The Man of Reason and His Suffering in Philip Roth’s The Human Stain

  • 王 新元

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The thesis reads Philip Roth’s The Human Stain (2000) as a critique of different forms of relativism In the novel holders of relativist views on culture race and politics often denounce Coleman Silk Roth’s protagonist as an immoralist unfit for social life Cultural relativists abhor Coleman’s antisocial tendencies Racial relativists detest Coleman for his being non-identitarian Political relativists then abominate Coleman’s rationalism It is here contended that Roth’s novel shows how such beliefs in cultural racial and political relativisms fail to substantiate the many charges brought against Coleman as a man of reason The thesis comprises three main chapters with each chapter devoted to Roth’s critique of a specific form of relativism Chapter One examines how Roth criticizes cultural relativism by characterizing Delphine Roux as a cultural relativist Chapter Two explores how Roth condemns racial relativism as racism by portraying characters who mistake racial relativism for an innocuous idea Chapter Three looks into how Roth defines and criticizes political relativism as anti-intellectualism by making Nathan Zuckerman a relativist
Date of Award2016 Jan 26
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorShuli Chang (Supervisor)

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