The Corrections | Study Guide

Jonathan Franzen

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The Corrections | Symbols


St. Jude

The town of St. Jude is a symbol for the lost causes each character pursues during the novel. St. Jude is the Catholic patron saint of lost causes or hopeless cases. Catholics ask St. Jude to intercede for them when all hope seems lost. The Lamberts are a family of lost causes. They all have personal problems that seem impossible to solve, and their family seems dysfunctional beyond repair. The family members fight with one another and avoid spending time together instead of working toward solutions. The Lambert family ultimately manages to come together and deal with Alfred Lambert's illness. Each sibling is able to move beyond the problems they face in their personal lives and start on a new path toward a happy life. The new path each sibling takes is different than what they had expected during their young adulthoods, but they learn to adjust to the unexpected changes they face.

Axon Corporation

The Axon Corporation represents the way pharmaceutical conglomerate companies dominate American culture and economics. It symbolizes the pervasive nature of globalization and the far reach of pharmaceutical companies in the United States. Axon is a booming biotech company that influences several different parts of the Lamberts' lives in unexpected ways. Both Enid Lambert and Chip Lambert take a drug manufactured by Axon that has highly addictive qualities. Axon offers Alfred Lambert money for a patent he holds, and Gary Lambert buys stock in the company. Gary wants to get Alfred into a drug trial for Corecktall which is made by Axon. Every family member has been touched directly or indirectly by the company. Axon's consistent presence in each character's life represents the pervasive nature of big pharmaceutical corporations in American life. Large corporations own so many smaller companies and products that Americans cannot seem to escape these companies' influence.

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