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Friday, November 19, 2010

Obligatory Final Word on Freedom

Call me clueless, but I wasn't aware of the huge Franzenoid rift in the literary world. I've just been schooled on the divide over Freedom spurred in part by "controversy" over Mr. Franzen's persona... out of the loop much? In any case, below I provide my official final word on the book as I listen to T.I.'s "All She Wrote" and Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow". Be advised, potential spoilers ahead:

In the workplace, intense relationship analysis and exposing little bits of a character's psychology while making a bigger statement is something I've delved into hard this year. This could be why the technicalities of Franzen weaving the Berglunds' moral crises and employment of free will with parallel political/environmental perspectives was maybe the most entertaining aspect of the journey for me. While some of the environmental stuff did get a little tedious for about 20 pages (20 out of 550ish isn't that bad now), I didn't mind the 9/11-Republican-Middle East detour Joey Berglund takes us onto. I told Bluebs it reminded me of a Forest Gump about all the stuff we talk about, namely happiness (an umbrella tree for other fun topics like settling, contentment, egoism, etc.), purpose and feeling overwhelmed by the combination of both.

Many of the reviews I read touched on Franzen's depiction of women as constantly holding down the men, psychologically crumbling with proclivities to inevitable depression. I didn't focus too much on the fact that the deeper melancholia was happening to the females. In fact, I thought it strongly supported the case he makes about the generational gap, on how depression and a sense of being overwhelmed with what lies ahead strikes my generation a lot sooner than it did to Patty's. I also thought it supported his explanation of that same generation's sense of entitlement and their being more easily prone to discontent. Connie's depression echoed Patty's in a way that leaves ample space for comparing and contrasting strictly on a generational level (although the social class and mother vs. son's partner aspects are fun, too). Similarly, many of the brotherly ties in the story mirror each other.

In that regard, the exploration of the archetypal bonds, for example between parents and children, was very symmetrical, organized a little too neatly but with intriguing intention (however, archetypes are inherently "symmetrical" or recurrent anyway, sooo... I'm not sure if that's saying much). In most other ways- the diversity of characters, chronology and pacing of events, plot- it's a page turner with a wealth of springboards for discussion, and a harmonious reflection of the individualistic and sociopolitical dilemmas that are the exact cruces in understanding America's multi-faceted identity as it faces the future. Bottom line, yes, I'd recommend this book.

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I'm an LA transplant now living in Brooklyn. I develop film projects by day, write at night, and have a dangerous predilection for vintage Robinson Golluber scarves- this blog serves as a tiny window to everything else I do when I'm not satisfying those first three passions. I'm trying to blog more and tweet less @annabelleqv. What about you?


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