Study Guide

The Corrections Contrasting Regions: Midwest vs. East Coast

By Jonathan Franzen

Contrasting Regions: Midwest vs. East Coast

The Corrections follows the Lamberts, a family of hapless Midwesterners who've become entrenched in East Coast life. For the elder generation, the East Coast represents everything that's wrong with the world: loose morals, urbanization, and poor manners. Their children, on the other hand, find themselves drawn to the East Coast and everything it has to offer. Some of them end up setting up roots in the cosmopolitan East, while others end up returning to the Midwestern heartland they were once so eager to escape.

No matter where they end up, though, each of these characters is defined by the tension between the two regions. And everyone comes home for Christmas.

Questions About Contrasting Regions: Midwest vs. East Coast

  1. What qualities does Enid associate with the Midwest?
  2. What realization prompts Chip to move back to the Midwest?
  3. Why does Gary prefer the East Coast to the Midwest?
  4. How does country-wide economic and technological growth play into the rivalry between the two regions?

Chew on This

Ultimately, we learn that the conflict between the Midwest and the East Coast isn't about regional identity—it's about the conflict between the suburbs and the cities, and between the upper and middle classes.

Denise defies the example set by her family by becoming equally comfortable with her East Coast and Midwestern identities.