Margaret Drabble is a writer who was often assimilated to what is called the ‘Angry Young Men' literary movement. But, as a lot of those writers of the 1950s who were put into the same category, she never claimed being fully part of this movement – all the more so since the term of « movement » is in this case controversial.
It is then interesting to find out what similarities could be found between Drabble's novel "The Millstone" and the criteria which, for the critics, were representative of the ‘Angry Young Men'.
[...] The ‘Angry Young Men' writers, if they exist as a group, have in common the fact that they depicted a kind of lost generation that is to say, young people that have trouble to find their place and to feel completely part of a certain social group. Through a quite autobiographical novel, Margaret Drabble describes the tribulations of a young woman trying to cope with her problems. More generally, those problems she depicts, and also the self-questioning which takes place throughout this work are to a certain extent representative of the ones of the whole English youth during the 1960s. [...]
[...] In Room at the Top (John Braine, 1957), Joe tries to integrate a higher social group than the one he comes from, and apparently succeeds, but basically not, because of the contradictions this shift creates in himself. This class confrontation is also to be found in Arnold Wesker's Roots (1959), where Beatie discovers a new world after meeting a middle-class man whom she is in love with. He teaches her different thoughts and ideals which, by confronting them with her family's way of thinking and acting, create a class confrontation and a Beatie's rebellion. [...]
[...] It might be at first startling that The Millstone is considered as part of the ‘Angry Young Men'. But if one takes a closer look at this work, some subtle similarities between it and the so-called literary movement are to be found. Even Drabble admitted those similarities, which can be found in the main themes of the novel. The main theme that is treated in most of the novels or plays assimilated to the ‘Angry Young Men' is the class confrontation and the awakening of a social consciousness. [...]
[...] This individualism is linked with a certain style of writing, which was one more reason for the assimilation of many writers to the group of the ‘Angry Young Men' by the critics: the novel or play, most of the time, is centered on a principal character from which the reader can experience the mental and social evolution. As the characters are quite individualist, they also focuses more on themselves than on the rest of the world, and that is why the attention of the works is also concentrated on them. [...]
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