Sinclair Lewis Writing Styles in Elmer Gantry

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Elmer Gantry is a picaresque novel. A typical picaresque narrative chronicles the exploits of a rogue, an immoral but not criminal character who lives by his wits. There is no character development, and so Elmer, after his character is first established, does not change during the course of the novel. The main purpose of the picaresque novel (a modern example of which is Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March), is satire. Satire ridicules its subject, with the intention of arousing contempt or scorn in the reader. A satire can be aimed at an individual or a group. In Elmer Gantry, the object of Lewis's satire is not only Elmer himself—who after the tabernacle fire ". . . rescued at least thirty people who had already rescued themselves. . . ."—but the entire clerical profession and the fundamentalist Protestant dogmas they represent. For example, the division between Northern and Southern Baptists is...

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This section contains 308 words
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Elmer Gantry from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.