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Gangsters, Zombies, and Other Rebels: Alternative Communities in Late Twentieth-Century British Novels and Films

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PAGE 1

GANGSTERS, ZOMBIES, AND OTHER RE BELS: ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITIES IN LATE TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRITISH NOVELS AND FILMS By NICOLE LAROSE A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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Copyright 2006 by Nicole LaRose

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iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Throughout each stage of my education, I have had mentors who both pushed me to exceed my own expectations and supporte d me completely. As an undergraduate, Richard Badenhausen first taught me how to write (especially breaking me of my dependency on “to be” verbs), then he showed me the beauty of British literature, and finally he suggested graduate school in E nglish. Without his gui dance, I would have never found a career that both challenges me and excites me. I thank him for his continued friendship. I could never have made it through the dissertation without the guidance and support of my co-directors, Julian Wolfreys and Phillip Wegner. I thank them both for putting up with my obstinacy and transforming me into a more circumspect thinker. Julian has shown me the commitments of a scholar. His courses extended well beyond the classroom—he taught me a new way of thinking. London is now more than an obsession. The discussions and debates we had during independent studies and reading groups made my dissertation possible. I tha nk him for his diligence and his commitment. I admire his focus and passion and hope I can sustain even a fraction of it. However, I still say Jordan is far superior to Magic. Additionally, Phil always has a way of explaining my ideas to me better than I can. He takes my convoluted, incomplete ramblings and shows me the potential. Talk ing with him about my dissertation in his office made the project develop and also kept me sane duri ng the process. I thank him for teaching me that criticism can be about the productive and the utopian. I also thank

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iv him for his unfailing support of the Marxist Reading Group. Through the entire process of planning and executing the conference, just knowing that the group can turn to Phil for help makes it so much easier. Plus, the after-p arty would not be half as fun without him. Throughout graduate school, different English departme nt administrators have stressed to the students the importance of networking, and I always thought they were slightly crazy. That was until I met Gavin Ke ulks, fellow Martin Amis aficionado, at the Twentieth-Century Literature Conference at the University of Louisville. No other participants may have come to our early mo rning panel, but I still found my discussion with Gavin the most productive conference panel I have attended. If I believed in fate, I would have to say that the academic gods want ed me to have a professional relationship with Gavin because we showed up on the sa me panel at a small conference at the University of South Carolina a few months la ter. Gavin has been a valuable resource during the dissertation and the job search. I only hope that I can be as helpful to him someday. On a day-to-day basis, my fellow English graduate students have been the most consequential in my development. I could have never made it through without the support and mentoring of Megan Norcia. I th ank Meg for challenging me as a scholar and comforting me as a friend. Meg is my model of goodness and my guide to success. Without her, I would have never learned to quilt nor had the quilters, especially Kirsten Ortega, Lisa Hager, and Tonya Bain-Cree d, who got me through my first years of graduate school with our Sunday night rene wals of pizza and fun movies. Meg, and the other peeps, Emily Garcia, Nishant Shahani, Rochelle Mabry, and Brian Doan, kept my reading on track with our Bord ers trips. More recently, I have had the Jai-Alai gang

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v providing sustenance. Aaron Shaheen has s hown me strength and perseverance, Andrew Reynolds is an example of patience, and Wesl ey Beal has reminded me why I started this process. Without Wesley’s and Michael Vastola’s devotion, the MRG could not have organized such wonderful conferences these past two years. I thank my friends for helping me work through complex theoretical ideas, allowing me to let loose and act like a fool, and accepting me as I am. Lastly, I have to thank my roommates, Todd Reynolds and Roger Whitson, for putting up with my na gging and bossiness. I thank Todd for sharing my odd obsession with Law and Order and all things sports, and I thank Roger for his excitement because nobody else could talk about Derrida during The Surreal Life Lastly, I have to thank my family for th eir constant support a nd love. My sassy sisters, Rachel Coleman, Mara Shelton, and Allison Snow, have been with me literally and figuratively at all times. They were with me as I grew into an adult and knowing that they are still with me has given me consta nt comfort. My brot hers, Phil and Jason LaRose, like my roommates, put up with my bossiness because they know I only want the best for them. I thank them for expecti ng the same for me. I could never express my thanks to my parents, Phil and J LaRose. They have always supported me unconditionally. Seeing my father’s pride as he told the rest of the family about my completion of the PhD and my job as a profe ssor meant so much to me. During the last months as I have finished this project, I sa t on my front porch taking full benefit of the springtime breezes. In the tree in our front yard was a nest with baby birds who would excitedly call to their mother when she re turned with food. Their chirps provided me comfort because they reminded me that I al so have a mother who always returns to nurture me. This care has obviously changed throughout the years, but I know that she is

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vi always looking after me. She told me I c ould be anything I wanted to be and even indulged my ridiculous dream of being an NFL quarterback. Knowing that she believes in me gets me through any difficult part of my life. Without her, I could have never finished this project.

