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Les Naufragés de l'autocar
par John Steinbeck
El accidentado viaje de un desastrado autobús rural entre las poblaciones de Rebel Corners y San Juan de la Cruz, en California, al término de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, se convierte en un magistral retrato de personajes y en un acerado estudio sobre los problemas centrales de todos los hombres en todas las épocas: la familia, el sexo, el amor, las ambiciones, las frustraciones y los anhelos... Lejos del sentimentalismo y la autocomplacencia, es un viaje interior hacia el corazón de unos viajeros perdidos en la decepción del sueño americano...
The Wayward Bus
By John Steinbeck
Oh, my! Oh, my! Oh, my!
There are few books in the world where the characters are so well-written, so fully developed, so wonderfully real, nor so absolutely authentic. Steinbeck does not serve up a cast of good guys and bad guys, heroes and villains. Instead, he gives readers us authentic humanity, real people, people who are good and bad and beautiful and ugly all rolled into one being. The characters of the Wayward Bus are so real, so authentic that every reader is compelled to simultaneously love and hate each and every one of them. (Of course, some are more easily loved or hated than others).
The book’s greatest deception is that it appears to be a simple story about a journey through life-threatening conditions, toward a not too distant goal. The ‘journey’ or ‘quest’ motif, however, is one of the most used and recognized in all of literature. Homer’s epics The Iliad and the Odyssey each rely upon the journey theme and, like The Wayward Bus, each is about people, humanity, goodness and evil, hopes and dreams, beauty and disgust and a great deal more. The plots of these epics is far less important than the characterizations of the participants.
The journey of Huckleberry Finn and the runaway slave, Jim, runs south down the Mississippi while a real journey toward freedom for a slave would run north, yet Jim is freed at the end of the journey. Here again, the characters themselves are far more important than the plot.
Journey motifs often accompany books that are more allegory than fiction, more moral insight than fascinating story. The plot of The Wayward Bus is rather thin because the plot is just about the least important aspect of this novel. What is important is how the real, genuine characters navigate their lives, deal with their temptations, interact with others, and move toward a distant goal, one that has unique meaning and importance to each of the characters.
In addition to wonderfully drawn characters, Steinbeck also gives us a sharply focused view of culture and time (setting).
Especially excellent are the portrayal of female characters in the book. To some, Steinbeck’s women may seem to be the pathetic imaginings of a highly misogynistic male writer, but such a perception is wrong. Every woman in the novel authentically matches the era in which the novel is set, the post-war, baby-boomer years.
In the years leading to WW II, women were generally dominated by men who alternated between placing them on pedestals and subjugating them to riddle and second-class status. But in WW II, some were drawn out of the domestic duties of the household and thrust into the workplace, filling jobs traditionally filled by men due to the manpower needs of the war effort. The “Rosie the Riveters” of the war years built more than just war materials; they forged a new vision of what women could be, should be, and began to become.
The women in this novel are at the crossroads between the old view of women and the emerging view of women, a view America still has not yet fully accepted. Mrs. Pritchard is pampered and spoiled by her husband while at the same time he views her as a “baby doll.” Camille excited the lust in the men of the novel while she coolly manages and controls each of them. Norma aspires to leave the old role that has befallen her to rise to a new set of expectations. Mildred stands at the crossroads refusing the old role and expectations while being unclear about what the new expectations are.
The men of the novel, too, find themselves in an era redefining their roles. The businessman, Elliott Pritchard, who could see the world only through numbers, competition and profits feels his world changing even as he attempts to bluster and impress others through his own self-importance. Earnest does not aspire to great things or to corporate dominance, but is instead content with the life he has defined for himself. Van Brunt knows the world as he understood it had changed and he reacts to it through bitterness and negativity, fighting to retain the things he understands and impose his vision upon others.
Kit (Pimples) seeks male role models who are both capable and also feeling and compassionate and he finds such a male in Juan but discovers that Juan’s capacities for empathy and compassion are limited.
The Wayward Bus is a great work of literature, a classic! It rises far above other novels which are intended only to provide enjoyment and escape. The Wayward Bus presents allegory and moral insight. It gets less than 5 stars on GR because most people react to books based upon whether they liked them or not. The Wayward Bus does not seek to be liked, it strives for , and succeeds, in something much greater: enlightenment.
I should put this under poetry. I should put all Steinbeck under poetry.
One of the unfortunate victims of teaching (and especially student teaching) are the books we seek to read outside of scouring the curriculum day-in and day-out. I started this sorry soul about two months ago, and even though my heart swelled each time I picked it up, I was lucky to get a page in between finishing lesson planning at night and passing out as soon as my head hit the pillow. GAH! And so, out of defiance of getting ahead on JC as well as insomnia that is once again rattling my aching brain and soul, I let this book take me until 3 AM when I finally finished it once and for all. Can I get an AMEN?
And up until about where I picked it up last night--about 60 pages from the end--I liked it a whole lot. I was prepared to give it four stars, but I realized when I picked it up again last night that I had hit the story's climax, and everything else came tumbling down in its brilliance and humanity. It's exactly the kind of book I like. It spans the course of one single day; I love that kind of "real" time in a book. And really, it's all about people waiting around for a bus in Steinbeck's good old late 1940s California...that's about it. So ultimately this is a book solely concerned with characterization, and it's obvious that Steinbeck deeply loved every single one. Every character was deeply felt, deeply created; I effortlessly knew them all. And it's all about sex, reminding us how fundamentally hilarious and fundamentally animal a game it really just is. Clark Gable, Mother Mahoney's Home-Baked Pies, whisky, and lipstick. I also realized at the end that Woody Allen got the premise to every one of his movies through this book, which still allows me to enjoy Allen, but it makes me adore Steinbeck, swear my allegiance further.
That's it. My brain's fried. Go read a book for your ol' pal, Lindsay.
I had never heard of this novel of Steinbeck's, but I'm quite happy I came across it at the library. It is always a pleasure to discover an hidden treasure from a favorite author.
Honestly, though, this is a slow-burn, low-key character study that might drive some people nuts, especially when nothing much ever actually happens on the bus ride from nowhere to nowhere. I, however, find Steinbeck's prose style and his timeless insights into human nature enthralling. And if you want to do a deep literary dive, he loads the whole thing with references and symbolism galore, starting with a main character with the initials of J.C.
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Appartient à la série éditoriale
Today, nearly forty years after his death, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck remains one of Americas greatest writers and cultural figures. Over the next year, his many works, beginning with the six shown here, will be published as black-spine Penguin Classics for the first time and will feature eye-catching, newly commissioned art. Of this initial group of six titles, "The Wayward Bus" is in a new edition. An imaginative and unsentimental chronicle of a bus traveling Californias back roads. This allegorical novel of pilgrimage includes a new introduction by Gary Scharnhorst. Penguin Classics is proud to present these seminal works to a new generation of readersand to the many who revisit them again and again.
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Classification décimale de Melvil (CDD)813.52 — Literature English (North America) American fiction 20th Century 1900-1944
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2 éditions de ce livre ont été publiées par Penguin Australia.
Éditions: 0142437875, 0141186119