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Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall - review.

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Evelyn Waugh was born in 1903. He is not considered to be a distinguished novelist but his writing is notable because they satirise much that was bizarre in English society. His father was a publisher and his first novel, Decline and fall, was published in 1928. It is a satire on the preparatory school industry. It is in the style and humour of Charles Dickens. Evelyn Waugh achieves his purpose through exaggeration. He paints characters that are larger than life, just like Dickens. We also see this method used in today's television in programmes like "Spitting Image" where gargoyle like images of prominent personalities behave in an outrageous way. The descriptions of some of his characters are the larger than life ones made so popular by Dickens. Mr. Fagan could have came straight out of a cartoon by 'Mac�; "sunken eyes, and rather long white hair over jet black eyebrows, his head was very long and swayed lightly as he spoke". ...read more.


They decide he is fit for the post even though he does not know German. Similarly, he is told to give organ lessons to Beste Chetwynde. Not one of the characters at Llanabba Castle, including the lead Augustus Fagan Esquire, as he likes too be addressed, seems at all concerned with education, or qualified to educate. Church and Gargoyle have it in the forth category, that of bad schools. Dr. Fagan interviews for a few minutes and calls it "A most exhausting interview". The characters of Grimes and Prendergas are told through the confidences they give Pennyfeather. Waugh is exaggerating the dodgy type of teacher to be found in schools at that time. We never get to know for what Grimes was so often "in the soup" and this makes us fear the worst. This device is cleverly used by Waugh to satirise the system of schooling. Sometimes we feel he is exaggerating too much, as in the case of Grimes, but we cannot help feeling there are serious issues he is describing. ...read more.


The Sports, after the make shift heats, is satirical, the ground is not marked, the hurdles are five foot high". It's once again bias as the rich boys win races. An argument breaks out about whether clutterbuck had won the race. The other students argued that there was cheating going on. There is racism around as well; everyone is shocked when a black energetic man called chokey escort's-ms beste-chetwynde to sports day. Politics and crime is also satirised. In Philbricks story Evelyn Waugh tells us about Toby crutwell a robber turned MP. Toby Cruttwell stole many diamonds with Phillbrick. Toby Crutwell turned respectful and became an MP. Waugh is basically telling the reader that the political system was corrupt and that they would hire any body even an ex-con. Waugh obviously intended that Decline and fall should be a comic novel, but it is also serious because it is a satire. I think this novel is a good book it keeps the reader focused because the book is so intriguing you always want to turn the page to see what's going to happen next. George Busumbru GM1 ...read more.

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