• Jack Conroys The Disinherited The Awakening Of A Socio Political Missionary

Jack Conroys The Disinherited The Awakening Of A Socio Political Missionary

Jack Conroys The Disinherited The Awakening Of A Socio Political Missionary

( from 245 reviews )
  • Author
    Sabine Rohrhofer
  • Publisher
    Grin Verlag
  • Publication date
    05 June 2002

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Book Detail

  • Book Title

    Jack Conroys The Disinherited The Awakening Of A Socio Political Missionary

  • Author

    Sabine Rohrhofer

  • Date Published

    05 June 2002

  • Publisher

    Grin Verlag

  • Pages

    33 pages

  • ISBN

    9783638129114

Book Description

Seminar paper from the year 2002 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: Good (2-B), University of Vienna (Institute for Anglistics/ American Studies), language: English, abstract: There are many ways to read Jack Conroy’s The Disinherited. Ever since it was published the first time in 1933, critics and friends of the author differed in their receptions and assessments of the novel. To some contemporary critics, for instance Gold, Farrell and Hicks, The Disinherited conveyed too few communist ideas and did not satisfactorily “recommend militancy as a general solution for the workers’ problems.” The communist party indeed is not explicitly present in the novel; to Conroy, Marxist politics did not play a crucial role in proletarian literature. Yet on the whole, the left-wing critics praised the book. After its immediate success, the impact of the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in the 1950s silenced the radical thinker Conroy, who had thenceforth difficulties in finding a publisher. Finally, since 1963, when “Daniel Aaron exhumed” the novel, Conroy’s literary writing has been gradually rediscovered and the author has been rehabilitated to some extent. Since any attempts to discover the author’s original intentions remain inevitably vague and speculative, this paper will not try to find out the true interpretation of The Disinherited. I will rather focus on an alternative reading which is possible to the present-day reader, who deciphers the novel approximately 70 years after its first publication and in different socio-political circumstances. In Walsh’s opinion, the novel “never rises to the level of a work of art in which each element is subordinated to a single unifying purpose.” Yet, I claim that there is a priority aim: My suggestion is to interpret the narrator’s development as the awakening of a missionary who is not interested in a particular religion, but rather stands up for socio-political amendments in favour of the working class. In some respects, the reader may even draw parallels between Larry Donovan and Jesus Christ: both had a strong mother and a very “influential” father; both moved around a great deal, both sided with the underprivileged and tried to help them, and both were spokesmen of the lower-classes, for whose interests they eventually sacrificed themselves.

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