Human Interaction In Charles Percy Snow's Novels (C.P. Snow)

3109 words - 12 pages

Human Interaction in C.P. Snow's Novels*In 'Strangers and Brothers' series, C.P. Snow presents the many facets of interaction between individuals and groups on many different levels. The 'Strangers and Brothers' is a sequence of ten novels that follows the life of Eliot Lewis, the narrator of all the books. The two novels that are included in the 'Strangers and Brothers' series that are the best representation of Snow's analysis of human relations are The New Men and The Affair. Both books deal with situations that require there to be a conflict in interests, opinions, and motives among the characters involved. The characters Snow involves are put into such conflict that their true motives and ideals must be brought to the surface and relationships are at their most volatile and active points. These conflicts allow for the interactions to be easily observed and studied.Snow has many aspects to his character that help to give insight into the subjects and views he wishes to deal with in his writing. He was born into a family of lower economic standing. His father was a shoemaker with four sons to support. Snow worked his way up the social and economic ladder to such accomplishments as a knighthood (in 1957) and a Commandership awarded by order of the British Empire (1943). Since he required financial aid to attend college he chose to follow a life of science, because that was the only background that was financially profitable at that time. He received a Ph.D. and was viewed by other scientist as an up-and-coming mind in the field. But because a piece of research had gone wrong Snow was burdened enough to question his place in the scientific community. Shortly after Snow decided to turn to a life of literature for many reasons, one of them being financial security. His roots in science allowed him to offer a distinct style of writing that has more of a social analysis angle rather than entertainment of the issues on the surface.In both The New Men and The Affair there are many different layers of social and personal interaction occurring. The New Men is set during World War II, and deals with the implications of creating the Atom bomb. The title 'New Men' refers to the scientists who try to harness atomic power and use it for warfare. 'What should these lords of science, these modern Pygmalions, these new men do when they realize the startling truth: that their Galatea possesses frightening implications for humankind?' (Davis, pg. 87). These men dispute the morality of building such a destructive device against the necessity for building the bomb, which is determined by the political and military powers. This broad and encompassing topic allows for conflicts to arise in views on politics, morality, an obligation to scientific advancement, and even mortality. There are contrasting individual characters, contrasting political group and ideologies, and contrasting objectives in The New Men. Snow's art is to meld multiple conflicts into one situation....

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