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Introduction & Overview of The Way We Live Now by Susan Sontag

This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Way We Live Now.
This section contains 253 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
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The Way We Live Now Summary & Study Guide Description

The Way We Live Now Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on The Way We Live Now by Susan Sontag.

Introduction

Susan Sontag's "The Way We Live Now" first appeared in the New Yorker in 1986. Narrated almost exclusively through dialogue, it tells of an unnamed man's struggle with the AIDS through the reactions of his large circle of friends.

Sontag began writing the story on the night she learned that a close friend had been diagnosed with AIDS. Very upset and unable to sleep, she took a bath; it was there that the story began to take shape. "It was given to me, ready to be born. I got out of the bathtub and started to write very quickly standing up. I wrote the story very quickly, in two days, drawing on experiences of my own cancer and a friend's stroke," she told Kenny Fries of the San Francisco Bay Times.

Selected for the collection The Best American Short Stories of 1987 and also included in The Best American Short Stories of the Eighties, "The Way We Live Now" was written at the time that the impact of the AIDS epidemic was felt throughout America and the rest of the world. As such, critics maintain that it truly represents the spirit of its time. The characters reflect on the sudden omnipresence of death in their community and dissect their own changing attitudes about morality and mortality.

"The Way We Live Now" is also viewed as a dramatic rendering of some of Sontag's most important ideas about attitudes about sickness, as discussed in her infamous essays Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors.

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This section contains 253 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Purchase our The Way We Live Now Study Guide
Copyrights
The Way We Live Now from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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