n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Hard Times as Bodie : the allegorical functionality in E.L. Doctorow's (1960) : research article

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
  • E-ISSN: 2219-8237



''Welcome to Hard Times'' (1960), E.L. Doctorow's first novel, differs from the rest of his oeuvre because it is not set in a metropolitan context like New York. References to historical events that contain an apparent ''mixture'' of ''factual'' and fictional elements that are typical of Doctorow's oeuvre are less prominent than in his other fiction, though definitely not absent. An analysis of the pioneer setting, the town Hard Times, reveals that other settings (including metropolitan ones like New York) are not merely representations of specific contexts, but portrayals with allegorical elements. Criticism of Doctorow's fiction does not sufficiently point out the rationale of Doctorow's fiction in relation to his first novel: it is not just the basic level that contains the true topicality but also the underlying causal and thematic relationships. This article sets out to explore ''Welcome to Hard Times'' as a case in point. The objective of this article is therefore also to show that an analysis of this novel provides a valuable basis for understanding the allegorical character of his fiction. Angus Fletcher's theoretical analysis, ''Allegory: the theory of a symbolic mode'' (1964), serves as a useful starting point for the analysis of the allegorical value of space and the town Hard Times as a microcosmic or symbolic society, as well as the ''daemonic agents'' in the town and the role of causality.

''Welcome to Hard Times'' (1960), E.L. Doctorow se eerste roman, verskil van die res van sy oeuvre omdat dit nie in 'n metropolitaanse konteks, soos New York, geplaas is nie. Verwysings na historiese gebeure wat 'n skynbare ''vermenging'' van feitelike en fiktiewe elemente bevat, tipies van Doctorow se oeuvre, is minder prominent as in sy ander fiksie, hoewel dit beslis nie afwesig is nie. 'n Analise van die pionierruimte, die dorp Hard Times, toon dat ander ruimtes (insluitend metropolitaanse ruimtes soos New York) nie bloot representasies van spesifieke kontekste is nie, maar uitbeeldings met allegoriese elemente. Kritici wys nie genoegsaam die rasionaal van Doctorow se fiksie in die lig van sy eerste roman uit nie: dit is nie net die basiese vlak wat die ware aktualiteit bevat nie, maar ook die onderliggende kousale en tematiese verhoudings. Hierdie artikel het ten doel om ''Welcome to Hard Times'' as 'n pertinente geval te ondersoek. Die doelwit is daarom ook om aan te toon dat 'n ontleding van hierdie roman 'n waardevolle basis kan bied vir die verstaan van die allegoriese karakter van Doctorow se fiksie. Angus Fletcher se teoretiese analise, ''Allegory: the theory of a symbolic mode'' (1964), dien as 'n nuttige vertrekpunt vir die analise van die allegoriese waarde van ruimte en die dorp Hard Times as 'n mikrokosmiese of simboliese gemeenskap, sowel as die ''demoniese agente'' in die dorp en die rol van kousaliteit.

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