How Does Annie Proulx Represent a Negative Society in 'Postcards'?

How Does Annie Proulx Represent a Negative Society in 'Postcards'?

How far do you agree with the observation that Annie Proulx’s description of American Society in the second half of the 20th century is not wholly negative?

Whilst reading the novel, it is quite easy to say that Annie Proulx’s view of American society does not seem to be very positive. During the course of my answer, I will look into the reasons why and how.

The first sentence of the novel, “Even before he got up he knew he was on his way.”, and the first chapter, where Loyal is arguing with his family about moving away sets the mood and atmosphere for the rest of the novel. This first sentence could also represent something about American society at that time as whenever something went wrong, the first thing to do was just to run away and almost to try and forget about the bad happenings. In this case, it was when Loyal murdered Billy “in the midst of the involuntary orgasmic jerking”.

From the start of the novel and throughout, there is one strong, clear message that Proulx sends out to the reader, that all Americans’ are hard working with the belief of the American Dream that anything is possible through sheer hard work and determination. An example of the belief of the American Dream in the novel is in chapter 14, when Loyal explains, “I just want a little place I can work myself.” This quote summarises the American Dream as it shows a person wanting to work hard by themselves in order to better themselves. A similar novel to symbolise this during this period is “Of Mice and Men”, where there are 2 men working on farms to achieve their dream.

Proulx represents the hopes and despairs of the American dream to the reader throughout the novel; we are able to see the killing of Billy’s American Dream, as we are told she was “always yapping about moving away, getting out, making a new start”. She always wanted to do this in order to achieve her dream of being famous, although this American Dream was literally killed. However, we see glimours of hope of...

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