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2016FallSymposiumURCreativityEngagement has ended
Tuesday, December 6 • 1:00pm - 1:20pm
“O Lost”: Thomas Wolfe’s Journey To Consciousness And Truth Through The Narrative Distance In Look Homeward, Angel

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Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel is an autobiographical bildungsroman that follows the story of the protagonist, Eugene Gant, and confronts the difficult aspects of growing up in a broken home. Wolfe felt increasingly isolated and alone because of his alcoholic father and distant mother; those feelings of isolation grew after the death of his cherished brother. In his search for Truth, in which he exposes the fascinating force of consciousness and the human mind, Wolfe is stuck in between three voices–his own, the narrator’s and Eugene’s. Scholars such as Richard Walser and Bernard DeVoto mistake these competing voices as a unified one, which has obscured the academic conversation about the clear narrative distance in Look Homeward, Angel. I posit that as the novel progresses, Eugene gains more experience as he grows older and closer to the narrator and becomes more conscious. As time proceeds, the Truth becomes perspicuous to Eugene as he evolves into a man of knowledge. Eugene’s journey through life represents his search for consciousness and Truth that were once lost as he emerged from his mother’s womb. As Eugene moves closer to the narrator, he gains consciousness and Truth while the narrative distance almost completely diminishes.


Tuesday December 6, 2016 1:00pm - 1:20pm
232 Karpen Hall