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The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen: A Novel of Family and Society in PDF Format

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen: A Review

If you are looking for a novel that captures the essence of American life in the late 20th century, you might want to read The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. This book is a comic, tragic masterpiece that explores the challenges and struggles of a dysfunctional family in an age of easy fixes.

The Corrections Jonathan Franzen Download Pdf

In this article, I will give you an overview of the novel's plot, characters, themes, style, and reception. I will also share my personal opinion on why this book is worth reading and how you can download it in PDF format.

The Plot of The Corrections

The novel follows the lives of the Lambert family, an elderly Midwestern couple and their three adult children, from the mid-20th century to "one last Christmas" together near the turn of the millennium.

The patriarch of the family is Alfred Lambert, a rigid and strict former railroad engineer who suffers from Parkinson's disease and dementia. His wife is Enid Lambert, a discontented housewife who longs for some happiness and excitement in her life.

Their children have moved away from their hometown of St. Jude to pursue their own careers and lifestyles on the East Coast. Gary Lambert is a successful but depressed and alcoholic banker who lives in Philadelphia with his wife Caroline and their three sons. Chip Lambert is a failed academic and writer who lives in New York City and gets involved in a corrupt scheme in Lithuania. Denise Lambert is a talented chef and restaurateur who has a series of affairs with married men and women.

The novel traces the events that lead to the family's reunion for one last Christmas at their home in St. Jude, which Enid has been planning for years. Along the way, the novel reveals the secrets, regrets, hopes, and dreams of each family member, as well as the social and cultural changes that have shaped their lives.

The Characters of The Corrections

Alfred Lambert

Alfred Lambert is the head of the family and the main source of its problems. He is a proud and stubborn man who values hard work, discipline, and loyalty. He worked as a railroad engineer for most of his life, but he was forced to retire early due to his declining health. He suffers from Parkinson's disease, which affects his mobility and speech, and dementia, which causes him to have hallucinations and paranoia. He is also haunted by his past mistakes, such as his involvement in a patent dispute that cost him his fortune and reputation.

Alfred has a strained relationship with his wife Enid, whom he often ignores or insults. He also has a distant relationship with his children, whom he considers to be failures or disappointments. He refuses to accept any help or treatment for his condition, and he becomes increasingly isolated and miserable as the novel progresses.

Enid Lambert

Enid Lambert is the wife of Alfred and the mother of Gary, Chip, and Denise. She is a frustrated and unhappy woman who feels trapped in her marriage and her life in St. Jude. She has always dreamed of traveling, having fun, and being loved, but she has sacrificed her own desires for the sake of her family. She is obsessed with keeping up appearances and maintaining a facade of normalcy and happiness.

Enid tries to meddle in her children's lives, hoping to fix their problems and make them happy. She also tries to persuade them to visit her and Alfred for one last Christmas, which she believes will be the perfect opportunity to heal their family's wounds. She is also determined to find a cure for Alfred's illness, even if it means resorting to dubious or experimental methods.

Gary Lambert

Gary Lambert is the eldest son of Alfred and Enid. He is a successful banker who lives in Philadelphia with his wife Caroline and their three sons, Jonah, Aaron, and Caleb. He seems to have everything he ever wanted: a stable career, a beautiful family, a luxurious house. However, he is secretly unhappy and dissatisfied with his life. He suffers from depression and alcoholism, which he denies and tries to hide from others.

Gary has a tense relationship with his wife Caroline, who is manipulative and controlling. She often undermines his authority and mocks his decisions. She also opposes his plan to visit his parents for Christmas, and turns his sons against him. Gary feels trapped in his marriage, but he is afraid to leave or confront Caroline, because he thinks it will ruin his image and reputation.

Gary also has a conflicted relationship with his father Alfred, whom he respects but resents. He blames Alfred for his unhappiness and insecurity, and he tries to prove himself to him by being successful and responsible. He also tries to help Alfred by finding him a suitable treatment for his disease, but he faces resistance from both Alfred and Enid.

Chip Lambert

Chip Lambert is the middle son of Alfred and Enid. He is an aspiring writer who lives in New York City. He used to be a professor of literature at a prestigious university, but he lost his job after having an affair with one of his students, Melissa Paquette. He also lost his girlfriend Julia Vrais, who left him for another man.

