2015 Student Research Conference:
28th Annual Student Research Conference

A Quixotic Antihero in New Orleans: The Idealist's Role in Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces
William S. Campbell
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

The importance of the "Idealist" archetype and why epic stories cannot be told without one as a primary focus is illuminated in A Confederacy of Dunces. The story's brightly clothed and obese protagonist, Ignatius J. Reilly, and the misadventures associated with his doomed job-hunt through New Orleans serve as the primary example of this integral archetype. The author of this paper notes that using a nonsensical / aberrant protagonist limits the necessity of typical dynamic interaction, and therefore unnecessary character development, as these would merely distract the reader from the satirical intentions of the work. By referring to Don Quixote, Gulliver's Travels, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and their namesake protagonists, the inherent value of the "Idealist's" usage in satirical writing is made apparent. This paper will bring to light the type of protagonist required to fabricate a satirical epic.

Keywords: The Idealist, Archetype, John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces, Epic Story, Don Quixote, Gilgamesh, Gulliver's Travels


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 103-3
Location: VH 1224
Time: 8:30

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