Unfulfilled vocations in contemporary American fiction

Authors: Dix, H.

Journal: Textual Practice

Pages: 1-18

ISSN: 0950-236X

DOI: 10.1080/0950236X.2020.1788135

Abstract:

This paper analyses the representation of unfulfilled creative vocations in contemporary American fiction using career construction theory, which emerged after the 2007 economic crisis when large numbers of people sought new forms of vocational guidance. It argues that a number of American novelists started to portray changing or unfulfilled creative vocations in fiction as a response to the overall changes in American society caused by the crisis. This means that career construction theory and the fictional portrayal of frustrated vocations have a common origin, so that the former can usefully be applied to our interpretation of the latter. The paper undertakes such work by applying specific components of career construction theory to interpretation and analysis of particular texts. Specifically, it applies theoretical insight by Mark Savickas, John Holland, Peter McIlveen and Kobus Maree to analysis of Joshua Ferris's novel Then We Came to the End (2007); Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World (2014); Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings (2013) and Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010). Overall it argues that career construction theory is a potentially fertile body of work capable of informing our understanding of the fictional portrayal of creative vocations in new and innovative ways.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33308/

Source: Scopus

Unfulfilled vocations in contemporary American fiction

Authors: Dix, H.

Journal: TEXTUAL PRACTICE

eISSN: 1470-1308

ISSN: 0950-236X

DOI: 10.1080/0950236X.2020.1788135

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33308/

Source: Web of Science (Lite)

Unfulfilled Vocations in Contemporary American Fiction

Authors: Dix, H.

Journal: Textual Practice

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISSN: 0950-236X

Abstract:

This paper analyses the representation of unfulfilled creative vocations in contemporary American fiction through the lens of career construction theory, which emerged after the 2007 economic crisis when large numbers of people sought new forms of vocational guidance to suit the altered conditions of their working lives. It argues that during the same period, an increasing number of American novelists started to portray changing or unfulfilled creative vocations in their fiction, as a response to the same overall changes in American society. This means that career construction theory and the fictional portrayal of frustrated vocations have a common historical origin, so that the former can usefully be applied to our interpretation of the latter. The paper undertakes such work by applying specific components of career construction theory to interpretation and analysis of particular texts. Specifically, it applies Mark Savickas’s idea of meta-reflection to a reading of Joshua Ferris’s novel Then We Came to the End (2007); John Holland’s concept of vocational personality to analysis of Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World (2014); Peter McIlveen’s notion of exo-theme, or compromise, to Meg Wolitzer’s novel The Interestings (2013) and Kobus Maree’s use of career case studies to Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010). Overall it argues that career construction theory is a potentially fertile body of work capable of informing our understanding of the fictional portrayal of creative vocations in new and innovative ways.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33308/

Source: Manual

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