The Washington Square Ensemble Summary
Madison Smartt Bell

Everything you need to understand or teach The Washington Square Ensemble by Madison Smartt Bell.

  • The Washington Square Ensemble Summary & Study Guide

The Washington Square Ensemble Summary

In The Washington Square Ensemble, his first novel, Bell creates an atmosphere of fate. The storytelling stone functions as an instrument to reveal the inner strengths and weaknesses of the characters and to direct the course of the action. When the Comanche insists that Porco has been chosen by the stone, this insignificant, washed-up horn player sets in motion a series of apparent coincidences that eventually break up the ensemble. After each section narrated by another character, Bell inserts a section devoted to Porco's thoughts and activities; and Porco's frequent references to the stone serve to emphasize its power. Moreover, the stone gains the respect of both Santa Barbara and Yusuf Ali, the two characters who retain strong spiritual values.

If the storytelling stone represents a supernatural force intent upon breaking up the ensemble, then the opposing force is the charisma of Johnny B. Goode. A careful planner...

(read more from the Short Guide)

Study Pack

The The Washington Square Ensemble Study Pack contains:

The Washington Square Ensemble Short Guide

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