Cowboys and Gangsters in the Carnival: Representations of Carnivalesque in Doctorow’s Welcome to Hard Times and Billy Bathgate

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Maryam Soltan Beyad, Samar Adil Alrammahi, Ali Salami


Over the course of decades following the publication of Welcome to Hard Times, E. L. Doctorow produced a valuable body of works which, despite their thematic and structural differences, reflect a unique view of American life and values. While some critics state that Doctorow saw capitalism as the evil foundation of the American society, others contend he was more preoccupied with the stylistic techniques which enabled him to represent a fictionalized history of the United States. The present article aims to explore the representations of Mikhail Bakhtin’s carnivalesque in Doctorow’ Welcome to Hard Times and Billy Bathgate. The article demonstrates that through a Western and a gangster story, Doctorow has challenged many of the structures and hierarchies established in the gender as well as socio-political contexts in which he wrote his novels. The research shows both novels create significant carnivalesque moments which enable Doctorow to challenge to dominant generic, gender, and social ideologies.

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