4 3 2 1: A Novel Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 61 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of 4 3 2 1.
This section contains 760 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the 4 3 2 1: A Novel Study Guide

4 3 2 1: A Novel Summary & Study Guide Description

4 3 2 1: A Novel Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on 4 3 2 1: A Novel by Paul Auster.

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Auster, Paul. 4 3 2 1. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2017.

The novel opens with the protagonist’s paternal grandfather, a Jewish man from Belarus who immigrates to the United States in the early 1900s. He is eventually killed in a robbery while working as a night watchman. His sons, Stanley, Lew, and Arnold Ferguson open a furniture-appliance store in New Jersey. Stanley marries a photographer’s assistant named Rose Adler, and in 1947, they have a son whom they name Archibald Isaac Ferguson. The narration simply refers to Archibald, the protagonist, as Ferguson. The narrative then begins three alternate timelines of Ferguson’s life. In the first one, his parents live in an apartment in Newark, New Jersey. The brothers’ business fails after Arnold perpetrates a large-scale theft. In the second, his parents live in a house in West Orange, New Jersey. In the third, his parents live in a house in Montclair, New Jersey. Lew attempts to commit an insurance scam by burning down the business, and Stanley is accidentally killed. In the fourth, they live in a large house in Maplewood, New Jersey. Stanley runs the business by himself and is wealthy and successful.

In timeline number one, when Ferguson is a teenager, he begins dating Amy Schnedierman, the granddaughter of Rose’s former employer. In timeline number two, Ferguson produces his own newspaper to distribute at school, but he ceases after being bullied. He dies at the age of 13 when a large tree branch falls on him during a storm. In the third timeline, Ferguson and his mother move to New York City after Stanley’s death. Ferguson attends a private school, and Rose becomes a professional photographer. Rose eventually marries Gil Schneiderman, the uncle of Amy Schneiderman. Ferguson and Amy develop a romantic relationship. In timeline number four, Ferguson becomes interested in writing fiction, and he writes his first fiction story.

In timeline number one, Ferguson and Amy continue to date, and after Ferguson loses two fingers in a car accident, Amy comforts and consoles him. In timeline number three, Amy breaks up with Ferguson. Ferguson is seduced one day by an older boy, and they have a brief sexual relationship. In timeline number four, Ferguson’s parents divorce, and his father makes sure that his mother receives no money in the divorce. Ferguson resolves to cut all ties with his father.

In timeline number one, Ferguson works for a local newspaper during his last year of high school, and he enjoys the work. When he begins attending Columbia University, he joins the student newspaper. In timeline number three, Ferguson begins to pay for sex at a brothel, and he steals and sells books to fund his visits. He is arrested but is given no jail time. He decides to forego college and instead to live in Paris and be tutored by Vivian Schreiber a family friend who lives there. In timeline number four, Ferguson’s mother marries Amy Schneiderman’s father, making Ferguson and Amy stepsiblings. Ferguson continues to read and write fiction. He applies for a special scholarship to Princeton University and is awarded the scholarship.

In timeline number one, political tensions grow between the students and the administration at Columbia University and the administration. Ferguson covers the political occurrences for the student newspaper. In timeline number three, Ferguson writes a memoir and sends it to agents and publishers for consideration. In timeline number four, Ferguson begins attending Princeton University, and he enjoys it very much.

In timeline number one, Amy is accepted to law school, and she ends her relationship with Ferguson. Political tensions continue to grow on the Columbia University campus. In timeline number three, Ferguson’s memoir is accepted for publication, and he begins dating a man in Paris named Albert Dufresne. Shortly before his memoir is released for sale, he is accidentally hit by a car and killed. In timeline number four, Ferguson is involved in a bar fight after standing up for a black friend of his against racist bar patrons. Ferguson is acquitted of assault but is stripped of his scholarship.

In timeline number one, Ferguson leaves Columbia University to work at a newspaper in Rochester, New York. He falls in love with a young local woman, but a few months later, he dies in an accidental apartment fire. In timeline number four, Ferguson transfers to Brooklyn College. He continues to write fiction, and the narrative reveals that this Ferguson wrote the novel itself.

Read more from the Study Guide

This section contains 760 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the 4 3 2 1: A Novel Study Guide
Copyrights
BookRags
4 3 2 1: A Novel from BookRags. (c)2018 BookRags, Inc. All rights reserved.
Follow Us on Facebook