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Children of Godard and Coca-Cola: Cinema and Consumerism in Don DeLillo's Early Fiction

Author(s): Mark Osteen
Source: Contemporary Literature, Vol. 37, No. 3 (Autumn, 1996), pp. 439-470
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1208717
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Contemporary Literature

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MARK OSTEEN

Children of Godard and Coca-Cola:
Cinema and Consumerism in Don DeLillo's
Early Fiction

Coming Attractions: Previews and Pretexts in the Early
Short Fiction

n an interview with Tom LeClair, novelist Don DeLillo was
asked the "great bar-mitzvah question"-to name some writers
who had influenced him. He eventually listed novels by Joyce,
Nabokov, Faulkner, and Malcolm Lowry, but his first response
was to cite not a novelist but a filmmaker: "Probably the movies of
Jean-Luc Godard had a more immediate effect on my early work than
anything I'd ever read" ("Interview" 25). While writing his little-read
first novel, Americana (1971), DeLillo kept in mind "The strong image,
the short ambiguous scene, the dream sense of some movies, the
artificiality, the arbitrary choices of some directors, the cutting and
editing. The power of images" ("Interview" 25). And indeed, the in-
fluence of film on the plot, narrative structures, and themes of Ameri-
cana is enormous, as the second part of this essay demonstrates.
DeLillo's debts to cinema are apparent throughout his work. For
example, his 1977 novel Players opens with a section called "The
Movie," which previews the action and introduces its main charac-
ters without naming them; the characters watch emotionlessly as a
group of terrorists guns down some golfers. Likewise, in the novel
proper, the protagonists, Lyle and Pammy Wynant, cannot experi-
ence emotions except through television or movies. After Pammy cal-
lously betrays the gay male couple with whom she has been living,
causing the death of one of them, she feels no grief until she watches
an old movie melodrama on television. At the end of the novel, she is
framed against the marquee of a hotel for transients, the star of her

Contemporary Literature XXXVII, 3 0010-7484/96/0003-439 $1.50
? 1996 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System

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440 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE

own private movie, now playing to an e
ning Dog (1978) concerns the pursuit
home movie of Hitler and his minions in the Fuhrerbunker in 1945.

The Hitler film inspires all manner of violent machinations and even-
tually comes to represent capitalism itself. Like DeLillo's acclaimed
novel Libra, both Players and Running Dog use cinematic crosscutting
to generate meaning through montagelike juxtapositions. More im-
portantly, both early novels thematize the effects that cinematic
representation exerts on subjectivity, suggesting that film has con-
tributed to a commodification of consciousness that turns human

agents "into actors doing walk-throughs" (DeLillo, "Art" 301).
But the specific influence of Godard first appears in three uncol-
lected early short stories-"Coming Sun. Mon. Tues.," "Baghdad
Towers West," and "The Uniforms"-which not only demonstrate
DeLillo's debt to avant-garde cinema but also function as previews
for DeLillo's later work, introducing situations, characters, and
scenes that he later expands and reuses. Presaging DeLillo's novels,
these stories also forecast the coming attractions and dangers of
postmodern culture that DeLillo anatomizes so brilliantly in his nov-
els: the effacement of historical consciousness; dehumanization by
institutions and technology; the "power of the image" to shape hu-
man subjectivity and to blur the differences between reality and
representations; the totalizing effects of consumer capitalism.
The title of "Coming Sun. Mon. Tues." imitates a marquee adver-
tising coming attractions, as if the story were the plot outline of an
upcoming movie. And indeed, with its vague characterizations and
detached point of view, the story resembles nothing so much as a
film scenario or "treatment." The title is followed by excerpts from
an imaginary review by "The Times," calling it a "social document"
about "The bitterness and urgency of today's rebellious youth" ("Com-
ing" 391). Published in 1966 in the "Briefer Comment" section of
Kenyon Review, the story possesses an essayistic quality that typifies
much of DeLillo's later work, which features articulate characters
speaking mini-essays in tersely elegant prose. The essaylike format
of this early story also echoes the practices of Godard, who has
called himself "an essayist, producing essays in novel form or nov-
els in essay form: only instead of writing, I film them" (Godard,
"Marginal Notes" 171). One of those cinematic essays was the socio-

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" as the "rev dard. Although told in a single paragraph. These shifts are not jump cuts. the which everyone speaks the revolutionary ca car. they fight. self-refle making. It is either of Montmartre" [391]).jstor. The story es ment for a studied objectivity and neutr ments simply by "then". and she goes home to her boy visits a bar where he sees his father wit mother. d hemian. and remarks on the nature of o graph functions similarly as both a preview tive and as Godardian self-commentary.95 on Tue.org/terms .233. as Douglas Keesey c mentary on the story (205): jump cuts excise sections of This content downloaded from 101. a pollster and lukewarm Marxist.81. the boy is sent to jail (apparently fo sure). whic Paul. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. Along with its film intersperses political placards and de incongruent episodes of violence. DeLillo foregrounds the collaboration dience in making meaning. leine. th who "tells them to come back next Tuesd halfheartedly to get a job and fails. Finally the couple reunite and deci sketchy outline may seem unfair to the sto does little more to flesh out the action or ch as if through a telephoto lens. inv responses against its description: will it be " and "somewhat controversial. inexplicably shifts from scene to scene. It depicts a stereotyp ing youthful things-window-shopping. a budding pop singer. The plot of the story is quite complicated only four pages long. as i nists' disjointed sense of time and causality 1. When the girl gets pregnant. O S T E E N 441 logical study-cum-romantic comedy Masc about the same time as DeLillo's story. remains vague abo wich Village or the West Side. perhaps to imply an al perhaps simply to reflect the vagueness of tions.

DeLillo's Godardian strate for these young people will be an etern tion and consumer fulfillment in w been supplanted by endless mirror DeLillo's 1968 story "Baghdad Towers than the other two stories I am consid about postmodern culture and its prev are just as striking. Unless otherwise noted.org/terms . the b image made in the image and likenes able to see himself only when reflecte of glass. 39 the prescripted defiance of movie teen cinematic models are clearly exhibited movie theater looking at a poster of mimicking the scene in Breathless wh of Humphrey Bogart in The Harder scene in Americana. This content downloaded from 101.2 Like Bell. as if in a dream larly in his fantasy films (for example gree throughout his oeuvre.95 on Tue. each poral disjunctions but do not generally operate b dard is famous for popularizing the use of the jum 2. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. The story conc comes to rent an apartment in a bu West from three young women. illus images that has shaped-or misshape distancing devices place the charact events occur at once. At the end of the story th distorted fun house mirrors (394). when protagonist Bell looks "at the poster of Belmondo poseful Bogart" (287). cuts ou in order to speak "in a purer present pression of an action continually begin puts it (257). 442 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE Some of the story's events-the car seem to have been derived from Go Jean-Paul Belmondo's Michel in that looks at himself in the mirror (392.jstor. all citations from Ame rather than from the 1973 paperback edition. A the full text of the novel as originally published.233.81.

