″Individualization″,a concept put forward by the British sociologist Zygmunt Bauman, is a critique of the process by which individual behavior is increasingly driven by the satisfaction of individual consumptive desire,exclusively through the agency of consumer choice,creating independence from the state,and the transformation of traditional community.Using Bauman's concept of individualization,this paper discusses Ian McEwan's novel The Cement Garden as exemplifying the theme of the cultural crisis of an individualized society and the decline of traditional community culture.Firstly,McEwan reveals the dissolution of traditional harmonious family culture, not only through the disintegration of traditional patriarchy and the great influence of feminism,but also the great isolating effects of economic matters in an individualized society.The relationship between family members is very distant.The relationship between parents is tense,and the relationship between father and their children is also tense and even hostile.Not only that,the brothers and sisters in the family also show hostility and indifference to each other.Secondly,the family receives no help when it is in trouble.The city is no longer a community in which people can connect with, and help each other, nor does it imply a responsibility to its members.Moreover,as the symbol of the unique style of the city,the castle buildings with thick walls and low windows are being replaced by featureless, unified tall buildings,which suggests that the city is losing its own character.Under the influence of consumerism,the city is completely permeated with materialistic ideas and is losing its centripetal force.If the city is compared to the mother,it is suffering from the cruel exploitation of science and technology,so it is the direct victim of rationality and civilization.The isolation of the family and the decline of the characteristic culture of the city reveal the loss of urban neighborhood culture, and show the dysfunctional characteristics of interpersonal relationships in an individualized society,embodying the destructive and corrosive effects of modern civilization on the human mentality.Lastly,McEwan develops a dialogue with history through the novel, expressing deep regret about the decline of traditional community culture in an individualized society,and more importantly,implying profound criticism of desire-oriented consumer culture. The Cement Garden is full of the ideas of the sensory culture of consumerism,in which elegant culture is increasingly losing territory and giving way to vulgar mass culture.Furthermore,the disorder of the family and society in the novel reflects the loss of community culture from one side.The problem of freedom in the novel mainly comes from the loss of the characters'sense of community,because they have neither common goals nor strong emotional resonance,and it is difficult for them to identify with each other.The erosion of highly cohesive community culture by sensory culture shows the rej ection of elegant culture by popular culture,implying a serious deterioration of national cohesion.To sum up, taking McEwan's The Cement Garden as a research obj ect and adopting Bauman's concept of″individualization″as starting point,this paper systematically analyzes the cultural crisis of individualized society,demonstrating McEwan's strong sense of social criticism, and broadens and deepens the study of McEwan's novels on theme and content.In McEwan's view,the crisis of an individualized society is not only a social phenomenon,but also a literary one,an aesthetic cognition,a redemption approach,and a process of metaphysical reflection and experience of survival.Under the background of globalization,individualization has become an inevitable trend in current societies and has been paid more and more attention in the academic field.Research on the cultural crisis of an individualized society is helpful to enhance people's consciousness of reflection and criticism of current consumer societies,guard against various crises and deepen their understanding of themselves or between them.
付昌玲. 论麦克尤恩小说《水泥花园》中个体化的文化危机[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2020, 6(4): 160-.
Fu Changling. Study on Cultural Crisis of Individualized Society inIan McEwan's Novel TheCement Garden. JOURNAL OF ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY, 2020, 6(4): 160-.