Study Guide

Literary Precedents for We Were the Mulvaneys

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We Were the Mulvaneys connects to nineteenth and early twentieth century traditions of family novels and plays, though it lacks the emphasis on successive generations of family in works like John Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga (1922) and lacks the social satire of the tradition of Jane Austen. It relates more to the darker tradition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables (1851; see separate entry) and Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms (1925), particularly in Judd's focus on revenge and questions of justice.

With its revenge theme and the hope it offers despite that theme, the novel fits in the tradition of classical tragedies—for example, of Oedipus Rex and Hamlet. Michael's slow descent into alcoholism—the fall of a good man who loves but cannot sustain his family—recalls F. Scott Fitzgerald's portrait of Dick Diver in Tender Is the Night (1934; see separate entry).

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This section contains 143 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the We Were the Mulvaneys Study Guide
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