Nelson Algren from The Paris Review interview.
I didn’t have any particular theory about what I ought to do. Living in a very dense area, you’re conscious of how the people underneath live, and you have a certain feeling toward them—so much so that you’d rather live among them than with the business classes. In a historical sense, it might be related to an idea, but you write out of—well, I wouldn’t call it indignation, but a kind of irritability that these people on top should be so contented, so absolutely unaware of these other people, and so sure that their values are the right ones. I mean, there’s a certain satisfaction in recording the people underneath, whose values are as sound as theirs, and a lot funnier, and a lot truer in a way. There’s a certain overall satisfaction in kind of scooping up a shovelful of these people and dumping them in somebody’s parlor.