. the narrator's identity is drawn from classic Hol- lywood features. This content downloaded from 101.. In one of his best-known placards in Masculin feminin. Robin: "I want to model. . All my life I've wanted to act. Marlon. . Ravi and Papa" (196-97).81. Ike. as the three women speak to the narrator "as if [he] were interviewing them for a profile in Look magazine" (200). I want to be high fashiony" (200). they have pinned photos of "Bogie. not the urbane Cary Grant about to trade quips with Rosalind Russell [in His Girl Friday]. Doom. a film clip unreels in his mind: "But I knew I was not the young Jimmy Stewart ('I'll lick you yet New York') fresh from the midwest. While the women's responses all seem prescripted from contem- porary pop culture. . Doom is my medium" (200)..jstor. . "Baghdad Towers West" borrows this technique. I am committed to junk. and thu "interviews" in which the respondent era as another character-sometimes Paul.95 on Tue.. Caroline: "I sculpt. Godard dubs his characters "children of Marx and Coca-Cola" for their uneasy alle- giance both to leftist politics and to pop-cultural images.. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. . Marilyn. in fact. sometimes one of his interlocutors-asks questions from off-screen. Paul is c condition of French youth. Give me sparkplugs. nobody" (198). Maytag washers. Today all beauty is apocalyptic and it demands new forms for its expression ...233. Ringo. His "sorties into the midst of the Pepsi Generation" (204) send him to a club called Moloch... I want to wear long vicious boots. ... .. The women in DeLillo's story have a similarly mixed genealogy: over their beds. I was. Doom. Th DeLillo's use of architectural motifs a ation in Players. Melinda Bird: "I want to act. the teeth of combs.. where the World nists' boxlike apartment suggest their of the story is a virtual replay of a sce Paul temporarily stays in the apartm two other young women.. I like to walk up and down Broad- way and look at the lights and at the fabulous people" (201). Stokely. ele which the angel of death pushes a vac wolves are schnauzers" (198-99). As he first gazes up at the building. OST E E N 443 a field of pop culture.org/terms . jet engines. Lurleen.. A place with promises "a new kind of mystery.

o myself" (205). This content downloaded from 101. suffering o for Madeleine. The narr solitude prefigures the ascetic quests o tagonists.233. a bardment of images and observation. Glen Selvy of Running Dog. Putting the Everybody's on camera" (Running Dog ubiquitous camera eye is not security.95 on Tue..jstor... that "generation by models reality: a hyperreal" (Baudrillard 166)." culture has become a Bau simulacra... Th he is constantly performing.. and Shaver Steven player in DeLillo's pseudonymous nov der the name Cleo Birdwell). even when imagines "the eerie kind of backgroun cock films to indicate that Gregory Peck Slowly withdrawing into sleep. which was myself.org/terms . in Rob poses as "flashbulbs hiss and explode an nioni emerges from the darkness and Melinda Bird's he finds himself on-sta ern version of Peter Pan" (207). They're lookin pictures. At the end of the aforemen women's apartment.444 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE where "The spectators seated at tables ing the spectators watching the dancers" Mon.. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. you're film store. th "something new.81. he plunges even deeper. His dreams are dictated bed he has apocalyptic dreams. you're filmed. Everywhere. guards to put him "on permanent secu over the apartment even when he is ther security replicates the postmodern pa ning Dog: "Go into a bank. Tues. His love o feminin. But after being rebuffed for clumsily the women. apostrophizes sleep "w ing it to "free me a moment from myse a similar retreat from self-awareness. including Bucky Wunderlick. Paul. of Great Jones Street (1973).

95 on Tue.233. is displayed as disregard for traffic laws as by their plan t 3. trol as an emblem of what John Orr calls " Thus the corruption of Corinne and Rola protagonists of the film. a consists of riding the elevators autistically f in Players. Balenciaga. the odd sad what I found was sheer terror. and its terrifyi cannibalistic near future. God bile as the embodiment of the bourgeoisie. Like this narrator. he is both drenched in fear and the apocalypse as a way both to purge his dread and to b For a more detailed examination of DeLillo's treatmen This content downloaded from 101. I would wak ing. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. and yet I could not remember a single Even earlier. Weekend (1967). In this film.org/terms . through t fog. OST E E N ? 445 and paranoia so total that even slumber b The narrator's tranquility thus soon gives w ror and dread that presages the nebulous Jack Gladney: "From bed to bed I went. version of the narrator's "empty box withi domain safe from the hordes and colossal t the narrator's radio: "From my seat in the the entire metropolitan area.3 In this story DeLillo envisions the future the paralyzed narrator nor even to the you none of whom end up attaining their dr Ulysses. the dispirited fourth grader who s goals ("If I try to achieve a goal that's simp I'm bound to be disappointed" [208-9]). to bring about t ing that he most fears. elevators are represented as "pla note the emptiness of their inhabitants. with its famous shot of a huge traffic jam. his serenity was accompanie whole thing on fire" (211). It is a scene of unbelievable terror an This vision of an automotive apocalyps dard film.jstor.81. DeLillo develops this paradoxical impulse most tho which protagonist Gary Harkness channels his alienatio caust. for the Barrymores.

DeLillo's "The Uniforms" (1970) is essentially a gloss on Weekend.jstor. character development. but also upon the conventions of classic cinema such as linear plot. of course cannibal. stripped of their car. the work is an attempt to hammer and nail my own frame around somebody else's movie." But their journey toward O from "advanced savagery to prim jacked. as he admits in an appendix to a reprint of the story: "I consider this piece of work a movie as much as anything else .org/terms . After a wild drive.. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. In short. and ult gang of roving. structural and visual continuity. perh as well. "they're only imag more than that ourselves. th lantly burn. B the loss of her Hermees handbag." These p merely gimmicks. they dramatize the bourgeoisie live an imaginary edged exploitation of workers and rands' "freedom is violence"-merel rism.' made of course by the mock-illustrious Jean-Luc Godard" (Appendix 532-33).233. The movie in question is 'Weekend.. that her meal merely litera which has always defined her and merely enable the Durands to act out geois trappings. thus marking the end o as Roland says. But so is he: Godard conceives of his films as terrorist acts-as what Robert Stam terms a "theoretical rifle" or a series of "guerrilla raids" (179. 259)-not only upon capitalism and bourgeois culture. At the end of the film Cori made of English tourists and. whose radio code names of classic cinema (in one scene "Bat Searchers") and whose slogan is "th only be overcome by more horror. Th ing Rousseau and Emily Bronte. the rinne screams. apparently in pain. The implication.95 on Tue." vide. cannibalistic-an olutionaries. 446 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE their money. for Goda selves terrorists. Some of his This content downloaded from 101..81.

