Symbolism In Saul Bellow's Seize The Day

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According to the Cambridge Dictionary, capitalism is “an economic, political, and social system in which property, business, and industry are privately owned, directed towards making the greatest possible profits for successful organizations and people” but, quoting T.S Eliot: “success is relative”. The aim of this essay is to analyze if the novella Seize the Day by Saul Bellow could be construed as a criticism of this system.
To begin with, symbols play an important role. Even though the novella may appear simple in its style and narrative, there exists a rich complexity of ideas and sociological issues reflected on symbolism that still remain relevant today. In spite of the fact that it was written in the late 1950’s, its shrewd style does
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Adler, the protagonist’s father, is the live image of capitalism: No personal care about his son actually exists; he is not eager to know or to share his son’s passion or dreams. He only cares about success, his son had to be a doctor; and about him, “he had always been a vain man. To see how his father loved himself sometimes made Wilhelm madly indignant” (Page 12). He loved “looking fine in the eyes of the world” (page 13). The narcissism and selfishness this man is owner of can be easily linked to the concept of capitalism: this system operates according to selfishness… “it is about the ideology of amassing more and better stuff for me and not for you, whoever you are. A battle of wants is a consequence of this selfish system and it operates, -as Wilhelms father- in three different ways. First, it intensifies the struggle for status, access, and other privileges. Second, it intensifies pride. Third, it intensifies envy.” (Forbes,The death of self-centered capitalism). Once his father reaches certain status, he must keep it, and would do anything to do so. Besides, he is stubbornly proud, only cares about the outsider’s sight. And last, but not least, both this system and Dr. Alder intensify envy. In this case, from his own

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