62 pages 2 hours read

Saul Bellow

The Adventures of Augie March

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1953

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Self-Exploration and Search for Identity

The Adventures of Augie March is a novel about the search for identity. Augie’s name is in the title, and in his role as narrator of his bildungsroman, he charts his growth and development. At each turn, he tests the boundaries of what it means to exist in his society, which grows and changes alongside him. Over the course of the novel, he wears a lot of identities, many of which seem contradictory. He is a Jewish immigrant from Canada who considers himself American. At the same time as thinking of himself as a Chicagoan, he spends large and important parts of his life in New York, Mexico, and France. Augie is a petty criminal, yet he does not consider himself one because he sees a purpose behind each of his crimes. He is a man with a low income who moves in rich circles; he is constantly working, but he is never in the same job for long: a sportswear salesman, a boxing manager, a member of the Merchant Marines, a hunter, an eagle trainer, a book thief, and many others. Augie is an arch-individualist, but he also seeks romance and love and goes along with his lovers’ ambitions.