Money is the driving force behind everything in modern day society. According to Ford, a character in Noah Hawley’s A Conspiracy of Tall Men, money is what keeps society together. “You know what keeps us from sliding back into barbarism? Money. That is the one constant.”(Hawley, 362) Linus, the main character in Hawley’s novel, does not want to be a part of this society because he is afraid of money and what it represents.
“Linus is afraid of money. Not the smaller bills, the Washington’s and Lincolns, the Jackson’s and Grants, but the larger sums, the cashiers checks with multiple zeros, the stock portfolios and escrow accounts, afraid too of what they buy, the new cars with their leather stink, the first class seats on airplanes, the cellular phones and fax modems.”(3)
Each cell phone conversation gives a glimpse into the role money plays in the society that Linus is afraid to be a part of. Specifically, how money affects a person’s assumptions, fixations, environment, success, control, and aspirations.
Money has the ability to make assumptions between people of different classes. Linus is a character who appears to lack the sophistication and refinement that his wife Claudia exhibits because of their different backgrounds. “He was twenty six, she twenty-five, and he was one year away from his doctorate in alternative American history, while she lived in the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco and drove an Audi.”(36) During a flashback where Linus remembers his first date with Claudia at the Museum of Modern Art, Linus is portrayed as somebody who does not really fit in with the profile of a typical museum patron. “She talked about lines and space and he noted how no one was willing to step right up to the...
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...n the novel to enlighten the reader on the ways in which money affects society, specifically Linus’s. Linus is afraid of money because it breeds the people like those heard on the cell phone conversations. Money takes on its own personality, which becomes something greater and more important than life itself. Linus understands that, unlike you, money does not care about what happens to a person, yet the person cares about what happens to the money. “It doesn’t understand the struggle of people for freedom, for equality, for food. Your money will never care what happens to you, no matter how much you care what happens to your money.”(363) Linus is afraid of a society where money has the ability to affect many important aspects of a persons life, so in turn he avoids becoming what every other person becomes in a society where money is the ultimate pursuit: insatiable.
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