The Big Money

Topics: John Dos Passos, Character, Protagonist Pages: 2 (741 words) Published: March 27, 2006
By analyzing the biographies interspaced in the novel, The Big Money, the reader analyzes the main character's personalities, and further notices distinguishable features, whether they are pure or evil. By reading a short biography of one character, interspaced in the reading of a larger story, the reader further understands, by comparing and contrasting the features and ideals of the two individuals, the main characters in John Dos Passos' novel The Big Money.

Charley Anderson, a decorated fighter pilot, goes into business designing, inventing, and creating new components for the aviation industry. Anderson excels greatly in this field, and is recruited by rivaling companies. This recruitment drives Charley to believe he is the greatest in designer in the industry, but, instead of continuing to contribute to the aviation industry, he is taken over by the American dream of becoming number one. Charley begins associating with ruthless, greedy people, who care for nothing but money. Anderson is consumed by a materialistic lust for money and power, and a hatred of the labor of production necessary to create his designs. He believes that because he invents the designs, he should not have to labor in any way in manufacturing them. Charley begins the story with no firm moral basis, without a moral basis to work from; he feels no sympathy for former friends that he has sold out, nor does he feel any shame in being a drunken braggart and a philanderer. Charley Anderson, on his deathbed, realizes he enjoyed inventing and designing more than he enjoyed his attempts to make money and achieve a life of leisure and wealth.

Thorstein Veblen's biography depicts a polar opposite attitude than that of Charley Anderson's. Veblen, especially his ancestors and ideal, represents the working class that Anderson despised and judged so much, he did not work in a factory, even worse; his family consisted of free holding farmers. Veblen and Anderson both strove to break...
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