Complete summary of Saul Bellow’s Dangling Man. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Dangling Man. An essential masterwork by Nobel laureate Saul Bellow—now with an introduction by J. M. Coetzee Expecting to be inducted into the army to. Saul Bellow: Dangling Man ( words) Dangling Man (), Bellow’s first novel, is striking in its exclusion of the female voice.

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He tries to think through the nature of American society and its relationship to individualism. For example, Joseph sees a clear difference between his current self and his younger college-age self.

Dangling Man by Saul Bellow | : Books

It is his first published work. Besides, those acts mah the imagination are in the strictest sense not personal. The writing, the prose style—I am split on this. The author goes on to better things, Joseph, I suspect, does not.

A very modernist and almost existential work, Bellow explores the condition within which we might find ourselves if all previously held beliefs and structures suddenly vanished.

Bellow, like Joseph, demonstrates potential in this first novel. A poo-choot’s daily routine goes something like this: So this passage from February 2 is my favourite in the book: Everybody else takes it seriously.

Dangling Man

In a sort of sul refutation of Hemingway, Bellow seems determined to restore interiority, description, and garrulousness to its proper place in American fiction. Joseph wants to accept and function in American society and not to pursue the criticism and rejection which was common among intellectuals then and remains so today.


There’s nothing to it. One who he lives with, but seems not to love, like, or even hear anymore other than as a tottering feminine child who disturbs his thoughts. Sep 03, Chrissie rated it liked it Shelves: He is a dabbling intellectual who judges doers from afar and is poisoned by the intersection of his own lack of initiative or concrete movement toward achievement, his lack of daily responsibilities, and the fact that the men around him are realizing their potential through sacrificing themselves.

Keeping themselves in one place, with very little opportunity to do great evil, they approach the end of their lives not having stolen taxpayers’ money, or lied to the public to conceal crimes, or facilitated corrupt transactions, wronged people for career advancements, cheated on their wives, or did all the other evil things men do when they reject the option to just “dangle” along. And you wonder, at the end of your own life, who had lived better.

The dreadful slack created by being left to dangle As the alienation from the active world grows, the questions in the diary become more urgent: The central character, Joseph, is a “dangling man” because he has given up his job and is awaiting induction into the military.

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During this time, Joseph leaves his job working for a travel bureau. View all 3 comments.

Seven months dangoing passed, but Joseph is still waiting to be inducted into the Army. He has lived in the US for eighteen years, and he says he wants to go fight in the war. The story is set in Chicago and is told exclusively by means of diary entries of the protagonist, who is identified only as Joseph, between December 15,and April 9.


It is a very long time since I read this book, but the scene in the coffee shop where he screams at the communist for selling out the movement is still burnt into my soul or, at least, it would be if I had one. He is supported by his long-suffering wife of five years, Iva.

Only the past, in its shabbiness and innocence. Retrieved from ” https: He is a dabbling intellectual who judges doers from afar and is poisoned by the intersection of his own lack of initiative or concrete movement tow The reviews of this book seem to split the readers into people who vaguely identify with the fatuous intellectual and those who react and judge from a distance. Dangling Man is a novel by Saul Bellow. On the other hand, descriptions of places and people are very much to my taste.

I identify with him. During the catastrophic New Years dinner, Joseph refuses his brother’s offer of a holiday gift of cash. Oh, and on that, I wondered why he would even want to go to a war.

My perspectives end in the walls. For nearly four months he keeps a journal expressing his frustration, which most often manifests as rage: I think what is said is true. If I could give half stars I would have given this 3.