‘Augie March’ Marks Bellow’s Democratic Ideals
Writer Saul Bellow, who died last week at the age of 89, was hailed by many modern writers and literary critics as one of the greatest postwar American novelists. His novels indeed are uniquely democratic; they deal with the richness and variety of American society as experienced by immigrants, businessmen, crooks, heiresses and anybody who is trying to make it in a big, thriving metropolis. His characters are always looking for the next big break or the next adventure that comes along; they have a yearning to experience the grandeur and hope of American life.
Nowhere is this theme more evident than in Bellow’s ‘The Adventures of Augie March,’ a big sprawl of a book that was first published in 1949 but remains relevant today for its colorful characters, grand scale and humanity. ‘Augie March’ is the life story of a poor boy who grows up during the Great Depression and tries to make his way. Here is its famous opening sentence:
‘I am an American, Chicago-born