m i r r o r s , r h i n o whips, d i l d o s , and o t h e r e r o t i c p a r a p n e n a l i a " (p. 1 2 5 ) . And the second  subject, a  "faded f i l m s t a r , " i s found dead from an overdose o f h e r o i n , taken supposedly because granddaughter's  he f a t h e r e d h i s f i f t e e n - y e a r - o l d  child.  B e f i t t i n g such a b e r r a t i o n , R i c h l e r uses a k i n d o f s a t i r i c r e d u c t i o ad absurdum t o show how people a r e overtaken by i t . That i s , as t h i s a b e r r a t i o n i s behaviour gone extreme, and as i t i s a way o f l i f e , so R i c h l e r c o n s i s t e n t l y p l a c e s people and i n s t i t u t i o n s i n the absurd c o n c l u s i o n s t o which the behaviour p a t t e r n s and a t t i t u d e s they r e p r e s e n t l e a d , such as the mad p r o g r e s s i v e n e s s o f the B e a t r i c e Webb S c h o o l .  And  t h e r e i s , consequently, a g r e a t e r element o f t h e grotesque and t h e absurd i n the c a r i c a t u r e s o f Cocksure than i n t h e c a r i c a t u r e s o f Atuk.  Moreover, s i n c e people a r e l a r g e l y de-  f i n e d by the images which the S t a r Maker p r o j e c t s , and s i n c e  -103-  people, as i n Atuk, tend t o be reduced t o the a b s t r a c t i o n s which d e f i n e them, l i f e takes on some o f the q u a l i t y o f a movie which has been seen b e f o r e , and encounters among people are encounters among the p a t t e r n s and a t t i t u d e s they r e p r e s e n t as much a s , i f not more than, they a r e human e n c o u n t e r s . ^ Thus, f o r example, Mortimer  9  and Rachel Coleman, when t h e y  f i r s t meet, a c t out t y p i c a l w h i t e - b l a c k r a c i a l p o s t u r i n g , and are,  " f o r an i n s t a n t . . . suspended i n time, l i k e t h e f r o z e n  frame o f a movie" (p. 25). That Mortimer,  who embodies a  norm a g a i n s t which t h e a b e r r a t i o n can be s a t i r i c a l l y measured, i s a c a r i c a t u r e WASP who i s the i n v e r s i o n o f the l a t t e r - d a y WASP o f eminence and power, and who t a k e s over the Jewish r o l e as o u t s i d e r and scapegoat,  i s suggested  i n the movie  D i f f e r e n t i n which he i s " h e l d i n a f r o z e n frame" w i t h t h e word "WASP" scrawled i n blood over h i s f a c e . All  t h e a b e r r a t i o n f i n d s u n i t y i n i t s common e f f e c t upon  Mortimer, who t r i e s t o l i v e out h i s b e l i e f " i n t h e p o s s i b i l i t i e s w i t h i n each o f us f o r goodness" ( p . 221), and who f i g h t s a l o s i n g b a t t l e against the fact that " l i f e (p.  i s totally  192). And, again, as t h e v a l i d i t y o f t h i s f a c t  t h i s b e l i e f , overtakes Mortimer b l a c k humor.  absurd" overtakes  himself, the s a t i r e turns t o  J u s t as a l l t h e a b e r r a t i o n i s u n i f i e d by i t s  common e f f e c t on Mortimer,  so h i s d e c l i n e and f a l l i s t h e cen-  t r a l movement i n the n o v e l , m a n i f e s t i n g i n t h e sudden way h i s  -104-  apparently  well-ordered  life  i s o v e r t u r n e d , i n h i s impotence,  i n h i s growing f e e l i n g s o f madness, and drinking.  His o p p r e s s i o n takes two  i s abused and  e x p l o i t e d , and  the abuse he  s u f f e r s , and  become, t h a t , f i n a l l y , he Morgan, f o r whom he an index to the  he  internalizes this  self-loathing.  so intense  does h i s  So great  self-doubt  Since sex i s  q u a l i t y o f l i f e , Mortimer's sexual decline.  decline i s  That h i s impotence begins  l e a r n s the t r u t h about the Our  Living History  s e r i e s demonstrates how  the b a t t e r i n g o f h i s moral sense  affects his sexuality.  And  and  the way  e x c i t e s him him  and  out o f h i s impotence, her a n t i - s e m i t i s m to forego her.  and  the more the  i s taken to be mad.  t r i e s to t e l l o f what he knows, he  revulses  the more he  learns  t r i e s to do some-  S t a r Maker hounds him.  i s hounded, the more d i s t r a c t e d and  the more he  outcast.  Further,  S t a r Maker's s e c r e t s , the more he  t h i n g about them, and more he  i t i s the measure o f h i s i n t e g r i t y ,  the world smothers i t , t h a t w h i l e Rachel Coleman  moves him  about the  is  can f i n d happiness o n l y w i t h P o l l y  can be a f a n t a s t i c l o v e r .  precise with h i s personal j u s t a f t e r he  and  increased  main forms: theyway he  the way  oppression i n his self-doubt  in his  And  The  undone he becomes,  w h i l e he  increasingly  i s i n c r e a s i n g l y ignored  Mortimer's r o l e as v i c t i m , the a b s u r d i t y  of  and  reductive  a b s t r a c t i o n s , and  the n a z i - l i k e times c r y s t a l l i z e i n S h a l i n -  sky' s u n r e m i t t i n g  view o f him  as a Jew.  For t o the  extent  -105-  t h a t the times oppress him, and to the extent t h a t "A Jew i s an i d e a " (p. 245), Mortimer i s a Jew, and i s connected with the v i c t i m s d e s c r i b e d i n the i n i t i a l l y quoted  paragraphs.  T h i s i s why he can never s a t i s f a c t o r i l y d i s c l a i m h i s Jewishness, and why he becomes a p a r t o f Our L i v i n g H i s t o r y as he f a l l s i n t o t h e hands o f the F r a n k f o r t e f f i c i e n c y team. The p r o g r e s s i o n o f the p l o t i n Cocksure i s , more than a n y t h i n g e l s e , the p r o g r e s s i o n o f Mortimer's d e c l i n e and f a l l . Consequently, the technique o f p r o v i d i n g d e t a i l s which o n l y l a t e r become meaningful not o n l y h e l p s c r e a t e a s t r u c t u r a l e q u i v a l e n t f o r the working out o f t h e S t a r Maker's mysterious c o n t r o l , but a l s o f o r Mortimer's g r a d u a l p e n e t r a t i o n o f the S t a r Maker's s e c r e t s , the cause o f h i s undoing.  