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vii TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................vi ii CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: IMAGINING ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITIES......................1 2 APOCALYPTIC COMMUNITIES: THE DISASTER AND REEALATION OF CLASS AND SPACE.................................................................................................20 A Genealogy of the Postwar Apocalyptic Na rrative: The Influences and Examples of John Wyndham and George Orwell....................................................................20 J.G. Ballard’s Buildings and Neighborhoods.............................................................36 Martin Amis’s Millennarian Fears and Hopes............................................................59 From Disaster to Community only 28 Days Later .....................................................73 Conclusions: The Nature of the Fami ly in the Twenty First Century........................87 3 GANGSTER COMMUNITIES: IM AGINING THE UNDERWORLD AND UNDERSTANDING MASCULINITY......................................................................89 Reading the Underworld: A Genealogy of the Postwar Period..................................91 New Laddism and a Return to the Underw orld: Masculinity and Collectivity in Films by Guy Ritchie and Jonathan Glazer...........................................................106 4 “WE’RE ALL ENGLISH NOW”: TRANSFORMATION NARRATIVES AND THE SECOND-GENERATION IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY............................128 Bildungsroman, Emergence, and Transformation....................................................132 Naming, or Who is the Second Generation?............................................................137 Mapping the Second Generation..............................................................................140 The Immigrant Condition: Historic al Unity, Individual Ingenuity..........................144 Realizing the Alte rnative Community: Discovery, Sexuality, and Collectivity.......154 Conclusions: The Next Di rection for Hybridity.......................................................162 LIST OF REFERENCES.................................................................................................164 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................171

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viii Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy GANGSTERS, ZOMBIES, AND OTHER RE BELS: ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITIES IN LATE TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRITISH NOVELS AND FILMS By Nicole LaRose August 2006 Chair: Julian Wolfreys Cochair: Phillip Wegner Major Department: English “Gangsters, Zombies, and Other Rebels : Alternative Communities in Late Twentieth-Century Novels a nd Films” examines how narratives from the 1980s and 1990s respond to Margaret Thatcher’s neo-co nservative regime and Tony Blair’s “New Britain.” Through examining a range of genr e fictions, I investigate the ways British apocalyptic, gangster, and immi grant narratives imagine new social formations, which I call “alternative communities.” Chapter 1 ex plores the scholarly trends in postwar British literature, calling for a political intervention that understands the potential for narrative to express collectivity. Chapter 2 surveys narratives of disaster and apocalypse. I begin by examining the ways Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, and George Orwell establish a tradition of critical apocalypses. This tradition is built upon in J.G. Ballard’s depicti on of a stagnated postimperial Britain in High-Rise and Millennium People Martin Amis’s critique of Thatcher’s hierarchical Britain in London Fields and filmmaker Danny Boyle’s

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ix interrogation of Blai r’s conservatism in 28 Days Later The apocalypses in these narratives—created by urban development, imminent nuclear war, and biological warfare—lead to the destruction of reigning racial, class, and gender divides, and, even more significantly, enable alternative communities to come into being. Chapter 3 surveys the development of the gangster film during the postwar period. I compare earlier depictions in the ge nre of individuality and hypermasculinity, epitomized by the 1980 film The Long Good Friday with the vision of collectivity in 1990s films such as Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast. These more recent films expl ore popular culture’s influence on national and gender identities and introduce a more flexible vision of masculinity, one that protects a new familial collective. Chapter 4 explores the ways the genre of the immigrant bildungsroman imagines postcolonial hybrid identities. I argue that female authors, such as Zadie Smith, adapt the paradigm of second-generation immigrant narra tives established by Ha nif Kureishi to the particularity of the female immigrant experi ence. The resolution of the conflict between their families’ efforts to maintain tradition wi th their own desires to become more fully “English” reveals an emergent cultural identity freed from older historical determinations.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: IMAGINING A LTERNATIVE COMMUNITIES Community is, in a sense, resistance it self: namely, resistance to immanence. Consequently, community is transcendence. —Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community Tricksters or fakes, assistants or ‘toons, they are the exemplars of the coming community. —Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community So it was; in Eighties fiction, apocalyptic visions, corrupted Utopias and threatened cities were everywhere. Gothic violence, the uncanny, the fantastic and the grotesque, were back; here innocence is generally corrupted, violence erupts suddenly, psychic extremes are explored, da nger stalks the dead world, and there is an unstable relationship between ‘real life ’ and art. Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, Jekyll and Hyde, Jack the Ripper—now in the changed guise of ‘the serial killer,’ the marauding mobile man who represents the dangerous urban darkness—were all dusted down from their role in popular myth, and popular movies, and recycled for the service of modern narrative. Freaks and monsters, incest and sexual violence, all the devices of the uncanny, estranging and deceptive on o ffer in the rich stock of Gothic reappeared in profusion. —Malcolm Bradbury, The Modern British Novel Malcolm Bradbury’s summary of the Britis h novel of the 1980s suggests violence, extremism, and the presence of misfits as the de finitive characteristic s of the novel at this moment. His assessment forces us to see th e novel since 1980 as an exploration of the condition of post-imperial British history and hybridized English identity. Following Bradbury’s lead, this project ta kes up the figures of three specific formations of the misfit, defined generally as any figure that embodies dissension against an assimilating idea of Englishness created by the imperial pr oject. The figures under examination—the zombie or automaton, the gangster, and the immigrant—inhabit three crucial genres of

