Rich Man, Poor Man Social Sensitivity

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Chronologically, Rich Man, Poor Man follows The Young Lions (1948): its action begins in the last days of World War II. It tells how one American family, the Jordaches, are affected by the sexual, social, and economic changes in postwar America. Shaw approaches the story with many of the radical leftist sympathies that marked his plays and short stories in the 1930s and 1940s.

The novel is a unique blending of proletarian consciousness with the conventional saga tracing the rise of a family over several generations. Shaw's proletarian sympathy is summed up by one character's rule-of-thumb: "Never trust the rich." This wisdom is proved again and again in the plot. Yet the novel plainly shows how wise the Jordache children are to pursue material wealth.

Shaw's anti-capitalism is tempered by his awareness of capitalism's benefits.

Unlike other proletarian writers of the 1930s, Shaw cares little for social...

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This section contains 199 words
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Buy the Rich Man, Poor Man Study Guide
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