The Uses of the Fantastic and the Deferment of Closure in American Literature on the Vietnam War
Abstract

Increasingly, Vietnam writers must confront criticism about the historical relevance of their topic. In response, they problematize closure, continuously projecting it into a utopian future. Three fantastic texts — Larry Heinemann's Paco's Story, Bruce McAllister's Dream Baby, and Lucius Shepard's "Shades" — explore, dramatize, and reify this trope of perpetually deferred closure. Respectively, they challenge the common assertion that repeated articulation leads to therapeutic self-recognition. They enable the reader to perceive dominant narrative conventions as aesthetically rather than mimetically grounded and to recognize their implicit ideological agenda.


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