Week 10: 'Recession America'
(1) “It had been an intricate system and when the mills shut down, the entire valley had collapsed. Steel had been the heart. He wondered how long it would be beforeit all rusted away into nothing and the valley returned to a primitive state. Only thestone would last.”
(Meyer, 2009: p. 8)
the novel as a cosmology of the blue-collar middle class; a cartography of industrial decline (similar to how
The Known World
are cartographies of colonialism and antebellum slavery, respectively)
economics & “collapsonomics” … “The study of economic and state systems at the edge of their normalsocial and economic function, including preventative measures to avoid destructive feedback loops and vicious cycles.” (http://collapsonomics.org/)
parallels with the literature of the Great Depression …
contemporary references (to Afghanistan,IEDs, Hilary Clinton, etc.) to mark the book as contemporary.
urban decline Detroit (automotive) vs. Pittsburgh (manufacturing)
The Post-American World
(shift from American hegemony to multi-polarity)
(2) “None of it was permanent. The Swede would go back to the soil, blood goesfrom sticky thick to dust, animals eat you back to the earth.”
, p. 34)
(3) “In the end it was rust. That's what defined this place. A brilliant observation.She was probably about the ten millionth person to think it.”
, p. 132)
transience, death, mourning? Is it conservative, backward-looking, nostalgic for American manufacturing?
reflexivity & genre: noir,
(albeit arrested/hijacked), or something else entirely?
(intense) inner monologues for all characters, but esp. Isaac and The Kid (compare & contrast w. Bret andThe Writer in
(4) “There was something particularly American about it – blaming yourself for bad luck – that resistance to seeing your life as affected by social forces, a tendency to attribute larger problems to individual behaviour. The ugly reverse of the American Dream.”