California History: A Tour of the State through Three Novels

California is the nation's largest state. Within its borders it encompasses many contradictions and offers different modalities of life. The idea of an 'alternative lifestyle' may have been coined in California, but clearly there is more than one alternative offered by the state. Even the state's stereotypes, such as the 'outdoorsy' person, or the beatnik who distains social conventions, or the Pacific Rim immigrant who needs to make a new social and economic future for him or herself within the state, are diverse in their nature. California exemplifies the vastness of the American dream in imagination and financial growth.

The one connecting element between all of these stereotypes, and indeed between all of the fictional individuals that embody them over the course of Helen Hunt Jackson's novel Ramona, Jack Keota's quasi-autobiographical The Dharma Bums, and the more recent Picture Bride...
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