An analysis of the use of comparisons in the novel the waterworks by e l doctorow

Even when his subject is not overtly political—as in his first novel, Welcome to Hard Times—he chooses the genre of the Western to comment upon the American sense of crime and justice. Knowing that the Western has often been the vehicle for the celebration of American individualism and morality, Doctorow purposely writes a fablelike novel in which he questions American faith in fairness and democracy. Welcome to Hard Times The struggle in Welcome to Hard Times is between the Man from Bodie, who in a fit of rage destroys a town in a single day, and Blue, the tragic old man who almost singlehandedly tries to rebuild it.

An analysis of the use of comparisons in the novel the waterworks by e l doctorow

Doctorow has explored aspects of his city at the turn of the century in Ragtimeduring the Depression era of gangster Dutch Schultz in Billy Bathgateand during the Cold War in The Book of Daniel In The Waterworks, he takes readers back towhen the corruptions of the Grant administration were notorious and Boss Tweed ran the New York political machine, amassing a fortune like a bloated spider gorged on its prey.

Gradually, however, the novel evolves from historical reconstruction into a science-fiction horror story. The narrator is McIlvaine readers never learn his first namecity editor of The Telegram, a leading New York newspaper, who reflects back on the bizarre and sinister events of the narrative from the perspective of his old age.

He begins by introducing one of his freelance writers, Martin Pemberton, a brilliant author of iconoclastic reviews. One day Martin astounds his employer with the story of how he was walking down Broadway on a rainy morning when he passed a horse-drawn white omnibus whose passengers were all ancient men in black; one of them was his father, who had been pronounced dead and buried months earlier.

It turns out that Martin has sighted his father several times and has tried to track him down to see what mystery has resurrected him. During the course of his investigation, he too disappears, after which McIlvaine becomes so obsessed with the case that he hires a detective to solve it.

Eventually, McIlvaine loses his job, as the clues lead to the corruption of the city manipulated by Boss Tweed. As the investigation continues, readers see in vivid detail the sights and sounds of New York shortly after the Civil War, during the early days of the gaslight era, the rapid growth of the Industrial Revolution, the high-speed printing presses, the opulent lifestyles of the incredibly wealthy, and the squalid lives of the working poor who made their leisured lives possible and of Civil War amputees reduced to beggary.

During his investigation, McIlvaine goes to the Reverend Charles Grimshaw, an Episcopal high church clergyman who is pastor to the Pembertons.

An analysis of the use of comparisons in the novel the waterworks by e l doctorow

Grimshaw is a former abolitionist and an idealist who shies away from the all-too-true vision of evil that street-corner preachers shout in their millenarian visions.

Augustus Pemberton turns out to have been an unscrupulous scoundrel of a financier whose illicit activities even embraced the slave trade.

Upon his death, his immense fortune seems to have evaporated mysteriously, so that his widow and young son lost their mansion, became impoverished, and had to throw themselves upon the hospitality of a modestly provided-for relative.

The more deeply McIlvaine gets involved in the case, the more realism segues into surrealism, as his narrative becomes increasingly subjective and his prose increasingly metaphorical.

By his own account, McIlvaine is not necessarily a reliable narrator. The entire section is 1, words. Unlock This Study Guide Now Start your hour free trial to unlock this page The Waterworks study guide and get instant access to the following:The Waterworks is twenty-eight chapters of disjointed recollection in which McIlvaine, an elderly former news editor, recalls from some indeterminate time in the future incidents of in New.

A 5 page paper that examines the character development and the use of literary elements and techniques in chapters of Waterworks by E.L.


The character development is very interesting in that it brings the them into focus in relationship to their inherent personalities and desires. land use--maryland--wye island. 2. rouse company. resources for the future multinational enterprise and economic analysis. caves, richard e international business enterprises.

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amer water works assn denver hd An analysis of the use of comparisons in the novel, the waterworks The WaterworksOver the course of the novel, The Waterworks, by E.L.

Doctorow, Doctorow uses various comparisons. Quick Takes 1. Spring Training and Baseball Spring training baseball games begin today and, far more than Punxsutawney Phil, that is the sure sign that Spring is here for me.

I have attempted to wax poetic about baseball in earlier BLASTs (#’s 4, 12, 26, 38, 64, 83, & 91) so I will not belabor those points here. Doctorow. nonetheless had a subtle understanding of both the old and the new culture.L. and Tobias Wolff (The Barracks Thief [] and This Boy’s Life []).


It was imitated. Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony ().

E.L. Doctorow’s “The Waterworks” (David Louis Edelman)