[lit-ideas] Bum literature

  • From: andy amago <aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 15 May 2004 09:37:15 -0400 (GMT-04:00)

I was driving along the other day listening to oldies.  The song was King of 
the Road by Roger Miller about the drifter.  While neither demonizing nor 
glorifying the difter, the song nevertheless ascribed no redeeming qualities to 
him at all.  In the many "traveling songs" or road literature such Kerouac 
(sp?) one gets the sense that these are young, ultimately upwardly mobile 
people going through a phase or searching for the perfect wave, etc..  Likewise 
in Don Quixote the protagonist is on a mission.   Roger Miller, however, is 
singing about an out and out bum.  I wondered at that point about other bum 
literature.  Not the Joe Hill-type high minded working class but unredeemed 
bums.   The only character I can think of is the Ratzo Rizzo character from 
Midnight Cowboy.  Possibly Huckleberry Finn and Jim, who drift fairly 
aimlessly.  Is there, in fact, a literature around the dregs of society?  
Trainspotting perhaps (the movie)?


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