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Ignorance is Bliss

In The Travel Habit, 9. A Cool Million by Lucas Acosta1 Comment

A Cool Million is the story of an adventurer, Lem Pitkin, which is told with a tone that mocks the severity of its content. The story is set in an immoral world where misfortune follows Lem, our ‘hero’, and coincidentally all others from Ottsville. His series of unfortunate events derives from a combination of ignorance and naivety. Lem’s adventure to …

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Candidely Cool

In The Travel Habit, 9. A Cool Million by Alessandro HarabinLeave a Comment

Finally we see an outlook on the Depression that isn’t so depressing! This is not to say that Nathanael West’s A Cool Million isn’t a scathing satire on the foolishly optimistic minds of other Depression authors. I just think that finally we see someone cope with the Depression in a way that isn’t giving in to total despair. Dealing with …

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And Loving It

In The Travel Habit, 9. A Cool Million by Laura Casado1 Comment

A Cool Million, or the Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin, by Nathanael West, is a satire of the typical, happy-go-lucky depiction of America. The typical novel of the time, depicting a noble journey toward the American dream, contains hardships and tribulations only fleetingly, all of which are overcome by the hero who triumphantly maintains his moral gumption in a world of …

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Dignity, what’s it for?

In The Travel Habit, 9. A Cool Million by Jack1 Comment

Although A Cool Million was initially disregarded for being a direct parody of the “Horatio  Alger myth”, the novel does resonate as a sharp political commentary.  Horatio Alger’s work is known for it’s rags to riches tales, but one of the key parts of Alger’s work is that economic gain is useless unless accompanied by middle-class normative respect.  Lemuel Pitkin …

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The America — An Empty Ideology Forced Upon Americans

In The Travel Habit, 9. A Cool Million by Jessie Cao1 Comment

Throughout A cool Million — The Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin, Nathanael West explores the relationship between confused American individuals during the Great Depression and the gradually shown empty ideology of what is to be “America”. In this post, I will show first that the empty ideology has killed our native Lemuel in the novel. Then I will explore why this …

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An Optimist, An American

In The Travel Habit, 9. A Cool Million by Zoe Hall1 Comment

I would consider myself an optimist. My confidence in Lem Pitkin finding his ‘cool million’ did not waver until perhaps the last ten pages of the e-book. Some might call that an admirable quality, but I think I just lack critical thinking skills from time to time. Nathan West’s A Cool Million seemed to excellently create a satire of the …

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No Room for the Innocent!

In The Travel Habit, 9. A Cool Million by Aroushi1 Comment

As I started reading “A Cool Million”, I didn’t get too far before I was drawn to the overarching theme of Capitalist America and the greed that plagues the average person as a result. At the onset of the story, our hero “Lem” is made to understand the widespread truth: “If you can’t make money in New York, you can’t …

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A Heroic Effort

In The Travel Habit, 9. A Cool Million by Net Supatravanij1 Comment

Without having to read that much into the novel, it is already blatantly obvious that West takes a jab the American dream as well as the man who believes in it. The fact that he calls Lem ‘our hero’ throughout the story already says many a thing about the political statement West intends to encapsulate. A hero is someone who …

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Nathanael West in America

In 9. A Cool Million by Andrew Karpan1 Comment

The American experience as capitalism, capitalism as a fundamentally uncanny place to do business: “Lem’s job was a sinecure. He had merely to enact the same scene over one morning a week” (183). Like a fine number of the texts we’ve read so far, A Cool Million contrives to take us on a journey through certain segments of the US …