There is an interesting piece in the NYT asking why literary writers have stopped writing about ambition, the desire to move up, get ahead, succeed. It's actually an interesting point, but I think the author's own answer to the question is absurd. Why did we stop writing about Horatio Alger? Is it cynicism that one has little control over one's success? Is it an embarrassment of some kind? And didn't the Goats or the Babies once have a thread about the lack of novels about poor people? Perhaps the issues are related.