The Flamethrowers Literary Analysis

Words: 1716
Pages: 7

Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers was written in 2013, flipping between two timelines; one in 1917 Italy, and the other in 1970’s New York. The 1970 timeline follows a female artist, known as Reno, as she moves to New York after graduating from art school and befriends other artists. The 1917 timeline follows a man named Valera, a soldier in WWI who creates the Moto Valera motorcycles. One of the major issues in the book is how the women are treated. The Flamethrowers portrays women in the 20th century as expected to follow along with whatever the men say to do and not ask questions.
Without getting into the content, the way the book is written itself shows that women in the twentieth century were somehow less than men. As Natasha Lewis says
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Reno is on her way to the salt flats to race her Moto Valera motorcycle when she decides to stop for the night at a motel. Even though all of the signs say there is no vacancy, she chooses to go inside one anyway. After she is told by the front desk girl that all of the rooms are full, a boy comes out and says that he is the owner’s son and may be able to help her. He then tells her “I can’t promise anything, but why don’t we go have a drink up the street at the casino and talk about it” (Kushner, p. 15). He implies to Reno that if she agrees to get drinks and sleep with him then he will let her stay there for the night. Even after she has refused him he stills insists on having a drink with her. It is clear he is not accustomed to being turned down. This supports my claim that The Flamethrowers portrays women to be expected to follow the men around because the boy thinks Reno will agree just because he says so and is not happy when he gets turned …show more content…
Valera, the founder of the Moto Valera company in early twentieth century Italy. The Flamethrowers covers many different issues, but one of the major issues is that it portrays the women in the twentieth century to be somewhat below the men in standing. They were supposed to follow around the men and do as they say like a good little trophy wife. This is shown by how Valera talks about women, how Sandro treats Reno, how Ronnie has a girl on ‘layaway’, how the ‘Motherfuckers’ saw women as only good for cooking, cleaning, and sex, and how Reno’s real name is never actually