Literary Precedents for Philadelphia Fire

This Study Guide consists of approximately 7 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Philadelphia Fire.
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Philadelphia Fire has connections to other literature in sometimes surprising ways. Looming over the narrative is the image of Shakespeare, with whom Wideman has been compared. In this case the comparison is particularly apt because of the references in the novel to The Tempest. Wideman has the same ability to provide a panoramic view of life and to people his narrative with compelling characters.

In its strident look at racial relations, Philadelphia Fire has precedents in tracts by African Americans such as Eldridge Cleaver and Malcolm X. In the anger emanating from the novel and in its consideration of urban decay, an intriguing juxtaposition is Tunnel Vision (1994) by Sara Paretsky, whose angry heroine confronts homelessness, racism, and violence.

Wideman's unflinching look at the harsh realities of life echoes the naturalistic approaches of early American writers like Stephen Crane and Frank Norris. In Philadelphia Fire Wideman draws upon a...

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This section contains 159 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the Philadelphia Fire Short Guide
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Gale
Philadelphia Fire from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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