Tag: Class

The Big Picture: Social Solidarity

Like mom and apple pie, football brings Americans together. It enables spectators to participate in collective life loudly and (sometimes) proudly, despite competing team loyalties. Because such ...

The Big Picture: Unholy Alliances

Andrew Jackson had good reason to believe that his first presidential election, of 1824, had been rigged. He had won the popular vote but not an Electoral College majority. Jackson was hated by elite ...

The Constitution: When Less Is More

If music is the space between the notes, the United States Constitution is a magnum opus of silence. At about 4,500 words, it’s pretty slim, and there’s a lot you’d expect to see in a foundational ...

Immigration’s Daughters

The voices of the six Chinese American girls who narrate the short stories in Jenny Zhang’s Sour Heart collectively convey the emotional texture—and often the burden—of striving. What does it mean to believe that life can and will improve? …

Claire Messud’s Noble Lie

In the bouquet of novel typologies—the picaresque, the Künstlerroman, the Zeitroman, the novel of ideas, magical realism, hysterical realism, “experimental” anything—the bildungsroman is the least ...

Jane Austen Meets Sci-Fi

After two hundred years of being known as a genius, Jane Austen is now a brand, a marketing phenomenon. According to Wikipedia—so this is more universally acknowledged than necessarily true—in 2015 ...

Bro Uprising

With Pierce Brown’s lately concluded Red Rising trilogy, the phenomenon of the blockbuster Young Adult dystopian novel that brought us The Hunger Games and Divergent has reached its eye-popping ...

Beyond the Bubble

This essay was originally published in The Caravan.   In 2002, a year after Amartya Sen’s well-known essay on hunger, “Old Torments and New Blunders,” was first published, I travelled through ...

Gaitskill’s Fictions of Disappointment

In “A Romantic Weekend,” a story from Mary Gaitskill’s first collection, Bad Behavior, a man and a woman who are only casually acquainted go out of town for the weekend. The two seem to have met in a ...

Back to Work

A job, in itself, is pure potential. I sometimes spend hours scrolling through job listings and Craigslist ads imagining different possible lives, each one viable. This is the type of fantasy that ...

Welcome, Now Keep Out

At first blush, the title of T. Geronimo Johnson’s second novel, Welcome to Braggsville, tempts us with the suggestion of hospitality. Might we be invited into this charming fictional Georgia town ...

Streetwise in Weimar

Scholars of Weimar Germany have long wrestled with the fact that this period of unparalleled innovation in intellectual and cultural life was a time of economic and social crisis, brought to a close ...

How Gentrifiers Gentrify

This past spring a new French restaurant opened in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Located on Malcolm X Boulevard, directly across the street from a Crown Fried Chicken, the ...