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2 postwar British literature. E ach genre that corresponds to these figures—the apocalyptic, the underworld, and the immigrant narrative —addresses the impact of cataclysmic change and violence on the in dividual and the individual’ s relationship to society. Through a genealogy of each genre, I argue that these late Twentieth -century narratives imagine productive collective formations, whic h I am calling altern ative communities. These alternative communities respond to the hegemonic political discourse that determines identity construction by reveali ng the limits of the preconceived ideas and indicating change. This project follows several strands of theo retical inquiry concerni ng: first, the idea of British literature, its relationship to polit ical debate, and the means by which scholars explore this interaction; second, the meaning of community, particular ly the imagining of collective formations as a narratological ac t; and third, the role of spatial theory in understanding narratives that are self-reflexiv ely concerned with the production of the spaces of the city and the effects such built environments have on the individual and the community. Alternative communities emphasize protection of a collective social organization and destruction of reigning racial class, and gender divides; alternative communities embrace hybridity, heterogeneity, and the transience of society, while at the same time understanding the alie nating realities of cultural es trangement and the need to share experience in hopes of collective understanding. Malcolm Bradbury’s aforementioned survey of the Twentieth-cen tury British novel epitomizes one of two prevalent critical trends in the field, both of which influence how I situate my project: these are the thematically or tempora lly organized survey and the single author study. This second category atte mpts to construct a canon of contemporary

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3 literature by providing introductions to students of literature. While these works do often accomplish careful readings of an author’s oeuvre that can lead to more extensive scholarly explorations,1 the theoretical limits dictated by their audience constrain these studies to the surface. One unfor tunate reality that emerges from such studies is a cult of celebrity that inevitably includes authors in the salacious pages of the gossip columns. When the friendships and feuds, the love affair s, and the exorbitant pay and purchases of literary celebrities become part of the sc holarly debate, intellectual rigor becomes difficult to maintain. The other strand of critical inquiry, the surv ey, influences my project more directly. Even within this model, we still find wo rks like Bradbury’s which spends more time listing examples of novels that fit into the ca tegories he labels ra ther than actually conducting a reading of these novels. Bradbury introduces th e concepts, theories, and history intrinsic to the producti on of literature in Great Brit ain, but he does not engage these topics with more than a passing glan ce. Like the single-au thor study, Bradbury’s detailed survey is more of a resource for students looking for direction or guidance as to which novels develop similar subjects in a sim ilar context. In this strand, we also find studies like D. J. Taylor’s After The War: The Novel and English Society since 1945 which dismisses the postwar novel because of its aesthetic inferior ity to the Victorian novel, primarily in the realm of characterization. He argue s that the theme of most interest in the postwar novel is decline, a nd this theme results in the production of novels that pale in comparison to their predecessors I have to agree with Taylor that the 1 I am personally indebted to James Diedrick’s Understanding Martin Amis to which I have referred for my undergraduate senior thesis, my maste r’s thesis, and now for this project. Diedrick’s study is part of The Understanding Contemporary British Literature series fr om the University of South Carolina Press, which is an exceptional example of the strand of criticism to which I refer.

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4 postwar novel and the Victorian novel are completely different beasts, but I disagree with the assumption that they are even comparable. Taylor fails to understand that the postwar novel must be read within its own po litical and historical context. Unlike Taylor, several scholars do approach postwar literature and culture on its own terms and without immediate dismissal and contempt. Philip Tew’s The Contemporary British Novel John Brannigan’s Orwell to the Present: Literature in England 1945–2000 and Dominic Head’s The Cambridge Introduction of Modern British Fiction, 1950–2000 while still satisfying the role of undergraduate introductory resources, do engage with the important them es of identity and nationalism central to the postwar narrative. Significantly, they each read the novels beginning in the mid-1970s with a keen awareness of Thatcherism as a pivotal paradigm shift in the relationship between politics and textual productions. The direct engagement with the politics and history that influence the production of literature connects these scholars to the same field of inquiry as that presented in the most important study of this model, Alan Sinfield’s Literature, Politics, and Culture in Postwar Britain He presents a cultural materialist study keenly aware of “the historical conditions in which textual representations are produced, circulated and received” (xxiii). He explains that cultural materialists will “engage with questions about the relations between dominant and subordinate cultures, the implications of racism, sexism and homophobia, the scope for subaltern resistan ce, and the modes through which the system tends to accommodate or repe l diverse kinds of dissiden ce” (xxiii). The focus on dissidence leads him to characterize the postw ar period as composed of “cultures of discord.” His “cultures of discord” have a progressive utopian aim of finding a way for

