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Look Homeward Angel Essay, Research Paper

Look Homeward, Angel Abridged

If there were ever a model for coming of age novels, Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe, would be perfect. The story of Eugene Gant is unique and inspiring. The reader s attention is caught from the beginning and hooked until the end. In reading the abridged version, it is easy to follow the life of young Eugene, without a lot of nonsense or change of focus. The main focus is clearly the major happenings in Eugene s life, not the minor details. The abridged version provides enjoyment for those who would not pick up the novel due to its length. In reading the shortened copy, however, several questions are raised. Plot summary, choices of passages, and efficient development are all things to look at when abridging such a well-respected work. While there is still work to be done on this novel, it can be considered credible and coherent. Perhaps the ideas and themes that teach the reader good life lessons, are what make the novel the great work that it is.

In order to make the abridged version of Look Homeward, Angel more coherent and credible, there is a need for plot summary. The plot summary provided between the first two sections were helpful, but could be a little more well developed. It is unclear how Eliza and W.O jump from speaking business to getting married. A few more sentences would create a more stable link between the passages and allow it to flow smoother. Between pages 29 and 39, the summary may want to include a little more about Eugene s early life. The one provided was very clear, but a little vague. It leaves the reader wondering if the horse stepping on Eugene s face is the only significant happening in his infant years. Another place where more explanation would be helpful is between pages 56 and 70. It was not mentioned why W.O. went to California. Though it may not be important, it would satisfy curiosity. The reason may also add to W.O. s early character. There is one particular place where plot summary is badly needed. A helpful link between pages 107 and 126 would make the first part of the novel a bit more complete. This is a confusing jump. It goes from Helen and Eliza fighting over Eugene s well being to Eugene s travelling. What happens in between may not be significant enough to include all 19 pages, but the two situations need a link or some explanation in between. The middle to the end of the abridged novel is very coherent and credible without plot summary. The reason for this could be because there are fewer passages dropped. The reading flows easily once past the first part of the novel and develops well.

When abridging Look Homeward, Angel, plot summary is not the only aspect that one should consider. Choosing which segments to drop can be a difficult task. As the abridged version stands, it is good, but there are a couple of places that are questionable. Pages 158-160 were very puzzling. It raised several questions because it was unlike the other sections read. If Eugene s memories and likes were so easy to drop earlier, why are they important now? The passage was confusing when read in sequence with the other passages. Another questionable section is pages 254-256. Eugene s love of reading has not been accentuated before, why now? On the other hand, the passages of love, sex and racism should definitely be kept. They draw the reader into the time period and make the novel more realistic. Nothing more should be dropped. The novel has background, effectively portrays the time period it was written in and tells a wonderful story.

The development of the story is very easy to follow in the abridged novel. It simply tells the story of Eugene Gant from beginning to end. The journey through Eugene s adolescence needs the detail included to make it complete. The details made the novel less dry and more interesting. One character lacking development is Steve. It is unclear whether or not he is important, but he is one of the family and may need a little more characterization. In order to become more unified plot summary is needed. With plot summary, the novel will seem more complete.

There are several important ideas that a reader can come away with after reading Look Homeward, Angel. The first theme that runs through the entire novel is the importance of family. Through the Gant family the reader learns that no matter how bad a situation may be, family love is strong and will last. This can be seen in two ways. One from W.O. and Eliza s relationship, despite his alcoholism she stood by him and took care of him. The other evidence through the children, especially Helen and Eugene. No matter how hurt they got, they always loved and respected Eliza and W.O.. The second important lesson is that of independence. In Eugene s conversation with Ben s ghost, the reader learns, from dead Ben, that it is okay to be alone and do your own thing. Eugene has finally realized that even though his family will always be there, he can be an independent man. Perhaps the most remarkable feeling one comes away with after reading Look Homeward, Angel, is that of hope. The story proves that one can rise above hardship and expectations and achieve their own dreams. Eugene does not see his father s alcoholism as a crutch to lean on, but as a sickness that he must try to avoid getting. He knows it is not hereditary and wants to be better. At the same time, while knowing he can better himself, Eugene, does not turn his back on his family. He never forgets where he comes from, once he gets success. There is much to be learned from Eugene Gant and the abridged novel does an effective job of getting the main points across.

It is really easy to see why so many readers have delighted in this book for many years. With the deterioration of families on the rise, this novel gives hope that family is still an important institution. The amount of detail Wolfe includes is tremendous and allows the reader to become apart of the story. One actually begins to care what happens to W.O. and Eliza, even after the hardship they may have brought upon their children. There is no doubt that this work should be shared with students before college. Look Homeward, Angel should be as widely read as Huck Finn and Shakespeare.

Overall, the abridged version of Look Homeward, Angel is coherent and credible. With the development of plot summaries and carefully choosing of passages, it could definitely become apart of reading lists for high school students. The novel not only exposes students to wonderful writing, but gives everyone hope that succeeding is not as hard as it may seem.

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