Study Guide

Jonathan in Freedom

By Jonathan Franzen


Jonathan is Joey's freshman roommate at college. The two have a pretty prickly relationship, what with Jonathan being highly critical of Joey's involvement with the Iraq War. In addition, Joey's politics are the counterexample to Joey's. Just as Joey reacts to his father's leftist leanings by embracing right-wing ideology (1.1.136), Jonathan's father is the president of an influential right-wing think tank, and Jonathan just hates the guy. So it isn't so surprising that he would end up working for the left-leaning Washington Post. This might be an intentional decision to distinguish himself, or to do the thing that will most irritate his father. But especially in the world of Freedom, where sons are instinctively pushed away from the actions of their fathers (no simple following-in-the-footsteps here), Jonathan's political beliefs follow predictably from his father's.

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