The Way We Live Now Essay

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Madsen Hardy has a doctorate in English literature and is a freelance writer and editor. In the following essay, she addresses the question of why the story's characters are so hard to keep straight.

If you had trouble keeping track of the characters in "The Way We Live Now," consider yourself in good company. Reviewers at two prestigious publications confused the unnamed man at the story's center with one of the friends who gather around him. Barbara A. MacAdam of ARTnews refers to the AIDS patient as Stephen, who is, instead, one of his closer friends. Gardner McFall of the New York Times Book Review calls him Max, who is actually member of the circle of concerned friends who, late in the story, is himself diagnosed.

I point this out not to mar the reputations of two fine critics, but to call attention to an unusual and challenging...

(read more from the Critical Essay #1 section)

This section contains 1,694 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Way We Live Now Study Guide
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The Way We Live Now from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.