Livros na Minha Cabeceira
O Inverno do Nosso Descontentamento
“O Inverno do Nosso Descontentamento” foi o último romance de Steinbeck, um grande escritor americano, laureado com o Prémio Nobel e com o Pullitzer, publicado antes da sua morte.
“Em O Inverno do Nosso Descontentamento são colocados no primeiro plano os temas sociais que conferiram às obras de Steinbeck o pleno interesse com que o público as absorve. O núcleo deste romance é o dinheiro, a hipocrisia e os falsos valores, a crítica serena mas implacável às engrenagens de toda a sociedade que mutile o homem no que ele tem de autêntico”
A obra centra-se na personagem Ethan Allen Hawley, descendente dos fundadores da cidade New Baytown, capitães e pescadores de baleias, que deles apenas herda o apelido e a casa onde sempre viveu pois o pouco que o pai não perdeu, algumas terras, casas e uma mercearia e frutaria onde agora trabalha, Ethan não conseguiu salvar numa altura de plena crise, saído do exército e sem qualquer experiência comercial.
Em Perlock Street, rua próxima da casa de Ethan, localizam-se os mais belos edifícios de toda a cidade, construídos com ideias e objectos vindos das viagens dos navios baleeiros à China e também com influências gregas que os arquitectos contratados pelas famílias mais ricas traziam consigo. Para além desta riqueza cultural, tinham uma curiosa característica, o “passeio das viúvas” construído sobre os telhados das casas, de onde as mulheres avistavam o regresso dos navios.
Perlock Street é também a rua que leva Ethan até ao Porto Velho, onde é situado o seu “lugar” que Ethan acredita que toda a gente precise de ter para reflectir e lembrar.
Como é comum nas obras de Steinbeck, existe uma reflexão sobre vários temas, neste caso, a moral, os princípios, a honestidade e integridade.
Ethan é casado com Mary com quem tem dois filhos adolescentes, Allen e Mary Ellen. Ao contrário de Ethan, a sua família vive infeliz com a condição social em que se encontram e até ressentidos com Ethan por ele ser descendente de uma família rica e não se esforçar para recuperar o dinheiro que tinham ou pelo menos parte dele. Ethan sente-se, por isso, pressionado e, ao mesmo tempo, é constantemente posto à prova até que acaba por pôr em causa os seus próprios valores, se realmente importam ou se está apenas a ser preguiçoso quando não segue caminhos duvidosos para seu próprio proveito, como todos à sua volta o fazem.
Resta saber como Ethan reagirá a todas as pressões a que é sujeito…
Gostei bastante desta leitura mas “As Vinhas da Ira” continuam a ser o meu livro preferido deste escritor. Em “O Inverno do Nosso Descontentamento” senti, por vezes, mudanças de ritmo abruptas devido a um excesso de reflexão em alguns capítulos e pouca acção. Mas, depois de alguma persistência, compensou. Neste romance, existem poucas personagens e todas elas acabam por tomar um papel importante na história em determinada altura. Houve uma que, na minha opinião, se destacou por ser tão diferente de todas as outras, Margie Young-Hunt, melhor amiga de Mary, que lê cartas e que se deita com alguns moradores da cidade. Os filhos de Ethan acabam, também, por ter um importante papel no desenrolar da história, representando princípios opostos, e de uma forma bastante inesperada!
Curiosidade: O título desta obra refere-se a uma frase de “Richard III” de Shakespeare:
“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York”
Na obra, a certa altura, Ethan usa o trocadilho son/sun.
Steinbeck's last novel, The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), examines moral decline in America. The protagonist Ethan grows discontented with his own moral decline and that of those around him. The book is very different in tone from Steinbeck's amoral and ecological stance in earlier works like Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row. It was not a critical success. Many reviewers recognized the importance of the novel but were disappointed that it was not anotherGrapes of Wrath. In the Nobel Prize presentation speech next year, however, the Swedish Academy cited it most favorably: "Here he attained the same standard which he set in The Grapes of Wrath. Again he holds his position as an independent expounder of the truth with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American, be it good or bad."
Apparently taken aback by the critical reception of this novel, and the critical outcry when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962,[clarification needed] Steinbeck published no more fiction in the next six years before his death.
The Winter of Our Discontent
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Winter of Our Discontent, published in 1961, is John Steinbeck's last novel. The title is a reference to the first two lines of William Shakespeare's Richard III: "Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this sun [or son] of York," .
The story revolves around Ethan Allen Hawley, a former member of Long Island's aristocratic class. Ethan's late father has lost his family's fortune, and, consequently, Ethan now works as a clerk in a grocery store. His wife Mary and children resent their lowly social and economic position, and do not put any value in the high levels of honesty and integrity that Ethan struggles to maintain in a corrupt society. These external pressures, as well as his own internal turmoil, send Ethan on a dangerous path to reclaim the status and wealth that he once enjoyed.
Feeling the pressure from his family and acquaintances to achieve more than his current station, Ethan considers letting his normally high standards of conduct take a brief respite in order to attain a better social and economic position.
Ethan's decision to gain wealth and power is influenced by criticisms and advice from people around him. His employer urged him to take bribes; his banker urged him to be more ruthless. Ethan's friend Joey, a bank teller, even gives Ethan a rundown on how to rob a bank and get away with it.
