Studs Lonigan

Studs Lonigan is a story about a young Irishman living in Chicago known as William Studs Lonigan. Growing up in the early twentieth century, he appears to be a moral failure. Despite trying hard to act tough, Studs leads an empty existence. As he despises everyone who has succeeded more than him, he only thinks of drinking, women, and having a good time. Studs falls into a group of hooligans and hangs out with them. Together they consume a lot of alcohol that is beyond excess (James, 1993). He is a man who struggles to find the right path in his life. He envies those who have succeeded and also questions most of the decisions he makes. Studs’s behavior contrasts that of his father, Patrick Lonigan. Studs Lonigan later dies due to double-pneumonia.

The author brings out the character of Studs Lonigan as a tragic hero. Studs does not appear to be a smart young man as depicted by the fact that he decided to discontinue his education and does not go past St. Patrick’s; his Irish-Catholic middle school. Notably, Studs Lonigan’s early life starts with him being kind and helpful to the people around him. However, things change as he grows older, life hits him hard and he realizes he cannot win. As much as he would like to be himself, it seems the Irish-Catholic society of the time teaches him the traditional traits characterized in men; hard, unemotional, and tough (James, 1993).


Studs Lonigan appears to be a mixture of realism and naturalism. The authors brings out the dark and depressing world that a young boy as Studs Lonigan lives in. it is easy for one to sympathize with Studs at times, or even despise when he does wrong. However, his life is what people could always associate with. For example, as the Great Depression begins to bite, his life gets more badly. The author also brings out a number of feelings through Studs. The author depicts the complexities, as well as contradictions, from the Irish-Catholic school as Studs is shown reflecting a number of times about the Irish-Catholic religion. In the later book of Studs Lonigan, the author describes life during the period of the Great Depression. The Lonigan family experiences a lot of troubling times. Patrick Lonigan, Stud’s father, begins to feel the weight of hard times as depression hits hard upon him. His painting business starts to fail, a business he had established by his own sweat. Studs Lonigan also experiences the effects of the Great Depression when the market keeps on falling (James, 1993). Notably, he had invested most of the money he had saved in the stock market.

In conclusion, Studs Lonigan is a story that can be put into various realistic situations. The story is about a young boy who is unable to live up to expectations and face the hardships of life. As much as he tries to work hard, the forces of life overpower him. As Studs dies in the end, the tale becomes a depressing one by the fact that, his death brings Stud close to happiness more than anything that life had to offer when he was alive. The story does not suggest ways in which Studs Lonigan could escape his hard life. The story tends to show despair; life appeared to be cruel to most of the characters in the book. It seems that, ignorance and the lack of spirituality, are what wreck havocs upon the lives of most individuals in the early years of the twentieth century. Furthermore, his failing health, the Great Depression, and turbulent times make the situation worse as Lonigan realizes things have changed tremendously and he cannot keep up anymore. He was not as strong as he used to be.

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