By Theophilus Savvas (auth.)
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Extra resources for American Postmodernist Fiction and the Past
This was what I’d been planning to do all along! ’ (italics in original, Public Burning 437). His act then slips from being the moral turning point of the book, to being the locus of the novel’s greatest tragedy, for, by fashioning this scene as the (inevitable) culmination of a romantic movie, Nixon shears the move of both its moral impetus and political import, and reverts to playing a scripted role. Nixon’s thought process returns to that of Six Crises, where the emphasis is not on the political possibilities inherent in the moral act, but one quite the opposite, where each political crisis provides an opportunity for personal gain.
Believing that Uncle Sam has selected ‘chosen ones’ who are destined to be incarnated with his spirit and become leaders of the country, Nixon sees himself as being committed to ‘some higher purpose, some larger script as it were’ (Public Burning 54). Here, then, Nixon’s political views are redolent of Isaiah Berlin’s vision of teleology as set out in his seminal essay on historical inevitability. For Berlin, ‘teleology is not a theory, or a hypothesis, but a category or framework in terms of which everything is, or should be, conceived and described’.
We were more like mirror images of each other, familiar opposites. Left-right, believer-nonbeliever, city-country, accused-accuser, maker-unmaker’, for as they grew up, ‘he [Julius] moved to the fringe as I moved to the center’ (Public Burning 137). In fact Nixon’s empathy, and his self-confessed similarity, serves to reinforce the notion that a historical novel will tell a dual story, the surface one, concerning the past events related and the deeper one, which illuminates the time at which the book is written.
American Postmodernist Fiction and the Past by Theophilus Savvas (auth.)