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5 “literary and leftist intellectuals to make themselves useful” by “orienting their efforts, for the time being, towards a subcultural consti tuency.” The subcultu ral constituency to which he finds the most potential—lesbian s and gay men—do not have to offer their “efforts and talents to a disdai nful or predatory mainstream ” (xxiv). He suggests that other groups disadvantaged on grounds of cla ss, race, nation, and gender may also have the same potential. From Sinfield’s suggestion, my project be gins. The apocalyptic, gangster, and immigrant genres imagine how the disadvantag es of class, race, nation, and gender can produce productive alternatives to the mainstream. They create a subcultural constituency on the representational level. Also in terms of literary history, these genres each constitute a subcultural constituency b ecause of their historic marginalization by traditional canon formation. They are alterna tive in both their rea lization of identity construction and their presence in th e canon of British literature. The term alternative also has a specific political referent that contributes to my understanding of the communitarian interest in these narrative genres. The explicit use of the word alternative is an ironic assessment of Thatcherism, particularly the response to Thatcherism’s refusal of consensus and the li beral aims of the welfare-state. Dominic Head explains the relationship between Thatcherism and cultural production. The election of Margaret Thatcher as Pr ime Minister in 1979 signaled the definitive end of the post-war consensus. The polic ies of Thatcherism attacked consensus politics on every front: her government st ood for privatization and a free-market economy, and for the reform of trade uni on law. Backed by an authoritarian approach to resisting gro ups, and a monetarist squeez e on inflation, the Thatcher government ‘redefined’ British politics. . The changes to British society and culture were dramatic, generating a spirit of either adventurous entrepreneurship or deplorable avarice. . Novelists tended to take the latter view, lamenting the imminent collapse of the welfare state, and a new era of inequality and social division. (30)

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6 Head acknowledges that the divisive nature of Thatcher’s economic policies forced artists and novelists to expl ore the meaning of such alienating and hierarchical organization and to engage the social problem s that resulted. Thatcherism coined the infamous acronym TINA, “there is no altern ative” to global neoliberal capitalism. Because of this belief, the Thatcher governme nt policies celebrated individual ingenuity and responsibility as the pinn acle of British success and the essence of Englishness. She touted a return to Victorian values accomp anied by a minimization or absenting of state intervention in society. In most historical and theoretical analyses, Thatcherism is immediately connected with economic policy,2 ignoring social and moral issues. Anna Marie Smith notices this gap an d interrogates the ways the new right discourse shapes attitudes towards race and sexuality. The moral vision of Thatcherism, as Smith explains, was that “[e]conomic renewa l, therefore entailed a moral revolution: a return to individual responsibility, free market entrepreneurialism and British nationalism” (3). By identifying immigra tion and homosexuality as opposed to this formation of morality, the new right was able to manipulate the societal fears surrounding the end of consensus politics. Smith argues, “Powellism and Thatcherism were hegemonic discourses in the sense that they pr oposed new visions of the social order and successfully stigmatized alternative visions so th at their political proj ects appeared to be the only credible frameworks for the interpre tation of the national crisis” (69). Smith’s analysis of these discourses highlights th eir existence as myths that organize the formation of identity and society; in other words, they function as hegemonic narratives that attempt to foreclose the potential for alternatives. 2 For example, see Peter Riddell’s The Thatcher Era and Its Legacy or Dennis Kavanagh, Thatcherism and British Politics: The End of Consensus?

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7 Influenced by Smith’s argument, I mainta in that the relationship between postwar politics and the production of narrative literature centers on the circulation of four ideologies that create a vision of Englishness in the postwar period. Literary narratives respond to these ideologies, elevating them to myths in the sense th at Nancy establishes in The Inoperative Community as “the will of community” (57). Through this acknowledgement of these myths, the literary narratives thus reveal the limits of these ideologies by presenting the alternatives th at the myths have attempted to destroy. The four ideologies of central concern to the postwar narrative are th e end of consensus, Powellian rascism, Thatcherite individualism, and Blarite New Britain. Each emerges from a perceived crisis, especially postwar de cline, black immigrati on, and the end of the imperial project, and attempts to satiate th e dangers of the crisis. The narratives and genres under examination acknowledge the he gemonic organization of these political myths and then imagine alternative utopian communities that propose a way to rethink the collective identities that organize postwar society. My understanding of the relationship betw een these myths and the imaging of community by the narratives of the post war also develops from a polyvalent understanding of the meaning of community. Examining the metaphysical categories of being, singularity, and community, Jean-Luc Na ncy deconstructs community to see it not as fusion, but instead as political resistance. Importantly, the tran scendence that Nancy sees as possible is to come ; it is the utopian potential. He su ggests understanding the community to come through literary communi sm. In forming this definition, Nancy differentiates between myth, which we have previously defined as “the will of community”(57), and literature as interruption, but that whic h does not know what it has