The s h i f t  from the S t a r Maker and h i s p l a n s f o r O r i o l e P r e s s i n Chapter 1 t o Mortimer i n n o c e n t l y l i v i n g h i s own l i f e  i n Chapter 2  i n t r o d u c e s how Mortimer w i l l be a v i c t i m o f f o r c e s beyond h i s c o n t r o l , as i t a n t i c i p a t e s how the S t a r Maker w i l l , suddenly and unexpectedly upset h i s l i f e .  Indeed, the c l o s i n g o f t h e  apparent d i s t a n c e between Mortimer and t h e S t a r Maker i s a c e n t r a l movement i n the p l o t .  That Mortimer's t r o u b l e s w i t h  S h a l i n s k y and Hy Rosen begin j u s t when the S t a r Maker spreads his  t e n t a c l e s t o London r e f l e c t s how Mortimer's  immediately  p e r s o n a l t r o u b l e s are simultaneous w i t h what he s u f f e r s from the S t a r Maker, and prepares f o r t h e i r i n t e r - r e l a t i o n through  - 1 0 6 -  t h e i r common e f f e c t upon him.  Consequently, as the p l o t  p r o g r e s s e s , Mortimer becomes i n c r e a s i n g l y entangled with the S t a r Maker, and h i s p e r s o n a l problems get i n c r e a s i n g l y out o f c o n t r o l , the l a t t e r punctuated o f Ziggy S p i c e h a n d l e r .  by the a r r i v a l and c u c k o l d e r y  I t i s precisely after his f i r s t  w i t h the S t a r Maker t h a t he l e a r n s o f h i s w i f e ' s  meeting  infidelity.  F u r t h e r , t h a t S h a l i n s k y ' s i n s i s t e n c e on Mortimer's Jewishness i n t e n s i f i e s as Mortimer i s i n c r e a s i n g l y oppressed,  and t h a t  Mortimer's attempts t o d i s c l a i m h i s Jewishness i n t e n s i f y and still  fail,  u n d e r l i n e t h e f a c t and nature o f h i s Jewishness.  Again, the s h i f t o f the focus a t the end o f the n o v e l t o P o l l y Morgan expresses unnoticed  i n h i s world,  s t r u c t u r a l l y how Mortimer's death passes j u s t as P o l l y ' s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f h i s  p l i g h t i n t o another movie p a r a l l e l s S h a l i n s k y ' s  transformation  o f h i s d e n u n c i a t i o n o f the S t a r Maker i n t o another  story.  His  death i s the c u l m i n a t i o n o f h i s f u t i l e s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t the S t a r Maker, which i s t o say t h a t p r e c i s e l y h i s attempt t o be moral i s the route o f h i s d o w n f a l l .  -107-  Footnotes  Sheps, p. i x . 2  p.  31.  Mathew Hodgart, S a t i r e  (New York: M c G r a w - H i l l , 1 9 6 9 ) ,  3  I b i d . , p. 31. P a r t o f t h i s d e f i n i t i o n i s a l s o t a k e n from M.H. Abrams, A G l o s s a r y o f L i t e r a r y Terms (New York: H o l t , R i n e h a r t and W i n s t o n , 1957), pp. 83-84. k  F r y e , pp. 1 3 4 - 1 3 5 .  5  Review  G r a n v i l l e H i c k s , "The A d a p t i o n o f A t u k , " S a t u r d a y (August, 1963)1, pp. 3 7 - 3 8 .  ^ F o r f u r t h e r t r e a t m e n t o f b l a c k humor see Robert S c h o l e s , The F a b u l a t o r s (New Y o r k : O x f o r d P r e s s , 1 9 6 7 ) , pp. 3 5 - 5 5 . Hamlin H i l l , " B l a c k Humor: I t s Cause and i t s Cure," C o l o r a d o Q u a r t e r l y (Summer, 1 9 6 8 ) , pp. 5 7 - 6 4 . K o j i Numasawa, " B l a c k Humor: An American A s p e c t , " S t u d i e s i n E n g l i s h L i t e r a t u r e (November, 1 9 6 7 ) , pp. 1 7 7 - 1 9 3 . 7  P h i l i p Toynbee, " C o c k s u r e . " i n Sheps, pp. 1 0 8 - 1 0 9 .  g  L e s l i e F i e d l e r , "Some Notes on t h e J e w i s h N o v e l i n E n g l i s h , " i n Sheps, p. 1 0 4 . Q  Mordecai R i c h l e r , S t e w a r t , 1 9 6 8 ) , p. 2 2 1 . edition.  Cocksure ( T o r o n t o : M c C l e l l a n d and Subsequent quotes a r e from t h i s  , T_he Incomparable Atuk ( T o r o n t o : M c C l e l l a n d and S t e w a r t , 1 9 6 3 ) . A l l q u o t a t i o n s a r e from t h i s e d i t i o n . 1 0  11  „  Sheps, p. x x i v . 12  Woodcock, p. 44.  -108-  13  0  Sheps, p. xxiv. 14 Woodcock, p. 52. ^  Sachs, pp. xxvi-xxx.  16 Arthur Koestler, The Act of Creation (New York: Macmillan, 1964), p. 22. 17 „  Hodgart, pp. 20-30. Sachs, p. xxv. 19 „,  Sheps, p. xxiv.  j  -109-  Chapter Four St. Urbain* s Horseman:  A Summing Up  Richler has self-consciously incorporated elements from his previous novels into St. Urbain* s Horseman, the longest and largest i n l i t e r a l scope of a l l h i s works.  The amount of  t h i s incorporation, and the s h i f t from detachment to an involvement which shows i t s e l f i n the congruence between Jake Hersh and Richler, r e f l e c t s how St. Urbain* s Horseman i s both a l i t e r a r y and a personal summing up.^"  Treated from the per-  spective of the former, while also being treated as a work unto i t s e l f , i t serves well as the basis f o r a conclusion about Richler*s work thus f a r . Informing t h i s conclusion i s the contention that the return to a "dominant narrative mode of r e a l i s t i c characterization, v e r i s i m i l i t u d e of action 2 and psychological p l a u s i b i l i t y "  i s essential to the accommo-  dation of the growing pessimism of the previous novels, which i t s e l f found form i n the move into the caricature and fantasy of s a t i r e and black humor.  The word "accommodation," espec-  i a l l y with i t s connotation of adjustment, i s well-advised, f o r i t i s not the case that Richler has f i n a l l y found affirmation. Rather, the sources of h i s pessimism remain, and dark ironies are i n tension with and qualify, the meaning and value J a k e —  -110-  and R i c h l e r through h i m — f i n d s  for himself.  U s i n g Jake's l i f e i n the immediate present as a base, R i c h l e r r e c o n s t r u c t s Jake's p a s t , as he does Andre's i n The A c r o b a t s , through  f l a s h b a c k and through Jake's memories.  By doing so, R i c h l e r i s able t o review the theme g e n e r a l t o his  first  attempt  two n o v e l s , t h a t o f the s e n s i t i v e young man's  at a u t h e t i c s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n , an attempt  which demands  the n e g a t i o n o f those ready-made meanings which would o t h e r wise d e f i n e him.  