George Stroud in “The Big Clock” by Kenneth Fearing

The focal point of the paper is to present a critical response on George Stroud in the “Big Clock” by Kenneth Fearing, published in 1946. This book is a social depiction of the influence of mass media through the protagonist George Stroud, who is the editor of a popular magazine named Crimeways’.

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George Stroud is a character who is always willing to cash on the consumerist approach of the mass population. However, he feels he is out of place and cannot fit in well in the parameters of the mainstreams society, which he regularly feeds with criminal stories and thrillers. He himself is indulged in notorious love life with Pauline Delos, who actually is involved with Stroud’s boss. This makes him an opportunist and a person with low morals (Fearing, 1987).

In a way, Stroud’s character appears to be a manifestation of the era. The Second World War was in a period of history that was a time when the world was going through a difficult phase during the horrors of the war. It could be mentioned in the initial stages that it was degeneration time. Imperialism had taken its tolls on the world, which was grilling on the last fires of WWII. The losses were too heavy, and the shocks, almost unbearable. People just lived through a test of the extent-organized cruelty, and purposeful ruthlessness could reach. As far as the future was concerned, the initial tremors of what would lead to a massive cross across the globe were being felt. In this context, it would be relevant to mention that the generation was not finding their existence worthwhile, or in other words, they wanted more out of their life for they hardly knew what to believe. They were not able to keep complete faith in religion, and neither could they abandon it completely. Stroud’s character appears to be the product of this social condition.

He is not faithful to his religion as he is indulging in the sin of adultery on numerous occasions, and yet he is not suffering from guilt. The only aspect that worries him is the fear of losing his job. This shows the desperate condition of the society of that era. It was also a regeneration time. Ideological conflicts and military interests were shaking civilization right up to its foundations. The doubts, dilemmas, and confusions were gradually, quite slowly indeed, giving way to a new and unique cultural revolution. It was happening all across the Western world. People suddenly seemed to realize that there was enough political warfare to disgrace humanity. The prevailing standards suddenly seemed to be meaningless, and the insurgent youths wanted something different to happen. However, it should also be mentioned that the aspects of modernism were already on their way from the time of the industrial revolution and the birth of capitalism with the assistance of better education and communication means. These aspects were influencing society and its culture. Modernism was on its way, but the circumstances of the war changed the acceleration of this change and formulated a rapid and revolutionary transfiguration. Stroud’s character found himself in the middle of all these.

Stroud’s character cannot be termed as a good person, but though he is low on the context of religious morals, it can be stated that the author made him appear as a model of society. He represented what was happing in the public psyche, and he, too, like the growing consumerist approach of the time, wanted to have more out of love and opportunity without actually sacrificing anything.


Fearing, Kenneth; 1987; The Big Clock; New York Review Books.

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