Death and degeneration in Malcolm Lowry's, Under the Volcano
Palin, Jonathan Michael
Master of Arts
In Under the Volcano , Lowry creates a world of excess, extreme situations, otherness and exoticism. Within this primitive Mexico, the protagonist, Geoffrey Firmin, experiences an individual degeneration. It is through Geoffrey Firmin's individual degeneration, along with the social degeneration of Mexico during the celebration of the Day of the Dead, that he accomplishes his goal of living as an Indio in Mexico. By living as an Indio in Mexico, however, he meets the same fate as the (dying) Indio on the side of the road. Lowry utilizes aspects of Mexican history, religion, macabre details of the Day of the Dead, and alcoholism to create a Mexico worthy of the Consul's "catastrophic success." In Lowry's world, we are able to observe the transformation of Firmin from pseudo-imperial Consul to a compañero , accepted into the ranks of the exploited.
British and Irish literature; Language, literature and linguistics