Super Sad True Love Story
Super Sad True Love Story
The author utilizes a variety of elements of fiction such as the behavior of the characters, points of view, themes, symbolism, and plot to satirize America’s fascination with youth. Gary Shteyngart work covers the status of Jewish American immigrant narrative as he expresses a number of critical socio-cultural concerns that prevail in the 21st century literature. Gary Shteyngart does not resort to the common immigrant experiences and representation of immigration patterns that characterized the 20th century; rather he undertakes deconstruction of immigrant experiences through fictitious settings and staging remigration in unrealistic adventure narratives.
The author utilizes an identity based fiction approach that deals with personal identity differences of the immigrant protagonist as well as global identity differences such as the interaction of mentalities and identities of the waning cold war era political, ideological, cultural and economic oppositions in a globalized world (Shteyngart 17). The author is effective in illustration of the intertwined nature of national, ethnic, and personal identity. The novel covers the life of a Jewish American Russian immigrant, Leonard, who is still tied to his past. The protagonist falls in love with Eunice Park, a Korean American who is struggling with pressures from her traditional family and the lures of materialism in the new world.
The author shifts the chapters from diary entries made by Leonard and electronic mail correspondences by Eunice as she interacts with her friends on a GlobalTeens account. It is evident that the relationship between the two oscillates in despair and superficiality as an unprecedented political situation emerges. The United States is on the precipice of economic collapse as it is faced with threats from Chinese creditors. The author satirizes America’s constant obsession with youth (Shteyngart 23). The author constructs a dystopia where everyone strives to achieve superficial youth.
All individuals in the narrative are present in the only social media platform named GlobalTeens, despite all of the characters being adults. The protagonist of the narrative, Leonard, is in a seemingly challenging situation as the novel starts given that he is about to mark his fortieth birthday. He is constantly ostracized and depressed due to his age with people calling him a “rapidly aging geezer” or RAG , which is marked by one of the his colleagues suggesting that Lenny should be put in a list of individuals that they should express their sympathies for due to his rapid decline into old age (Shteyngart 32).
Both Lenny and Eunice are able to overcome their respective obsessions with remaining youthful by focusing on their respective familial relationships. Eunice opts to leave Lenny for Joshie as she comes to the realization that society is not innocent, as she had initially thought. Her decision arises as a result of the need to start her own family, which she presumes that Joshie will be able to achieve easily. Lenny overcomes his fear of death after coming to the realization that his parents sacrificed their needs to ensure that he had a successful life.
The relationship between the two main characters, Eunice and Lenny takes place within a presumably dystopian American society in its final phases of deterioration (Shteyngart 35). The United States is described as a politically totalitarian state as the government demands information about various aspects of the personal lives of its citizens. For instance, this is highlighted when Lenny is set to return to New York from a visit in Rome, when he is questioned by government authorities and ordered to provide a list of all people he had intimate relations with during his stay in Italy. In addition, the scene also highlights the mistrust prevailing in American society given that the United States is at war in the invasion of Venezuela.
However, it is emerges that the united states government is embroiled in debt such that it is unable to compensate the National Guard who are involved in the Venezuelan conflict. The United States government continues its operations through loans and concessions issued by the Chinese government. In addition, the American restoration authority has implemented a number of themes aimed at restoration of confidence in the economy. The author utilizes the narrative to illustrate the manifestation of vices which define and signify the 21s century (Shteyngart 37). In addition, the narrative extrapolates the hegemony of the retail world and social media, which presumably celebrate immortality, youth, and the new order.
Furthermore, the author notes of the vehement repudiation of old forms of life such the use of books and paper based mail, which emerge as symptoms of a possible collapse of Americas society and economy. The totalitarian and bipartisan America government declares martial law with the aim of eliminating political dissidents and ensuing riots, while Chinese creditors seek repayment of loans issued to the American government. The author is effective in utilizing symbolizing of the challenges of transition from old into new world forms, with the protagonist being the victim of modernization, globalization, and technological advancements.
The unremarkable seeks to be reunited with Eunice, despite his efforts being in vain. The struggle to maintain his relationship with Eunice can be attributed to his reluctance to embrace changes taking place in the environment, society and around the world. In addition, it can be assumed that his desire to remain young is attributable to his denial and hatred for his Russian and Jewish heritage. In addition, from the narrative it is evident that the author seemingly tries to communicate the death of the early Russian-Jewish identity as he becomes acculturated into an American citizen. In addition, this is also signified through his decision to use the protagonist’s involvement with a Korean American as a sign of his deviation from Jewish norms as he becomes a naturalized American.
In addition, the author is able to provide insights into the post war Jewish American life that deviates from early works, which focused on prewar literature that focused on the lives of Jewish Americans living in deplorable conditions (Shteyngart 67). Thus, the author is able to construct the ethnic identity of Jewish Americans as facing challenges in their transition from the Old world into a new one that is marked by the lack and presence of numerous opportunities for individual and communal growth.
Lenny’s realization that there is more to life than his youth and dwelling on immortality in a dystopian society is because of his understanding that his new life in the United States is not devoid of common life challenges. In addition, his failure to change with the times is evidently one of the primary reasons that he faces ridicule and rejection even from the only woman he loves, Eunice (Shteyngart 71). Furthermore, it is can be presumed that the rejection he faces is as a result of inability to conform to the social norms prevailing in American society and his failure to embrace changes prevailing in the world as denoted by the presence of social media and embracing his old age.
The author is relatively effective in highlighting the effects of failure to adhere and conform to social norms, which results in ridicule and rejection of the protagonist by his new community and society as a whole. It is evident that Jewish Americans were faced with similar challenges of rejection and ridicule as they failed to conform to the prevailing social norms in American society. In addition, the author also suggests that failure to adopt technology changes may result in rejection by society. In conclusion, the author is successful in utilizing fictional characters and unrealistic events in deconstruction of immigrant experiences through fictitious settings and staging remigration.
Shteyngart, Gary. Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel. New York: Random House, 2010. Print.
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