Thursday, February 9, 2012

Less Than Zero

The Blank Generation was a generation of American post-punk fiction writers, also known to write ‘Blank Fiction’. Bret Easton Ellis is one of the Blank generation writers, who was often, after his novel Less than Zero, seen as a bored teenager who has nothing to look forward to because they know and own everything already. All the left over money would be spent on drugs and that is how the rich teenagers of the eighties would spend their time. The representation Less Than Zero, gave of the eighties and the opinions on the author were always very varied, but most opinions were that the distance created between the rich teenagers and society by drugs was very clear, in both narrative and writing style.

The site that I found is an analysis of the novel Less Than Zero and focuses especially on the role of the teens in the book and the character of Clay and his representation of his community in the 1980’s. The introduction states that the novel was once dubbed as “the first MTV novel”. Not only because MTV was on television in the background throughout the whole book, but also because the Clay’s life plays like MTV, like short music videos playing day in day out, without anything spectacular, let alone memorable happening.

The character of Clay, is of most interest to the writer of the analysis. Simply the way he drives around endlessly, without a purpose, signifying his lack of aim and motivation for his own life. His confusion to who he really is, which is numbed by drugs and the fact that he doesn’t have to work for his money, everything is handed to him and he can therefore remain an adolescent with no real character. The writing style contributes to this feeling.

In the article are a few bits of the book one being:

Where are we going? I asked him.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Just driving”.

“But this road does not go anywhere,” I told him.

“That doesn’t matter”

“What does?” I asked, after a little while.

“Just that we’re on it, dude,” he said.

From this particular quote from the book there is a definite feeling of an addiction of rush and thrill. Being “on it”, is the most important thing to them, meaning being up for doing anything whenever the occasion occurs. This form of lifestyle which they were born into had made them to be able to do anything whenever and nothing gave them a real thrill anymore. The search for thrill, as by the writer of the article is signified in the lack of direction when the characters are driving around. The lack of interest in thing they already have, which is pretty much everything, leads them to become interested in perverted things that are illegal and exclusive to them. Even a dead body, someone who had died from drugs they take themselves cant excite them, which leads to underage sex etc.

The article led to a certain understanding of the pointlessness of Clay’s life in the book and therefore to an understanding towards the actions of the young adults. An understating meaning in this sense taking the viewpoint of a rich teenager having nothing to aim for in life, not an understanding meaning a reason. The ideas behind the fiction of the Blank Generation is in my mind very closely linked to the unimaginative, ‘blank’ representations of the rich youth culture of Los Angeles in Less Than Zero. This article gives quite a simple insight of the novel, which gives understanding to the novel’s interpretation to the 1980’s , and an opportunity to develop further on the reflections stated in the article.

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