Augie: A Picaro Deviation from the Picaresque Genre in the Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow



The picaresque novel, as it developed in Spain during the sixteenth century, influenced also modern novels, although it may not contain all the elements of the traditional picaresque genre. This study analyzed the use of picaresque form in The Adventures of Augie March by Bellow in an attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of the form in a modern novel. Judging by the characteristics, The Adventures of Augie March exhibited many of the qualities of the traditional picaresque. Augie is a rogue who moves through a series of adventures, which satirize the society he lives in. However, the difference between this modern picaresque and its prototype lies in the purpose of the novel. Augie, unlike the traditional picaro, is searching for a fate which will include both the full realization of self and love. Thus, his adventures are steps in his quest rather than self-contained satirical episodes. The analysis of the novel supported the idea that picaresque form is a flexible and resourceful vehicle which offers certain definite advantages to the contemporary author in his portrayal of modern life.

Keywords: Picaro, episodes, picaresque genre, deviation.

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