Drinking the Elixir of Nostalgia: Reading Annie Proulx’s “What Kind of Furniture Would Jesus Pick”

  •  Xiaojuan Liu    


This essay attempts to interpret contemporary American Writer, Annie Proulx’s short story “What Kind of Furniture Would Jesus Pick,” included in Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories II. Applying related historical, sociological, and cultural data and researches, the essay approaches the story by close reading. By exploring the protagonist, Gilbert’s quest for the past values and ethics of the Old West in the contemporary world, this essay presents Proulx’s ambiguous attitude towards those who abides to the old values, despite the sweeping changes. The author argues that Proulxhas shown her views of the oft-discussed issue—nostalgia or progress—in literature, and brought it to a new and profound existential level—a to-be or not-to-be business. At the same time, Proulx has deconstructed American “dime novels” and exposed the delusive nature of this Old West inheritance. Being criticized to be the “new voice”of American Western literature, Proulx has revived the Western fiction and enriched its connotation.

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  • ISSN(Print): 1925-4768
  • ISSN(Online): 1925-4776
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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