The Human Stain by Phillip Roth is a novel that depicts a series of disgraceful events and dissatisfactions in a manner that it makes a reader highly inquisitive to read the novel further with a larger intensity into it. Roth is a maestro of such works and rarely fails to surprise readers with an array of practical as well as imaginary metaphors. In the human stain, Roth has chosen the characters very smartly and depicted the incidents on a good plot. It is a novel that depicts sex, desires and several other hidden tendencies of human beings to deceive and how people exploit others.
The story, according to several people replicates the famous or infamous incident of American president bill Clinton and an employee of white house, Monica Lewinsky. The story and incident both have affected the Americans and that is the idea behind this story. The author has portrayed very explicitly the sexual desires and consequences afterwards. Roth seems to sensitize the incidents and the story at various places and in this course he has included some unwanted instances that make the novel a bit tedious. The story revolves around Nathan Zuckerman and Coleman silk. Nathan is in role of a writer and Coleman is an old man who tells him the stories and experience of his life. Both are in their old age and in course of spending time together share their experience of their life. The story of Coleman and his deeds has been highlighted which resembles to the contemporary bill Clinton episode. This old man after his retirement discloses the several incidents of his life to the writer.
The final chapter of the novel is ironically titled The Purifying Ritual and it is the tragic part of the novel as against the main theme of novel. First the Faunia was dead and in her funeral, Nathan learnt many things that were unknown to him. Second day Coleman was to be buried and a couple of thoughts were coming and going in Nathan’s mind and he could not sleep. Roth has beautifully depicted the emotions and incidents. The novel reaches at a very tragic juncture and readers find themselves at a very confusing and tragic episode because in the earlier chapters they read several interesting instances of sex stories and affairs.
The great irony of the Roth’s novel is that the bewilderment between stain and spotless, purity and impurity are visibly self contradictory. As soon as these ideas were structured, got restructured and seemed to be destructed at a later stage in the novel. Basically in this novel there is an array of contradictions, it seems usually that purity is in perseverance on impurity. Somewhere it seems rigid against the principle and ethics and in other instances it shows intolerance. The way the incidents and the characters have been portrayed, compels the readers to think about the novel. One starts relating the novel to his or her daily and practical life. At the end of the day, in the novel there is impurity but it depends and left on the reader to explain it as per his or her set of mind.
Nathan was very disappointed after death of Coleman and after revelations of certain hidden facts. He was shattered and alone he started thinking and in this course he realized that he had been participating in all those incidents that took place during the time of Coleman and his company. After les episode he became abstemious and this was almost a different portrayal of the novel against the theme of it.
Roth, P. (2000). The Human Stain. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Theguardian. (2001, January 4). Retrieved October 30, 2011, from www.guardian.co.uk: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2001/jan/04/philiproth