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8 interrupted (72). For my study, it is important not to view narrative as myth, not to view it as a unifying force for community. Inst ead, I want to examine how narrative as literature can interrupt and thus open the spac e for the community to come, or what I am calling alternative communities. I intend for th e semantics of this phrase to establish a relationship similar to what Nancy sees be tween myth and literature. Whereas myth, which may very well be destructive and fals e, creates a fusion, literature causes the disruption. Moreover, as in Nancy’s formulation of an understanding of literature requiring an understanding of myth, the alternative commun ity can only be realized through its disruption of a unified, hegemoni c version of community. In my argument this unified version is define d through the political myth that dominates the period of the narrative’s production. The status of the zombie, the gangster, and the immigrant as the vehicle for the imaging of the alternative community devel ops from Giorgio Agam ben’s naming of the actors of the coming community—Tricksters or fa kes, assistants or ‘toons. These very real actors named by Agamben ar e on the periphery, those who struggle to create a name and a place for themselves within a communit y. The struggle itself, like the interruption of literature, exposes both the power of domi nant hegemonic forms of community and the selfish benefit for those who di ctate the hegemonic order. E ach of Agamben’s actors is subordinate within the dominant order, but from that subordinate position arises a new formation of power aimed at revealing th e oppression of hegemonic power and thus calling for an alternative (A similar relationshi p to power will be revealed through my use of spatial theory). Thus, the alternativ e community embraces those actors like the zombie, the gangster, and the immigrant who are not easily assimilated into the

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9 organizing myths of political discourse and thus are more readily able to work against the dominant vision. The work of the actors of the alternat ive community suggests a parallel to Walter Benjamin’s messianic thought as both are a m eans to think potentia l within an era of uncertainty. Specifically, the angel of history suggests a potential for explaining the unthinkable. Benjamin’s angel establishes a perspective without the fallacies and limits of academic, monumental historiography and a perspective able to withstand the dangers associated with hegemonic discourse. Also, Benjamin’s idea of the flaneur opens another vision of prophetic poten tial. As a symbol of the bourgeoi s, the flaneur does not have to be cognizant of the work actually accomplished nor must the work be static and final to have effect; the traces that emerge can provi de resistance to symbolic power despite the impermanence. Similarly, the real examples Agamben lays out as exemplars of the coming community need not be aware of the potential within their actions. Thus, the work accomplished by the zombie, the gangster, or the immigrant in the creation of productive alternative communitie s may not be a part of th e collective agenda—instead, it will arise from the collectivity. It is impossible to discuss community w ithout interrogating Benedict Anderson and Raymond Williams, as both address the relationship between community and nationalism. Anderson’s famously named no tion, “imagined communities,” explains that while members of a community will never ac tually encounter each other they share a deep transhistorical bond based on their believed acceptance within this imagined community: “Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuiness, but by the style in which they are imagined” (6). Developing Anderson’s framework, Phillip

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10 Wegner explores the workings of “imagina ry communities” as a way to understand the convergence of modernity and the rise of the na tion state He argues, “They are not real in that they portray actual places in the world; rather, they are real . in that they have material, pedagogical, and ultimately polit ical effects, shaping the ways people understand, and as a consequence, act in th eir worlds” (xvi). Wegner indicates the progressive potential for reading the creati on of narrative communities as the vehicle for action, as those whose effects ca nnot be ignored or erased. Williams also sees potential for understanding the imagination of community. In The Country and the City Williams coins “knowable communities” in order to address the changing social relationships throughout th e later half of the ni neteenth century. Because of the rise of industrialization a nd the metropolis, the transformation of labor and class made the ability to know a whole community more and more difficult. So instead ‘knowable communities’ arose base d on communication instead of face-to-face contact. The emphasis on communication makes the circulation of material, most notably novels and mass media, essential for the creation of communities. Again within Williams’ formation, we see a new form of community, one based on commonality of reading and knowledge, come to exist with in the pragmatic idea of community, an organization of similar individuals yoked together because of their proximity. The ‘knowable community’ opens up the idea of community, emphasizing mobility and circulation, but it presents new problems in terms of language. Williams responds in ways similar to Nancy, who claims literature is an interruption but then does not explain how to fully recognize or conceive of the interruption. Williams sees novels by such writers as George Eliot and Thomas Hardy providing new ways of looking at the

