Keep the Change Summary
Thomas McGuane

Everything you need to understand or teach Keep the Change by Thomas McGuane.

  • Keep the Change Summary & Study Guide

Keep the Change Summary

Those readers familiar with McGuane's work will recognize in Keep the Change his continuing indictment of the unreflective acquisitiveness of American society. That the father of protagonist Joe Starling keeps a brace of dogs named Neuritis and Neuralgia and horses called Hart, Schaffner, and Marx is one more instance of McGuane's ironic notation of the infection of all facets of American life by the corporate ethic. Yet McGuane's treatment of this theme is less explosive here than in his earlier novels; rather, it is a given, the necessary condition of contemporary life against which the individual struggles to establish a sense of more permanent value.

Emerging from the contrast between various kinds of lives enacted in suburban Minnesota, the Florida Keys, the Montana prairie, and elsewhere, is Starling's sense that what he is looking for, finally, is "home." Much of the novel therefore engages...

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