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An Examination of the Personality of Dick Prosser, the Protagonist in Thomas Wolfe’s the Child by Tiger, as a Byronic Hero

Mehdi Khoshkalampour


Thomas Wolfe (1900-38), theAmerican novelist, has composed one of his most renowned short stories, TheChild By Tiger, in such a manner that we can trace an eye catching and transparentproximity between its protagonist, Dick Prosser, and a sort of hero having beenpresented to the world of literature by romantic poet and writer, Gorge GordonByron (1788-1824) during the 19th century. Dick Prosser, a callowand astonishing protagonist, who at times can be considered an anti-hero,demonstrates some traits and characteristics that emphatically correspond towhat a Byronic hero is anticipated to do when confronting difficulties. Thesense of rebel, torment from an internalized agony and grandiose passionsaccompanied by an interminable escape from an unknown traumatic past haveprevailed throughout the story, and cast an unshakable spell on Dick Prosser.The affinity between Dick Prosser the coined Byronic hero becomes morediaphanous when he gets notoriously unorthodox and untamed toward thesocially-confirmed laws and disciplines peculiar to his time. Dick Prosserrepresents some reactions that strengthen the hypothesis alluding to hisinsanity and savagery. However, when elaborated from the Byronic hero’s pointof view, the personality he has chosen against his community inclines to bemore justifiable. This essay has on its horizon the aim to show the propinquitybetween Dick Prosser and the standards having been set to fit the Byronic hero.It also endeavors to delineate the historical path through which the Byronichero has emerged and sustained to come to the present time. The traits Byronichero should possess will be recounted, and an attempt will be made to portraithow Dick matches his counterpart, the Byronic hero.

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