- Diverse Suburbias | Alluvium
- Melvil Decimal System: 813.509
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- From Indistinction to Irony
Jurca's selection of texts is salutary.
Those works reveal the love-hate relation that Americans have with tract housing and developments. Seldom studied, those novels become meaningful when assembled within a paradigm of suburban literature. Collectively they address home decorating and prefabrication, land speculation and restlessness. Jurca's study has the enormous benefit of suggestibility; her insights move beyond a single text to general cultural patterns of anomie and middle-class dread.
Suburban anguish can also be located among returning G.
Diverse Suburbias | Alluvium
Using proceeds from his Tarzan books, Burroughs developed a suburb called Tarzana in the San Fernando Valley in the s that was restricted to Caucasian owners. Especially in her analysis of Wright's Native Son , Jurca makes acute statements about race and housing. Drawing on Chicago sociologists, she demonstrates how Wright critiques ownership and place.
Ironically, a prison cell might be the one spot on earth where Bigger Thomas, the black protagonist of Native Son , can expect to have a room of his own, free from white reprisals. If identity arises from owning a suburban home, white suburbs provide a place for Anglo-Saxons to imagine themselves as extraordinary. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford.
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Melvil Decimal System: 813.509
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It is one of our greatest fears to find we are not unique or autonomous. Filmmakers often mine these fears over sameness by casting villains as soulless, black-spectacled government agent-types, one interchangeable with the next.
Or, more callously, they flash images of identical twins in an attempt to elicit some visceral terror. It can strike a deep nerve to gaze upon the loss of distinction. We shudder. Their economic comfort does not prevent us from feeling for these suburban characters; we relate all too well to the dual struggles for belonging and individual identity.
From Indistinction to Irony
The important thing, always, was to remember who you were. But this is what so much literature is about: yearning for something beyond the material. And in the case of the suburban novel, identity. Even in books where there is a mortal danger to the protagonists, they have something more at stake. Living is not enough.