Thursday, March 3, 2011

Blank fictions: consumerism, culture, and the contemporary American novel

After reading Bret Easton Ellis’s ‘Less than Zero’ I’m stuck, deciding whether to like the book or find it too disturbing because of issues throughout the book that are beyond my understanding.

After searching ‘blank fiction’ into Google Books, I found an interesting text that discusses many of the topical issues being represented throughout ‘Less than Zero’. ‘Blank fictions: consumerism, culture, and the contemporary American novel’ is a set text that aims to cover all the issues that become apparent in an 80’s youth culture in America and aims to further discuss what issues are key to include in any ‘blank fiction’ text. The final chapter of the text discusses Blank fiction on the whole and where its origins lay. The chapter goes into great detail about what social issues must be included and how these origins link with society during the period.
Throughout the text, the chapters are split into those issues represented in Blank fiction texts, such as violence, sex, shopping, labels and decadence and then links all of these to notions of society during an 80’s, post-modern era. All of which are clear and key topics in ‘Less than Zero’ Violence is represented in many cases through the book, mostly linked with the second, ‘sex’. T he next chapter of the text goes into detail on how the fortunate youth of the period live their luxurious lifestyles shopping and how they shop for their labels. Ellis goes into great detail throughout his novel when creating the vision of the characters; Ellis doesn’t just give us ‘t-shirt and jeans’ we’ll be given the label; of those items of clothing too. Decadence is the last topic. Throughout the book, our protagonist, Clay often visits the psychotherapist along with other characters throughout, representing a social unrest within the 80’s youth culture.
Less than Zero therefore for me plays a bigger role in not just giving us a novel but a portrayal of how the selected few lived their lives during an 80’s period in America, lifestyles that we can link with modern youthful celebrities today.

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