Al Franken, Giant of the Senate Summary & Study Guide

Franken, Al
This Study Guide consists of approximately 51 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.
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Al Franken, Giant of the Senate Summary & Study Guide Description

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate 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 Topics for Discussion on Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Franken, Al.

The following version of this book was used to complete this guide: Franken, Al. Giant of the Senate. Hachette Book Group, 2017.

Forging a new genre of political nonfiction, Al Franken's Giant of the Senate combines aspects of a personal memoir, a modern political analysis, and a satirical, introspective look at the progression of Franken's political journey into one concise and easily digestible narrative. This narrative ultimately seeks to prove that the culmination of Franken's personal, professional, and political journeys has prepared him to navigate the uniquely tumultuous modern political climate since the 2016 presidential election. With a rotating blend of concrete policy ideas, heartfelt personal tales, and a mixture of topical and nonsensical humor, Franken and his text represent the cross-section between the seemingly different worlds of comedy and politics.

Franken gives a relatively brief recollection of his upbringing in suburban Minnesota and education at Harvard before jumping into the beginning of his life as a comedian. Franken's fifteen seasons with Saturday Night Live leave him with no shortage of memorable tales, like watching his best friend and stage partner Tom Davis control fake blood just off-screen for a Julia Child character played by Dan Ackroyd. The SNL years had their darker moments, as well, specifically with drug abuse and addiction. Franken's wife, Franni, and friend, Tom both struggled with addiction, leaving their marks on Franken as they fought their own demons. Most importantly, however. the show allowed him to learn and develop the finer skills of political satire, Franken's favorite subgenre of comedy. After leaving the show, Franken would try his hand writing satirical political nonfiction like Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot, ultimately creating a bridge between his fondness for political satire his eventual decision to run for Senate.

Franken's first senate race was a hard-fought battle against incumbent Norm Coleman, a race characterized by scandals and accusations, vicious attacks ads, and an eight-month-long recount process. Franken received a crash course in political etiquette when he finally made his way to the Senate, learning the hard way that the rules that dictate comedy and showbusiness are inappropriate on the national stage. As he recalls the various lessons learned during his early months in the Senate, he also begins to delve more heavily into his specific beliefs and proposals on various issues like health care, gun control, education, and climate change. Working on these issues requires bipartisan support, regardless of how impossible Franken finds some of his colleagues, specifically Ted Cruz. However, Franken's humor mixed with his ability to acknowledge what he does not know have allowed him to enjoy and even befriend his colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

Toward the end of the book, Franken seems to abandon his purpose of writing a memoir in favor of offering a scathing and honest analysis of the modern political situation. He does not hide his opinion of the sitting president, instead vowing to spend the coming months and years "protecting our children, our values, and our future from Donald Trump" (382). With this promise, Franken challenges the reader to look past the hectic present toward a better future, one in which partisan divisiveness is exchanged for commonsense policy solutions that give each American the opportunity to succeed. After all, Franken's affiliation with his party lies in the sacred principle that "Democrats aren't just the party of equality for all - we're the party of opportunity for all" (9). In order to secure this shared opportunity for generations to come, Franken sees it as imperative to resist Trump and work toward a better future.

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