Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

Family Plots: The De-Oedipalization of Popular Culture has been six years in the making. During this period of time I have been generously assisted by various institutions, colleagues, friends, and family. In recognition of this generosity, I would like to acknowledge here those who supported me in the research, composition, and preparation of the manuscript...

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xi-xvi

Any book whose title makes so arrogant a claim as this one does ought rightly to offer some straightforward explanation of the author's intent. To begin with, this is not a book about "family values," an amorphous catch-phrase of recent years. Nor is it a book intended to explain popsociological phenomena such as skyrocketing divorce rates, latchkey children, deadbeat dads, and so forth...

read more

1. Introduction: Plotting the Family

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-21

In the New York Times on October 13, 1991, novelist Alice McDermott reviewed a photography exhibit entitled Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort. Installed at the Museum of Modern Art, the exhibit featured 153 photographs, all revealing to McDermott "less about the way we live than about the dilemma that faces any artist who chooses domestic life as a subject"4...

read more

2. Housebreaking Freud

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 22-37

In "Family Romances" (1908), Sigmund Freud describes a "peculiarly marked imaginative activity," a fantasy that structurally unifies normative subjectivity and social consensus, while providing a bridge between the terrain of the bourgeois private sphere and the industrialized public sphere.2 "Family Romances" thus proceeds to describe the culmination of the Oedipal drama...

read more

3. The Third Sphere: Television's Romance with the Family

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 38-59

In 1946, George Nelson and Henry Wright named a new household space in accordance with the postwar imperatives of domesticity and family unity. Behind their call for "mutual respect and affection" was undoubtedly a degree of concern about the changing constitution of the public sphere and the impact of these changes on the many women who had entered the work force during the war...

read more

4. The Culture of "Momism": Evan S. Conncell's Mrs. Bridge

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 60-76

Almost instantly after India Bridge delivers her firstborn child, a daughter, she asks: "Is she normal?" The question reverberates throughout Evan S. Connell's finely crafted work of minimalist fiction, Mrs. Bridge. "Do you want to be different from everyone else?" She warns her son when he rebels against the use of conventional table etiquette.1 Such warnings reflect the pathological fear of cultural difference...

read more

5. Rules of the Game: Anne Tyler's Searching for Caleb

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 77-94

Anne Tyler's novels pay close attention to the formal details and abstractions of the family plot. Her protagonists are often portrayed as family-centered eccentrics, men and women complexly defined by their struggles against the forces of familial attachment and separation. Tyler is a prolific and immensely popular fiction writer whose work has precipitated a considerable amount of scholarly criticism...

read more

6. Father Trouble: Jane Smiley's The Age of Grief

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 95-112

Feminism today is being widely reconceived in terms of gender studies, a field that some practitioners claim promises a more culturally comprehensive and theoretically sophisticated analysis of gendered subjectivity.2 To be sure, men's studies and lesbian and gay studies have opened major pathways for exploring the fluidity of desires and identifications, the instability of sex/gender categories...

read more

7. "A Possible Sharing": Ethnicizing Mother-Daughter Romance in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 113-128

Amy Tan's first novel, The Joy Luck Club, ends with a transformative image of maternal reclamation and displacement. Jing-mei Woo, the American-born daughter of Suyuan Woo, recently deceased, arrives in China to be reunited with her long-lost twin half sisters. Forty years earlier, while fleeing the city of Kweilin during the Japanese invasion, Suyuan Woo was forced by lack of food and physical strength to abandon the baby girls on a roadside...

read more

8. Reconstructing Kin: Toni Morrison's Beloved

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 129-145

In "Reading Family Matters," Deborah E. McDowell narrates the ongoing controversy surrounding a small but outstanding group of black female writers and critics' accusations that these writers are fracturing the image of an already besieged black American nuclear family. The complaint, which has been registered in the news media and academic journals, suggests that these writers—Toni Morrison among them—have betrayed the black family...

read more

9. "Family" Romance (Or, How to Recognize a Queer Text When You Meet One)

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 146-164

In the summer of 1991, during Denver, Colorado's Gay Pride Celebration, the local PBS television affiliate broadcast "Out in America," a panel discussion of lesbian and gay politics. One of the topics addressed was "family values," or the gay political agenda's lack thereof. The issue prompted Larry Kramer, the founder of ACT UP and one of the featured panelists, to deliver a repudiation of the "maudlin sentimentality"...

read more

10. The Lesbian Dick: Policing the Family in Internal Affairs

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 165-180

A primary feature of lesbian studies' dislocation from feminist studies has been a rejection of the latter's perceived overreliance on binary gender categories, and with that a rejection of a static, discrete analysis of "woman's representation" in popular culture genres. Indeed, to the degree that lesbian theorists have appropriated and expanded on postmodernism's critique of unified identity assertions...

read more

11. Home Viewing — Terminator 2: Judgment Day

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 181-194

These days, family romance is as close as your VCR. Without question, home video has evolved into a distinctive narrative form with its own conventions, codes, and framing devices. The logic of these devices seems to be grounded in the presumption of a domestic audience fascinated with home technologies that might allow for the limitless consumption of familial images...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 195-222

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 223-232

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 233-239