On discovering that the current store owner, Italian immigrant Alfio Marullo, might be an illegal immigrant, he places an anonymous tip with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. After Marullo is taken into custody, he transfers ownership of the store to Ethan through the actions of the very government agent that caught him. Marullo gives Ethan the store because he believes Ethan is so honest and deserving. Ethan also considers, plans, and mentally rehearses a bank robbery, stopping short of carrying it out only because of external circumstances. Eventually, he manages to become powerful in the town by taking possession of a strip of land needed by local businessmen to build an airport; he gets the land from Danny Taylor, the town drunkard and Ethan's childhood best friend, through a will made out by Danny and slipped under the door of the store. The will was drawn up without any spoken agreement some time after Ethan gave Danny money under the auspices of sending Danny to receive treatment for alcoholism. Danny assures him that drunks are liars and that he will just drink the money away, and this is indeed confirmed when Danny is found dead with empty bottles of whiskey and sleeping pills.
In this way, Ethan gets to a position where he's able to control the behind-the-scenes dealings of the corrupt town businessmen and politicians. Ethan seems to accept what he has done but is confident that he will not become corrupted by it. He considers that while he had to kill men in the war, he never became a murderer thereafter.
When he discovers that his son won a nationwide essay contest by plagiarizing classic American authors and orators, a conversation ensues with his son in which his son denies any kind of guilty feelings. The son maintains that everyone cheats and lies and that this is in fact the way of things. Perhaps after seeing his own moral decay in his son's actions, and experiencing the guilt of Marullo's deportation and especially the death of Danny, Ethan sets out to commit suicide. His daughter, intuitively understanding his intent, slips a family talisman into his pocket during a long embrace. When Ethan decides to commit the act, he reaches into his pocket to find razorblades and instead comes across the talisman. As the tide comes into the alcove in which he has sequestered himself, he struggles to get out in order to return the talisman to his daughter, in hopes that the light does not go out of her.
- Ethan Allen Hawley – a grocery clerk (the story's protagonist)
- Mary Hawley – Ethan's wife
- Allen and Ellen Hawley – his adolescent children
- Danny Taylor – Ethan's childhood friend and town drunk
- Joey Morphy – bank teller and town playboy
- Margie Young-Hunt – middle-aged seductress
- Mr. Baker – banker
- Alfio Marullo – Italian immigrant owner of grocery store
Literary significance & criticism
Atlantic Monthly (Edward Weeks) immediately reviewed The Winter of Our Discontent as a Steinbeck classic: "His dialogue is full of life, the entrapment of Ethan is ingenious, and the morality in this novel marks Mr. Steinbeck's return to the mood and the concern with which he wrote The Grapes of Wrath." The Swedish Academy agreed and awarded Steinbeck the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. The presentation speech by Secretary Anders Österling remarked specifically on five books from 1935 to 1939 and continued thus:
In this brief presentation it is not possible to dwell at any length on individual works which Steinbeck later produced. If at times the critics have seemed to note certain signs of flagging powers, of repetitions that might point to a decrease in vitality, Steinbeck belied their fears most emphatically with The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), a novel published last year. Here he attained the same standard which he set in The Grapes of Wrath. Again he holds his position as an independent expounder of the truth with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American, be it good or bad.
Most reviewers in America were disappointed. A few years later Peter Lisca called Winter "undeniable evidence of the aesthetic and philosophical failure of the writer’s later fiction".
In various letters to friends before and after its publication, Steinbeck clearly stated that he wrote the novel to address the moral degeneration of American culture in the 1950s and 1960s. American criticism of his moralism started to change in the 1970s following the Watergate scandal; here is how Reloy Garcia describes his reassessment of the work when asked to update his original Study Guide to Winter: "The book I then so impetuously criticized as somewhat thin, now strikes me as a deeply penetrating study of the American condition. I did not realize, at the time, that we had a condition," and he attributes this change of heart to "our own enriched experience".
In 1983 Carol Ann Kasparek condemned the character of Ethan for his implausibility, and still called Steinbeck’s treatment of American moral decline superficial, although she went on to approve the mythic elements of the story.
Increasing awareness of the Faustian bargain underlying the American Dream, famously articulated as "Greed is good" by Gordon Gecko in Wall Street (1987 film), has generated a new American consensus. At a conference celebrating the 100th anniversary of Steinbeck's birth, Stephen K. George declared: "With these authors [Bellow, Weeks, and Gannett] I would contend that, given its multi-layered complexity, intriguing artistry, and clear moral purpose, The Winter of Our Discontent ranks in the upper echelon of Steinbeck’s fiction, alongside Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row, East of Eden,and, of course, The Grapes of Wrath." 
The novel was the last that Steinbeck completed before his death in 1968; The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights and the screenplay for Zapata were both published posthumously in unfinished forms.
The novel was made into a television movie in the Hallmark Hall of Fame in 1983, starring Donald Sutherland as Ethan Hawley.
- ^ Weeks, Edward (July 1961). "Review: The Winter of Our Discontent, by John Steinbeck". Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
- ^ "The Nobel Prize in Literature 1962: Presentation Speech by Anders Österling, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy". NobelPrize.org. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
- ^ Lisca, Peter (1965), Steinbeck’s Image of Man and His Decline as a Writer, Modern Fiction Studies 11, p. 10
- ^ Garcia, Reloy (1979), A Study Guide to Steinbeck (Part II), Metuchen: Scarecrow, p. 4
- ^ Kasparek, Carol Ann (1983), Ethan’s Quest Within: A Mythic Interpretation of John Steinbeck’s The Winter of Our Discontent, Ball State University, p. 31
- ^ George, Stephen K (March 2002). "The Contemporary Nature of Steinbeck's Winter". BYU Idaho. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
This page was last modified on 30 January 2012 at 18:22.