Award Date

5-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Committee Member

John H. Irsfeld

Second Committee Member

John C. Unrue

Third Committee Member

Joseph McCullough

Fourth Committee Member

Joseph Fry

Number of Pages

249

Abstract

Though his work was celebrated by his contemporaries and remains highly lauded by scholars of war fiction, James Jones's novels are already at risk of falling outside the mainstream canon of 20th Century American literature. My dissertation project proposes an intensive examination of James Jones' three volume war trilogy, From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, and Whistle, collectively considered by eminent critic Paul Fussell to be the finest work to emerge from the Second World War. Jones' trilogy is a mainstay within the overall genre of war fiction, yet it has been afforded relatively little critical attention by mainstream critics. Scholarship on Jones' work has heretofore focused on his general body of work with one critical examination of the Eastern philosophical influences on his early work. While critics have examined individual works within the trilogy as stand-alone works, no extensive scholarly study has been done on the trilogy as a whole. Jones initially intended From Here to Eternity to cover the entire scope of the trilogy's time period, but later split them into three related works. From Here to Eternity covers Army life pre-Pearl Harbor, The Thin Red Line follows the same character archetypes into combat, and Whistle describes the post-Guadalcanal return of the first war wounded to hospitals in the states. The particular focus of my dissertation will be on deciphering the unwritten codes that govern the behavior of Jones' characters in addition to the written A.R.s (Army Regulations) and how they change through the three phases of combat covered over the course of the trilogy (pre-combat, combat, and post-combat). At each stage of combat, the behavior of Jones' characters is guided by a variety of unofficial codes that govern appropriate and inappropriate behavior with regards to conduct in the Army and between the sexes. My goal is to prove that examining these unwritten `codes of conduct' will contribute greatly towards understanding Jones' construction of masculine behavior and determining the makeup of what traits constitute an archetypical Jonesian Protagonist.

Keywords

Criticism; From here to eternity; Guadalcanal; Guadalcanal, Battle of (Solomon Islands : 1942-1943); Jones, James, 1921-1977; The thin red line; War; War stories, American; Whistle; World War (1939-1945); World War 2

Disciplines

American Literature | Literature in English, North America

Language

English


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