The prison of the self : images of entrapment, retreat, and release in the novels of Robert Penn Warren

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Donna Havnaer Houck (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Robert Stephens

Abstract: Robert Penn Warren, the first poet laureate of the United States, has published ten novels, in which he employs the largely poetic device of imagery to aid in the development of his favorite theme, man’s search for self-knowledge in the modem world. Employing images of entrapment, retreat, and release, he delineates the difficulty of his protagonist’s quest. At the beginning of the search, each character feels trapped by the empty picture he has of himself. Desiring the knowledge which will free him from this prison of the self, he simultaneously dreads what he may learn. Thus he subconsciously devises numerous evasive maneuvers as he nears the realization of his goal. Eventually he must exercise his freedom of will to choose either continuing imprisonment or release from entrapment. If he makes a wise and timely choice, then identity is his. Demonstrating courage, perseverance, and a desire for reconciliation with his past and with estranged loved ones, he relinquishes his old self-.image of worthlessness in favor of one which establishes his value.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1986
Warren, Robert Penn, $d 1905-1989 $x Criticism and interpretation
Warren, Robert Penn, $d 1905-1989 $x Style

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