Circus in the Attic Summary
Robert Penn Warren

Everything you need to understand or teach Circus in the Attic by Robert Penn Warren.

  • Circus in the Attic Summary & Study Guide

Circus in the Attic Summary

Warren's most obvious theme is Bolton Lovehart's struggle against the constricting force of his mother's love, and his inability to liberate himself from his attachment to his mother and Bardsville.

This theme is developed in a number of actions which demonstrate Bolton's futile rebellion.

First, there are Lovehart's youthful attempts to break away from home and the power of Mrs. Lovehart. As a twelve year old, he forgets about belonging to the Episcopal church, wanders into a Baptist revival and is baptized in the nearby creek water. But his mother immediately rejects his action. Later as a youth of sixteen, he makes his abortive attempt to run away and join the circus, only to be betrayed by the circus manager and returned to his father. We are told that the flight to the circus, unlike the baptism, was "carefully planned, not undertaken on impulse," but as a revolt...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

The Circus in the Attic Study Pack contains:

Circus in the Attic Short Guide

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