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The New World

In The Travel Habit, Steinbeck (2) by Snacks1 Comment

I enjoyed Jason Spangler’s We’re on a road to nowhere: Steinbeck, Kerouac, and the Legacy of The Great Depression about as much as I’ve enjoyed any reading this semester. The reading was insightful and provided a lens into how two of the seminal American literary masterpieces, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road are actually …

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Sacrifice by All for All

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by SnacksLeave a Comment

Steven Kurutz’s “The Depressing Food of the Depression, in ‘A Square Meal’ “ is a fascinating read, and one I had been looking forward to all semester. I don’t know if anyone else had this experience in the course, but whenever I visited our class website,, the link to the Kurutz piece was always the first article that popped …

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Relax to Stress

In The Travel Habit, Tourism during the Depression by Snacks2 Comments

Much of my high school arts education and college liberal arts education has consisted of developing techniques to read between the lines. How can one challenge the status quo, and furthermore, how can one challenge the boundaries of challenging status quo? How can one critique instead of criticize? As a result of this education, I am skeptical of every facet of …

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Interpreting Image

In The Travel Habit, Photo-Text books by Snacks1 Comment

What I appreciate most about pictures from the past is the room left to interpret them. Pictures today are cut, copied, and captioned. They’re even “geotagged” (the location of where the picture was taken is pinpointed). This week’s readings had the omnipresent theme of sympathy invoked. The people in these photographs are suffering. I took the liberty of interpreting the …

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In The Travel Habit, Steinbeck (1) by SnacksLeave a Comment

Wendy Brown’s Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution is a good read that I think coincides nicely with John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. In the book, Wendy Brown states that Human capital’s constant and ubiquitous aim is to entrepreneurialize its endeavors, appreciate its value, and increase its rating or ranking. In this, it mirrors the mandate for contemporary firms, …

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In The Travel Habit, Writers on the Road (2) by Snacks1 Comment

Early on in James Rorty’s Where Life Is Better, he writes in his diary “The country is too big. It is too big to report, and partly because it is too big to report, it is, possibly, too big to govern (10).” This sense of grand hopelessness encompasses the three readings of assignment number two. The problems of the US …

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All Is Well

In Writers on the Road (1), The Travel Habit by Snacks1 Comment

After diving (driving?) into Nelson Algren’s Somebody in Boots and Nathaniel West’s A Cool Million, there was actually something very comforting about going back to Nathan Asch’s The Road. The first two works I listed are heavy; the latter obviously satirically, the other more subtle in it’s satire. However, they involve stories of rape and teeth pulling and unsuccessful pregnancies …

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Whether It Is Worthwhile Or Not To Be A Fool

In The Travel Habit, West (2) by Snacks1 Comment

Jay Martin explains to us early in his paper entitled West’s Burlesque Comedy that “…Edmund Wilson spoke of the connection between vulgar buffoonery and ‘wistfulness and sadness’ in burlesque (7).” If you read my post from Monday, you know that this verbalizes how I felt about A Cool Million (although the quote here is in regards to burlesque). Even in the moments …

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Meaningless America

In The Travel Habit, West (1) by SnacksLeave a Comment

I found Nathaniel West’s A Cool Million to be the most difficult reading we’ve had this semester. Sure, it is outrageous, and at turns, morbidly funny, but mostly, it made me sad. The American experiment is depicted as meaningless. Expectation pervades the whole book. From the moment the onomatopoeically challenged family lawyer Mr. Slemp graciously comes into the house only …

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Somebody in Dark Boots

In The Travel Habit, Travel Fiction by SnacksLeave a Comment

Nelson Algren’s Somebody in Boots is one of the more unique readings we have done this semester. The story is another narrative of life on the frontier of the depression, although this one is told through a morbidly comic lens that the other stories have not been told, and through a dire use of characterization. This is not to say …