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11 language of farmers, craftsmen, and other working people and thus providing a new way to look at class structure within the ‘know able community.’ Like Williams’s literary examples, the narratives under examination in this project introduce new ways to look at the language of gender, sexuality, and class. In “Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory,” Williams begins the project of rethinking the exam ination of class through his formation of a methodology for cultural studies. Question ing the relationship between productive forces and social relationships, Williams challenges the notion of a totality for cultural theory. He sees this totality as hegemony or as he defines, “a w hole body of practices and expectations; our assignments of energy, our ordinary understanding of the nature of man and his world. It is a set of meanings and valu es which as they are experienced as practices appear as reciprocally confirming. It thus constitutes a sense of reality for most people in the society” (9). From hegemony derive s the historical practice of the “ selective tradition ,” what the dominant culture chooses to emphasi ze of their tradition and past. Because of the ‘selective tradition,’ Williams wants cult ural theorists “to recognize the alternative meanings and values, the alternative opinions an d attitudes, even some alternative senses of the world, which can be accommodated and to lerated within a particular effective and dominant culture” (10). The alternative is al so opposed to the domi nant culture, but it can lead to residual and emergent forms of cu lture. The residual are the lived practices of some previous social formation, whereas th e emergent represents the creation of new practices and formations. My readings of th e alternative communities in the three generic traditions show how Williams’ cultural practices take on concrete form.

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12 The issue of methodology that reappears in these studies of community necessitates a focus on narrative theory and the circulation of narratives. Thus, each chapter of the project will contribute to an overall genr e study of narratives of community, permitting me to trace the historical development of each genre. This focus on genre will encourage an examination of specific narrative similariti es, repetitions, and reiterations within the genres. Frederic Jameson most informs my desire to combine narrative theory with a politically and culturally aware study. At the very start of The Political Unconscious Jameson identifies “the priority of the political interpretation of literary texts” (17) as the inevitability of all reading and interpretation. Citing Dele uze and Guattari’s idea of schizo-analysis, Jameson hopes to shift the question of literary interpretation from the question of what does the text mean to the question of how does the text work. The traditional focus of interpretation has many of the limits of Nancy’s idea of myth; this mode of interpretation reveals the always al ready read nature of texts because of the layers of cultural influence the individual reader brings to the text. The desire to look at how texts work does not mean an immedi ate escape from the limits of mimetic interpretation, but throu gh the political examination, readers can acknowledge the historical and cultural influences to themselves and the texts. By the act of sorting and grouping, genre is always a politic al and historical construct dictated by the literary market and the modes of interpreta tion. My desire to establish a politically aware narrative theory in my proj ect necessitates acknowledging how these texts circulate, a product of both the ma rket and the criticism. First in terms of theoretical circulation, the generic genealogy must explain how the community between temporal periods arises. Community is itse lf a narrative, the narrative most able to

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13 withstand the violence of postw ar society in a productive rath er than dismissive way. I contend that the resilience, adaptability, a nd accessibility of na rratives of community make them an attractive and necessary field of study. In order to examine the circulation of narrative, the representative novels and films within each generic tradition have reached a wide audience, or in other words continually circulate.3 The final theoretical school that influen ces and shapes my study of community is spatial theory. Community needs to be examin ed as a spatial construct, as a means to understand spatial environments, such as cities. Also, th e imagining and understanding of space reveals the affects on the individua l and the collective. Space has a deep connection to an understanding of culture, pa rticularly how the construction of the environment shapes the community. Such a focus reveals just as much about the environments as the people. In Out of Place: Englishness, Empire, and the Locations of Identity Ian Baucom argues that space and place in literature are essential concepts for the creation of identity. Baucom looks at the British government’s attempts to make Englishness correspond to race and not space. Baucom challenges the governmental plan by looking at the identity shaping forces of particularly English places. In these instances, he explains the meaning of place and space. Place here is not a mere expanse but some thing that contains and communicates a certain type of tradition. Whereas sp ace in the legal discourses on Britishness serves as the basis for a system of categor ization, in this mediation of Englishness place grounds a system of education. Where British space bestows only a common name on all the empire’s subjects, English pl ace [. .] reforms the identities. (18) 3 One possible way to look at the commercial circulation is through the culture of literary and film prizes in Britain, since many of the novels and films in my study have appeared on award lists and been nominated for excellence.

