(Masterpieces of American Literature)

In The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan, the second novel of the trilogy, Farrell continues the saga. Though the title mentions Studs’s “young manhood,” Farrell depicts his protagonist as a boy in search of manhood. When he and some friends try to enlist in the Army, the recruiter advises them to “get your diapers pinned on,” and when he attempts a holdup, his intended victim states, “Son, you better put that toy away.” Even when Studs is in his twenties, Lucy tells him that he is “just like a little boy,” an image at odds with his created persona.

The self-doubt, fear, and identity problems first mentioned in Young Lonigan are developed in greater detail in the second novel: “He was a hero in his own mind. He was miserable.” As he ages, Studs seems more uncertain of his identity; he sees himself as Lonewolf Lonigan, Yukon Lonigan (an image inspired by a film), and K.O. Lonigan (a boxer), then as Pig Lonigan and Slob Lonigan as his self-pity increases. Studs seems to fear being “found out”; his tough-guy facade crumbles when he is outfought by young Morgan. Although Studs occasionally feels “mushy” when he dates Lucy, his coarse “outer” nature again destroys their relationship, and his contempt for his social-climbing sisters really marks his own sense of inferiority.

While he continues to focus on Studs, Farrell gives his second novel more sociopolitical context than he had included in...

(The entire section is 443 words.)


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Branch, Edgar M. James T. Farrell. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1963.

Branch, Edgar M. James T. Farrell. New York: Twayne, 1971.

Branch, Edgar M. Studs Lonigan’s Neighborhood and the Making of James T. Farrell. Newton, Mass.: Arts End Books, 1996.

Fanning, Charles. “Death and Revery in James T. Farrell’s O’Neill-O’Flaherty Novels.” In The Incarnate Imagination: Essays in Theology, the Arts, and Social Sciences, in Honor of Andrew Greeley, edited by Ingrid H. Shafer. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1988.

Fried, Lewis F. Makers of the City. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1990.

Landers, Robert K. An Honest Writer: The Life and Times of James T. Farrell. San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2004.

Pizer, Donald. “James T. Farrell and the 1930’s.” In Literature at the Barricades: The American Writer in the 1930’s, edited by Ralph F. Bogardus and Fred Hobson. University: University of Alabama Press, 1982.

Pizer, Donald. Twentieth-Century American Literary Naturalism: An Interpretation. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1982.

Smith, Gene. “The Lonigan Curse.” American Heritage 46 (April, 1995): 150-151.

Twentieth Century Literature: A Scholarly and Critical Journal 22 (February, 1976).

Wald, Alan M. James T. Farrell: The Revolutionary Socialist Years. New York: New York University Press, 1978.