Jonathan Franzen's Freedom

1089 Words5 Pages
In exploring the ways Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom, qualifies as a social novel, it is clear that answer lies in his characterization of Patty, Walter, Richard, Joey, and Jessica. The social problems of depression and the complexity of human interaction are dramatized by these characters. Furthermore, each character individually either contributes or detracts from a sense of social responsibility. Patty Berglund is introduced as a devoted wife and mother and all around perfect person. She is described as, “a sunnier carrier of sociocultural pollen, an affable bee” (Franzen 5). However after the first chapter the audience begins to see the dark side of Patty who quickly becomes a character who is unlikeable and unsympathetic. Through her…show more content…
Saving the cerulean warbler through mountain top removal is a bad deal. It comes to a head during an off-the-script speech he gives at the opening of the body armor plant. He goes on about how now that the people of West Virginia can get a job they can move into the middle class and buy things that destroy the earth. Even though the reason they are all there is because the company bought their land to destroy the earth. At the end of his speech he declares, “WE ARE A CANCER ON THE PLANET! A CANCER ON THE PLANET” (Franzen…show more content…
Joey is presented as a selfish and independent character. He has no understanding of how his actions affect the people around him. The world basically revolves around him. Franzen writes, “Jenna excited him the way large sums of money did, the way the delicious abdication of social responsibility did, the way the embrace of excessive resource consumption did” (411). Joey is more like Richard than his own father, in the fact that he has no sense of social responsibility. In looking out for himself he alienates his family and causes suffering to the people around him. It isn’t until he reaches out for his father’s help that he is able to better

    More about Jonathan Franzen's Freedom

      Open Document