Writing Techniques in Alice Adams

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In The Show Piece (1947), one of Tarkington's posthumously published works, he explains what he means by an "investigatory novel." It is "intended to investigate human beings and if possible to reveal something about them." In Alice Adams he seems to have succeeded more than he himself realized. He regarded the book as secondary in importance to the Growth trilogy which he considered his most significant work up to that point. He frankly doubted that the story of such ordinary people would be of much interest to the public. Yet the book is the finest "investigatory novel" he would ever write. In it objectivity triumphed over both his optimism and his usual conformity to what he felt his readers wanted. Plot and character are both worked out with such control that even critics who had panned his other works had to admit that here he had written a masterpiece.

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This section contains 576 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Alice Adams Short Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
Alice Adams from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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