One  immediate example demonstrates the  s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s behind t h i s review. i n f l u e n c e on The Acrobats i s c l e a r ,  4  J u s t as Hemingway's  so Jake, r e c a l l i n g h i s  experiences i n Spain, seems t o s l i p i n t o the rhythms o f Hemingway's p r o s e — " G r u b b y f i s h i n g boats were beginning t o chug i n t o the harbor.  G u l l s swooped h u n g r i l y  overhead,"  and remembers f e e l i n g "very g h e t t o - l i b e r a t e d , very Hemingway." More g e n e r a l l y , Andre's n e a r l y insane c o n f u s i o n i n the f a c e of  a world rendered absurd by i t s m a l e v o l e n c e — o f  tiazism  which  i s a m a n i f e s t a t i o n — f i n d s e x p r e s s i o n i n the c o n f u s i o n  and t e r r o r s which beset Jake, as he i s a v i c t i m o f nazism's l e g a c y o f trauma.  And,  as the d e p r a v i t y o f the world o f The  Acrobats i s the c o n d i t i o n o f i t s Godlessness, of  God's h o l i n e s s i s i n c r e a s i n g l y p a r o d i e d i n the r a p a c i o u s -  ness o f the Gods which r e p l a c e Him, to  and as the i d e a  have remarked:  so the Horseman i s s a i d  -111-  t h e L o r d i s one...because o u r L o r d has such a tapeworm i n s i d e h i m . . . t h a t he can chew up s i x m i l l i o n Jews i n one meal... So, t h e L o r d o u r God i s One, because Two we c o u l d n ' t afford. ( p . 265) St.  U r b a i n ' s Horseman encompasses t h e c o n t r a s t between  t h e homelessness o f t h e e x i l e s i n The A c r o b a t s and A C h o i c e of  Enemies and t h e t i g h t l y - k n i t s o c i a l s e t t i n g o f Noah's  search f o r d e f i n i t i o n .  Jake i s homeless i n London i n t h e  sense t h a t he i s unable t o p e n e t r a t e i t and get t h e f e e l o f i t ; and t h e d e n s e l y - p a c k e d d e s c r i p t i o n s o f l i f e on S t . U r b a i n convey how him.  S t . U r b a i n has i n d e l i b l y impressed i t s e l f upon  F u r t h e r , l i k e Noah, J a k e ' s Jewishness and h i s f a m i l y  i n M o n t r e a l a r e an i n e r a d i c a b l e p a r t o f him.  Indeed,  the  c y c l i c a l movement i n Son o f a. S m a l l e r Hero, the movement o f the past r e p e a t i n g i t s e l f i n the present - i s r e i t e r a t e d i n %  t h e c i r c l e imagery o f S t . U r b a i n ' s Horseman.  Thus, when Jake  goes " t o j o i n h i s f a m i l y i n Newquay f o r t h e s a b b a t h , j u s t as y e a r s and y e a r s ago, h i s f a t h e r had descended on them i n f l y b i t t e n Shawbridge" ( p . 383), he t h i n k s t o h i m s e l f t h a t l i f e is  "A c i r c l e .  A l i t t l e k i k e l e h " (p. 383).  As does Noah,  J a k e , i n h i s y o u t h , moves a g a i n s t t h e g h e t t o ' s " s e l f - c o n t a i n e d w o r l d , " " p o n d e r o u s l y s e a r c h i n g f o r a b e t t e r way t h a n S t . U r b a i n ' s " ( p . 302). for  But i f , i n a sense, J a k e , when he l e a v e s  England, i s Noah l e a v i n g f o r Europe a t t h e end o f Son o f  a S m a l l e r Hero, t h e n , i n t h i s sense, Noah's l a t e r l i f e would  -112-  have been r e s t r i c t e d by some o f the same c o n f i n i n g meanings he sought t o escape. of  F o r , l i k e the " s e l f - c o n t a i n e d  world"  the g h e t t o , Jake's " l i t t l e " world i s " i n f l a t e d w i t h l o v e  but u l t i m a t e l y s e l f - s e r v i n g and cocooned by money" (p. #9), and h i s i n t e l l e c t u a l world i s "In a w o r d . . . s e l f - r e g a r d i n g " (p.  302).  Now,  movement beyond the r e s t r i c t i v e n e s s  by the n o v e l ' s p r i s o n imagery  suggested  f l o u r i s h e s o n l y i n the phantom  movement o f the Horseman as he r i d e s a c r o s s the expanse o f Jake's i m a g i n a t i o n . While t h e r e are p a r a l l e l s between Jake i n h i s youth  s  and  Andre and Noah, t h e r e are c l o s e r and more p e r v a s i v e resemb l a n c e s between him and Norman P r i c e .  Not o n l y does he  share  i n Norman P r i c e ' s r o o t l e s s n e s s i n glum, grey London, but  also,  almost e x a c t l y the same age, he shares i n h i s weariness, h i s i n a b i l i t y t o a c t d e c i s i v e l y , h i s woe  over h i s l a c k o f g r e a t -  ness, and h i s f e e l i n g t h a t the best p a r t o f h i s l i f e i s behind him.  I n t e r e s t i n g l y , t h e r e f o r e , although S t . U r b a i n ' s Horseman  f i l l e d w i t h Jake's thoughts and memories, i s more deeply steeped i n s u b j e c t i v i t y than any o f the n o v e l s s i n c e The Acrobats  T  and although i t i s c l e a r t h a t Jake i s tormented,  much o f h i s torment,  l i k e the torment  i s rendered p r o s a i c : "now by h i s own  the f u r t h e r prospect o f o t h e r s t o r n  concerns, more malcontent  him w i t h ennui" (p. 3 0 2 ) .  i n A Choice o f Enemies,  and  swollen egos,  L i k e the Canadians  filled  i n A Choice o f  t  -113-  Enemies. Jake has come t o England i n o r d e r t o conquer i t , i n o r d e r to achieve a g r e a t n e s s which Canada cannot L i k e them, he f a i l s .  offer.  C o n s i d e r i n g t h i s , and c o n s i d e r i n g the  theme o f A Choice o f Enemies. i t i s f i t t i n g that Jake comes to for  understand t h a t he has " f o o l i s h l y h e l d Canada c u l p a b l e a l l h i s d i s c o n t e n t s " j u s t "As h i s f a t h e r had blamed the  goyim f o r h i s own  i n a d e q u a c i e s " (p. 302).  The s h u f f l e d scenes o f the f i r s t the  performance  three novels project  o f p a r t i c u l a r l i v e s w i t h i n the tumbling p a t -  t e r n o f the human c o n d i t i o n , and p r o j e c t how the  same as, and d i f f e r e n t  Duddv K r a v i t z the In  man  i s a t once  from, those around him.  And i n  the p a r t i c u l a r f o c u s on Duddy h i m s e l f , p r o j e c t s  t  performance  of a p a r t i c u l a r l i f e within t h i s  pattern.  