relying on my well used edition of USA, i decided to create the main characters that appear throughout the trilogy. dos passos interspersed these fictional characters with his stream of consciousness writing and headlines pulled from the time (1930s). i used mostly old photographs from my collection, and a few from the library of congress as a base for these “paintings”. i am listing below the characters with the ipad painting so you can see them in their original form.

john dos passos

A social revolutionary, Dos Passos came to see the United States as two nations, one rich and one poor. He wrote admiringly about the Industrial Workers of the World, and the injustice in the criminal convictions of Sacco and Vanzetti. He joined with other notable figures in the United States and Europe in a failed campaign to overturn their death sentences. In 1928, Dos Passos spent several months in Russia studying socialism. He was a leading participant in the April 1935 First Americans Writers Congress sponsored by the Communist-leaning League of American Writers, but he eventually balked at the idea of the control that Joseph Stalin, leader of the Soviet Union, would have on creative writers in the United States.

His major work is the U.S.A. trilogy, comprising The 42nd Parallel (1930), 1919 (1932), and The Big Money (1936). Dos Passos used experimental techniques in these novels, incorporating newspaper clippings, autobiography, biography, and fictional realism to paint a vast landscape of American culture during the first decades of the 20th century. Though each novel stands on its own, the trilogy is designed to be read as a whole. Dos Passos’ political and social reflections in the novel are deeply pessimistic about the political and economic direction of the United States, and few of the characters manage to hold onto their ideals through the First World War. The novel reflects the author’s sympathy, at the time of writing, for the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and his outrage at its suppression, for which the book expresses a deep grudge for President Woodrow Wilson.


daughter (anne elizabeth trent) – a spirited texas belle and volunteer nurse

margo dowling – luscious, ambitious and uninhibited young hollywood actress

ben compton – a law student and labor activist/revolutionary

charley anderson – a gullible, good-natured mechanic and flying ace

richard ellsworth savage – a harvard graduate, employee of moorehouse

mary french – journalist and labor activist, the daughter of an idealist doctor

mac (fainy mccreary) – a wandering printer, train-hopping newspaperman, and a crusader for the working man

joe williams – a rugged, slow-witted sailor, brother of janey williams

janey williams – a young stenographer from washington, d.c. (assistant to moorehouse)

j. ward moorehouse – a slick, unscrupulous marketing man

eveline hutchins – artist and interior decorator, eleanor stoddard’s protege

eleanor stoddard – a cold, haughty young social climber

info on characters from wikipedia