Chip is broke and desperate for money. He borrows from his sister Denise, but he fails to pay her back. He works on a screenplay that he hopes will make him rich and famous, but he finds no success or motivation. He then accepts a job offer from Gitanas Misevicius, the estranged husband of Julia, who is a corrupt Lithuanian politician. Chip travels to Vilnius and works for Gitanas as an editor of a website that scams American investors.

Chip has a rebellious and cynical attitude towards life. He resents his father Alfred for being strict and oppressive, ```html Denise Lambert

Denise Lambert is the youngest daughter of Alfred and Enid. She is a gifted chef and a successful businesswoman who owns and runs a trendy restaurant in Philadelphia. She is also a beautiful and confident woman who attracts both men and women with her charm and charisma.

Denise has a complicated love life. She married Brian Callahan, a doctor who was much older than her, but they divorced after she had an affair with his colleague, Robin Ross. She then had another affair with Don Armour, a married man who was one of her investors. She also had a brief fling with Emile Berger, a married woman who was the wife of another investor.

Denise loves her parents and her brothers, but she also resents them for their judgments and expectations. She feels guilty for causing trouble and pain to her family, especially to Alfred, whom she admires and respects. She tries to help Alfred by finding him a suitable treatment for his disease, and she also tries to help Chip by lending him money and supporting his career. She is the one who convinces Chip to join her and Gary for the Christmas reunion with their parents.

The Themes of The Corrections

The novel explores a variety of themes that reflect the social and cultural issues of contemporary American society. Some of the major themes are:

  • Family dynamics: The novel portrays the complex and often dysfunctional relationships between the members of the Lambert family, as well as their individual struggles with identity, happiness, and fulfillment. The novel shows how each family member tries to cope with their own problems, while also trying to connect with each other and maintain some sense of family unity. The novel also examines how the family is affected by external factors, such as economic changes, technological innovations, political events, and cultural trends.

  • Generational conflict: The novel contrasts the values and perspectives of different generations, especially those of the parents and the children. The novel shows how Alfred and Enid represent the traditional values of the mid-20th century, such as hard work, discipline, loyalty, morality, and stability. The novel also shows how Gary, Chip, and Denise represent the modern values of the late 20th century, such as individualism, freedom, diversity, creativity, and flexibility. The novel illustrates how these generational differences cause misunderstandings, disagreements, and conflicts within the family.

```html education, and morality. The novel shows how these changes have created new opportunities and challenges for the characters, as well as new sources of conflict and confusion. The novel also shows how these changes have affected the American identity and values, and how the characters try to adapt or resist to them.

  • Consumerism: The novel criticizes the consumerist culture of contemporary America, which promotes materialism, greed, and superficiality. The novel shows how consumerism influences the characters' choices and behaviors, such as their careers, relationships, lifestyles, and hobbies. The novel also shows how consumerism affects the characters' happiness and satisfaction, as they often feel empty, bored, or unhappy despite having everything they want or need. The novel also shows how consumerism creates new forms of exploitation and corruption, such as fraud, theft, and manipulation.

  • Mental health: The novel explores the mental health issues of the characters, such as depression, anxiety, dementia, addiction, and suicide. The novel shows how these issues are caused or aggravated by various factors, such as family problems, social pressures, economic difficulties, personal failures, or biological factors. The novel also shows how these issues affect the characters' well-being and functioning, as well as their interactions with others. The novel also shows how these issues are treated or ignored by the characters themselves or by others, such as doctors, therapists, family members, or friends.

  • Personal freedom: The novel examines the concept of personal freedom and its implications for the characters. The novel shows how the characters seek or reject personal freedom in different aspects of their lives, such as their careers, relationships, sexuality, and spirituality. The novel also shows how personal freedom is limited or enhanced by various factors, such as social norms, family expectations, moral values, legal rules, or personal circumstances. The novel also shows how personal freedom affects the characters' happiness and fulfillment, as well as their responsibilities and consequences.

The Style of The Corrections

The novel is written in a realistic style that depicts the details and complexities of contemporary American life. The novel uses a third-person omniscient narrator who can access the thoughts and feelings of all the characters. The novel also uses multiple perspectives to show the different points of view of each character on the same events or situations.

The novel is also characterized by its humor and irony that often contrast with its serious and tragic themes. The novel uses satire to mock and expose the absurdities and flaws of American society and culture. The novel also uses dark comedy to create laughter and relief from the pain and suffering of the characters.