their debates about the meaning of history are really arguments about historical films: they don't care about the righteousness of the bombing of Hiroshima.81. the story is even more plotless than Weekend. It follows that one of their final actions (prefiguring the prologue of Players) is to slaughter a group of golfing "middle class This content downloaded from 101. Brad- ley. We have thrown off the shackles of black-and-white revisionism." When Roland an- swers "Johnson. is nicknamed Breathless (451). for one thing. In short. in imitation of the pig-slaughterin other scene. This inquisition reenacts a scene in Weekend in which the autoless Corinne and Roland are asked by passing motorists if they'd rather be "screwed by Mao or Johnson. the politics of DeLillo's revolutionaries are little more than a thin pretext for murder and rape. the perpetra- tors are even more clearly movie-mad: at the beginning.org/terms . But the story is no mere rehash of Godard's outrageous movie.. Moreover." the car drives off without them. another. The man who chooses the bananas is murdered (452-53). The past is just a film. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. DeLillo omits most of the cars and concentrates on the terrorists.jstor. their revolution- ary consciousness is a combination of fashion statement and film criticism: "the revolutionary uniform must be tight and spare . they rationalize that "the tank was full of products made by Dow Chemical" (453). has repeated flashbacks of a "soft-focus childhood" in which he sees himself running in slow motion (453).." who have shown that "tight dusty uniforms are most acceptable to the devour- ing eye of history and the camera" (454). Jean- Claude. We will shoot in color because color is the color of childhood fan- tasy" (454). they stop a car and ask the o eat bananas picked by oppressed worker full of tarantulas. As the question about bananas indicates. wars and war movies are the same thing. Thus their knowledge of the American Revolution and Civil War is derived solely from "the films of John Ford and John Huston. edits film clips of their previous attack. And while the dead- pan depiction of acts of violence mirrors Godard's film. one terror- ist. OSTE E N ? 447 borrowings are obvious: in one scene D (452).233.. Likewise. Hence after they kill the occupants of a tank and cut off their genitals. Yet another terrorist. Hassan.95 on Tue. but only about whether Alain Resnais "faked the film- clips of the bomb victims in [Hiroshima mon amour]" (455). lacking even the auto journey to give it shape.

and bandoliers. they are the products the verses Godard's association between terrorism and consumerism: whereas for Godard the bourgeoisie are terrorists.81. a Mau Mau shirt.95 on Tue. cf. If these terror This content downloaded from 101. as suggest when DeLillo's revolutionaries see "a film crew shooting a telev sion commercial for a movie about television" (455)." and "Patek-Philipp make sure to steal. Not only are victims. whose brand-name produc cigarette cases. it's that the collaboration of cinema and consumerism has blurred the distinction between commitment and celebrity.org/terms . But the relationship between the media and violence works both ways: the constant bombardmen of consciousness by images is itself a form of violence. DeLillo ha described contemporary violence as "a kind of sardonic response to the promise of consumer fulfillment" ("Outsider" 295). in addition. DeLillo's prescient vision of terrorist manipulation of the media anticipates the themes of Mao II and. it's not that the murderers are alienated from the glorious paradise they see advertised on TV rather. after perpetrati terrorists go window-shopping (454) obvious: these "revolutionaries" are claim to want to destroy. DeLillo tionaries focus almost entirely on th which each one carefully selects for t one wears a fez. more importantly. Players 7). Ironically. the media savvy of real-life terrorists. The story dramatizes DeLill by Steven Connor. unlike that of Libra's Oswald. another wears a moto cowhide vest. 448 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE white Protestants. In this case. a and track shoes.233. between the real and representations.jstor." apparently bec ("Uniforms" 456. Just as ism consists in the ability to arrang semble. it's not just that the terrorists are inauthentic. it's that violent acts have become just another way to obtain and embody the right brand image. for DeLillo th terrorists are bourgeois consumers. Moreover. that in postmode representations are not the promo products. however. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about.

But it asks whether "radical" techniques tics. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. As Godard has admitted. and closure. they Baudrillard has observed. OSTEEN * 449 ists' crimes are movie crimes. I simply tried to reverse mode of work as a legitimate challen (533). tential complicity of his own radica ism and violence.jstor. Mon. His challenge is most obviously stories that dispense with such strat plot. . "all hol now as it were simulation hold up inscribed in advance in the decodi the media. indeed. between image and identity.233. anticipated in their mo consequences" (179)."? The catatonic es- This content downloaded from 101. more dard's deadpan depiction of violenc and aesthetic radicalism and thereb violence. psychology. De Godard's vaunted revolution agains ventions is itself just fashion. he raises them aga logue that continues in novels suc White Noise. Tues. can one n violence without glorifying it? DeLi swered. Is it the apocalypse of Weekend? The aimless anomie of "Coming Sun. "Thousands of short stories movies. in other words.95 on Tue. All three of these stories interrogate the relationships between subjectivity and cinema. and. tacle . ." we playing at the local cinema" (459). M cinematic frame around this story. But if s with its neutral portrayal of equa same complicity? At the end of th writes.81. most recently. "The Uniform tinction as a terrorism of represent At the end of "The Uniforms. How.org/terms . between real and reel. the more one becomes imm destroy" (qtd. prompting disturbing questions about what is in store in the post-postmodern future. in Stam 182).

however. and discourses that have preceded and influenced him. Hoping to liberate himself. his greatest problem may be his awareness of belatedness-that his identity is not only composed of the psycho- logical patterns bequeathed him by his parents but also burdened by the immense weight of the cultural images. In fact. the protagonist and narrator of Americana. the network's mad memo-writer [21. displays the same schizophrenia about cinematic representation and consumer culture exhibited in Godard's films and in DeLillo's earlier fiction. DeL of any truly radical aesthetic of film frames around these pretextual film ments for the future that turn the c image makers. Of course.org/terms . Similarly. Bell's memoir lies within a long and illustrious literary history that goes back at least to Saint Augustine (whose City of God is quoted by Ted Warburton. "to what d consumer product?" "A Lesson in the Effect of Echoes": Interview and Intertext in Americana David Bell. 100-101]). in writing Bell's fictional life.95 on Tue. Bell's desires are contradictory: he wants both to discover and to destroy his own past.233. revises it by making it into a movie. texts. and then writes about it in the text we are reading. From the outset. a genuine passion.jstor. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. first-novelist Don DeLillo enters perhaps the most distinguished subgenre in the his- tory of the novel-the kunstlerroman. a core identity. 450 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE cape of "Baghdad Towers West"? In tween cinema and consumerism. as if to ask. a pastiche of the styles and techniques of previous filmmakers-particularly Jean-Luc Godard-that reveals nothing so much as the impossibility of com- This content downloaded from 101. Bell hopes to discover an authentic origin.81. Bell composes a work of art-an autobiographical film- that demonstrates both his talent and his limitations. Like other kunstlerroman heroes." Abandoning his high-profile career at a television network. He also continues the pattern of withdrawal begun by the narrator of "Baghdad Towers West. but that work is itself "a lesson in the effect of echoes" (58). Bell examines his past.

with "no echo for grief" (29).233. cons This content downloaded from 101.jstor. for the origin of his neurosis the images that have constructed him is f based upon an outmoded notion of orig longer recuperable in postmodern Ame demonstrates the inescapability of and cinematic and commercial images.81. And inherited images is accompanied by a m who resembles "a number of Hollywood st changeability" (93).org/terms . He escapes. the nove interview. and the shape-and fragment-postmodern subje lated and multiply framed film. the m Sully. David is thus torn between "the Bell system" (41) of mass communi from it (32). OSTE E N * 451 plete artistic originality. DeLillo ultimatel for originality. At his job with the TV network. Bell lost. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. an avant-garde sculptress who s mented (and now deceased) mother. with a surrogate family. At ti ing in one of those "dull morality tales ab adulteries" (20) in vogue during the 1950 The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (both 19 us at the network existed only on video t seemed to have a disturbingly elapsed the feeling that somebody's deadly pinky we would all be erased forever" (23). Part 2 of the novel interrupts the linear n which David recalls his adolescence and fa of his belatedness we are offered a mini-b in most respects the classic bildungsrom life in a provincial town (Old Holly). ostensibly to m the Navajos. Bell revels in his own at himself in the mirror and boasting of LeClair notes. as David's dialogue with him dialogue with postmodern culture. The series of "test patterns and shadows" (27 ages that are themselves unoriginal.95 on Tue.

