Jerzy Kosinski´s novel ´Being There´ is less than one hundred and thirty (122) pages long, divided in seven chapters and is written in a style, which makes it easy to read - it contains only a few difficult words.
The whole novel is told by an eliminated narrator (point of view), because the setting, action, characters and events are presented directly without the interference of a narrator. Furthermore, all characters, like Chance, Mr. and Mrs. Rand and the President, reveal themselves in the story through their action and speech. Typical of these characters is that they are not described by the author. The reader must create them in his mind himself while reading.
The story can be classified as a fictional one: characters, plot and action are invented.
Jerzy Kosinski mentions at the end of the novel, that everything is invented and certain components like places, names or happenings may be recognizable by the reader within the real world.
Chance, the main character in this novel, whose knowledge of the ´real´ outside world is through watching television, is developing from an unknown civilian to a wealthy and famous man.
This has happened, because everyone who was dealing with him and listened to his empty-headed pronouncements thought, that they would be profoundly intelligent and wisely insightful.
Thus, the whole story of this novel is based on a crazy misunderstanding and could be interpreted as a big joke.
Here are some amusing remarks of Chance, which are interpreted by the President and the Rands as wisely insightful:
. On looking out of a window: " This is just like television, only you can see much further."
. On economics: " . As long as the roots are not severed, all is well, and all will be well in the garden." (p.43/line 11)
. On economics: " . It is a good garden and a healthy one; its trees are healthy and so are its shrubs and flowers, as long as they are trimmed and watered in the right seasons." (p.55/ line 2)
One day at the age of fifteen when I visited a friend in London (England), I felt boring and decided to read a book. Consequently I went to second-hand bookstore and grabbed by chance this novel - I paid only 20p !
When I first began to read, I couldn ´t grasp the story line, but by the time I had read the first two chapters, I couldn ´t put the book down. It really made me think about what it would be like to live in Chance´s situation without any education, friends and parents.
Besides this, I truly recognized that the author, J. Kosinski, wanted to confront the reader with a problem in our modern time: the seduction of multimedia and the endless consumption of mass media in our modern society (pop-music, television, gambling . . .).
During the last chapter of ´Being There´ I decided to watch TV at least less than two hours a day, because I realized the senselessness of watching so much fictional stuff.
But on the other hand you shouldn ´t miss the Movie `Being There` with Peter Seller (Chance) and Shirley Mclaine (Elizabeth Eve Rand).