American Son Novel + Essay

American Son Novel + Essay-44
Their father doesn’t do much to support them, and Ika is feeling overwhelmed.

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This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of (2001), a novel by Brian Ascalon Roley, follows two Filipino brothers who try to make a life in California but end up caught in gang life.

It received a nomination for the 2001 Kiriyama Prize for Fiction and was both a Notable Book. He is currently an associate professor of English at Miami University in Ohio.

Roley’s work is widely taught in classrooms across the U. The story follows two brothers; the younger, Gabe, is the narrator. He hopes to stay clear of gangs, crime, and violence in California.

His mother, Ika, struggles to look after her sons because she’s stuck in low-paying jobs with no other prospects.

“Consider how the titles of tyrants change,” the historian William Frederick Kohler once wrote. The critic Robert Kelly wrote in The Times Book Review: “It will be years before we know what to make of it.”Kelly was more right than he realized.

“We shall suffer no more Emperors, Kings, Czars, Shahs or Caesars, to lop off our limbs and burn our homes, kiddo, defile our women and bugger our boys; the masses make such appointments now; the masses love tyranny; they demand it; they dance to it; they feel that their hand is forming the First Citizen’s Fist; so we shall murder more modestly in future: beneath the banners of ‘Il Duce,’ ‘Der Führer,’ the General Secretary or the Party Chairman, the C. When Gass’s book was published, in 1995, the cycle of history had revolved to a point more or less directly opposed to the moment in which it was conceived.

We shall be the ones with the handshakes like the Shriners, the symbols, the slogans as if we were selling something, the shirts, the salutes and the flags.” By definition, its constituents feel disenfranchised by life, so they need powerful collaborators: “If we were to recover a bit of pride, we might be able to make ourselves into harassing gangs.

So we shall make our pitch to the huddled elites, the ins who are on the outs.”The party will need to be circumspect about its intentions — Kohler proposes a secret hand signal that will allow its members to recognize one another — until a public figure arises to amplify its anger: “What a pool of energy awaits the right voice.” Kohler’s ideal tyrant is modeled on Hitler, but he also looks ahead to the demagogue of the future.

This theory of history reflects his own toxic envy, but the picture that emerges of Kohler himself is painfully real, and his humiliation over his own minor failures leads him to exhibit what Gass diagnosed as “a slightly hidden fascist mentality” common in the United States.

This is an immensely important theme, and Gass explores it relentlessly.


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