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14 Baucom reveals the nuances associated with an understanding of the spatial construct of Englishness and identity under post-imperialism. The spatial theories of Henri Lefebvre a nd David Harvey also contribute to my understanding of urban spaces. In The Production of Space Lefebvre establishes a threepart schema for thinking about space, which he labels “spatial pract ice,” “representations of space,” and “representational space” (38). These three correspond to the experienced, the perceived, and the lived (or as Harvey pref ers, the imagined). The representational spaces, the imagined spaces are the work of the alternative community. Developing a similar tripartite system, Harvey, in Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference analyzes Raymond Williams’s understanding of space, place, and environment. He asserts that this tr ipartite system develops in Williams’s novels because it did not in his cultura l theory. Harvey attempts to correct Williams’s divisions by viewing theorization “as a continuous dialec tic between the militant particularism of lived lives and a struggle to achieve suffici ent critical distance and detachment to formulate global ambitions” (44). Through milita nt particularism, Harvey sees a way “to create a critical space from which to chal lenge hegemonic discourses” (101). Harvey distrusts viewing those who ma ny label as “voices from the margins” as having more authentic and thus more revolutionary positions. In order to avoid turning the zombies, gangsters, and immigrants, the actors of my alternative communities into these romanticized marginalized voices I must look at the particular ity, especially spatially of their concerns. Harvey suggests a “theory of historical-geographical materialism” as the way to avoid romanticizing the marginalized, since space defines difference and otherness and is thus the locu s of agency and the possibility of emancipatory politics.

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15 Primarily, he argues that discursive activity is the activity of mapping space. His idea of mapping allows a revision of ideas of power, so cial relations, and the imaginary (112), thus providing a method for thinking about ac tors such as Agamben’s exemplars of the coming community. Both Harvey’s and Lefebvre’s theories of space allow us to question how the spaces of the city and the country in these genres contain the various layers of meaning that makes the imagining of alternativ es possible. Perhaps better than any other space, the city provides a contested space wh ere the dominant hegemonic discourses and the alternative communities must coexist. London specifically is the exemplar of th e alternative community because it can never be simply mapped, labeled, or identif ied. Instead, it is always a place undergoing constant imagination and reimagination. As Julian Wolfreys explains, “London thus only reveals or gives itself, if it does this at all, through acts of self-dis closure and inscription in the very appearance of resisting its own revelation. In its most apparently familiar appearances, there remains none theless the invisible, the undecidable, self-disclosure arriving, to paraphrase Heidegger, as that very aspect which conceals itself” (9). Wolfreys shows that we cannot merely say Lond on is a place, instead “it takes place” (4). History is essential to an unde rstanding of the complexity of London, but this is a history composed of layers of meaning inscribed by the events, the inhabitants, and all other traces that compose the city. The work of th e alternative community is inherently tied to not only a realization of London’ s incomprehensible totality but the simultaneous attempt to imagine its singularities. The narratives that define each generic strand of the alternative community understand that thei r creation and realization are always

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16 momentary, are always traces of the historical and political understandings that constitute their existence and their place within the world. Chapter 2 explores narratives of disaster and apocalypse. I be gin by examining that ways Mary Shelley and H.G. Wells establish a specifically British tradition of critical apocalypses that is then de veloped by postwar writers like George Orwell and John Wyndham. The postwar writers emphasize the role of nature in understanding overwhelming oppressive political realities. This tradition is built upon in J.G. Ballard’s depiction in High-Rise of a stagnated post-imperial Britain By relating Ballard’s depiction of the spatial organi zation of the residential skyscr aper to Rem Koolhaas’s idea of delirious social formations, I examine how identity categories, such as nationality, class, and gender, are spatia lly constructed and thus can be rethought and reformed through a new imagination of community. I then look at Ballard’s recent novel, Millennium People to more fully understand the influe nce of spatiality on identity. In the next part of Chapter 2, I examine Martin Amis’s critique of Thatcher’s hierarchical Britain in London Fields. I argue that Amis, using a model much like Derrida’s nuclear criticism, interrogates how the historical stages of capitalism, represented by the three main characters, cr eate a class hierarchy that prevents all individuals, from high to low, from trul y understanding their place in the postmodern world. Instead, Amis concludes that a co llective, non-hierarchi cal organization of community, one that protects innocence, expe rience, and originality, is necessary. In the final section of Ch apter 2, I examine filmmaker Danny Boyle’s portrayal of Blair’s conservatism in 28 Days Later Boyle brings together im ages of Empire, historic disaster, and canonical Postwar British films to critique the nostalgia in Blair’s rhetoric

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17 and agenda. Boyle understands the political potential for British apocalyptic narratives, repeating the ontological in terrogation of John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids the effects of violence in A Clockwork Orange and the alienation characteristic of his previous film Trainspotting Like Amis and Ballard before him, Boyle uses this heritage of images to question the ideal political and governmental organization for British society, ultimately concluding that a return to a rural landscape is needed for new social formations to emerge. Ultimately, the apocalypses in this narratives—created by urban development, imminent nuclear war, and biol ogical warfare—lead to the destru ction of reigning racial, class, and gender divides, a nd even more significantly, enable alternative communities to come into being. Chapter 3 surveys the gangster film du ring the Postwar pe riod. I trace the development of the ideas of Englishness and ma sculinity in the genre. I begin with the Ealing comedies, such as The Lady Killers where a supposedly intelligent gang of criminals fail because of their inability to understand the devotion to Empire of their elderly victim; then, I look at bohe mian culture in films such as Performance ; finally, I compare the depiction of individuality and hypermasculinity, epitomized by the 1980 film The Long Good Friday, with the vision of collectivity in 1990s films such as Guy Ritchies’s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast. Both of these films respond to “New Laddi sm,” which emerges from men’s magazines and attempts to recoup an idea of masculinity after the women’s movement. These more recent films explore popular culture’s infl uence on national and gender identities and introduce a more flexible vision of masculin ity, one that struggles to protect a new familial collective. In Lock, Stock, the gang of lads has to understand their cultural and