This content downloaded from 101. however.org/terms . particularly Tom Rath. Lancaster/Warden substitutes for David's less satisfactory real father. 12). Warden is an unreachable ideal. and his identity has been shaped most powerfully by those "American pyramids" (12) Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas. through him David discovers "the true power of the image. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about.6 As Sergeant Warden in From Here to Eternity. which David. Unlike earlier bildungsroman protagonists. seemed "arranged for the whim of a camera" (30): most of their evenings out were devoted to attending films. Clinton has three children (two girls and a younger boy). and is haunted by his violent actions in World War II. narrates in 1999. and their sexual encounters "took their inspiration from cinema" (35). and father. "the icon of a new religion" at once private and mass-produced.5 These multiple echoes. big brother. A "blend of jump-cuts and soft-focus tender- ness" (37). strives to balance the demands of corporate and domestic life. But unlike Rath. 5. Lancaster is no echo. the exclusive college where he majored in film. movement to the city.jstor. always wearing "certain clothes to certain movies" (35). Perfectly synthesizing the roles of friend. themselves suggest the quixotic nature of David's quest to be free from the past. who also furnishes useful definitions and examples of these and other kinds of textual frames (44-58). it was "all there but the soundtrack" (36). 452 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE cation. Like Rath. the protagonist of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. Even Bell's brief marriage (presented in flashback in part 1) to a woman he met at Leighton Gage. a series multiply framed: framed intertext kunstlerroman tradition and by the " vious films that have helped to create as a tale-within-a-tale and hence is als narrative of Bell's later life that su frame around the entire novel." an image into which he dreams of being spliced (13. David's education is not literary but cinematic. I have borrowed these terms from Ian Reid.95 on Tue. 6. but "a crescendo of male perfection".233. alone on an island. fifty-five-year-old ad executive Clinton Bell. Clinton also echoes a number of popular fifties figures. Clinton conceives of his family as ad images mirroring those in his basement archive of videotaped TV commercials. Marianne Hirsch (296-300) and Jerome Buckley (17) provide helpful summaries of bildungsroman plot conventions. or frames within frames. which he reruns repeatedly in order to "find the common threads and nuances" in 4.81.

jstor. th mass-produced copies. David believes dream of the good life. designed and vid's dreams thus again exemplify B of the simulacrum. replacing the pers and trophies preserved by other midd cana. in which signs fol without reference or circumference" modity fetishism here reaches its ulti ships yield to relationships not betw images. in which ex notes. Bett The Sears. he also trade him in on a more upscale bran In his early years. Clin ful because he has "the right brand himself with stereotypical images f sellers. "can only appear to be 'alway mediated. and unitary identity bec because representations refer back o Paradoxically.233. A suggests. and expensive cologne (152). because the real is no longe authenticity. which encomp all people are said to want. OSTEEN * 453 those that have achieved "high te cultural artifacts. David aims to use cine beneath the representations that ha This content downloaded from 101. Consumer capitalism has en meaning and identity.org/terms . and available only through contradictory images and represent As Baudrillard writes. It was that complex" (130). Habitue of the Playboy Club and uars. materials they cast. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. Aunt Je the media were fed into the circuitry echoes. the problem possible. cinematic and commerc texts. But unlike the Divine Word.81. the pictures. One thinks of an image mad images. the words.95 on Tue." He buys "the institution placards. Roebuck catalog. Clinton has become a commo the commercial that is his life.

. Ann represents a with Clinton's commercialized world. a long unmanageable movie thing that's part of my life. . Thus very early in his journey (which Curtis). the literary versus the c popular culture. her body .81. Godard versus Coca-C mented psyche that David attempts to s Like his entire story. as narrator. David's film is m framed intratextually within the no through Bell. the psychological "darkne Ann. interpr Second.org/terms .. it stands as both artwork and "through" the cinematic text to appr even contains its own intratextual fr 7. an pression by the past. c kindling" (97). David conceives the idea for type film .. her breath . 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. inciting unresolved oedipal feelin ing out" party.. While his fa framework.. This content downloaded from 101.95 on Tue. Joyce's Ulysses. h pathology. dead grave: "her wasted body within its loose brown gr and rosewood. rewrit Dedalus.. because it is presented after w early life. a faint odour of we calls "the vast white silence of my mother's death mous eyes . who. 454 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE by re-presenting himself to himself.7 The conflict between Ann several conflicts in David-object of oe to that desire. comes to David filtered through echoe college (145).233." a work th if only to myself" (205-6).jstor. David anticipates an that extends "a promise of fantastic rel rupted by the sound of his father's feet cian Virginia heritage. In Ulysses Stephen envisions his mother. little more than ash. Molested by the family physician cer. she shared the story of her molest vid. the glue for his identity. . he sees her spitting on later that night.

claim that in- tertextuality is meaningful only insofar as specific intertexts can be found and juxtaposed with the text under consideration (see Riffaterre.. This "sig an intertextual mirror.. except fleetingly.95 on Tue..jstor. a plurality of other texts. more precisely. looking for specific allusions is pointless. whose novel frames David's film) intertextuality here approaches a Barthesian infinite regress in which even the self who approaches a text is "already . In this view. Shirley Clarke. The single camera position. O S T E E N 455 which fledgling actor Austin Wakely plays vid Bell with his back to a full-length mirr The length he chooses for the framing e "popular commercial length" (241)-betra as well as his own self-conception as a c cantly for my purposes.. The "infinite citationality" thesis.. I am claiming that identifying specific precursors is crucial for an adequate interpretation of DeLillo's novel. certain influences too . though intriguing and undoubtedly true in some sense. of codes which are infinite or. (263) Bell hopes that by addressing and incorporating these cinematic "ghosts and shadows" he can banish them and the psychic echoes that resound in his consciousness. a tissue of citations that is thereby one of a kind.8 Bell hopes to create what Der- rida calls an "iterable" text (315)-one simultaneously derivative and original.233. Mikl6s Jancs6. certain images that have stayed with me. Not quite autobiographical in the Jonas Mekas sense. I've said part movies. put between quotation marks" (Derrida 320). Ozu.org/terms . the film is also numerous films and filmmakers.. The Barthesian/Derridean version of intertextuality argues that "Every sign . my mirror image at any rate .81. The expressionless actor. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. . ... Ghosts and shadows everywhere in terms of technique. lost" (10).. That 8. This content downloaded from 101. The interview technique. "Syllepsis" 620 and "Compulsory" 76). leaves little for the practical critic to do. The anti-movie. It'll be part dream.. most notably Michael Riffaterre. By that I mean certain juxtaposi- tions of movies with reality. part fiction.. The shot extended to its ultimate limit in time. can be cited. Other theorists. part movies. For him (and for DeLillo. not exactly in the Hitchcock manner but a brief personal appearance nonetheless. Bresson. The monologue. reflecting both th tion of the film and the derivativeness that David describes to his friend Ken Wild: It's a sort of first-person thing but without me in it in any physical sense.

