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This paper considers the processes by which characters actively affect change that is registerable and demonstrative over the course of a narrative. In Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, insight emerges as an influential thematic which triggers and determines the change that is possible for the three Lambert children by widening narrow perspectives, highlighting Franzen’s commitment to processes of the mind by which his characters seek to know and understand the world and their relationship to that world more completely. The importance of insight strengthens the opposition of critics like Rachel Greenwald Smith who believe the novel strengthens the “affective hypothesis” in fiction whereby individuals engineer their own feelings and emotions in such a way as to confirm neoliberal agendas that privilege the subject over networks (Smith 2). Attention to the specific peculiarities of insight in this novel, however, reveals the community strengthening potential of psychological change wrought by a strong commitment to “see[ing] the world differently” (Franzen 305).


insight, Franzen, change, subjectivity, Foucault, affect