The Works of Don DeLillo and Joseph McElroy
II. The Works of Don DeLillo and Joseph McElroy 37
37 II. The Writing of Don DeLillo and Joseph McElroy I. White Noise and The Letter Left To Me: The Trope of Hyperbole Conservative political wisdom has it that the family is one of the cornerstones in any citizen's sentimental education. It is supposed to be a force that will preserve moral in- tegrity in the most corrupt of societies and guarantee historical continuity and stability, par- ticularly amidst the evils of what is often referred to as "the postmodern condition." Also, the family can provide the individual with a sense of community in an environment built on rugged individualism--an expectation that is especially valid for American society. Underlying these optimistic views is the assumption that the family is a strong unit, held together by reliable ties, and that it therefore manages to withstand all kinds of pressure, from the outside as well as from within. The observation that the family in American society may, in reality, not conform to these claims at particular moments in history has bwught critics, particularly on the conser- vative side of the political spectrum, face to face with the embarrassing problem that their theories seem more prescriptive than descriptive. How is it possible that this basic unit of society, whose strength and resistance to outside forces was considered vital for survival in a hostile world, was found in a state of dissolution after the 1950s, a period immortalized as the quiet before the storm in the popular imagination? Explanations vary with the indi- vidual...
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