Analysis of The thesis of The Age of Great Dreams by David Farber and American Pastoral by Philip Roth

Analysis of The thesis of The Age of Great Dreams by David Farber and American Pastoral by Philip Roth

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Part I: The 1960’s was a radical decade filled with political tensions, social strife, and overall cultural intrigue. The beginning of the decade allowed for the transition from President Eisenhower to President Kennedy, the youngest President to take office, and the first Roman Catholic. The move represented a shift from a Republican to Democratic administration in the Oval Office. Kennedy became a symbol for the young vibrancy of the American populous, as he was quickly accepted by the grand majority. After Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon B. Johnson took office, the nation was further engulfed in the war that would come to define America for years to come. The Republican Party regained office as Richard Nixon was elected in his second attempt to run as the decade came to a close. Activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcom X paved the way for the civil rights movement that swept the nation and captivated the spirit of not only black Americans, but white Americans as well. The race between the United States of America and The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for domination of space escalated as Kennedy pushed for a man on the moon by the close of the decade, achieved in 1969. The possibility of nuclear war became all too real in 1962 as the launch of nuclear missiles became an abundantly clear possibility. The drug culture emerged in the 1960’s in large part due to the newfound accessibility of illegal drugs, such as marijuana and Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, or LSD. American society was entrenched in the chaotic desire for new, improved highs. The profound ascent of the drug culture was truly realized when the 3-day music festival, Woodstock, took place in 1969, as “sex, drugs and rock n’ roll” symbolized America’s...


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...of Philip Roth’s novel, it would include the excessive use of overtly sexual language. Farber would make the case that the cultural revolution was not as based on sex as Roth wrote, rather more of a balance between drug use and sex. Furthermore, Farber would state that Roth tends to go off on tangents, straying from the subject at hand on multiple occasions, thus detracting from the story. On the other hand, Roth would criticize Farber’s book, in bringing up the case that Farber deviates from the topic at hand on multiple occasions as well. However, these critiques aren’t symmetrically reflective in that Roth strays directly away from the plot line, whereas Farber merely bounces around topics in order to connect the events of the decade. In general, it would be comprehensibly arduous for each author to review the other’s work due to the contrasting genres.


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