S t . U r b a i n ' s Horseman, the scenes s h i f t as Jake's mind  s k i p s from one phase o f h i s l i f e  to another, and as the focus  s h i f t s from Jake, t o h i s w i f e , to h i s mother, and t o Harry Stein.  These  s h i f t i n g scenes c o n t r i b u t e t o a f u l l  of Jake's l i f e , as the reader l e a r n s how  picture  o t h e r s g i v e i t con-  t e x t , and as i t becomes c l e a r t h a t the t r i a l  i s both the c u l -  mination and r e s u l t o f a l l t h a t has happened to him. Jake i s both s i m i l a r t o , and d i f f e r e n t  That  from, those around  him  i s r e f l e c t e d i n the s i m i l a r i t i e s between h i m s e l f and Harry S t e i n , w i t h whom he i s c o n s t a n t l y compared; and these s i m i l a r i t i e s are i n t i m a t e d by the p r o x i m i t y between h i s l a s t name—  -114-  Hersh, and Harry's Jewish n a m e — H e r s h e l .  Thus, i n a-most  Harry S t e i n - l i k e manner, Jake d i r e c t s "a spray o f murdering lime s o l u t i o n through the fence a t Old Lady Dry Cunt's rhododendron i n h i s own  bed"  (p. 17); and as Jake c r e a t e s the Horseman  image (p. 4 6 4 ) ,  and as he imagines the Horseman  doing what he h i m s e l f can o n l y dream o f doing, so Harry  tells  him, "I've got the courage t o do t h i n g s you o n l y dream o f " (p.  374). R i c h l e r ' s c h a r a c t e r s make, and are made by, t h e i r w o r l d s .  Consequently, they embody what i s u n i v e r s a l i n t h e i r worlds, and these u n i v e r s a l s become c o n c r e t i z e d i n p l o t .  Harry i s  what h i s d e p r i v e d and b r u t a l u p b r i n g i n g has done t o him. Having, and h a v i n g had, next t o n o t h i n g , and s e e i n g so v e r y much around him, he wants what he can never g e t .  Unable to  c o n t r o l t h i s o b s e s s i v e and i n s a t i a b l e wanting, and unable t o c o n t r o l the rage which not g e t t i n g k i n d l e s , he i s the t e r r i f y ing  human e x t e n s i o n o f those c a r i c a t u r e s i n Atuk whose  i s so sapped t h a t they are unable to make c h o i c e s .  And  humanity Harry  i s the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n o f "the vandals...the c o n c e n t r a t i o n camp s u r v i v o r s .  The emaciated... The  whom Jake i s so f r i g h t e n e d .  s t a r v e l i n g s " (p. &9)  of  The r e l a t i o n s h i p between Jake  and Harry, t h e r e f o r e , p a r t i c u l a r i z e s the d i s p a r i t y between those who  have and those who  do not have, s i n c e Jake i s i m p l i -  cated i n t h i s d i s p a r i t y i n s o f a r as h i s g r e a t m a t e r i a l w e l l - b e i n g  -115-  has i t s source i n a f r i v o l i t y which pays enormous amounts to t i t i l l a t e i t s e l f rather than helping those who do not have.^  Thus, "while 450 m i l l i o n people were starving and,  in England...18 per cent...lived below subsistence l e v e l . . . I, Jacob Hersh...paid h 15,000 not to d i r e c t a fun f i l m . . . survived very n i c e l y " (p. 89-90).  And thus aware, Jake  expects "the coming of...the i n j u s t i c e c o l l e c t o r s " (p. 89); and so they come i n the form of Harry Stein; and so Jake's t r i a l i m p l i c i t l y i s the occasion f o r them to make t h e i r case against him, "to ask him...for an accounting" (p. 39). The appearance of Duddy Kravitz i n St. Urbain's Horseman i s the most obvious example of how Richler has, i n a sense, rewritten h i s previous novels.  Now middle-ageish and "suc-  c e s s f u l , " Duddy i s characterized by the same duality which characterized him i n h i s own novel, the duality between his spontaneity and l o y a l t y to those f o r whom he cares, and h i s crassness and destructive ruthlessness.  Interestingly, just  as Warren Tallman suggests that Richler has written himself into a corner with Duddv Kravitz. that " I f he i s to advance beyond the boundaries into which he has guided h i s protagonist he w i l l need to discover a new way of seeing which w i l l make l i f e . . . a mirror and a source for deeper desires than h i s present hero even dreams,"  so Jake's deeper desires, h i s  moral concern, allow him a way of seeing that Duddy could not  -116-  begin to  understand.  The d i s l o c a t i o n o f the r e a d e r ' s f e e l i n g s i n Duddv K r a v i t z a l s o occurs i n S t . Urbain's Horseman i n o r d e r t h a t the r e a d e r experience Jake's c o n f u s i o n s . c l o s e t o where i t w i l l end,  The n o v e l begins  and the r e a d e r ' s c o n f u s i o n , which  stems from h i s ignorance o f what has gone b e f o r e , i s exacerbated by the wanderings o f Jake's mind. man  And  as i f the Horse-  i s not ambiguous enough h i m s e l f , t h e r e seems t o be a  c o n f u s i n g d i s p r o p o r t i o n between the prominence which the as a statement  title,  o f what the n o v e l i s about, i m p l i e s f o r the  Horseman, and Jake's own  c l e a r predominance, a d i s p r o p o r t i o n  which perhaps suggests t h a t Jake h i m s e l f i s the Horseman as much as, i f not more than, Joey i s . l i k e those i n Atuk and Cocksure, novel progresses.  Nevertheless, d e t a i l s ,  become meaningful  as the  That the reader l e a r n s o f the complete  cir-  cumstances o f t r i a l o n l y a f t e r Jake's l i f e has been recons t r u c t e d expresses  s t r u c t u r a l l y how  t i o n and r e s u l t o f Jake's  the t r i a l  i s the  culmina-  past.  I t i s c r u c i a l to understand  that Richler internalizes i n  Jake much o f what he c r i t i c i z e s i n Atuk and Cocksure.  While  t h i s means t h a t Jake i s a flawed c h a r a c t e r , i t a l l o w s R i c h l e r to  d e a l " r e a l i s t i c a l l y " w i t h what he c r i t i c i z e s , which i n t u r n  means t h a t , as Jake does f i n d meaning and value i n the world,  -117-  the world as i t i s , and as bad as i t i s , has meaning and value to o f f e r .  