Outside The Walled City
The struggle of the outsider is a prominent theme in American literature. Whether the struggle comes from distinctions of class, wealth, ethnicity or sexuality matter less than the outcome, for the outcome usually involves the outsider losing a battle with the unconquerable demons within. He or she not only remains an outsider in society, but also falls victim to self-destruction.
This theme can be found in many of the novels chosen for this semester. Theodore Dreiser?s Sister Carrie was a book that involved preoccupations with wealth and class. In this novel, Hurstwood never made it into the ?walled city?; he remained an outsider until the pain was so unbearable that he ended his life. In Ernest Hemingway?s The Sun Also Rises, Robert Cohn was never invited into the circle of friends that his fellow travelers had already created. This led to an emotional breakdown for Cohn from which he never recovered. Toni Morrison?s novel, The Bluest Eye, introduced Pecola Breedlove, a little girl that wanted so badly to fit in and be special that she asked for blue eyes, thinking that that would solve her self-esteem problems. All of these novels carry a
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