a film that movingly examines diminishing existence" (277) through two female protagonists.) Like Bresson and Jancso.9 Thus 9. especially in his use of "expres- sionless" or uninflected acting (Cook 542). This technique corresponds to a Zen concept called mu. in which the spaces be tween materials are conceived as an integral part of the work (Cook 795-96)." (Winter Wind [Sirokko. The film consists mostly of a series of interviews with actors play- ing figures from David's life. they re- spond to questions posed from off-screen. Instead of using alternating over-the-shoulder shots. in addition. which thereby assumes the point of view of the addressee. 1969]. Ozu often has his actors directly face the camera. uses only thirteen shots in its entire running time [Cook 705]. as do American directors.jstor. Like Bresson.org/terms . Indeed even watching an Ozu movie is a kind of Zen exercise. 456 ? CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE paradoxical condition is further im tress Carol Deming for segment 5 by (1966). his nearly dialogue-free narratives proceed with minimal camera movement ("the single camera position") to suggest the social conditions that trap the characters. his camera does not follow them but remains trained on the vacant room for several seconds. But Bresson is an acknowl- edged influence on Godard. Japanese film- maker Yasujiro Ozu mastered the long take and the static camera.95 on Tue. Most famously. Ozu understands and exploits the value of empty space: often when actors leave a room. for example. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. The technique places the viewer within the scene to share the intimacies of the characters. In most ways it is a very uncinematic movie and seems to bear little resemblance to the work of French filmmaker Robert Bresson. David is at feat-to split himself into interview take a dialogue with himself that w despite these dizzyingly complicated m tion of influences shows a yearning points us toward the techniques and t film.81. Hungarian filmmaker Miklos Jancso employs a very static camera. which he usually placed at about three feet high-the vantage point of a person sitting on a tatami mat. while also experimenting with "the shot extended to its ultimate limit in time.233. Facing the camera directly. as one must shift expectatio This content downloaded from 101.

quick cutting. film is not a window but a mirror. For both Bell and Clarke. Near the end of The Connection we glimpse the cameraman. re- flected in a window. shooting the scene we are watching.95 on Tue. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. OSTE E N * 457 while these practitioners of classicist David's gabfest. the ghosts of their te joining the spirits of his own past in sp priation of these anti-Hollywood techniq to produce a film that resists the prima ate one that. however.org/terms . all the while tary crew. a witty transmutation of Godard's famous description of his charac- away from the mobile camera.jstor. Thus if David seemed to have learned little from his college courses in Zen. But Clarke (like DeLillo) implies that the real drugs are cine- matic images. than the one David ad- mits when he calls himself a "child of Godard and Coca-Cola" (269). objectivity is impossible not only because of one's emotional involvement in what he or she films. to paraphrase Bresson. Ulti- mately. but also because the medium ineluctably alters both observer and observed. and he allows himself to be injected with her- oin.81. All of these echoes are quieter. which we crave as a way of ensuring us that we exist. to behave unlike their normal selves. the power of the camera. and plot-oriented scripts of most American films and cultivate the patience needed to accept meaningful absence. the director's quest for total authenticity overwhelms his desire for objectivity. For example. acting and behaving. S her influential film The Connection ( awaiting their connection. his use of Ozu's styl implies that he may have gleaned a glimmer of the meaning of "Emptiness is Fullness" (176). uses intratextual framing to com objectivity. in Th the film-within-the-film claims to want to make "an honest human document" but constantly exhorts the actors to produce some "action"-to perform.233. This content downloaded from 101. an image that David replicates near the end of his own film when he appears "reflected in a mirror as I hold the camera" (347). to whom the characters sp Bell's. is The "interview technique" and the "m of another unconventional filmmaker.

"Marginal Notes" 179). as would 10.95 on Tue.233. In one scene from Breath- less. at least half a dozen times" (277). David also appropriates some of that film's themes. Douglas Keesey and Tom LeClair both briefly note Bell's and DeLillo's debts to Godard. collage. or the monologue of someone trying to justify himself before an almost accusing camera. a note- book.org/terms . As its title suggests. Segment 5 contains an instance of such a monologue. however." This content downloaded from 101. Michel chooses the latter. The film thus corresponds to Go- dard's description of one of his early films as "a secret diary. "Generic Difficulties. DeLillo is himself a "child of Godard" who has ac- knowledged Godard's influence on his own style and techniques. Neither. exemplifying Godard's view th the best films are those "in which the character conducts a dialecti- cal search.81. as for Godar such pretexts "must be dismantled or broken into wayward uni (Sontag 238) before they can be reappropriated. In Americana. Americana is presented as a collagelike assortment of images and mementos that incorporate generic and structural models derived from diverse literary and cinematic sources. admits that her life with a mobster has been modeled after a Godard film: "We saw Breathless whenever it came back. and both misquote the phrase from Masculin feminin as "Marxism and Coca-Cola" (Keesey 24. analyzes this intertextual relationship in detail. see Johnston. Jean Seberg's Patricia and Belmondo's Michel read an excerpt from William Faulkner's Wild Palms that presents the choice be- tween grief and nothingness. For a treatment of DeLillo's subversion of generic expectations. as Carol Deming. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. LeClair 56). and subversions of narrative conventions. experimenting and discovering his theme and structure as he goes along" (Giannetti 27). playing David's sister Mary. especially his resistance to "the cause-effect sequences of a linear plot" (LeClair 56) and his "strategies of self-examination such as the 'interview technique' and the 'monologue'" (Keesey 26).jstor. one of the principal Godardian strategies is what Rich- ard Roud calls the "analogical" plot (93)-the inclusion of seem- ingly irrelevant digressions that function as commentary. Bell's film als seeks a Godardian spontaneity. as one does before a lawyer or psychia- trist" (Godard. Throughout his oeuvre DeLillo resembles Godard in his deconstruction of conventional plot structures and popular genres. 458 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE ters in Masculin feminin as "children noted earlier. 11.1l For DeLillo.

"I don't know free. Likewise. when Ferdinand and Marianne watch an earlier Godard film. Like David. such as interviewer and thief's moll. who appears in a cameo.jstor. Later. This self-reflexive strategy (used as well in Le mepris [Contempt]. whose affair with Michel turns out to be just another "act". OSTEEN * 459 Carol/Mary.81.95 on Tue. but none for unifying his personality. appears to offer similarly pompous declarations (315). Also prefiguring Americana in both plot and theme is Godard's 1965 film Pierrot lefou." Ferdinand's adventure. in which Simmons St. talking portentously about film. David's college film instructor. whose protagonist. in which Jean Seberg 12. Godard's Pa Mary when she says. Mary was imitating Jean Seb sumes various roles in Breathless. Jean.org/terms . Carol. "I was in television. David's fellow traveler Bobby Brand and Carol improvise their dialogue so that Carol's "real" life shades into her performance as Mary (306). Le grand escroc.233. Here Jean Seberg's tragic story merges with that of Patricia. David's projection of his sister's life thus demonstrates not only that Godard's influential film has affected Mary. This content downloaded from 101. is self-consciously patterned after the films of B-movie director Sam- uel Fuller. and Carol's performance as Mary amounts to playing herself. claiming to have "mechanisms" for listening and for seeing. in which the characters' conversa- tions consist entirely of commercials for such products as Olds Rocket 88 and Odorono deodorant.12 The psychological purpose of David's film is concisely ex- pressed in another scene in Pierrot. when director Fritz Lang makes pronouncements on the art of film) is employed in David's segment 14. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. or not free because I'm unhap multiply framed: not only is Carol plies. in segment 11. flees from his deadening bourgeois existence for an experiment in spontaneity and violence with a woman named Marianne. he says. Ferdinand. who says she "needed living" (279). like Bell's. Ferdinand is schiz- oid. Asked about his previous life. and many other women who have watched it. The stultification of his previous life is dramatized in a cocktail party scene (resembling the early scenes in Americana). Mary's existence becomes a gloss on Patri- cia's. but that behavior and identity are "always already" framed.

