U.S.A. Essay

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Rather than satire—or rather including the satire and including also his naturalism—Dos Passos' method in U.S.A. is that of tragedy, a method based on an ironic attitude toward the past. U.S.A. is a great agglomerate tragic history. The protagonist, obviously enough, is the real U.S.A. in the first third of the twentieth century. Its tragic characters are the real subjects of the biographies: Debs, Luther Burbank, Bill Haywood, Bryan, Minor Keith, Carnegie, Edison, Steinmetz, La Follette, Jack Reed, Randolph Bourne, T. R., Paxton Hibben, Woodrow Wilson, and the rest. Merely to read their names is to sense the tragedy of their era: so much talent, ambition, love—all frustrated or misdirected or drained away into war, profits prohibitions, intolerances, and oppressions.

In the background of the novel, democractic individualism and reliance on the future (pursuit of happiness) are the characteristics...

(read more from the Critical Essay #5 section)

This section contains 1,032 words
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U.S.A. from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.