This book contains in depth readings of major works since the World War Two: Waiting for Godot, The Balcony, Miguel Street, The Bell Jar, The Bluest Eye, White Noise and Hitchcock's Vertigo. In the aftermath of World War II, a great deal of innocence, if not all of it, was lost as the world reeled from the horrors of fascism (in which individuals were transformed into compliant masses using cutting edge propaganda and technology), concentration camps (in which people were eliminated using state of the art science and technology) and atomic bombs (also the result of astonishing advances in science). It was no longer possible to see science as certain salvation. Clearly, science could be used for destructive purposes, and there was nothing in the science itself that would save us. To put it another way, a revolution in technology was not a revolution in ethics, or wisdom, or self-awareness. One result: the world began to look like a place where everything was an effect of power—who had it, who didn’t, who lost it, who gained it. We no longer lived in a world imagined as an ordered creation of God or nature; we lived in a political world.
In the end, after the death of approximately twenty million people (to be added to the ten million who died in World War I), fascism and Nazism were defeated militarily, but not before some disturbing modern truths became all too clear. As Joseph Goebbels, the inventor of modern propaganda and head of propaganda for the Nazi party put it, “if you tell a lie big enough, and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Of course, the lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.