To consume in America is not to buy. Godard dramatizes the conflict between "Marx and Coca-Cola"-the same conflict at work in David's film and psyche-in a variety of ways. For Godard's characters. wash dishes. TV and advertising are symbiotically related: both make the viewer "want to change the way he lives" by appealing to the "universal third person" which advertising has dis- covered and which it exploits "to express the possibilities open to the consumer. In one scene Robert. The camera records eight minutes of a TV game show.233.org/terms ." while his interlocutor. however." The style of Bell's film. but what about Coca-Cola? Segment 4 of David's film dramatizes his views on consumerism through multi- ple frames..81. So much for Godard." the politics of G dard's characters seem as much a matter of fashion as of commit- ment. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. Advertising is the suggestion that the dream of entering the third This content downloaded from 101.jstor. "we are carefully looking for . 460 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE says. it is to dream. So thoroughly molded are they by these two seemingly op- posed ideologies that they are not even aware of any contradiction between them. nothing exists prior to mechanical reproduction: even Paul's declarations of love are spoken not to Madeleine but to a recording machin More significantly. most clearly resembles that of Masculin feminin. including the commercials. and which uses the "interview technique" virtually through- out its running time.. one of the protagonists. a box of Tide detergent prominently displayed in the bac ground. L those of the revolutionaries in "The Uniforms." th same number of segments that David films during the time of the novel. reads the instructions for becoming a perfect "rev lutionary machine. which is subtitled "A film in 15 precise acts. while Fort Curtis resident Glen Yost (as Clinton Bell) is interviewed from off-camera. The scene prompts us to question not only whether revolution requires males to help with the dishes but more ge ally whether becoming a "revolutionary machine" is truly prefe ble to-or even different from-being a consuming machine. He describes televi- sion as "an electronic form of packaging" in which the image is the most important product (270).95 on Tue. Catherine. as for Bell. nary character has given way to the r real one.

even the most unsubtle ads leave gaps for the viewer or reader to fill with personal images. "Adver- tising doesn't always mirror how people are acting. Glen/ Clinton's words echo those of advertising executive Jerry Goodis.. Kline. he "came over on the Mayf advertising a quintessential form of Ameri more than an advertisement. nothing is prior advertising discovered this person. th the discourses of consumer capitalism h nized the self that each individual conceives marily (if not only) as a consumer.95 on Tue. or into the results immune to consumption. in which "the uniqueness undermined by a secret anonymity.org/terms . And yet." the charac sumer society. DeLillo demonstrates an acute understanding of the adman's mentality. and processes are transform ucts. thereby inviting participation in the economy of meaning created by advertising's "currency of signs" (14). as Judith Williamson has argued. and Jhally 152). O S T E E N 461 person singular might possibly be fulfilled third person is not a real person. of postmodern society are not commo Debord has famously argued (16).. that I am everyone else is doing. Indeed. both ar Glen/Clinton's formulation also echoes Fre sion of what he calls "seriality. Whether advertising really operates in so sinister and totalizing a way is debatable.. while preying most upon those with limited access to other information and op- portunities-children. This content downloaded from 101. but how they're dreaming" (qtd. All co relationships. Glen/Clinton notes that consum- ing dreamers realize the limitations on their dreams.81. who declared. Recognizing 13. the poor. a statis feel that I am no longer central. in Leiss. Certainly successful commercials aim to incite de- sires and then illustrate ways to fulfill them. Through such means. The result is an endless circ project[s] onto everyone else an optical illus lic opinion'" (77). into commodities. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about.jstor. [But] everybod same way" (76). however. the ignorant.233. it didn't Glen/Clinton.

substi- tutes for Watanabe and for David's cancer-ridden mother. Rather than simply running away. whose life. Watanabe uses his position to help a group of local women salvage a swampy field and turn it into a playground.95 on Tue. ity with the conditions described. The scene constitutes David's attempt to generate the kind of retrospective epiphany that This content downloaded from 101. Watanabe is filmed sitting on a swing amid falling snow. form.org/terms . in which Sully. as David does." Watanabe's vitality has been crushed by years of toil in the Citizens Section of the city government. advertising has learned to the slice-of-life commercial bringing down to earth-that counteracts the im also reflected in David's psyche and film after Burt and Kirk-bigger-than-life nonetheless makes a film based on the Clarke-epitomes of the "anti-image. he remains elusive: his u the "Clinton" sequence permits David to an actor pretending to be his father. stultifying life. is forcefully dramatized by David's repeated appropriation of a scene from Akira Kurosawa's 1952 film Ikiru ("To Live"). high culture and consumer culture. softly singing to himself a sad song from child- hood. filmed swinging on a snowless playground. when he learns that he has stomach cancer. David adapts this scene for the seventh segment of his film.81.jstor. In a moving scene near the end of the film.233. Ikiru concerns an aging bureaucrat named Watanabe. inde ble only as a series of echoes. 462 ? CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE these limits. like David's. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. and ch think? As usual. herself addicted to "childhood things" (138). is an essay in "the nature of diminishing existence. The collision and collusion between image and anti-image. DeLillo logue to generate dialogues between him self and his narrator. leaving gap the source and veracity of the argument. he is forced to examine that ster- ile. his narrator and hi lesson in the effect of echoes." G the conflict: although Godard once define in the form of spectacle" ("Marginal No explode our passive acceptance of spectacl our expectations about plot.

jstor. His unlikely presence brings to light what the ad is trying to suppress: that postwar prosperity was built upon the (Japanese) ruins of war.81. David's trove of images from classic cinema-it is Watanabe. mouth-appeal" (274). (3) the old man swings almost imperceptibly as he sings. the old man migrated from another archive. The anti-image intruded upon the image. freshness. Clinton recalls burying a Filipino prisoner alive.95 on Tue. Just outside Orani he and the other prisoners experienced a collective vision of a Japanese officer who appeared to be an old man swinging. For the record. we recog- 14. as Sully's generative fo vid] an all too overarching momen Ikiru reappears in unexpected place tells of a mouthwash commercial he once made in which a trium- phant race car driver gets the girl by using the right oral hygiene product. But the client turned it down. OSTEEN * 463 Watanabe undergoes. the old man is Clinton himself. (2) Kurosawa cuts once. when moving from a side-angle to a frontal shot of Watanabe. David phones Simmons St. in which Glen/Clinton narrates "his" (actually a blend of Glen's and Clin- ton's) experiences in the Bataan Death March. Jean to ask questions about the scene in Ikiru: "One: did Kurosawa shoot up at the old man? Two: did he shoot the whole scene without cutting? Three: did the old man swing on the swing or did he remain stationary?" (248). the answers are (1) he shoots from just below eye level. Watanabe here represents Ann (who also died from cancer) and the peaceful family life Clinton has lost forever. Thus when. Jean reveals his fraudulence when he admits that he has never seen Kurosawa's masterpiece. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about.233. the suffering of all those involved in the war. In one sense. The appear- ance of Watanabe also explains why David has decided to abandon the network: he identifies himself with Watanabe and fears his own living death. Here again B tertexual echoes into original sounds ambiguous. the fear of death that lies behind ads for personal care products and behind Clinton's competitive profession. in the final image of this se- quence. because in the background of the celebrating crowd was an aged Asian man who violated the ad's atmosphere of "health. singing a song.org/terms . This content downloaded from 101. St. After filming his initial segment. The same fragment of Ikiru reappears in segment 8. and blessing them (296)-Watanabe again. crushed by the war and enduring a death-in-life similar to Watanabe's. Of course. happiness. In another sense.

