2. The metaphor within the structure of the novel
2.3. Point of view
2.5.3. The Novelist as reporter, the agent for change
"Yes, if only Rockefeller had run for the Democrats and Mc Carthy for the Republicans, this would have been an ideal contest between a spender and a conservative."
Mailer, the novelist, sees himself as agent for change. His critics on the other hand assign to his works the brilliancy of reportage.
Mailer is the greatest historical actor in his own books, but they do not convey any action of his own. They are efforts to rise above the Americanness that he loves to profane, but which fascinates him into brilliance. The nonfiction novel exists in order not to change the American situation that makes possible so much literary aggression against it.
He rewrites history and invents his own literary terms. In his novel Armies of the Night, which was published the same year the subtitle History as a Novel, Novel as History served that purpose extremely well. Most of Mailer's novels were later classified "nonfiction novel". The term "Real Life Novel" seemed to himself more appropriate and thus subtitled his The Executioner's Song.
Norman Mailer's Miami and The Siege of Chicago is an account of the 1968 Conventions in Miami (Republicans) and Chicago (Democrats). This "classic work of interpretive political reportage", consists of two parts, the first "Nixon in Miami" and the second "The Siege of Chicago".
"Mailer", as T. Wicker writes in the introduction to the book, "uses a device he developed to high craft: third-person story telling based on first-person participation."
His style and rhetorical devices stand out among other novelists. When Mailer describes the Republican convention in Miami using metaphorical language filled with disgust he risks to offend the audience: "And the country roaring like the bull in its wounds, coughing like a sick lung in the smog [...]."
His informal critical account is often directed against the audience. Even though it sounds like a paradox, with this style Mailer, the surrealistic critic and observer of American society, seems to attract many readers to his novels.
The Republican Convention 1968 in Miami preceded the election of Nixon as 33rd American President, which was a close victory of 43,4% vs. Hubert Humphrey of the Democrats with a total of 42,7% votes. The Amphitheatre in Chicago, location of the Democratic Convention, had according to Mailer then the "packed intimacy of a neighborhood fightclub" and "the air of circus was also the air of slaughterhouse". Chicago was also home to a Yippie Convention, which made the situation worse and was reason enough for the Democrats to discuss about another location.
This paper will try to analyse the style and metaphors for political action in the novel. This will be done on the levels of setting, character, point of view, plot, and theme. It will be shown that the significance of the metaphors is not limited to providing mere background color. Rather, they are integrated on all levels of the novel and provide it with many opportunities to bring Mailer's intentions home to the reader, as the final subchapter will elaborate.
 Mailer, Norman, MIAMI AND THE SIEGE OF CHICAGO - An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968 by Norman Mailer. (New York, 1968),p.158 Abbreviation: Miami
 Kazin, Alfred, Bright Book of Life - American Novelists and Storytellers from Hemingway to Mailer (Boston, 1973). pp.236-237 Abbreviation : Kazin
 Karl classifies his literature among other authers of the 1960s as "near-novel", "new journalism" or "parajournalism", who according to this critic haven't fully implemented the "self" in literary techniques so that their ouevres become an "outpouring of [...] a high order of fictionalized journalism"."Fiction quarried out of fact," Karl goes on, "presented with novelistic techniques so as to intensify fictional dimensions, but not turned into novels." For the Mailer term "History as a Novel/Novel as History" he goes as far as to substitute "History as Autobiography/Autobiography as History". in: Karl, Frederick R., "THE NONFICTION NOVEL", in: American Fictions 1940/1980 - A Comprehensive History and Critical Evaluation (New York 1983), p. 560.
 Sheed, Wilfried. THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW quoted in: Mailer, Norman, MIAMI AND THE SIEGE OF CHICAGO - An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968 by Norman Mailer. (New York, 1968), cover
 "triumphantly vivid work of journalism", ibid.
 Wicker, Tom in: Mailer, Norman, MIAMI AND THE SIEGE OF CHICAGO - An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968 by Norman Mailer. (New York, 1968), introduction
 Miami, p.15
 Miami, p.176
 Miami, p.177
- Quote paper
- Jutta Mahlke (Author), 2000, The 'Bazaar of Metaphor' in Norman Mailer's Miami and the Siege of Chicago, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/27849