Jerzy Kosinski's 'Being There' Book Review by Shaad

Jerzy Kosinski's 'Being There'
Analysis of the novel 'Being There' by Jerzy Kosinski, in terms of how it depicts the intrusion of media in modern existence
# 145154 | 1,063 words | 3 sources | APA | 2009 | BD
Published by on Oct 26, 2010 in Communication (Mass Media) , Literature (American) , Sociology (Media and Society)

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This essay interprets Jerzy Kosinski's novel 'Being There' as a critique of media-infused modern existence. It argues that even though characterization of Chauncery Gardiner is highly unrealistic, it nevertheless represents a tendency in all of us who inhabit modern society that is dictated by television and mass media. It highlights the role played by the philosophy of existentialism, arguing that Chance is a purified existential being of a world in which reality is shaped by the media. The parallels to the story of Adam in Paradise are also brought forward. It is explained why Chance is accepted as a saint in the real world when he is "ejected from Paradise". It is explained that the difference between Chance and the rest is that Chance is at peace with himself whereas the others are restless in their materialistic exploits. It is explained how Chance's inner calm attracts others and make them draw profound conclusions from his inane utterances.

From the Paper:

"The philosophy of existentialism is at the core of Jerzy Kosinski's novel 'Being There', yet at the same time it is a trenchant critique of modern American society. The critique emerges from the observation that American society is increasingly losing its grip on the real world by being sucked into a media created reality. However the satire in the novel is only a surface phenomenon. In this satire we recognize Chauncery Gardiner as the ultimate victim, someone whose entire knowledge of the world is derived from radio and television, and who cannot respond outside his conditioning from the media. Chance may be a fool, but in his innocence and purity he may also be judged a saint. Everyone else around him exists in the same media infused unreality, yet they are restless and tormented. Only Chance is at peace with himself, and this is what attracts others towards him. His inner tranquility is what allows others to extract profundities from his inane utterances. In Chance Kosinski seems to have constructed the existential person of the modern media infused world."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Kosi ski, JN 1999, Being There, Grove Press, Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Lupack, BT 1998, Critical essays on Jerzy Kosinski, G.K. Hall, Baldwin Park, CA.
  • Teicholz, T (Ed) 1993, Conversations with Jerzy Kosinski, University of Mississippi Press, Jackson.

Cite this Book Review:

APA Format

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MLA Format

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