Molloy, Malone Dies, the Unnamable: Overview

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Author: Colin Graham
Editor: Lesley Henderson
Date: 1995
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Work overview; Critical essay
Length: 1,072 words

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The three novels Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable come together to form what is otherwise known as `The Beckett Trilogy' (all originally written in French). While each can be read as a separate piece there is some attempt at progression and coherence across these three `novels'.

Indeed to say there is an attempt at progression through the works is to point to one of the major obsessions of the interior monologues of which these three works consist; each character is in search of something, on the way to somewhere, or wondering where it may be he is going. In Molloy, Molloy, incapacitated, sometimes on crutches, on his bicycle, or crawling, is going to meet his mother. Moran is in search of Molloy, though is reluctant to find him, having forgotten what it is he is meant to do with Molloy once he has found him. Malone, bedridden, is moving towards death. And the voice that speaks The Unnamable moves towards its objective, silence. Beckett, though, continually shies away from absolutes. The shift throughout the trilogy from physical movement (however sad, farcical, and restricted, as with Molloy) to Malone controlling his surroundings from his bed using a stick, to `the unnamable', seemingly egg-shaped and in a jar, is not pushed to its `logical' conclusion. There is not the final paralysis and silence which at times The Unnamable tends towards but instead The Unnamable ends, not in the ultimate static nothingness, but at `the threshold of my story' saying `you can't go on, I can't go on, I'll go on'. And this, given the sense of decay, hopelessness, and...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1420000654