The Man with the Golden Arm Summary
Nelson Algren

Everything you need to understand or teach The Man with the Golden Arm by Nelson Algren.

  • The Man with the Golden Arm Summary & Study Guide

The Man with the Golden Arm Summary

Besides the social issues which arise from environment and the socioeconomic system, Algren pursues other more universal themes. Perhaps the most apparent is that of interconnectedness and interdependence. Cops and criminals are brothers — the same types, with a mutual understanding which unites them eternally against the "squares" who inhabit a world removed from elemental existence. Everyone "had been twisted about a bit" the narrator observes, so that the perversion or predilection of each finds its complement in the other — cop and criminal, man and women, con and mark, pusher and junkie.

Because of this interconnectedness, people become dependent upon one another, a situation which has both positive and negative aspects. While the intimacy achieved by these relationships belies the cold isolation characteristic of urban life in general, it also results in an archetypal victimabuser relationship, in which the abuser himself is a victim not only of...

(read more from the Short Guide)

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The Man with the Golden Arm Short Guide

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