Saul Bellow is the author of the book “Seizes the day”. He was borne of poor Jewish-Russian parents. He spent most of his childhood life in Canada. Born in 1915, the author experienced the major world events of that time. He saw the World War I and experienced the economic boom of the wartime in the 1940s and 50s. The protagonist in his book is Tommy Wilhelm. At his mid forties in the 1950s, Tommy’s life revolves around a newly established and tough American economy. The country is at war with the Soviet Union. This war was characterized by an extensive application of science and technology as key weapons. Bellow’s father was an importer and wanted all his children to capitalize on the new economic chances.
He wanted his children to take the path of professionalism or business .However, Bellow’s perception of success conflicts with his father’s. Bellow, in his novel, places the protagonist at the crossroads of all forms of odds and problems, ranging from emotional, to financial. His human need and feelings are in persistent battle with the external world of business and money. Tommy is depicted as a young man, quite charming but also restless. He is caught up in mid-life crises and he is all over looking for advice as he seeks to bring back his life on track. It is true that Bellow uses Tommy to reflect his life since the major ideas in the novel show a lot of resemblance between the life of the protagonist and the novelist.
In the first chapter, we meet Tommy in the Gloriana Hotel in New York. His father had lived in the very hotel for a couple of years. The hotel is full of elderly retirees. This makes the protagonist a figure of isolation throughout the novel. Tommy meets his father for breakfast for a piece of advice. However, his father’s advice is not of too much assistance to him. Through a series of flash backs, Tommy’s life comes into limelight. He had just recently been laid off as a salesperson. He was also a college drop out with two children .To make matters worse for him , he had separated from his wife and was on the edge of financial problems. Tommy had given the last bit of his savings to a conman, Dr. Tamkin, who had promised to work in the securities market. In the middle of all these Tommy falls in love with a woman called Olive. However, Tommy cannot marry this woman because his wife has refused to grant him divorce. Other important facts we get to learn from the first chapter is Tommy’s family, including her deceased mother and sister who had graduated from Bryn Mawr. His deceased mother disappoints Tommy as well (Saul Bellow 1956 p.20).
Symbolism plays a major role in the entire novel .For instance at the beginning of the novel Tommy is descending an elevator. This is symbolism that for the bigger part of the novel, Tommy will be descending. This symbolism fits in with the vents that take place in Tommy’s life. The character of Maurice Venice also contributes to the imagery aspects of the novel in the first chapters. Just like Maurice, Tommy is the failure in his family where everyone is educated. He also wears a character of a talent scout, which he does not really represent (Saul Bellow 1956 p.35). This means he is a liar. Tommy could also lie. This makes Maurice Venice an equal of Tommy in the novel.
In the context of chapter three, we are introduced the father and son having a meal after Mr. Perls left. The father was not happy the way the boy was having his meal in a gluttonous manner. This chapter helps to bring out the misunderstanding of the son and the father. Dr. Alder claims that his son is a very different person from him. He says that his son is not serious in life because he is enjoying the wealth he never worked as opposed to him who worked very hard to achieve that wealth. He blames the generation gap for their difference. His son on the other hand relies on the different belief systems since they were raised in different backgrounds. He told his to go to the baths to wash him and for exercise. In the conversations between the son and the father we see the father trying to convince that son that he will not give him money. He told him that he refused to give Tommy’s sister the money she requested to for rent of a space of business claiming that the daughter had no talent so he was making a comparison between the son and the daughter. This was unfortunate because Tom could not comprehend the parables of his father of comparing him and the sister.
In relation to chapter four of the book, we see the use of psychological theories, for example, naturalism where the grandfather used to refer Tom to a wolf. Tom has been using animal names to refer to others. Tamkin is trying to show Tommy that he is more understanding and considerate that Dr. Alder. It seems that Dr. Alder is insisting on a strict and distinct path to victory which sounds outdated in the modern world therefore impractical. Alder also believed that people are usually driven by power leading to a philosophical aspect called alderism. The book used a stylistic device of juxtaposition which illustrated the path that fluctuates to victory. Tamkin used truths and lies to enable Tommy to leave the drowning state.
In the context of chapter five, Tommy starts coming to his senses. He started to understand things that he never understood. He is seen to be gaining swimming skills. Tamkin became the major mentor to Tommy. Tommy is seen to remember everything that happens in the chapter which shows improvement in his memory. He started gaining connection and networking to the world that he was isolated from. This chapter placed Tommy in the understanding path. Tommy started demonstrating feelings of people who are around him. He claims that language spoken by people by many that he could not understand.In chapter six, Tommy began to realize the importance of time as he no longer wanted to waste time. He began to worry about his money. He also started to worry about what he was told by his father. Tommy began to lose trust on Tamkin. He became preoccupied with investment and money. Tamkin left and Tom started to learn many things on him. He later gained full understanding of what he did himself.
Tommy Wilhelm gets in his own world of unemployment in which he definitely becomes strange to his own relatives including his father. This is definitely illustrated by a well depicted piece of art in which the various quotes bring them well such as the following; “You can spend the entire second half of your life recovering from the mistakes of the first half” (Saul Bellow 1956 p. 56). This definitely illustrates the vivid plot of the book in the context that highlights how the various epitomes in the plot are well illustrated in the longer overview. This clearly shows that when an individual commits a particular mistake at the moment, there down the line in the historical view of one’s life it goes a long way it trying to pay for the fouls committed.
This is illustrated in the view of how consequently do Tommy suffers in the overview of solving his past mistakes including the spited family. The theme of poverty and immediate suffering in life are definitely highlighted in the context of how Tommy gets engulfed in the turmoil of trying to make issues run in the right direction. This depicts the author of the book as a mirror that correctly cross examine the modern epics and the conditions that they do pass through in the essence of trying to make things work out.
He goes on the platform that highlights that the thesis of poverty can cause and actually cost individual huge losses in the longer run. Tommy Adler seems susceptible, actually an absolute disappointment, and on the periphery of financial obliteration. This is illustrated by the running against his manager’s counsel untimely on; Tommy goes to Hollywood as a film extra. Tommy would have cherished to have turned out to be a star, but in due course he applies his talents to a flourishing sales line of business. Definitely, As Tommy smack his early 40s, consequently his corporation brings in "new blood" (Saul Bellow 1956 p.120), and effectively reduced his sales region to 50% as an alternative of providing a promised endorsement. This definitely in the longer run leaves him no preference but to refrain from the business to save face.
Tommy definitely indulges in the stock market which consequently causes him to lose all his money. This turmoil is further enhanced by the fact that his wife calls him to demand for more money. Consequently he somehow runs insane and distraught and consequently loses his self control. This makes him to run into the street to engage in the funeral of a man unknown to him. The wave of energy pushes him to definitely check into the grave and the only thing that he can see in the casket is his own future. The futility of ambition and the fallen hero consequently makes him to weep forlornly in the context that he comes in terms with his own conscience that all men will ultimately die (Saul Bellow 1956 p.167).