paradoxi- cally. I hope you've finally become part of your time. David interviews "himself" in seg- ments 6. how- ever. David" (286). Not only does this mute tableau suggest that the younger David This content downloaded from 101. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about.95 on Tue. Glen/Clinton blames his country for treasuring "the sacrifice of its sons. what Louis Giannetti calls the "twin dangers of subjectivity and objectivity" (47)-or more accurately. The implication is that twentieth-century war is simply consumer- ism carried on by other means-and vice versa. like Paul. Austin/David just stands silently against a wall. ready to an- swer questions that the 1999 David (who narrates the novel) might pose.org/terms . . 464 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE nize it as a symbol of his own voluntar alive but still breathing" [285]) as well kill him. watching this in fear and darkness. Ikiru has mutated into a prim haunted by the mother-as-Watanab father-as-Watanabe.. With these goals in mind. and 12.233. re- calling how he once filmed an aged black couple at a demonstration. His fixation on the old man demonstrates that David is trying simultaneously to bury and to unearth his parents. the "observation of behavior . In these framing segments David confronts. But the older David has no questions. what remains is a si- lence of twenty seconds-the length of a commercial. First "David" interrogates David's project. Near the end of the Bataan sequence.. .81. Both 6 and 12 also function as temporal mirrors in which "David" (Austin) addresses the future David: "Hello to myself in the remote future.jstor. making slogans out of their death and selling war bonds with it or soap for all we knew" (297). images that would do for him what the playground does for Watanabe. at once to assemble and disassemble the montage of the past. Thus the insertion of Watanabe-emblem of the "anti-image"-in these sequences sig- nifies David's wish to create a cinematic form that would escape the cycle of consumption. insidiously substitutes an attempt to form value judg- ments" that may not even echo the observer's real point of view. outside of the regime of images that he perceives as false and inauthentic. a set of images that would exist. In 12. . 10. the collapse of the distinction between them. believing that he was celebrating their dignity. Now he realizes that he was patronizing them and cheapening their suffering (286): as Paul recognizes at the end of Masculin feminin.

." a the mountains (287). and so on. O Watanabe. these framed of abandonment. to Orson Welles as Harry Lime in The Third Ma opening scene of Citizen Kane. solved easily by consuming. David realizes t an anticlimactic version of the remembe ceives that this unified. like that of Belmondo's M mance. In the original version of the novel (Pocket editio recognition is considerably longer and contains several those to Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky. O S T E E N 465 has no answers for the older one. an image made in the "image and copy of a copy. to a scene from Ri to Get It). while these moments h of identity over time. with Sully playing David. singing to his unseen infancy. it also m of the past.233.95 on Tue. they also illustrate been "twenty-eight years in the movies. Albert Finney fallin Reisz's Saturday Night and Sunday Morning ing his chest[. to Sydney Greenstreet (misspelled) "tw John Huston's 1942 Across the Pacific). . The edited v thematic point of these allusions. Placing himself into the 15.org/terms . 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. loving family posse never known and that his film cannot capt light. and I wondered of this comm sell the product" (317). The Agony and th Bonnie and Clyde. His "very own comm (317) may have been designed to depict the lives offered by advertising (Schudson 215)." Quinn's strongman in Fellini's La strada. Indeed. than what it so clearly w of the other. even to me. Even as he films it. but instead it ther with the past.jstor. Bell looking at the pos at the poster of purposeful Bogart.15 Not simply "imag power. th man's The Seventh Seal. alienation.] .81. This content downloaded from 101. T vid's identity. The final segment of David's film restages his mother in part 2." as LeClair claims (54). and death. he wonders if he will ever screen the "this mute soliloquy of woman and boy more.

as the older. David pursues his dream of This content downloaded from 101. he understands that the pursuit of pure origins is itself a cliched movie image. yet their conjunction has produced no synthesis.org/terms . 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. Even worse. an attempt to find pattern and motive. The text has sought to create meaning. to make of something wild a squeamish thesis on the essence of the nation's soul" (349). he again confronts disappointment when he learns that she permitted it out of pity for his illness. But ence into film images merely reframe sound behind" him (318). as if his film and the book we have been reading have used up his stock of images. i from consumption.95 on Tue. That is. Ironically. David soon grasps that his quest has been "merely a literary venture. The masturbat plies that the light and sounds of the nor banished: to abolish the echoes is Not only is the "actual" experience u representation always leaves a gap betw but his film has magnified his limit make only commercials. he writes. and self-consumer all at once. he has stri from the proliferation of images. making it artificial. Traveling across the arid Southwest.233. Part 4 returns us to the narrative frame.81. unconsumed. David has hea recording instruments. "Lit- tle of myself seems to be left" (345). is- landed David meditates on his experiences from the future. he has packaged hi mercial. while the film is "an exer- cise in diametrics which attempts to unmake meaning" (347). Yet he continu the memory by mocking it.jstor. After David's oedipal wish is granted through sexual inter- course with Sully. no power uncaptured light" (317). but only an "ulti- mate schizogram"-a conflicted message that mirrors David's psy- chic fission. 466 ? CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE paradoxical attempt to make his past m ing it. has "consumed" himself but has lef unreached. Thus at the end of part 3 he leaves Fort Curtis and his friends to seek out "the final extreme"-an erasure of self somewhere beyond representa- tion. a piece of Americana available for consumption.

e tery. On a test track in Texas he of speed. T near rape by a traveling homosexua narrated without inflection or com argues. the narrator Bel may recognize that he cannot master or control even the images o himself that he musters up in his own work. It may be that only the older D stands the full horror of these "arch sons and daughters of the archetyp mains: as one character says in Pierro one wants.233. where to go.org/terms . like the dulges in a violent orgy that marks savagery to primitive barbarism.95 on Tue. proves the limitations of Da ceive (although DeLillo does) that he i rate behavior from which he has f does: that's why he runs from it." He might even accept his schizo psyche as a survival tool in a schizoid world and learn to tolerate t necessity for endless self-dialogue and interview. If he can rel This content downloaded from 101. OSTEEN * 467 liberating purity in an automobile-ir tent symbol of twentieth-century brated and condemned in Godard's Weekend. what one is.81. that thos of the self-also sources of treasured moments of illumination- may elude representation (Docherty 185). 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. belatedne lack of control-his "postness. I learned the lessons of echoes. then footage-and the memoir we are rea cise in narcissistic nostalgia. N to go. rape. orgy from which he had tried to escape (L perhaps more honest form. he may beco truly "part of his time" by accepting heterogeneity.jstor. guns." Thus the older David's solut satisfactory as the younger David's wood movie in which he was living. Instead of adhering such outmoded notions of control and identity. torture. That is. But the older David does seem to hav not a product but a process growin signification and narrative.

