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5 Great Literary Malcontents

When I first thought about this post, I was reading Steppenwolf, and I realized that the book wasn’t about the lead being dissatisfied with society as much as with his inability to function in the modern world. Then it occurred to me that this was just the flip-side of the same coin. I’m avoiding the hardcore literary dystopias.

 

5.) The Narrator & Tyler Durden of Fight ClubThe lead feels that modern society emasculates.

 

4.) Christopher McCandless of Into the Wild:  This is non-fiction, but it’s a great story of a man who believes that modern society robs individuals of self-reliance.

 

3.) Ray Smith of Dharma Bums: The lead character and his compatriots feel that modern society is devoid of a spirit of transcendence.

 

2.) Narrator [and Ishmael] in Ishmael: Author, Daniel Quinn, suggests that modern society is composed of “takers”–in contrast to the “leavers” of aboriginal societies.

 

1.) Harry Haller of Steppenwolf: Haller can’t cope with what he sees as the triviality of modern society.


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