Eastern and Western Promises in Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom
AbstractThis essay examines Jonathan Franzen’s novel Freedom (2010) and explores the symbolic way in which this novel uses the urban and regional spaces/places of the United States. Franzen’s use of space/place is related to Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925), as well as to Franzen’s previous novels, his well-known Harper’s essay (1996), and other writings like “A Rooting Interest” (2012) or his memoir The Discomfort Zone (2007), where he scrutinizes his own position as a writer and his attitude towards nature. Franzen’s environmental concerns in the novel are also considered from the perspective of ecocriticism. The conclusion is that following Fitzgerald’s example, Franzen uses the East and West (and the urban locales of the inner city and the suburbs) as a backdrop to explore not only the meanings and interpretations of the word freedom (as has been repeatedly pointed out) but also the hopes and aspirations shared by the people of his country, the different dimensions and contradictions of the amalgam of promises and myths known as the American Dream. Keywords: Jonathan Franzen; Freedom; American Dream; space; place; F. Scott Fitzgerald; The Great Gatsby
The authors retain copyright of articles. They authorise AEDEAN to publish them in its journal Atlantis and to include them in the indexing and abstracting services, academic databases and repositories the journal participates in.
Under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0), for non-commercial (i.e., personal or academic) purposes only, users are free to share (i.e., copy and redistribute in any medium or format) and adapt (i.e., remix, transform and build upon) articles published in Atlantis, free of charge and without obtaining prior permission from the publisher or the author(s), as long as they give appropriate credit to the author, the journal (Atlantis) and the publisher (AEDEAN), provide the relevant URL link to the original publication and indicate if changes were made. Such attribution may be done in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the journal endorses the user or their use of the material published therein. Users who adapt (i.e., remix, transform or build upon the material) must distribute their contributions under the same licence as the original.
Self-archiving is also permitted, so that authors are allowed to deposit the published PDF version of their articles in academic and/or institutional repositories, without fee or embargo. Authors may also post their individual articles on their personal websites, again on condition that the original link to the online edition is provided.
Authors are expected to know and heed basic ground rules that preclude simultaneous submission and/or duplicate publication. Prospective contributors to Atlantis commit themselves to the following when they submit a manuscript:
- That no concurrent consideration of the same, or almost identical, work by any other journal and/or publisher is taking place.
- That the potential contribution has not appeared previously, in any form whatsoever, in another journal, electronic format or as a chapter/section of a book.
Seeking permission for the use of copyright material is the responsibility of the author.