The Man with the Golden Arm Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Man with the Golden Arm

A weak willed inner city back ally hustler, whos only real talent is his dexterity with a deck of cards, becomes hooked on drugs. And as his tragic and short life spins out of control I found the city of Chicago (circa 1949) constantly stealing the show. Nelson Algrens' vivid decriptions of the citys underbelly can not be matched for there gritty realism. So much so that to really enjoy and understand this book I would recommend reading it twice. With the second reading paying closer attention to the minute details that the author has incorporated in the discribing the city that few people had ever seen much less heard about. This my friend is real writing! Mr Algren is truly an over looked and very talented writer who deserves more credit.
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The review of this Book prepared by Henry Winningham

‘It's all in the wrist 'n I got the touch', Frankie-Machine-Majcinek tells his sidekick Solly-Sparrow-Saltskin.

Frankie is a morphine addict from his World War 2 days, the king of the card dealers - a machine in his consistency - dreaming of becoming a big-band drummer like Gene Krupa, or Dave Tuff. But there's the morphine and his crippled wife, Zosh, to contend with.

Frankie is looking for someone other than Zosh or Sparrow; something other than morphine to depend on. He almost finds it with, bar-girl, Molly Novotny, but has it snatched away by Sparrow's coerced betrayal.

The review of this Book prepared by Charles Smyth

Chapter Analysis of The Man with the Golden Arm

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Poverty, surviving    -   Yes Kind of living:    -   general poverty story Strong "rags to riches" component?    -   Yes Family, caring for ill    -   Yes Who is sick?    -   wife because he/she is    -   physically ill Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book) Crime & Police story    -   Yes Story of    -   police corruption    -   sympathetic "criminals" on the run    -   life in drug culture Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Drinking/Drugs problems?    -   alcohol    -   drugs

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   gambler Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   9 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Midwest City?    -   Yes City:    -   dirty, grimy (like New York)    -   Chicago Misc setting    -   prison

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Nelson Algren Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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