Outline: Short Paper 1

Taking modern American cultural themes and values in the 2016 context, to what extent are McTeague and The Junge representative of modern America?

Background: In class we discussed the ways in which we felt The Jungle may be an outdated portrayal of American consumerism/culture. However, McTeague and The Jungle are such broad strokes of American history and the themes and motifs of those times, I find we can interpret them as deeply relevant in the modern American context.

Thesis: In McTeague greed and a constant quest for more leads to the undoing of each character. In The Jungle, consumerism, individuality, and ultimately a loss of faith in institutions are prevalent. I assert that these main themes as articulated in each work are reminiscent of news headlines of the past year in both tone and content.

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