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City of God - Metaphysical Post-Modernism

            City of God is a novel with very little fluidity, lineation, or clarity - as was intended by its author, E.L. Doctorow. How, then, should one proceed in analyzing the themes in a novel with no storyline? Rather than tediously go through every theme Doctorow offers in his writing, focusing on the overall style of the novel might be a better way to approach the work. Often regarded as a post-modern author, Doctorow tends to show a sarcastic take on metaphysical themes in his novels, especially prevalent in City of God. Growing up, Doctorow lived with a "humanist, radical, and Jewish" family in which the "supernatural was not taken seriously" (qtd. in Eichelberger 82). One can assume Doctorow's advanced scientific reasoning and theorizing he so often writes about is at least partially due to the fact that he graduated from Bronx High School of Science, not coincidentally like the main character of the novel - Everett. His background translates almost seamlessly to his nomenclature as a post-modern author. .
             Post-modernism can be defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as "a late 20th-century movement characterized by broad skepticism, subjectivism, or relativism; a general suspicion of reason; and an acute sensitivity to the role of ideology in asserting and maintaining political and economic power" (Duignan). Doctorow writes about the metaphysical details in City of God with a great amount of distrust in modern religion, but does so with a fantastic style of prose that he is so well known for. For example, in the storyline of Pem and his internal religious conflict, he is introduced as a Christian reverend who is apprehensive about his faith. It isn't until he meets Sarah, an Evolutionary Judaism preacher, that he finds himself drawn to the simplicity of the relatively new practice of the religion. The way in which Doctorow is able to write a character that can so willingly alter his entire set of religious beliefs reflects his suspicion and critical views of modern spiritual culture.

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