Date of Award

Fall 12-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis



First Advisor

Monika Gehlawat

Advisor Department



Within any text, there is often evidence of the author’s own life along with cultural reflections. A specific example of this occurrence is Jonathan Franzen’s novel The Corrections (2001). Since the novel was written in the early twenty-first century, it is an immediate reflection of post-millennial society, specifically the rise of neoliberalism. Neoliberalism was introduced to America as an economic venture; however, the policy’s impact can be frequently seen in relation to the nuclear family. As the idea gained popularity during the 1980s, neoliberalism began seeping into family units by way of one’s career and one’s home. This invasion has caused a shift when defining the familiar American Dream. I therefore analyze how Franzen’s novel directly reflects neoliberalism’s impact on the nuclear family through a framework consisting of labor and domesticity. I also seek to dismantle the American Dream by revealing the negative effects its pursuit has on families. I contend that Franzen’s novel, despite being a work of fiction, is an accurate portrayal of the nuclear family’s decimation during the era of neoliberalism.


Honors College Award: Excellence in Research