Richard Ford's Frank Bascombe as an American Everyman

  • Rubén Peinado Abarrio Universidad de Oviedo
Keywords: cultural identity, national myths, Americanness, contemporary narrative, US literature


The autodiegetic narrator of Richard Ford’s Frank Bascombe trilogy –The Sportswriter (1986), Independence Day (1995) and The Lay of the Land (2006)– has been labelled by critics and commentators as a US everyman. Likewise, the character itself self-fashions as a common person able to embody significant cultural ideals and myths associated with the culture and history of the United States. Based on these considerations, the present article discusses and questions the representative qualities of this epitome of a mainstream version of Americanness. Frank Bascombe is a white, male, heterosexual, middle-class citizen in a regionally, ethnically and culturally diverse nation. Therefore, his self-assigned role as a common person repeatedly clashes with the social reality of the United States and at the same time leaves him yearning for a strong personality of his own.