Although the r i d i c u l i n g of Canadian medio-  c r i t y i n Atuk has a p a r a l l e l i n the s a t i r i c treatment of Doug Fraser, "one of Canada's most uncompromising and p r o l i f i c problem playwrights" (p. 14#), Jake, at f i r s t eager to escape t h i s mediocrity, a f r a i d of being defined by i t , f e e l s " i n creasingly claimed" by Canada, the more he r e a l i z e s h i s own clear lack of greatness, h i s own mediocrity.  More, while  Richler, detached, excoriates the t r i v i a - l a d e n society of Atuk, Jake feels that t r i v i a l i t y  i s one of h i s and h i s generation's  defining c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s : "Jake feared, they would be dismissed as t r i v i a l , a peripheral generation" (p. 309). f e e l i n g of t r i v i a l i t y  Indeed, t h i s  i s one of h i s obsessions, for to the  extent that l i f e i s t r i v i a l — n o t meaningful, i t i s meaningless; and t h i s f e e l i n g of meaninglessness i s part of what drives him to  share v i c a r i o u s l y i n the greatness which he assigns to the  Horseman.  As a " f i l m fantasy spinner," Jake has some of the  Star Maker i n him, a major and obvious difference being that the Star Maker's fantasies overwhelm r e a l i t y , while Jake uncomfortably r e a l i z e s that r e a l i t y i s larger than any fantasy he w i l l ever produce. innocent who  In contrast to Mortimer, a r e l a t i v e  i s oppressed and destroyed by the fantastic malevo-  lence of h i s world, Jake has a greater hand i n the immoralities of h i s world and suffers less i n the face of them.  As he fears  -118-  the " i n j u s t i c e - c o l l e c t o r s " more than he feels f o r them, as he i s bothered by the u n o r i g i n a l i t y of h i s "ennui," so an i r r i t a t i n g self-indulgence and gratuitousness characterizes i t : he i s s p i r i t u a l l y incapable of great suffering. St. Urbain* s Horseman contains elements of comedy, s a t i r e , the grotesque and black humor.  While they r e f l e c t p a r t i c u l a r  ways of seeing the world, and while they tend to d i s t o r t r e a l i t y i n order to represent i t , a l l of these ways of seeing become part of the novel's view of the world, and the d i s t o r t i o n s blend i n with, rather than obtrude upon, the novel's representation of the world as i t i s . The baseball game at Hamstead Heath i s comparable to the Bar Mitzvah f i l m i n Duddv Kravitz.  Described as a " r i t u a l , " i t i s a celebration of  much of the same emptiness which the Bar Mitzvah f i l m celebrates, as i t pays homage to Gods who "grow i n f i r m . . . l i k e Paul Hornung...or...Sandy Koufax" (p. 309), and as i t i s punctuated with emasculation, adulterousness and violence.  Herky's comic-  s a t i r i c grand tour of the t o i l e t s of Europe reduces Europe to what i t s high-culture pretends does not e x i s t . . Aberrance and grotesqueries are r i f e i n the novel, as the scatology, the diseased and the maimed, and the violence express i n t h e i r t o t a l i t y Jake's r e a l i z a t i o n that "The times were depraved," and that "society's golden rule was alcoholism, drug addiction,  -119-  and inchoate b r u t a l i t y " (p. 89). The black humor expresses the  extent to which immorality has established i t s e l f as a  norm: Cairo claimed forty-four planes shot down. There was dancing i n the streets. The headline i n the f i r s t edition of the Evening Standard announced that Germany was to send I s r a e l twenty thousand gas masks. "Nowadays," Jake hollered at the others, "everybody i s a black humorist." (pp. 384-335)  Yet,  while black humor resounds throughout Cocksure  f  as an  immoral norm completely dominates i t , i n St. Urbain's Horseman, t h i s humor i s set against a melancholy which issues from the pervasive brooding and crying, Which themselves reveal a sympathy and a s e n s i t i v i t y which black humor i n v e r t s .  Thus, while  black humor posits laughter as the only response to the incong r u i t i e s of the world, a l l Jake can do after he learns of the Horseman's death i s weep. The contradictions which plague Jake and, indeed, are part of him, are magnified i n the figure of the Horseman, who i s , as much as he i s anything, the projection of what Jake dreams f o r himself.  Jake w i l l never know i f the Horseman meant  to blackmail or murder Mengele f o r revenge; and the Horseman's flashing w i l l to revenge i s i n e x t r i c a b l y part of the violence which i t breeds, and which defines the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of revenge as a moral act.  Indeed, as Harry, l i k e the Horseman,  -120-  has t h e courage t o do what Jake dreams o f , and as he t h r i v e s on t h e d e s t r u c t i v e n e s s  o f h i s a c t s o f revenge, so t h e i r mean-  ness and v i n d i c t i v e n e s s appear t o q u a l i f y t h e apparent o f t h e Horseman's revenge.  glory  The c o n n e c t i o n between S t . U r b a i n ' s  Horseman and t h e Four Horsemen o f t h e A p o c a l y p s e i s e s p e c i a l l y to the point here.  As t h e Horseman, i n J a k e ' s mind, charges  about on a w h i t e s t a l l i o n , he almost seems t o be t h e f i r s t o f t h e Four Horsemen, t h e i n c a r n a t i o n o f war r e l e a s e d by God t o o v e r t h r o w t h e f o r c e s o f e v i l ; and t h e v i o l e n c e and d e s t r u c t i o n t h a t f o l l o w him wherever he goes make him l i k e t h e second o f t h e Horsemen who s e t s i n t o a c t i o n t h o s e i n n e r e n e r g i e s by whose means e v i l men become t h e i r own w o r s t enemies. . But t h e p o i n t i s , o f c o u r s e , t h a t i n S t . U r b a i n ' s Horseman, God does not e x i s t , and t h a t , t h e r e f o r e , t h e Horseman, as he e x i s t s i n J a k e ' s mind, i s t h e i n s t r u m e n t o f man r a t h e r t h a n o f God.  And,  t h e r e f o r e , j u s t as man, w i t h o u t God, has no a b s o l u t e source o f v a l u e s and i s l o s t i n a m o r a l w i l d e r n e s s ,  so m o r a l ambi-  g u i t y i s o f t h e Horseman's essence, and so he seems no b e t t e r t h a n h i s enemies.  