The Concept of Power in Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead: A Study in Psychological and Sociopolitical Perspectives

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Instr. Mushtaq Abdulhaleem Mohammed, Instr. Khalid Qais Abd


As one of the literary figures in post-war American literature, Norman Mailer tackles psychological and sociopolitical issues in The Naked and the Dead (1948) that bewildered both critics and readers. He combined them in a complementary way that explained their cause and effect development. The present paper sheds light on the definition of power in comparison with megalomania, its different causes, and its devastating effects on both the victimizers and the victimized. It also aims at revealing the inner thought of the contemporary individual as suffering from the spiritual decadence as a rebellion against the political life that hovers almost every aspect of the American society. These points are rendered through Mailer's major and powerful characters like General Cummings and Lieutenant Croft who represent the victimizers as a part of their megalomaniac attitudes. An emphasis has always been directed to two other powerless characters—Lieutenant Hearn and Troop Red Valsen—whom will be victimized at the hands of the victimizers. Mailer, in this novel, calls that the individual is either supposed to surrender to wrongful forces or to endeavor to attain some spiritual independence and dignity.

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