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Agee’s Poetic Social Documentary

In The Travel Habit, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by EsabelleYC1 Comment

Coupled with American photographer Walker Evans, James Agee traveled the Alabama clay highways. In “Let us now praise famous men,” they illustrate the life of the Southern tenant sharecroppers during the Great Depression. The book was initially planned as an article for the Fortune magazine about poor white cotton farmers in the American South. But after months in the South, …

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Dramatic Effect

In The Travel Habit, Photo-Text books by EsabelleYC1 Comment

Dorothea Lange was an American documentary photojournalist. Her photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression. Lange was unarguably well-off with the profession of taking portrait photos for the rich, but she later devoted her entire career to traveling around the country and recording the real poverty-stricken society by taking portraits for migrant workers. I was incredibly impressed by the …

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Voyage through time, through life

In The Travel Habit, Tourism during the Depression by EsabelleYC1 Comment

Double-crossing America is a storybook written by Roland Wild; he uses an English writer in the first voice to describe the challenges faced by a group of people as they venture outside America. However, Double-crossing America derives its epic scope from how the antagonist in the story and other characters such as Bill and Susan manages to overcome challenges as …

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(extra) Transformations – Other Characters

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

Another character very similar to Ma Joad is her daughter, Rose of Sharon. She went through an obvious transformation from a “hoyden” to a woman. (Sparknotes) In the early chapters she is very spirited and well welcoming, and yet as the journey progresses she becomes more and more secretive. The author for multiple times tries to depict her inexplicable smile. She …

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In The Travel Habit, Steinbeck (2) by EsabelleYCLeave a Comment

Besides the maturing and transformation of individual characters, there is an overarching theme of the unifying of men that supports, and at the same time is supported by, the transience of each main character. In the first half of the book, the author uses the mouthpieces of the people the Joads meet along the way to build up his portrayal …

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In The Travel Habit, Steinbeck (1) by EsabelleYC1 Comment

The Grapes of Wrath is a realistic novel by John Steinbeck in 1939. It’s a Great Depression-era story focusing on the Joads, a poor farmers family driven away from their Oklahoma home by drought and economic crisis that leave the area with no job, setting out for California. En route they meet various other travelers and immigrants (“Okies”). And in …

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“Great” “America”

In The Travel Habit, West (2) by EsabelleYCLeave a Comment

America as a “Proper Receptacle”: Nathanael West’s A Cool Million: or, the Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin by Naomi Kubo Naomi Kubo writes in her review “Nathanael West’s A Cool Million: or, the Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin” that “this novel describes not only the nightmarish outcome of the unfulfilled American Dream but also the chaotic political situation in 1930s America, including …

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From Rags to ?

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

Lemuel Pitkin is our young hero in “A Cool Million”, a hopelessly hopeful pursuer of the American Dream. This young boy leaves home for the big city in the hope of making a fortune and save his family. Like every other dream chaser, our little hero here also sets out on the advice of some admired elders, and always trusts …

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“Cauliflower-Eared by the Brutal Truth”

In The Travel Habit, Travel Fiction by EsabelleYC1 Comment

“Sister of the Road” is the “autobiography” of Boxcar, or say, one Bertha Thompson. Her life story was told to and recorded by Dr. Ben Reitman. But of course, readers shall know that this “autobiography” is in fact a fiction written by Ben Reitman. This vivid autobiography recounts a rugged woman’s hard-living saga during the Great Depression, filled with misadventures …

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Dead End

In The Travel Habit, Kromer by EsabelleYC1 Comment

Tom Kromer’s, “Waiting for Nothing,” was an intense story of people facing the roughest times of their lives throughout the depression-era. Reading the book, I can’t help but feel disturbed by the intensity and darkness that fuel the writing. Kromer did a great job depicting the searing realism life on the bum of the working-class people who are locked in …