Historical Context

Organized Crime
Mario Puzo has said that he wrote The Godfather as a compendium of tales about criminals that he heard...

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Literary Style

Throughout most of the book, there is no particular antagonist to create dramatic tension in the story. The Corleone...

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Literary Techniques

It is neither the narrative presence of Vito Corleone nor an identification of the narrative point of view with his view which unifies the...

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Bibliography and Further Reading

Axthelm, Pete, "Happy Families," in Newsweek, March 10, 1969, pp. 69-70.

Barra, Allen, "The...

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(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Cawelti, John G. “The Godfather and the Literature of Crime.” In Adventure, Mystery, and Romance: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976. Argues that Don Vito is the archetype of a new myth of crime that views the criminal as a tycoon, not a sinner or sociopath.

Ferraro, Thomas J. “Blood in the Marketplace: The Business of Family in The Godfather.” In The Invention of Ethnicity, edited by Werner Sollors. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Argues that the novel’s success is based on a denial that ethnic groups succeed by assimilating. Reviews academic criticism...

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Compare and Contrast

1940s: American support for American involvement in World War II is overwhelmingly strong. The Godfather's anger that his son enlisted...

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Topics for Further Study

Conduct a mock trial of Michael Corleone for the shooting of Virgil Sollozzo and Captain Mark McCluskey. Have legal teams from each side...

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Literary Precedents

The Godfather displays little narrative originality other than in its skillful amalgamation of elements of popular fictional genres....

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Related Titles

The fact that Mario Puzo did not follow up the success of The Godfather with another novel continuing the story of the Corleone family...

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The extraordinary success of the motion picture version of The Godfather, which was released in 1972 and won the Best Picture Academy...

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Media Adaptations

The Godfather was adapted as a film by Francis Ford Coppola in 1972. Starring Marlon Brando as the Godfather, Al Pacino as Michael,...

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What Do I Read Next?

Puzo is often considered to have been a serious, artistic writer before he "went commercial" with the publication of The Godfather....

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