Study Guide

Blake in Freedom

By Jonathan Franzen


Blake is Carol Monaghan's boyfriend, whose arrival in Ramsey Hill gets everyone in the neighborhood all bent out of shape. If nothing else, this helps us get a glimpse of the increasing political polarization of American life over the past decade. When someone moves into a mostly liberal neighborhood, driving a truck with a bumper sticker reading "I'M WHITE AND I VOTE" (1.1.81), even sensible people like Patty Berglund can turn into a crazy people capable of slashing the tires on said truck. Joey, on the other hand, latches on to Blake, and it's in front of Blake's big-screen TV that he realizes how much more comfortable he is with conservatives than with liberals.