Roberto Arlt is acknowledged as a seminal figure in the development of the theater and novel in Argentina; in his treatment of madness and the uncertainties of external reality; and in his use of shifting point of view and internal monologue. The seven madmen in the book of that title organize a secret society to be financed by a chain of brothels, with the purpose of changing society. At the same time, each of them pursues his own special fixation. Against this background, the protagonist pursues his own existential search for meaning. Arlt's work is a perceptive comment both on the role of the individual in modern society and society's destructive effects on that individual. Arlt is one of Argentina's first major urban writers, with a special focus on the immigrant petite bourgeoisie.