American Pastoral Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 58 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of American Pastoral.
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Chaos

Roth may have been before his time in writing about chaos. The solid, upstanding life lived by Swede's parents dissolves into total chaos in Swede's life, almost like a chain reaction after Merry bombs the store. In the end, no matter how much effort goes into keeping things orderly and upright, chaos eventually overtakes everything. In other words, within the order lies the potential for chaos and vice versa. The harder Swede tries to be "normal", the more intense the chaos becomes. One bomb had the effect of disintegrating his marriage, his mental health, and his way of life. By the time he learns of the second bomb, everything he thought was true and solid has crumbled completely. One can assume that he would have lost his business, as well, if the story had continued. Even the most perfect rose eventually wilts, turns brown, dies, falls to pieces...

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This section contains 814 words
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Buy the American Pastoral Study Guide
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