A l t h o u g h t h e phantom movement o f t h e H o r s e -  man c o n t r a s t s w i t h t h o s e i m p r i s o n e d by what d e f i n e s them, i t s m e a n i n g f u l n e s s i s as i n s u b s t a n t i a l as i t i s f l e e t , and t h e i m p l i c a t i o n i s t h a t some measure o f d e f i n i t i o n i s n e c e s s a r y f o r meaningfulness. he r u n s towards.  L i k e Duddy, t h e Horseman runs away as much as  -121-  Confusion  i s a l s o i n h e r e n t i n Jake's l i b e r a l i s m , which,  d e s p i t e i t s c l e a r weaknesses, and d e s p i t e t h e extent t o which R i c h l e r has c r i t i c i z e d  l i b e r a l i s m i n h i s previous novels, i s  the e t h i c a l stance o f the n o v e l .  As Alexander  Meiklejohn  e l o q u e n t l y puts i t : liberalism...indicates a pattern of culture which c r i t i c i z e s i t s e l f . . . I t has customs and standards o f behaviour. But i t a l s o has...the a t t i t u d e o f . . . q u e s t i o n i n g i t s own dominant b e l i e f s and standards... The l i b e r a l both b e l i e v e s and doubts...and... i f an i n d i v i d u a l o r a group w i l l h o l d f a s t both t o custom and i n t e l l i g e n c e , then i t s experience w i l l i n e v i t a b l y be p a r a d o x i c a l and d i v i d e d a g a i n s t i t s e l f . The b e i n g who ^ seeks i n t e l l i g e n c e i s a d i v i d e d p e r s o n a l i t y . 8  Denied t h e e a s i n e s s o f an a b s o l u t e p o s i t i o n , Jake's manifests  dividedness  i t s e l f as he t r i e s t o s t r i k e a b a l a n c e — w h i c h w i l l  a l l o w f o r "decency, t o l e r a n c e , honor"—between the extremes he f e e l s squeezing  him and f i n d s i n t o l e r a b l e .  Greatness i t s e l f i s a source  o f meaning and v a l u e .  For  i f Jake f e e l s h i s l i f e t o be t r i v i a l , he understand t h a t i t i s t r i v i a l i n r e l a t i o n t o those, l i k e Dr. Johnson, who a r e g r e a t , and t h a t t h e i r greatness  i s a measure o f human p o s s i b i l i t y :  " ' A l l r i g h t , then, what do you b e l i e v e i n ? ' ' P r a i s i n g those who where t r u l y g r e a t , those who came nearest  the sun'" (p. 3 0 4 ) .  The  success o f Jake's marriage i s a f u r t h e r source o f meaning  and  v a l u e , f o r , as he t e l l s h i s mother, " I l o v e h e r .  And so  long as she l o v e s me, I cannot be e n t i r e l y bad" {p. 4 7 ) .  The  -122-  first in  s u c c e s s f u l marriage  i n R i c h l e r ' s f i c t i o n , i t stands  c o n t r a s t t o the c o n f u s i o n , enmity, g r o t e s q u e r i e and  l e n c e i n the n o v e l ' s world.  While  vio-  Jake, a t the very b e g i n n i n g  of  the n o v e l , l e a v e s h i s bed unable t o s l e e p , i t i s a measure  of  what he f i n d s f o r h i m s e l f t h a t , at the v e r y end o f the n o v e l ,  "he r e t u r n e d to bed, and to  him"  fell  i n t o a deep s l e e p , h o l d i n g Nancy  (p. 467).  For a l l t h i s i t would be a mistake t o see R i c h l e r ' s summing up as c l e a r l y a f f i r m a t i v e , and i t would be a mistake  to  argue t h a t the n o v e l i s comic because i t ends h a p p i l y , and cause the s u c c e s s f u l marriage gration.  symbolizes comic s o c i a l  I r o n i e s q u a l i f y what might seem completely  as the d i s p a r i t i e s p e r s i s t unameliorated. for  reinteaffirmative  Though Jake weeps  i t , Harry i s s t i l l made t o bear the g u i l t f o r what h i s upi-  b r i n g i n g has done t o him; ety  be-  and i n s e v e r e l y s e n t e n c i n g him,  soci-  s a n c t i m o n i o u s l y and u n j u s t l y uses him t o d e f i n e by c o n t r a s t  what i t b e l i e v e s t o be i t s own  propriety.  And though Jake has  the success o f h i s marriage, he r e a l i z e s , l i k e Ginger C o f f e y , t h a t h i s and h i s w i f e ' s best years are past, and t h a t he must r e s i g n h i m s e l f t o the f a c t o f h i s m o r t a l i t y .  As he r e t u r n s t o  bed,  and f a l l s deeply a s l e e p h o l d i n g h i s w i f e to him, he i s , as much as anything, drawing h i s i n s u l a r , l i t t l e world, " i n f l a t e d  with  l o v e but u l t i m a t e l y s e l f - s e r v i n g , " more t i g h t l y around him, "tenderness  i n one house" i s s t i l l no l e s s " p o s s i b l e ,  and  without  -123-  c o r r u p t i o n , than s o c i a l i s m i n a s i n g l e c o u n t r y " (p. 8 9 ) . F i n a l l y , the Horseman's "presumed" death i n t e n s i f i e s than l e s s e n s Jake's o b s e s s i o n w i t h him,  f o r now,  rather  in his  nightmares, Jake h i m s e l f has become the Horseman. Sheps suggests that t h e r e are two k i n d s o f time i n R i c h l e r ' s n o v e l s , each s u i t a b l e t o a p a r t i c u l a r view o f the world: "bourgeois time" i s the time o f a world " i n which a person advances from A to B, and B i s q u a l i t a t i v e l y from A," and r e f l e c t s how  " s o c i a l m o b i l i t y and the i d e a o f  self-development are both p o s s i b l e ; " and " s t a t i c " time e x i s t s when "we  different  fictional  are no l o n g e r i n the world o f p r o g r e s s i v e  and i n c r e m e n t a l m o b i l i t y . . . a s the c h a r a c t e r s do not grow and change."  9  S t . U r b a i n s Horseman p r o j e c t s both k i n d s o f time, 1  and the l a t t e r , m a n i f e s t i n g i n the p e r s i s t i n g  disparities,  i n Harry S t e i n ' s p e r s o n a l and l i t e r a l imprisonment,  i s the  l a r g e context f o r the former, which e x i s t s i n s o f a r as Jake f i n d s meaning and v a l u e .  And what he f i n d s , t h e r e f o r e , i s  l i k e one o f Auden's " i r o n i c p o i n t s o f l i g h t . " l i g h t i s i r o n i c because  The p o i n t o f  i t i s p r e c i s e l y the p r e v a i l i n g  which s e t s i t o f f , indeed g i v e s meaning to i t ;  darkness  and i t i s  p r e c i s e l y the darkness o f the n o v e l ' s world which g i v e s meaning t o the l i g h t which s h i n e s f o r Jake a I t might  little.  