Carpenter's Gothic Summary
William Gaddis

Everything you need to understand or teach Carpenter's Gothic by William Gaddis.

  • Carpenter's Gothic Summary & Study Guide

Carpenter's Gothic Summary

The deteriorating social environment depicted in Carpenter's Gothic contributes significantly to one of its major themes. In such a world where nothing goes well, how can individuals find solace or meaning? The answer, in Carpenter's Gothic, is that they do not. One of the main characters, McCandless, reads his fate in a book (V. S. Naipaul's Mimic Men): "A man, I suppose, fights only when he hopes, when he has a vision of order . . . . But there was my vision of a disorder which it was beyond any one man to put right." McCandless's bleak vision has been seen as representing Gaddis's. References to the apocalypse and Armageddon toward the end of the novel indicate that there is nothing whatsoever that follows this meaningless earthly existence — and if that is the case, all the events of the novel are rendered insignificant.

One related theme would be that, in...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

The Carpenter's Gothic Study Pack contains:

Carpenter's Gothic Short Guide