Essay on "Generation X" Literature Review

Essay on "Generation X" Literature Review

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Douglas Coupland’s Generation X is a novel in which young adults essentially tell each other stories of their life, and these stories tell the views of the generation as a whole. As one can imagine, because of all the storytelling, the use of literary devices is littered throughout the course of the novel. In the first half of the novel, we are given a good sense of who the main characters are through detailed character development of their past and their views. There have been three static characters established; Andy, Dag, and Claire. The novel is told from the first person point of view of Andy Palmer, the main protagonist.

The setting is established in Palm Springs, Florida, where the trio live together in a lowly bungalow. It has been established that the three have moved here in attempt to start a new life with a clean slate because they were all unhappy with their old lives. It is important that the setting is here because we get a sense of their lives and only their lives, for the most part. Obviously we become introduced to people in their past and the odd passer-by, but other than that, there really are no other characters developed in the novel as of yet. It’s almost like they are in a world where they can do what they want, free from others criticism.

So far, there really hasn’t been any real development of an antagonist although there have been a few established in the storytelling sessions. One being Martin, Dag’s boss when Dag lived in Toronto, and some people Dag worked with when he lived in Toronto, none of which have made a second appearance. If anything, it seems like the protagonists (Dag, Claire, and Andy) seem to believe they themselves are the protagonists in a world surroun...


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...amed Tobias, who seems to resemble an antagonist as Andy doesn’t seem to be fond of him, but he insists that he doesn’t hate him. To quote Andy’s thoughts of Tobias “He is like a passenger on a plane full of diseased people that crashes… and the survivors, not trusting each others organs, snack on their own arm.” (81). Andy and Dag are both envious of Tobias because of how good he looks, but they dislike his living style.

What these character developments appear to be doing is letting the reader establish who is a static character, and the author appears to have done a good job. I feel like I could personally get to know Dag, Claire, or Andy without very much of an introduction. This type of character development has whetted the reader’s appetite for further reading. You know what the characters are like, know you want to know what’s going to happen.

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