Having retraced the mixed critical reception of Budding Prospects, I read it as a satirical comment on the Zeitgeist of Reagans eighties and a hilarious debunking of the American Dream of material success. After discussing the programmatic function of its epigraphs from Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Miller, I analyze the novels straightforward picaresque plot and the iterative motifs which provide it with additional suspense, and show how, in his ironically subverted pastoral, Boyle contrasts hippie idealism with exploitative capitalism in the context of his Darwinian world view and introduces a subdued note of promise through the introduction of the figure of Petra. I then illustrate the I-narrators linguistic artistry by discussing his astonishing knowledge of flora and fauna, his familiarity with Greek mythology, his unexpected command of medical terminology, his penchant for usually tripartite enumerations, and his use of hundreds of inventive and hilariously (in)appropriate comparisons. I demonstrate the narrators erudition by tracing his open and implied allusions to American, English, French, Russian and German literature, his references to films and the fine arts, his allusions to famous American sportsmen, businessmen and criminals, and his thematically relevant quotations from American pop music. I close by showing that the impressive novels irritating tension results from Boyles choice of I-narration, which forces him to delegate his linguistic artistry and cultural erudition to a protagonist-narrator whose inept behavior as protagonist stands in disturbing contrast to his intellectual performance as narrator.
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