Robert A. Ferguson's Alone in America: The Stories that Matter PDF

By Robert A. Ferguson

ISBN-10: 0674066766

ISBN-13: 9780674066762

Robert A. Ferguson investigates the character of loneliness in American fiction, from its mythological beginnings in Rip Van Winkle to the postmodern terrors of Sep 11. At factor is the darkish facet of a trumpeted American individualism. The subject matter is a crucial one simply because a better percent of individuals stay on my own this present day than at the other time in U.S. history.

the various remoted characters in American fiction, Ferguson says, entice us via inward claims of id while pitted opposed to the social priorities of a consensual tradition. They point out how we'd consult ourselves whilst an identical pressures come our manner. In fiction, extra visibly than in existence, defining moments activate the readability of an internal conversation.

Alone in America checks the interior conversations that paintings and infrequently fail. It examines the common components and moments that strength us towards a solitary state—failure, betrayal, swap, defeat, breakdown, worry, distinction, age, and loss—in their ascending strength over us. It underlines the evolving solutions that recognized figures in literature have given in reaction. Figures like Mark Twain’s Huck Finn and Toni Morrison’s Sethe and Paul D., or Louisa could Alcott’s Jo March and Marilynne Robinson’s John Ames, carve out their very own chances opposed to ruthless occasions that carry them in position. rather than trusting to sometimes superficial social treatments, or taking skinny sustenance from the philosophy of self-reliance, Ferguson says we will be able to study from our fiction the right way to stay alone.

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Extra info for Alone in America: The Stories that Matter

Example text

These seemingly useless and often lonely oldsters appear strangely out of place in a country thought to be young, but curiously they are also the mea sure and gauge of it. They are the problem that comes to all who live long enough in a nation 32 alone in america changing out from under everyone, and their story recurs so frequently because there is no answer except oblique recognition of it. ” Thus provided for, Rip enjoys a renewed life of idleness but now with unalloyed plea sure, and he brings new control to it as both the owner and the teller of a marvelous life story.

As Hawthorne told his editor James T. ” The Scarlet Letter reaches back to the original settlements of Puritans over sin and guilt. Though haunted by the Puritan past, The House of the Seven Gables is set in the authorial present. It explores immediate and still relevant social issues: control by the rich, greed, economic flux, dispossession, intransigence, and corruption fi ll its pages. The philosophical heft is also more insistent here. Someone dies in The Scarlet Letter. The House of the Seven Gables probes death itself and the import of it in generational scrambles for inherited wealth.

Robin moans. ” 40 alone in america he cries again. Long gone is the bold quester who walked into town with “as light a step” and “as eager an eye” as could be imagined. Robin laughs in such a distorted fashion out of the need to belong somewhere, and the easiest way to reconnect is to betray his kinsman and laugh with those who have laughed at him. It is telling that he adopts the cruelty of the mob without sharing any of its reasons. He laughs to cover his own loneliness and lack of inner resources.

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Alone in America: The Stories that Matter by Robert A. Ferguson


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