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This chapter interprets how attitudes toward prison become increasingly important to the dramatic tension of the final episodes of The Sopranos. The methodology of this study will combine a contextualized understanding of the period 1999–2007 (the duration of The Sopranos) as a time of multifaceted flux in the United States, with a close reading of how divergent ideas about prison offer new and valuable insights. In doing so, it shows how the central character Tony Soprano and his attitudes toward imprisonment are constructed within and against genre expectations. This chapter makes the case for differing ideas toward prison, reflecting a reimagining of the screen gangster with a particular focus on the evolving character of Tony Soprano.
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- Incarceration as a Dated Badge of Honor: The Sopranos and the Screen Gangster in a Time of Flux