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Freedom

Freedom

by Jonathan Franzen

Freedom Analysis

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Let's just go ahead and say this straight up: in this book, birds represent freedom. Is it a coincidence that a book called Freedom is based around a small blue bird that migrates between North and...

Setting

St. Paul, Minnesota: early 1980s – 2001; outside Grand Rapids, Minnesota: early 1980s – 2010; Hibbing, Minnesota: 1900 – 1980; Westchester County, New York: 1950 – 2010; University of Minne...

Narrator Point of View

Our story is presented from a number of different angles, each subtly shifting our perspective (that is, restricting or enhancing freedom), so that we can only assemble a complete picture through p...

Genre

Freedom is, above all, a portrait of a dysfunctional family, the Berglunds. So there's no doubt it's a family drama. We can say it qualifies as historical fiction as well, since it explores some of...

What's Up With the Title?

We get the feeling that Jonathan Franzen, when he started thinking about writing this book, might have sat down and asked himself, "What one word describes the first decade of the 2000s?" The word...

What's Up With the Epigraph?

Go together,You precious winners all; your exultationPartake to everyone. I, an old turtle,Will wing me to some withered bough, and thereMy mate, that's never to be found again,Lament till I am los...

What's Up With the Ending?

Well, it's your classic Jane Austin ending, folks: everyone gets married! OK, no, that's not exactly true. The modern variation looks like something more like this: Walter and Patty get back togeth...

Tough-o-Meter

Freedom isn't the easiest read, but not for the reasons you might expect. The language is straightforward (sure, with the occasional big vocabulary word thrown in); the dialogue is so realistic you...
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