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It was Oscar Wilde who said "There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor.

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Introduction

It was Oscar Wilde who said "There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else." These novels are prime examples of the constant struggle of the underclass. Both writers use their characters as a direct portrayal of the society and the countries in which they were born. Augie is the wanderer; lost going from country to country trying to find himself and a home. He represents the weak underclass that the statue of liberty stands for; liberty, equality and fraternity while Moll belongs to the social underclass of a different era and arguably a harder time. Being a woman her main objective is to survive the harsh patriarchal society in which she resides. Augie's main female influences are the tyrannical Grandma Lausch and quiet, shy mamma. The juxtaposing emotions of love and pity for his mother and respect and fear for Lausch in his earlier years could be the basis of the way he treats women, showering them with love and affection one minute then leaving them suddenly. Augie also absorbs everything from his female friends, their love, their friendship and their money. Bellow may be making a witty comment about the American society in which Augie lives; their consumerism and insatiability for Grandma Lausch's lack of affection seems to have hardened the March boy's but Augie's "Born recruit" personality always shines through. ...read more.

Middle

It is noteworthy that Moll gives up her children quite readily or with little hesitation showing she doesn't build relationships with them knowing that she may have to leave them behind. Moll says of her first children "My children were indeed taken happily off my hands by my husbands Father and Mother..." The tone Defoe adopts here is very dismissive and the reader gets the impression that Moll is erasing the children from her life. This is a direct reaction to the society around her and the life she must lead. A lot of children just fade out of the picture and are never heard of again; these are presumed dead or left behind but from Moll's silence it is taken that she does not care much about the. This also reflects on her relationships with men and the reader sees that Moll keeps a certain distance between herself and them showing her lack of faith in men. This may provoke mistrust toward Moll but more toward the male characters especially since Molls first encounter was so hurtful and sympathy for Moll. With this Defoe is informing the reader of society's detachment from human emotion. It must be taken into consideration that the time that Defoe was writing in was not a Matriarchal one but Defoe recognises the power of women and their obvious allure and Moll is the personification of this. One of Moll's only successful relationships is with her own brother. ...read more.

Conclusion

This excerpt also impels Augie to greatness with the comparison of his failure with Columbus' life. This gives the reader a sense that Augie is a wronged man, someone misunderstood but with a higher purpose. Bellow ends it here to cancel all the negative sentiment to his protagonist, leaving him exalted. This idea of greatness is in the first chapters of the book also when referring to Einhorn and to his brother but Augie doesn't once use such language to describe his female friends, only entertaining the idea with Grandma Lausch. This may be intentional on Bellows' part but the period of the novel must also be remembered. Bellows was writing in the early twentieth century when intolerances were still around. Women were still not considered "Great" and Augie's ideas are a perfect example of this, even with the fiery Thea. Both Authors write to convey their message using their protagonists' idiosyncrasies as vehicles of their cause but in totally different ways. Whilst Defoe portrays Moll's will to survive and want of an easy life driving her into the arms of different men and blames the system so to speak for her wrongs, Bellow portrays Augie as something out of a Hollywood movie; women quickly falling for him then him breaking their heart but all for a good cause. Both authors use the opposite gender to aide their characters in life. Only the idealistic Defoe ends with Moll settling down, but this may have to do with the period of the novel. ...read more.

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