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How was it? Indescribable

In The Travel Habit, 6. Agee-Evans by Lucas AcostaLeave a Comment

In the preface, Agee makes a point to remind us of his task: to capture the life of the average white-tenant farmer family. He goes into much detail of the task at hand and how absurd it sounds. You can’t capture the life of the ‘average’ white-tenant farmer family—let alone any person’s life. For Agee and Walker it was insufficient—to …

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Agee’s Feudalism

In The Travel Habit, 6. Agee-Evans by Amy Greenspan1 Comment

According to Walker Evans, James Agee was an incredibly special man. He was, one might say, the ideal American man, especially during his time: he was not wealthy, not poor, and in his humble presentation of himself gained the respect of the poor, yet his intelligent, “Elizabethan” way of speaking granted him the respect and the interest of the wealthy. …

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Don’t Talk on the Phone

In The Travel Habit, 6. Agee-Evans by Jack1 Comment

Given that the photographer of Let us now Praise Famous Men previously worked for the Farm Security Administration, it is interesting to see how this work functions as a result of private enterprise on behalf of Fortune Magazine.  In a way, the fact that Agee is reporting on behalf of Fortune Magazine gives him a bit of removal from having to give a final …

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The Downtrodden and their Ruthless Abandon; “Human Crop” and their “Undiscernible Truth”

In The Travel Habit, 6. Agee-Evans by Andrew KarpanLeave a Comment

The most elegant contrast in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men occurs in the chasm of emotional space between Walker Evans’ photography and the sheer rigorous tone constantly evoked in the contours of James Agee’s harsh prose line; the book’s form plays this for camp, but of course it figures itself into a greater metaphor of mediums at play, the …

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Breaking down of families

In The Travel Habit, 6. Agee-Evans by Frank Cheng1 Comment

I seemed a little strange to think of families when confronted with topics like the tenant workers. To me they seemed like these people who work at farms for a living, barely making enough to continue a life, and definitely did not have enough time or money to afford the family love. But Agee proved me wrong. He chose the …

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(Nearly) Dying to Continue Living

In The Travel Habit, 6. Agee-Evans by Jason Gabaee2 Comments

Take farming, an industry already governed by factors it cannot control like extreme weather, drought, and scarcity. It’s already filled with booms and busts, and has some risk involved in it that a farmer simply cannot control. Now, take farming during the depression; the possible ramifications for these uncontrollable problems are magnified and life is not easy. James Agee’s Let …

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The Depression shouldn’t always be depressing

In The Travel Habit, 6. Agee-Evans by Alessandro HarabinLeave a Comment

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a vital work in understanding how families in rural America were affected by the now infamous Dust Bowl of the Great Depression. One of the recurring themes we’ve explored already is the notion of duplicity. James Agee similar to Lauren Gilfillan agonized over his role as a spy in this impoverished community. Although …

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Beautifying Gloom

In The Travel Habit, 6. Agee-Evans by Laura CasadoLeave a Comment

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is a darkly beautiful work written by James Agee, with accompanying photographs by Walker Evans. Stylistically, it exists on a much higher plane than the earlier readings. While Tom Kromer’s Waiting for Nothing was semantically comparable to Hemingway, Agee’s excerpts more so resemble the work of Dickens and, very strongly, Hugo. He is heavily …

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A Family, or An Assembly Line? 

In The Travel Habit, 6. Agee-Evans by Jessie Cao1 Comment

In Let’s Now Praise Famous Men, James Agge explores the effect of the labor/work on tenant farmers’ families. His description shows that farming labor becomes an essential part of a family, and almost is the purpose for which a family exists for. “The family exists for work. It exists to keep itself alive. It is a cooperative economic unit. The …

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The Magic in Monotony

In The Travel Habit, 6. Agee-Evans by Net SupatravanijLeave a Comment

“The immediate instruments are two: the motionless camera, and the printed word” (xiv) This quote, I found, was much like that of the relationship between Agee and Evans. The work produced by their symbiotic and seemingly complimentary relationship is evident in the way they talk about each other’s work. One component that they both agree to be essential to their …