Continental Drift

Continental Drift: The Quest For the Lost American Dream

The American Dream, once a noble ideal of freedom and individualism, has been replaced by a ruthless game for money, at the expense of freedom and morality. In his novel Continental Drift, Russell Banks highlights the interplay of money and freedom in his characters' lives to highlight this substitution.

Banks starts the story of Bob's journey for freedom with a need for money. Money is seen as the central component for freedom here. Bob is a man who lives in a "working class-neighborhood" in a community where "...there's never enough money, the men and the women tend to feel angry towards one another much of the time, especially in the evenings when the work is done and the children are sleeping and nothing seems to be improved over yesterday"(5). Here, Banks reveals the circumstances surrounding his protagonist; an environment in which happiness and freedom are diminished by poverty. Upon experiencing his first epiphany, or what he calls a "nervous breakdown" Bob keeps referring to his family's need for money as "being dead." The idea that he actually doesn't want to be taken off his overtime at work so he can "handle the mortgage next month" is 'being...

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