Dhalgren Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Dhalgren.
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Dhalgren Summary & Study Guide Description

Dhalgren 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 and a Free Quiz on Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany.

The man and woman meet in a cave. She considers him to be very worldly and educated since he has traveled so much. When she asks what he would like to change in the world, he says nothing. He wants to go to Bellona. She tells him that he doesn't know who he is and that he has to be older than twenty seven if he was born in 1948. After they make love they leave the cave. She tells him to go away, so he turns and runs.

Dahlgren, by Samuel R. Delany, is billed as a city book and science fiction novel. The city of Bellona is located somewhere in the middle of the United States. It was a city of two million people until something happened. As a result, there were riots and fires and most of the population fled. The remaining one thousand people live in a lawless and anarchic society under a grey clouded sky in air that is thick with smoke. There are frequent fires and mysterious lights in the sky. One night there is both a full moon and a crescent moon.

The lack of government attracts a variety of flower children and other people to Bellona. These are people who basically have no long terms goals in life and wander around living for the moment. The only kind of enforcement in the city is a criminal gang called the scorpions. People take what they want from deserted stores and houses and live in whatever deserted houses they want to live in.

This is the city that a young man with no memory of his name arrives in. Before he enters the city, he is given an orchid, which is a weapon that he wears on his wrist. He meets a man named Tak and learns about a group of people that live in a park commune. The man with no memory of his name is given the name of Kidd and the novel basically follows his explorations and activities in the city.

Kidd finds a spiral notebook in the park and always carries it with him, writing in it whenever he feels like it. Eventually his book of poems, called Black Orchids, is published in Bellona. Like almost everything else in Bellona, it is available free of charge to anyone who wants it. By this time he is a member of the scorpions and is living with them. He continues his writing with the help of Lanya.

Dahlgren is a book that is described as the groundbreaking piece of American marginal realism. The novel is lengthy and would be of interest to people who like to read science fiction.

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