The Waterworks Writing Style & Techniques

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Doctorow's interest in narrative experimentation is evident again in The Waterworks. This time, however, the point of view is not a recollection of childhood as it was in Ragtime (1975), World's Fair (1985), and Billy Bathgate (1989), but a retrospective of adult experience by an old man. The motives of the narrator may therefore resemble the vanity of the men who seek immortality from the mad doctor, and the reader often wonders if the story is not being told from the limbo of the waterworks.

Doctorow's focus on a particular time and place in American history also demonstrates again his inclination and talent for historical fiction. Just as he used newspaper accounts for many details in Ragtime, Doctorow provides a very realistic setting for The Waterworks. By creating a narrator who is the editor of a newspaper, direct access is possible to the social and political life of the city. For...

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This section contains 425 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy The Waterworks Short Guide
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The Waterworks from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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