Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One is a novel that with its darkly scathing humor attempts to impart the message that the plasticity of the present tense is illusory by exposing the superficialities of California's mortuary business. The contemporaneous effect that living in a world where a perverse and fallacious immortality is valued over true organic human spirituality is placed onto the characters that are followed throughout the bombastic narrative. Through the strategic perversion of language, architecture, and the human body itself, death is made into a very sterile and pleasing aesthetic. Although Waugh's message is a legitimate one, he does not exactly create a work that makes its message enter into a grand homology with a greater holistic cultural dilemma because the satire is too aggressively focused on the present tense and therefore maintains a rather rhetorical pretension itself.
[...] In her beliefs she is “progressive” and when she needs guidance asks the “Guru Brahmin” who she believes as if he were God. She is so idiotic that Dennis is able to make her fall in love with him by passing off classic poetry as his own. Dennis himself is not absolved from this, although he is an expatriate. It is because of his dishonesty that Aimee kills herself in the end, an event that he is not even particularly affected by. [...]
[...] Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One In literature it is often said that the disease of the modern world is the lack of spiritually rich values and tenets to guide a nascent generation into the future. Within literary works this absence of values and their effect on human spirituality is expatiated pervasively. Choose a work of literature that you think exposes this spiritual devastation and give examples that the work provides. Include the effect that the lack of values has on society and whether or not you find them contemporaneously relevant or not. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee