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American Pastoral Essay | Critical Essay #1

This Study Guide consists of approximately 77 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of American Pastoral.
This section contains 1,717 words
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Critical Essay #1

Aubrey holds a Ph.D. in English and has published many articles on twentieth century literature. In this essay, he discusses how the character Swede Levov develops the view that life is chaotic and cannot be understood rationally.

American Pastoral, Philip Roth's long lament for an unobtainable pastoral ideal, ends with a scream, a laugh, and a question mark. Each in its own way is significant.

The scream is uttered at the dinner party by Lou Levov, who has been in the kitchen of Swede's home doing his clumsy and inadequate best to stop the drunken Jessie Orcutt from making a fool of herself. Upset at his condescension, she stabs him with a fork, aiming for his eye and missing only by an inch. In wounding the family patriarch, Jessie is symbolically stabbing at the entirety of the old order that is collapsing as a result of the...

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This section contains 1,717 words
(approx. 6 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our American Pastoral Study Guide
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American Pastoral from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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