seem t h a t i n S_t. U r b a i n ' s Horseman R i c h l e r comes  -124-  f u l l c i r c l e back to the v e r i s i m i l i t u d e of h i s f i r s t novels. And as the c i r c l e images the past repeating i t s e l f i n the present, i t might seem to image the novel's r e i t e r a t i o n of what has gone before.  Every serious and self-conscious  writer's development, however, should be d i a l e c t i c a l rather than c i r c u l a r , an evolving synthesis between what has gone before and new  i n s i g h t s , rather than a mere repeating.  The  tension at the heart of St. Urbain's Horseman proves i t to be t h i s kind of a synthesis.  For i t s world-view posits  against each other the destructiveness and inhumanity present i n Richler's f i c t i o n from The Acrobats on, and meaning and value which, rather than having roots i n any previous  affir-  mation, signal a p a r t i a l coming to terms with what previously precluded i t s p o s s i b i l i t y .  This i m p o s s i b i l i t y reached i t s  height i n Cocksure by virtue of the black humor there.  While  the return to v e r i s i m i l i t u d e i n St. Urbain's Horseman i s a  way  out of Cocksure's black and c o n s t r i c t i n g fantasy, and i s essential to Richler's assertiSn of human p o s s i b i l i t y , the dark i r o n i e s qualifying t h i s assertion attest to the d i a l e c t i c a l incorporation of the i m p o s s i b i l i t y which Cocksure depicts. And so, i n contrast to Saul Bellow's Mr. Sammler, who and who  knows  can keep the terms of h i s human contract, the terms  which a l l men,  i n t h e i r inmost heart, know, and who  i s a very  champion of man's common humanity, Jake Hersh also knows, and  -125-  khows f u r t h e r t h a t he cannot keep t h e terms very w e l l . T h i s i s the essence o f the t e n s i o n which i s the s y n t h e s i s o f R i c h l e r ' s past black pessimism and p a r t i a l r e s o l v e , t h e t e n s i o n which i s s i m i l a r l y present The  i n , say, B r i a n Moore's  Luck o f Ginger C o f f e y and Bernard Malaraud's A New L i f e :  that l i f e ,  as good as love can make i t , and as much as i t  can understand what greatness  i s , i s hemmed i n by n e a r l y  overwhelming l i m i t a t i o n s and d i s p a r i t i e s , and can never be anything  e l s e but what these l i m i t a t i o n s and d i s p a r i t i e s  restrict i t to.  -126-  Footnotes  Robert Fulford, " A l l the Mordecais, Together at Last," Saturday Night (June, 1971), p. 25. 2 Sheps, p. i x . 3  See, for example, George Woodcock, "From the Ghetto to E x i l e , R i c h l e r Bridges the Gulf," V i c t o r i a Daily Times (June 12, 1971), p. 16. David Pryce-Jones, "A Stuntman with the Language," L i f e (July 9, 1971), p. 14. 4  For more comment on t h i s see Bowering,  p.  Mordecai Richler, St. Urbain s Horseman (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1 9 7 D , p. 1 3 . A i l quotations are from t h i s text. 1  See also Robert Heibroner, The Great Ascent York: Harper and Row, 1 9 6 5 ) , p. 1 4 6 .  (New  7  Warren Tallman, "Richler and the Faithless C i t y , " Canadian Literature (Winter, I 9 6 0 ) , p. 6 4 . Alexander Meikleiohn, Education Between Two (New York: Atherton, 1967), pp. 112-114. Sheps, pp. x i i i - x i v .  Worlds.  -127-  Bibliography  I  Selected L i s t  o f Works by Mordecai  R i c h l e r , Mordecai. 1970.  The A c r o b a t s .  Richler London: Sphere Books,  . The A p p r e n t i c e s h i p o f Duddv K r a v i t z . Toronto: M c C l e l l a n d and Stewart, 19o"9. Deutsch,  . A Choice o f Enemies. 1957.  Stewart,  . Cocksure. 1968.  Toronto: M c C l e l l a n d and  . The Incomparable M c C l e l l a n d and Stewart, 1963. Deutsch,  London: Andre  Atuk.  . Son o f a Smaller Hero. 1955.  . S t . U r b a i n s Horseman. M c C l e l l a n d and Stewart, 1971. 1  Toronto: London: Andre Toronto:  . "Dinner With Ormsby-Fletcher," American Review (September, 1967), 70-80. . Hunting T i g e r s Under G l a s s . M c C l e l l a n d and Stewart, 1968.  New  Toronto:  . "Mortimer G r i f f i n , S h a l i n s k y , and How They S e t t l e d the Jewish Q u e s t i o n , " Tamarack Review ( S p r i n g , 1958), 30-43. . " S t . U r b a i n ' s Horseman," Tamarack Review (Autumn. 1966), 137-160. Stewart,  . The S t r e e t . 1969.  Toronto: M c C l e l l a n d and  . " T h i s Night a t the Arabian N i g h t s H o t e l , " Tamarack Review ( S p r i n g , 1968), 9-18.  - 1 2 8 -  . "Wally S y l v e s t e r ' s Canadiana," Tamarack Review (Autumn, I960), 27-32.  Selected  L i s t o f Books and A r t i c l e s About Mordecai R i c h l e r  Sheps, David G., ed. Mordecai R i c h l e r . 1971. Woodcock, George. Mordecai R i c h l e r . and Stewart, 1970.  Toronto: Ryerson,  Toronto: M c C l e l l a n d  Bevan, A.R. " I n t r o d u c t i o n : The A p p r e n t i c e s h i p o f Duddv K r a v i t z , " Mordecai R i c h l e r . ed. G. David Sheps. Toronto: Ryerson, 1971, 84-91. Bowering, George. "And the Sun Goes Down: R i c h l e r ' s F i r s t Novel," Canadian L i t e r a t u r e (Summer, 1966), 7-17. Cameron, Donald. "The New Mordecai: L e t h a l But Tender," Macleans (May, 1971), 80. C a r r o l l , John. "On R i c h l e r and Ludwig," Tamarack Review (Autumn, 1963), 98-102. Cohen, Nathan. "A C o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h Mordecai R i c h l e r , " Tamarack Review (Winter, 1957), 6 - 2 3 . Review  "Heroes o f the R i c h l e r View," Tamarack (Winter. 1958), 47-60.  Fiedler, Leslie. "Some Notes on t h e Jewish Novel i n E n g l i s h , " Mordecai R i c h l e r . ed. G. David Sheps. Toronto: Ryerson, 99-105. F u l f o r d , Robert. " A l l the Mordecais, Together a t L a s t , " Saturday Night (June, 1971), 25-26. H i c k s , G r a n v i l l e . "The Adaption o f Atuk," Saturday Review (August 23, 1963), 37-38. James, G e o f f r e y . "The E x p a t r i a t e Time (May 3 1 , 1971), 7-11.  