An American Dream Irony

An American Dream Irony

Irony of the Supernatural

It is strange for a novel shelved in the crime-thriller genre to have so many elements of the supernatural juxtaposed into the narrative. There are characters with the psychic ability to read minds and predict future events and there is an anti-hero whose propensity for violence is heavily influenced by the phases of the moon.

Irony of Stephen Rojack’s Narration

Stephen Rojack is an unreliable narrator as there is much evidence in the novel’s narrative to support that he has gone insane—criminally insane—and as such anything that he says is highly suspect. He shows no remorse for the crimes he commits and he goes as far as to blame things like the moon for his acts of violence. Later on in the novel he begins to show even more signs of mental instability mentioning odd details like psychic abilities are real and that they can influence the mundane events. The greatest irony however is this: even if Rojack wasn’t psychologically unstable, the fact that he is capable of lying with such great ease and with such conviction as a politician automatically makes his narration very questionable.

Irony of Stephen Rojack “Heroes Journey”

An American Dream is a dark, twisted heroes journey. Rojack starts off as the all American success story, then he descends into decadence and becomes a monster. The irony is this: based on the narrative, he seems to find more fulfillment in being a fugitive, very possibly enjoying the thrill of creating ways of evading arrest. Moreover, as he indulges more and more in violence the narrative points at one thing: Rojack enjoys being a beast and takes great delight in having escaped the law more than any of his achievements as a “respectable citizen” ever did.

Irony of the achieving the “American Dream”

The novel is a satire and to a certain degree a social commentary of the dearly beloved idea of the “American Dream.” The character Stephen Rojack is the quintessential example of what the “American Dream” ought to be: he has defeated personal poverty, served with distinction in the military, and eventually becomes a highly respected government official in addition to becoming wealthy and famous. The irony here is that after Rojack achieves all that is supposed to make him feel accomplished and fulfilled; instead he becomes bored and ultimately frustrated.

Irony of Wealth

Rojack has an odd love-hate relationship with wealth. He has both an infatuation with is as most of his activities have thus far been geared at the generation and accumulation of money but when he walks through the hallways of a luxurious hotel, Rojack narrates being overcome by the "odor of the wealthy” which he then goes on to describe derisively as having the “whiff of the tomb.” He is a man of extreme contrasts; thrilled by the challenge of gathering wealth but at the same time he is repulsed by getting trapped by what comes with that wealth such as the sycophants and the parasitic people that are attracted by it. He also associates wealth with death as it also isolates a person as in the case of Kelly.

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