By Sally Robinson
A research of post-Vietnam American literature and tradition concentrating on narratives of physically trauma obvious in a variety of texts by way of and approximately different white males.
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Extra resources for Marked Men
While, on the one hand, it is accurate to read in the silent majority a “backlash” against liberation movements, the minority discourses that had become so vocal, and the bodies of women and people of color that had become so visible, it is also the case that the white men who so loudly proclaim their own “silencing” and decentering in post-liberationist American culture are fully participating in the struggles they are supposed to be lashing back against. In other words, in claiming to be deprived of the right both to represent “America” and to enjoy the fruits of a formerly secure entitlement, the spokesmen for Middle America paradoxically draw on the identity politics that were just beginning to emerge as the model of critique within radical thinking and activism.
Although this description does not entirely avoid fetishizing blackness, the kind of overt projections that Toni Morrison analyzes in white American literature are missing in it. ” Rabbit’s estranged wife expresses this best, with her distaste for “his white body, his spreading slack gut, his uncircumcised member hanging boneless as a rooster comb from its blond roots. . She sees a large white man a knife would slice like lard” (). Rabbit’s body is in decline, and that decline is linked up with the ﬂedgling women’s movement—it is the newly “liberated” Janice who criticizes it so devastatingly; and the new visibility of black masculinity embodied in a vibrant and “electric” form.
The homogeneity of the category “Middle American” is dependent upon the erasure of class and gender differences and thus Middle America comes to mean a uniﬁed and dissatisﬁed white America. But it is also dependent on the erasure of individual differences, for the category of “Middle American,” like the category of “white masculinity,” implies a collective, a uniﬁed grouping. What uniﬁes this “politically and philosophically varied place, and the one thread that ties all its groups together is resentment” against the gains of the various liberation movements that were loudly claiming rights and restitution (Lemon ).