Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Naked and the Dead (2).

Norman Mailer. New York: The New American Library: A Signet Book. 1948.

Why read it? The thoughts of the enlisted man before and during the fighting. The antagonism of the enlisted man for the officer. The thoughts of the General who had complete power over the men under his control. The General, who finally suspected that he had had nothing to do with the victory.


“What the General had was an almost unique ability to extend his thoughts into immediate and effective action.” p. 62.

“The General had many different types of speech; when he spoke to enlisted men he swore slightly, made his voice a little less precise; with his officers he was always dignified and remote, his sentences always rigidly constructed.” p. 65.

“The General might even have been silly if it were not for the fact that here on this island he controlled everything…. As long as Hearn remained with him, he could see the whole process from the inception of the thought to the tangible and immediate results the next day, the next month.” p. 69.

Cook: “When it’s smokin’, it’s cookin’; when it’s burnin’, it’s done.” p. 70. “

“And now his tent was lost, his clothing and writing paper were sopping, his gun would probably rust, the ground would be too wet for sleeping.” p. 80.

“He had the kind of merriment a man sometimes knows when events have ended in utter disaster.” p. 80.

“It took Americans to stand something like this and laugh about it, he decided.” p. 81.

“Everything in him was functioning for one purpose, and from experience, with a confident unstated certainty, he knew that when demanded of him all this information would crystallize into the proper reactions.” p. 85.

“It would be a question of throwing up his rifle, pressing the trigger and a particular envelope of lusts and anxieties and perhaps some goodness would be quite dead…all as easy as stepping on an insect, perhaps easier.” p. 86.

“The night had broken them into all the isolated units that actually they were.” p. 87.

To be continued.

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