Trans. Birdwell. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. T novel's conclusion.jstor. and cannot. By demonstrating the irretrievability of authentic gins. New York: Holt. Season of Youth: The Bildungsroman from Dickens to Golding. dir. of quests. This content downloaded from 101. 1974. Loyola College WORKS CITED Barthes. Richard Miller. Bergman. 1966. stop hearing echoes may be the most impo tant lesson of all. Mark Poster. Amazons. Ed. also rejects conventional notion plot structure. Stanford. for purity inevitably becomes a consumer product. in which David returns to New York. New York: Hill. Jean. we. DeLil unveiling of the truth that David-and by implication. Liv Ullmann. asking whether the quest for authenticity. "Simulacra and Simulations. MA: Harvard UP.org/terms . or of self-making and unmaking. t need not. 166-84. Thus in undermining his inchoate narrative apocalypse-that unveiling movement from "mystification to lightenment and revelation" (Docherty 184)-DeLillo may be gesting how novels (and perhaps films) can avoid becoming m merchandise. Americana also embodies the impossibility of ends-whe of plots. Persona.81.233. self-reflexive-to w ries of shifting frames and redoubled a revolution in economies of identity model for characterization in which contradictions need not- cannot-be resolved.95 on Tue. Baudrillard. Svensk. thematic. the meanings he has inherited and th ity" is as chimerical as univocal truth. S/Z. CA: Stanford UP. 468 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE quish control of self-representation. 1980. Bibi Andersson. respect become the "ultimate schiz paradoxically represents the imposs The structure of Americana presen formal. Perf. pres ably to take up his previous life." Selected Writings. Jerome. Cleo [Don DeLillo]. It interrogates the possibility of authentic litical or artistic activity in a world consumed by cinematic and c talist representations. 1974. 1988. If so. Ingmar. Buckley. revolution. Cam- bridge. Roland.

1991. Montgomery Clift. Smyth. New York: Holt. Guy. "Marginal Notes While Filming: August 1959-August 1967. New York: Viking. Great Jones Street. Appendix ["The Uniforms"]. Tues. Mon. Louis D. Dir. New York: . New York: Viking. 1953. New York: Houghto "An Interview with Don DeLillo. Thomas. Shirley. New York: Pocket. "Postmodern Characterization: The Ethics of Alterity.81. 1975. Fred Zinnemann. Tr York: Zone. Don." Epoch 17 (196 "Coming Sun." Post- modernism and Contemporary Fiction. New York: Da Capo. Cutting Edges: You Ed. Americana. 1985. Perf. Giannetti. Players. 1991. Postmodernist Culture: An Intr rary. This content downloaded from 101. Cook. Jean-Luc. New York: Viking. 19 . Jack Hicks. 1966. From Here to Eternity. Georges de Beauregard. "The Uniforms. OSTEEN * 469 Clarke. 1989. A bout de souffle [Breathless]. 1971. . dir. Anouchka-Argos Films. New York: Holt. DeLillo. Ed. Masculin feminin. Docherty. 1 . New York: Knopf. Americana. 161- 243. 45 . 1973. 1977. 1988. White Noise. NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson UP.jstor. Cutting Ed the '70s. New York: Houghton. "Baghdad Towers West." Go- dard and Others: Essays on Film Form. 1978. Derrida. Perf. 1994. Oxford: Blackwell." Kenyon Rev End Zone. Ed. Society of the Spectacle. "The Art of Fiction CXXXV. "Godard's Masculine-Feminine: The Cinematic Essay. Conne Connor. David A. 1986. Running Dog. Jean Narboni and Tom Milne. Rutherford. Godard. Libra. 19-59. . Ed. Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg. South Atlantic Quart . T cago P. Columbia. dir.95 on Tue. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about.org/terms . dir." Godard on Godard. A History of Narrative Film Debord. Steven. 1971. Mao II. "'An Outsider in This Society': An Inte Anthony DeCurtis. Jack Hicks." Interview 128 (1993): 275-306. New York: Knopf. The Connection. 1982.233. 1959. London: Batsford. Margins of Philosophy." 1970. Societe Nouvelle de Cinema. Burt Lancaster. Jacques. 169-88. 1972. Edmund J." With Literature 23 (1982): 19-31.

Jean-Paul Bel . "Compulsory Reader Response: The Intertextual Drive. Susan. LeClair. dir. MA: Polity. dir. "Godard. Hirsch. John. New York: Random.jstor. Jean-Luc Godard. the Uneasy Persuasion: Its Dubious Impact on American Society." Papers on Language and Literature 26 (1990): 143-63. 1967. This content downloaded from 101. Ikiru. 1992. Manchester. The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. Michael. Ulysses. Reid. Judith. Richard. Robert." Critique 30 (1989): 261-75. Rome-Paris pangia Cinematografica Champion. Orr.2 (1990): 90-97. 21 Mar 2017 09:47:35 UTC All use subject to http://about. New York: Twayne.: Manchester UP. 20th Century Fox. William. Tom. Douglas. . Michael Worton and Judith Still. 1970. "Syllepsis. Nunnally Johnson. In the Loop: Don DeLillo and the Systems Novel. Products and Images of Well-Being. 1986. Mark. Marianne. "The Novel of Formation tions and Lost Illusions. Ann Arbor." New Orleans Review 17. 2nd ed. 1987. McElroy and DeLillo. Bloomington: Indiana UP. 1993. MI: UMI Research P. John." Genre 12 (1979) Jameson. Films Copernic. F R. Narrative Exchanges. 1990. Leiss. New York: Rout- ledge. 1983. New York: Basic." Critical Inquiry 6 (1979-80): 625-38.95 on Tue. Perf. "Generic Difficulties in the Novels of Don DeLillo. 1990. Ed. Osteen. Takashi Shimura. Riffaterre. Don DeLillo. 1984. Kurosawa.233. Eng. Joyce. London: Boyars. Sontag. 1963 . Cambridge. Williamson. James. Johnston. Roud. 470 * CONTEMPORARY LITERATURE . Perf. 1985. Social Communication in Advertis- ing: Persons. Ian.81. Hans Walter Gabler. dir. Advertising. "Against the End: Asceticism and Apocalypse in Don DeLillo's End Zone. "Post-Cinematic Fiction: Film in the Novels of Pynchon. Cinema and Modernity. 1956. Stam. 1978. 1952. and Sut Jhally. Toho. A Susan Sontag Reader. "Seriality in Modern Literatu 80. Gregory Peck and Jennifer Jones. 235-64. Le mepris [Contempt]. Pierrot le fou. Keesey. Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertis- ing. Schudson. et al. Stephen Kline. Ed. . Akira.org/terms . Michael. New York: Vintage." 1968." Intertextuality: Theories and Practices. Perf. Dir. Reflexivity in Film and Literature: From Don Quixote to Jean-Luc G dard. Urbana: U of Illinois P. dir. Weekend. 1993. London: Routledge. 56-78.

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