• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far does the reader sympathise with Sherman McCoy?

Extracts from this document...


How far does the reader sympathise with Sherman McCoy? Sherman McCoy is narcissistic, covetous and adulterous. Yet, as readers, we feel some sort of attraction towards him, and even if we do not condone his lifestyle, we understand it, and we accept his motives, because McCoy, for all his money, is a human being and it is his flaws themselves that fascinate us. After all, it seems a paradox of sorts to describe him as a tragic character and then condemn him, because if all his contemporaries share the same flaws, then there must be something else that sets him apart. Firstly, his self-awareness comes into play: 'The Master of the Universe was cheap, and he was a liar,' says Sherman. The fact that he understands his failings is important: it raises the question, if he is aware of his motives, then can he be held any more responsible for his actions than if he was oblivious to his own intentions? I feel that he still cannot be held liable, as another factor is involved: his environment. ...read more.


As Sherman is introduced, the first thing he thinks about is his family. He thinks, 'But the smile on her [his wife's] face was obviously genuine, altogether pleasant ... a lovely smile, in fact ... Still a very good looking woman, my wife ... with her fine thin features, her big clear blue eyes ... But she's forty years old! ... Not her fault ... But not mine either!' Towards the end, the internal conflict in Sherman is clear, through use of the parallel syntax: he is torn between his inherent desires and external pressure from society. He then goes on to think about Campbell, and only then does he commit adultery. Kramer on the other hand, is introduced differently. The first sentence is, 'The next morning, to Lawrence Kramer, she appears, from out of a feeble gray dawn, the girl with the brown lipstick." Both in his mind and structurally (on the page), lust takes precedence over family life, and this is why McCoy and Kramer are two different characters. "Truly pathetic, wasn't it?" asks Kramer, referring to his apartment, because he also fails to appreciate his life and anything in it. ...read more.


At this moment, Sherman transcends the seemingly trivial desires of the press, and he acknowledges this, saying, 'The eerie thing was ... that he was not shocked and angered.' We should, however make it clear that at no point does he realise the flaws that set his tragedy in motion: this rebirth is not his Anagnorisis. Should we then conclude that he has learnt nothing? Interestingly, Aristotle extensively discussed catharsis, and considered it to be linked to the positive social function of tragedy - this is shown to an extent here. Through destruction and suffering emerges a new man, but also a new city, although it is questionably whether or not it has improved at all. I feel that it may be slightly inaccurate to describe Sherman's metaphorical death as a catharsis for the entire city. After all, most characters come away with little insight, and the ending still displays the twisted social values that we observed at the very beginning. McCoy is the lone figure emerging from the crumbling city. 'Judge ... it don't matter! It don't matter!' says Sherman, and 'He smiled.' By the end, McCoy needs no sympathy: he comes away with a pure mind, and achieves a separation of himself and the city. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Art section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Art essays

  1. The boundaries between culture and nature have collapsed and the body has become flexible

    Most significantly, they are both laughing which firmly roots this performance in the tradition of the carnivalesque with its associations of risk and excess as the artists reveal themselves, literally, to the audience. What is most appealing is that they look and sound as if they are enjoying themselves, as

  2. To what extent do you sympathise the character of George

    Every moment, George lives in clear consciousness of what life he is living, but he can't fight back, all that he can do is to continue because he needs to raise money for their future farm. Sometimes ignorance is a bless when your life can't turn to be better, and

  1. Analysis of Rembrandt Joseph Accused by Potiphars wife Essay.

    robe, placed her fingertips in the middle of the canvas (Munz 10). Another important placement involves the bed. After a careful look at the picture, I found the bed also is located in the middle of the painting, and covers over half of the canvas.

  2. Using explorative strategies to help understand the 'Coca-Cola Advert' lyrics and Picasso's Guernica.

    In almost exactly the same way, Guernica is crying out for the things identified in the coke advert lyrics. The exact absence of these is blatantly obvious. The coke advert and Guernica balance each other out. Each provides the cause for the actions in the other.

  1. Some writers have argued that each discipline has 'essential characteristics'. To what extent do ...

    The use of lettering and charcoal became more frequent. Lettering enabled the painting to have close links to the culture of the time. It brought the painting to the present with the use of everyday products being depicted. 'Still Life with Chair Caning' is very important in Cubism as it marks the first collage in fine art.

  2. Describe somewhere so that what you saw or felt at the time is communicated ...

    We hadn't noticed to start with. You know what it's like chatting about this and that. And Big Brother had been pretty crazy last night, so that had kept us more than a little occupied. But you know what it's like on a hot, packed bus crawling through traffic that's more like thick porridge than jam?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work