Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Transcription: Under the Volcano, Analysis 2

Findind critical analysis of the book on the internet is proving a hearty challenge indeed. I feel like I need to widen my search parameters a bit more. There a far more reviews of the film out there so gonna have a peak at them...

“he descends into a mescal-soaked purgatory, moving inexorably towards his tragic fate. His self-destructiveness reflects a spiritual struggle born of wilful abnegation and passivity, a depressed, existential acquiescence to the futility of positive action.”

“Firmin's story anchors the book's political ambience--the rise of Fascism and the tragedy of the Spanish Civil War lie heavily across its pages, and in turn make of Firmin not a character to be pitied but a representative figure of modernity. In this, Lowry's masterpiece has lost none of its power: it speaks to us of suffering and of loneliness, eliciting our compassion under the century's terrible shadow of mortality.”

"As the day wears on, it becomes apparent that Geoffrey must die. It is his only escape from a world he cannot understand"

"The events of this one day unfold against a backdrop unforgettable for its evocation of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical."

"Under the Volcano remains one of the most powerful and lyrical statements on the human condition and one man's constant struggle against the elemental forces that threaten to destroy him."

"In the villa, matching its decay with his own collapse, lives Geoffrey Firmin, onetime British vice-consul in Quauhnahuac, now a mentally tortured, helpless dipsomaniac. Upon him, one bright morning—just as he is staggering out of a bar, still wearing last night's tuxedo—descends his divorced American wife Yvonne,"

"the one strangled by disillusion and alcohol"

"Interjecting themselves among these struggles are the brothers' tangled feelings for Yvonne, in which love, brotherly loyalty, hope crushed by fatal exhaustion and pessimism add to their already tortured consciences. "

"As a study of the anguished conditions of the human soul, Under the Volcano never misses a trick. As a study of living human beings, it buries itself under its own eruptions.
Alcoholic British consul Geoffrey Firmin lives in the Mexican town of Quauhnahuac, in sight of the volcanoes of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. The former juts into every chapter of the novel, looming or fading, depending on the weather, and the consul dies dreaming of climbing the volcano. "

"The Consul appears able to control his drinking but is apparently unwilling to do so. Undoubtedly this was one of the factors that led to his separation and divorce from Yvonne. His present feelings toward Yvonne are complex and contradictory. He wants, needs, and loves her, but also resents, rejects, and hates her. "

"Alcohol has become both an escape and a solace."

"Serving as more than just a warning of the perils of addiction, alcohol abuse in Lowry's book signifies human failure on a cosmic level. The consciousness-changing powers of mescal perform a function that is simultaneously transgressive and illuminating, analogous to the desperate (and doomed) heatings and mixings of the alchemists: "The agonies of the drunkard," wrote Lowry, "find their most accurate poetic analogue in the agonies of the mystic who has abused his powers."

"For Lowry that chasm was the barranca, the fathomthless ravine running through Cuernavaca into which the consul is thrown, and a dead dog after him - also a vision of hell, the frightful cleft that swallows Marlowe's Faustus,"