Californian author William T. Vollmann (born 1959) is interested in marginalized groups and individuals from all over the world. Vollmann?s interests in morality are similar to those of Henry David Thoreau. Therefore, Thoreau?s challenge, ?Be not simply good ? be good for something,? serves as a guideline for this dissertation. What are Vollmann?s writings good for, if the author states that he does not offer any solutions to social problems?Using personal conversations with the writer, this dissertation discusses Vollmann?s work in a broad context and hopes to provide impulses with its cultural-philosophical investigation of the human condition. I consult the theories of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud as well as cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, particularly Freud?s notions of the love drive and the death drive and Becker?s amendments to these theories. Vollmann?s research is examined with Roland Girtler?s methods of qualitative research, which were also used for the practical component of my work. I write about the Tenderloin District in San Francisco as I encountered it in short periods of time in the years 2007 and 2008, where I conversed with homeless people, pimps, pushers, and prostitutes. Community and social well-being are also discussed in connection with my experiences in Mali I Robit in Albania. My participative observations serve as a commentary about Vollmann?s thoughts on social interaction and as an illustration of the Freudian ideas mentioned in the dissertation.Vollmann?s ?immortality project? (Becker) and those of members of the cited marginalized groups are also discussed. That Vollmann attributes great importance to a poetic language, in conjunction with the general need for a mythology, shows why Vollmann?s work is ?good for something?.