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The Ask Themes & Motifs

Sam Lipsyte
This Study Guide consists of approximately 40 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Ask.
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Success and Failure

The novel pays close attention to ideas of success and failure in a modern context, and the narrative specifically explores how personal investment in such standards can be destructive to one’s sense of self-worth and overall outlook. Firstly, one of Milo’s most prominent character traits is his sense of failure regarding his own personal ambitions. The novel thusly explores how personal ambitions based on external contexts can be damaging if such ambitions are not fulfilled. As a youth, Milo aspired to be a successful painter, but as he approaches the age of 40, he finds himself making a living in an unfulfilling job that is unrelated to painting. Milo looks back on his ambitions with a mixture of regret and disappointment. He half-sardonically states in narration that he had aspired to be “painting’s savior, back in a decade that truly needed one...

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This section contains 2,411 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Ask Study Guide
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