who Never L e f t Home,"  -129-  K a t t a n , Nairn. "Mordecai R i c h l e r : Craftsman o r A r t i s t , " Mordecai R i c h l e r . ed. G. David Sheps. Toronto: Ryerson, 92-98. New, W i l l i a m H. "The A p p r e n t i c e s h i p o f D i s c o v e r y , " Mordecai R i c h l e r , ed. G. David Sheps. Toronto: Ryerson, 69-77. . "Cock and B u l l Stones" L i t e r a t u r e (Autumn, 1963), 83-86.  Canadian  P o r t e r f i e l d , C h r i s t o p h e r . "Dr. Johnson, Yes, Dr. Leary, No," Time (June 21, 1971), 68. Pryce-Jones, David. "A Stuntman w i t h t h e Language," L i f e ( J u l y 9, 1971), 14. Ross, M i c o l m . "Introduction',' The Incomparable A t u k by Mordecai R i c h l e r . Toronto: M c C l e l l a n d and Stewart, 1971. a  ?  S c o t t , P e t e r Dale. "A Choice o f C e r t a i n t i e s , " Mordecai R i c h l e r . ed. G. David Sheps. Toronto: Ryerson,  58-68.  Sheps, G. David. "The Novels o f Mordecai R i c h l e r : An I n t e r p r e t a t i o n , " Mordecai R i c h l e r , ed. G. David Sheps. Toronto: Ryerson P r e s s , i x - x x v i . Tallman, Warren. "Beyond Camelot," Canadian (Autumn, 1969), 77-31.  Literature  . "Performers and E n t e r t a i n e r s , " d i a n L i t e r a t u r e (Winter, 1964), 49-50.  Cana-  . " R i c h l e r and t h e F a i t h l e s s C i t y , " Canadian L i t e r a t u r e (Winter, I960), 62-64. . "Wolf i n t h e Snow: The House Repossessed," Mordecai R i c h l e r . ed. G. David Sheps. Toronto: Ryerson, 73-83. Woodcock, George. "From Ghetto t o E x i l e , R i c h l e r Bridges the G u l f , " V i c t o r i a D a i l y Times (June 12, 1971), 16.  -130-  III  L i s t o f General Works C o n s u l t e d Abrams, M.H. A G l o s s a r y o f L i t e r a r y Terms. H o l t , R i n e h a r t and Winston, 1957.  New  York:  B e l l , Daniel. " S e n s i b i l i t y i n the 60's," Commentary (June, 1971), 63-73. Blackham, H.J. ed. R e a l i t y . Man Works o f E x i s t e n t i a l i s m . New  and E x i s t e n c e : E s s e n t i a l York: Bantam, 1965.  Bodkin, Maud. A r c h e t y p a l P a t t e r n s i n Poetry: P s y c h o l o g i c a l S t u d i e s o f the Imagination. Oxford: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1962. Booth, Wayne. The R h e t o r i c o f F i c t i o n . s i t y o f Chicago P r e s s , 1961.  Chicago: U n i v e r -  Clayborough, A r t h u r . The Grotesque i n E n g l i s h L i t e r a t u r e . Oxford: Clarendon P r e s s , 1965. Colmer, John, ed. Rigby, 1966.  Approaches to the Novel.  Adelaide:  C o r r i g a n , Robert W., ed. Comedy: Meaning and Form. F r a n c i s c o : Chandler, 1965. Cranston, Maurice.  Sartre.  San  London: O l i v e r and Boyd,  1965.  The Curatorium o f the C.G. Jung I n s t i t u t e , ed. Evil. Evanston: Northwestern U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1967. Deutscher, I s a a c . The, Non-Jewish Jew, ed. Tamara Deutscher. Oxford: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1968. F o r s t e r , E.M. Aspects o f the Novel. and Windus, 1965.  London:  Chatto  Frye, Northrop. Anatomy o f C r i t i c i s m : New York: Atheneum, 1969.  Four E s s a v s .  Harvey, W.J. C h a r a c t e r and the N o v e l . and Windus, 1965.  London: Chatto  -131-  H e i l b r o n e r , Robert. The Great Ascent. Harper and Row, 196*5.  New York:  H i l l , Hamlin. "Black Humor: I t s Cause and I t s Cure," Colorado Q u a r t e r l y (Summer, 1968), 57-64. Hodgart, Mathew.  Satire.  New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969.  Jones, D.G. B u t t e r f l y on Rock. Toronto P r e s s , 1970.  Toronto: U n i v e r s i t y o f  K l e i n , Marcus. A f t e r A l i e n a t i o n : American Century. C l e v e l a n d : World, 1965. K o e s t l e r , A r t h u r . The A c t o f C r e a t i o n . Macmillan, 1964.  Novels i n Mid-  New York:  L a f a r g e , Rene. Jean-Paul S a r t r e , t r a n s . Marina SmythKok. Notre Dame: U n i v e r s i t y o f Notre Dame P r e s s , 1970. M e i k l e j o h n , Alexander. E d u c a t i o n Between Two Worlds. New York: A t h e r t o n , 1967. M i l l e r , Stewart. The P i c a r e s q u e Novel. C l e v e l a n d : P r e s s o f Case Western U n i v e r s i t y Reserve, 1967. Morse, Samuel French, ed. Poems By Wallace Stevens. York: Random House, 1969.  New  New, W i l l i a m H. "The I s l a n d and the Madman: Recurrent Imagery i n t h e Major N o v e l i s t s o f the F i f t i e s , " A r i z o n a Q u a r t e r l y (Winter, 1966), 328-337. Numasawa, K o j i . "Black Humor: An American Aspect," S t u d i e s i n E n g l i s h L i t e r a t u r e (November, 1967), 177193. Pacey, Desmond. C r e a t i v e W r i t i n g i n Canada: H i s t o r y o f E n g l i s h Canadian L i t e r a t u r e . Ryerson, 1961.  A Short Toronto:  Rabkin, Johnathon. The Technique o f Modern F i c t i o n . London: Edward A r n o l d , 1963. Read, H e r b e r t . The O r i g i n o f Form i n A r t . Hjjrizon P r e s s , 1965.  New York:  -132-  Sachs, A r i e h , ed. The E n g l i s h Grotesque: An Anthology From Langland t o J o y c e . Jerusalem: I s r a e l U n i v e r s i t i e s Press, 1969. S a l v a n , Jacques. To Be and Not To Be. S t a t e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1962.  D e t r o i t : Wayne  S a r t r e , Jean-Paul. Being and Nothingness. t r a n s . Hazel E. Barnes. London: Methuen, 1957. S c h o l e s , Robert. The F a b u l a t o r s . s i t y P r e s s , 196~7. Sontag, Susan. 1966.  New  Against I n t e r p r e t a t i o n .  York: Oxford U n i v e r New  York: D e l t a ,  Van Ghent, Dorothy. The E n g l i s h Novel: Form and F u n c t i o n . New York: H o l t , R i n e h a r t and Winston, 19o"67 Wellek, Rene and Warren, A u s t i n . Theory o f L i t e r a t u r e . New York: H a r c o u r t , Brace and World, 1956. Wimsatt, W.K. Hateful Contraries: Studies i n Literature and C r i t i c i s m . L e x i n g t o n : U n i v e r s i t y o f Kentucky P r e s s , 1965. Worcester, D a v i d . The A r t o f S a t i r e . and R u s s e l l , I960.  New  York:  Russell  

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0302203/manifest

Comment

Related Items