Author Archive | Brooke Fortune

Irving Langmuir: The Model for Felix Hoenikker

In an interview with The Nation in 1980, Vonnegut shared that the model for Dr. Felix Hoenikker in Cat’s Cradle was chemist and physicist Irving Langmuir, who worked with Vonnegut’s brother Bernard. Vonnegut interviewed Langmuir while working in the public relations department at General Electric, and was struck by Langmuir’s indifference “to the uses that might be […]

Continue Reading 3

Ras the Exhorter and Malcolm X

In Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the narrator gets involved with the Brotherhood, an interracial political organization that supposedly works to aid the socially oppressed. Opposed to the Brotherhood is Ras the Exhorter, a black nationalist leader who sets aside the goal of interracial equality, advocating black supremacy and separation between whites and blacks. Ras is a […]

Continue Reading 2

Modern Day Advice Columns

I’ve always pictured advice columns, as seen in Nathanael West’s Miss Lonelyhearts, as sort of an antiquated notion. Perhaps it’s because they are associated with physical newspapers in my mind, which are far less popular in today’s culture now that information is so readily available online. However, when I thought about it, I realized that various forms of advice columns […]

Continue Reading 2

The Mississippi State Asylum

At the end of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, Darl is committed to the Mississippi State Insane Asylum in Jackson. Darl’s final narration concludes with him “in a cage in Jackson, where, his grimed hands lying light in the quiet interstices, looking out he foams” (254). Out of curiosity, I looked up this particular asylum, and […]

Continue Reading 1

Coffins and Rabbits: Vardaman and Death

I keep coming back to Vardaman’s section on pgs. 65-67 in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. I wrote about it for Wednesday’s quiz, and for some strange reason, it’s one of my favorite bits of the texts. The erratic progression of Vardaman’s thoughts and the way his child’s brain can only grasp outlines of what’s going on […]

Continue Reading 1

The Socialist Electrical Medicine Man

John Dos Passos’s The 42nd Parallel is told through a combination of varying narrative forms. Amongst these forms are short, fragmentary biographies of innovators, politicians and businessmen, such as Andrew Carnegie and Eugene Debs. On p. 254, Dos Passos introduces a bio section entitled “Proteus” on Charles Proteus Steinmetz, the mathematician / engineer who developed alternating currents, […]

Continue Reading 2

Racial Passing and the Rhinelander Case

On page 101 of Passing, Irene references the widely publicized case of Rhinelander vs. Rhinelander (“What if Bellew should divorce Clare? Could he? There was the Rhinelander case”). Occurring in the 1920’s, the Rhinelander Case remains one of the most well-known controversies surrounding racial passing, and would have been well within the memories of the novel’s initial […]

Continue Reading 2

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes