The Adventures of Augie March

Universal Motivations in the Early Works of Saul Bellow 10th Grade

Fundamental human similarities in motivation are at the core of the works of novelist Saul Bellow. Bellow was a Chicago born Jewish author, and as such his protagonists are often of a similar demographic, young Jewish men in Chicago. Despite Bellow’s uniformity of protagonists, his minor characters fit into a much wider demographic. In The Adventures of Augie March, the bildungsroman narrative follows young Augie as he ventures from Chicago to Mexico and beyond, encountering a cast of diverse characters. In Dangling Man, the protagonist Joseph is a Canadian born man living in Chicago, having quit his job to wait for the draft and enter World War II. The novel chronicles his experiences with his wife, the members of his apartment building, and his wealthy brother, Amos. Bellow’s uniform protagonists have a similar basic experience due to their shared demographic, but their experiences and views are also shaped by the variety of characters they encounter, who represent a wide range of social, political, and economic segments. Saul Bellow uses juxtaposition between socially and economically stratified characters to expose that all people have motivations universal to humanity.

In his books, Bellow often uses feelings of pride to...

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