Humboldt's Gift Setting & Symbolism

This Study Guide consists of approximately 78 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Humboldt's Gift.
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Chicago

In a significant way, Humboldt's Gift is a travelogue of Chicago. Saul Bellow clearly loves this city he has chosen as Charlie's birthplace and childhood home. There are several Chicago-oriented themes in the book. There are many references to Chicago's little - and culturally challenged - relationship to New York and the rough-and-tumble environment in which the arts must struggle to bud, if not blossom, in the Windy City. Charlie, the central character, recalls many lyrical experiences, characters and incidents that occur in Chicago.

Chicago TB Sanatorium

As a child, Charlie contracts tuberculosis. Because his parents are not well off, he is confined to the public children's ward in the Chicago Sanatorium. Saul Bellow's rendition of this episode provides some of the most beautiful bittersweet imagery in a book full of beautiful imagery. Charlie's relationship with his parents during this time underscores the deep love of this...

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This section contains 815 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Humboldt's Gift Study Guide
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