Conflict In Seize The Day

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Seize the Day, a novel written by Saul Bellow, focuses on main character Tommy Wilhelm and his struggles in life. Tommy struggles with the ongoing conflict between his father and himself and bares the burdens of being a modern man in New York City. He carries his failures with him everywhere. He spends his time trying to fix everything that is wrong in his life, but ultimately feels that he failed. Due to his father’s lack of interest and involvement in Tommy’s life, and the death of his mother, he has grown up without confidence and the ability to make wise decisions.
The central conflict of this novel is external i.e., man vs. man. This conflict involves Tommy and his father, Dr. Adler. Tommy seeks approval from his father and feels that his father sees him as a burden and failure. Tommy desperately wants that father-son connection. He feels that his father does not treat him as his own son - his flesh and blood, and he’s not the man to whom the responsibilities of fatherhood should come naturally. Dr. Adler, on the other hand, due to reasons left to the reader’s inferences and conclusions, selfishly avoids the responsibilities of fatherhood, avoiding Tommy at all costs. His obsessions with his own mortality and keeping his wealth to himself lead to his passivity
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man conflict between Tommy and Dr. Adler is significant because it brings to light the difficulties of living life as a modern man, modern in that money, wealth, possessions and power are the ultimate goal in the post-war society. Tommy does not fit in with the other workingmen around him and wishes that he could leave the city, recalling the farm he used to live on which made him feel that he belonged in the country. A sensitive and weak person, as Tommy seems to be, cannot find comfort in this dog-eat-dog world. One can argue that his inability to survive in this atmosphere is directly related to the insensitive lack of nurturing he received from his father and absence of a
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