```html such as Shakespeare's King Lear, Tolstoy's War and Peace, Kafka's The Trial, and Proust's In Search of Lost Time. The novel also uses various symbols to convey its themes or characters, such as the cruise ship Axon, the drug Aslan, the rocking chair, the talking turd, and the Christmas tree.

The Reception of The Corrections

The novel received widespread acclaim from critics and readers alike. It was praised for its realistic and engaging portrayal of contemporary American society and culture, as well as its complex and sympathetic characters. It was also admired for its humor and irony, its intertextuality and symbolism, and its ambitious and innovative scope. The novel won several awards and honors, such as the National Book Award for Fiction in 2001, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2002, and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2002. It was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2002 and the International Dublin Literary Award in 2003. It was also selected by Oprah Winfrey for her book club in 2001, but Franzen caused some controversy by expressing ambivalence about being associated with a mainstream audience.

The novel also sparked some debate and criticism from some quarters. Some critics argued that the novel was too long, too bleak, too cynical, or too elitist. Some critics also questioned the novel's relevance or accuracy in depicting post-9/11 American life, as it was published just before the terrorist attacks. Some critics also compared the novel unfavorably with other works of American literature, such as Don DeLillo's Underworld or David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest.

The novel has also been the subject of several adaptation attempts and controversies. In 2002, Franzen sold the film rights to producer Scott Rudin, who hired David Hare to write the screenplay. However, the project was never realized due to creative differences and budget issues. In 2011, HBO announced that it would produce a four-hour miniseries based on the novel, with Franzen co-writing the script with Noah Baumbach. However, the project was also abandoned in 2012 due to casting and production difficulties.

The Conclusion

```html the challenges and opportunities of social change, the pitfalls and pleasures of consumerism, the problems and solutions of mental health, and the dilemmas and decisions of personal freedom. It is a novel that combines realism and humor, irony and empathy, intertextuality and symbolism, and ambition and innovation. It is a novel that has received much praise and criticism, awards and controversies, and admiration and debate. It is a novel that deserves to be read and discussed by anyone who is interested in the state of American literature and culture in the 21st century.

FAQs About The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

Here are some frequently asked questions about the novel and their answers:

  • What does the title of the novel mean?

The title of the novel has multiple meanings and interpretations. One possible meaning is that it refers to the corrections that the characters try to make in their lives, such as fixing their mistakes, changing their behaviors, or improving their situations. Another possible meaning is that it refers to the corrections that the society undergoes, such as adjusting to new economic, political, cultural, or technological realities. Another possible meaning is that it refers to the corrections that the author makes in his writing, such as revising his style, structure, or content.

  • What is the significance of the cruise ship Axon?

The cruise ship Axon is a symbol of consumerism and escapism in the novel. It is a luxurious and extravagant vessel that offers its passengers a variety of entertainment and amenities. It is also a place where people can forget about their problems and responsibilities and enjoy themselves. However, the cruise ship also has a dark side. It is a place where people are exploited and manipulated by the corporation that owns it. It is also a place where people are isolated and alienated from reality and themselves.

  • What is the role of the drug Aslan in the novel?

The drug Aslan is a plot device and a symbol of medicalization and commodification in the novel. It is a new and experimental drug that claims to cure Parkinson's disease by altering the brain chemistry of its users. It is also a product that is marketed and sold by a shady company that wants to profit from people's suffering. The drug has various effects on its users, such as enhancing their mood, memory, or libido. However, the drug also has various side effects, such as causing addiction, hallucination, or aggression.

  • How does the novel relate to King Lear by William Shakespeare?

```html betrayal, and madness. Both works feature a patriarch who suffers from a mental and physical decline and who is mistreated by his children. Both works also feature a daughter who tries to reconcile with her father and who brings her family together. However, the novel also differs from King Lear in some aspects. For example, the novel has a more realistic and contemporary setting and tone. The novel also has a more ambiguous and open-ended resolution.

  • How does the novel reflect the post-9/11 American mood?

The novel reflects the post-9/11 American mood in several ways. Although the novel was published before the terrorist attacks, it anticipates some of the themes and issues that emerged after them. For example, the novel explores the anxiety and uncertainty that many Americans felt about their security, identity, and values. The novel also explores the anger and resentment that many Americans felt towards their government, corporations, and media. The novel also explores the hope and resilience that many Americans showed in coping with their challenges and finding their happiness.


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