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18 gender heritage in order to survive and pros per. Ultimately, this lesson is taught by the two literal fathers in the film, emphasizi ng that even in a hype rmasculine underworld protection of innocence and education of youth is necessary for survival. Likewise, in Sexy Beast violence is only acceptable for protecti on of the non-traditional family unit, creating a version of masculinity that fost ers criminal success because of a more circumvent understanding of the traditional power structures of gender relationships. Both films use popular music to enter th e critiques of masculinity and familial responsibility into the popular cultural milieu. Each of the second generation immigran t novels in Chapter 4 is by and about Anglo-Indians attempting to find a balance between the Indian cu ltures their parents desperately hope to preserve and the English culture in which they have grown up. Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000) both follow young adult protagonists attempting to find a balance between their family’s desires and their own identity. Each text is a specific type of Bildungsroman paralleling the coming of age of the second-generation i mmigrants with the assimilation of Indian culture into mainstream English culture. The texts deal with issues of sexuality, marriage, and feminism to show the changing ideals from the conservative parents to the more progressive children. Each text addresses some of the most stereotypical aspects of English popular culture, such as pop music and football, hi ghlighting the pe rvasiveness of a mass national culture. These texts all fo cus on the types of places under scrutiny in Baucom’s work. Each of these texts integr ate popular culture as a narrative technique, bringing an already specific and established narrative to the texts and also making the texts speak to an audience trying to come to te rms with hybridity in a myriad of forms.

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19 By contrasting the suburbs, where immigran ts have been literally pushed to the margins, with London, where the desires for discovery are fostered, these novels see sexuality as a rhetoric for navigating the world. Once th e protagonists understand the divide established by the built city environm ent, the mythic nature of the idea of homeland becomes apparent. These second-ge neration immigrant protagonists transform their lack of a home, their hybridity, into a constant ability to f eel at home anywhere because they live within a global commun ity defined by hybrid cultures. Making a global London overtly obvious, these prota gonists show the be nefits of cultural acceptance and collaboration. These texts empha size that within a global society, culture, space, and community are entwined.

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20 CHAPTER 2 APOCALYPTIC COMMUNITIES: THE DISA STER AND REEALATION OF CLASS AND SPACE The apocalyptic types—empire, decadence and renovation, progress and catastrophe—are fed by histor y and underlie our ways of making sense of the world from where we stand, in the middest. —Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. —Walter Benjamin, “Theses on the Philosophy of History” A Genealogy of the Postwar Apocalyptic Narr ative: The Influences and Examples of John Wyndham and George Orwell As Bill Masen, the protagonist of John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids (1951) attempts to come to terms with the disaster that has left most of society blind and thus easy prey for the triffids, m obile and poisonous plants, he describes his surroundings and the feelings that they evoke: “To the left, th rough miles of suburban streets, lay the open country; to the right, the West End of London, with the City beyond. I was feeling somewhat restored, but curiously detached now and rudderless” (38). Masen’s ability to see grants him an already privileged perspec tive that permits him to survey his world and to decide how the spaces of the “open country” and “the City” will affect his psyche. His reaction to the spaces epitomizes a tre nd throughout postwar British apocalyptic narratives to view the country and nature as redemptive, especi ally in the face of overwhelming and incomprehensible disaster. The influence of spatiality on the causes

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21 of and responses to disasters reveals the poli tical critique of apo calyptic narratives. In this case, Masen yokes his left with the country and his right with th e City, responding to the first with feelings of re storation and the latter with fe elings of detachment. The political connotations of left and right em phasize that the redemptive country is not a conservative space of nostalgia, but instead a progressive space; whereas, the City, the literal space of business within London, represents the repressi ve ideological realities of monopoly capital. The novel crit iques the oppressive reality of capitalism with the very premise of the disaster—the insinuation th at the greed for profits gained from the production of triffid oil has propagated this di saster, or on a more aphoristic level that greed will always lead to some sort of disaster. While coming to terms with the inevitabili ty of disaster, Ma sen shows a realist understanding of the spaces of redemption by me diating the country wi th the borders of the suburbs. The suburbs of London emerge fo r several reasons, each related to class status. For the lower classes, the suburbs re present a forced expulsion from the city as the gentrification of previously workingclass areas makes housing unaffordable or unavailable. The council estates on the borde rs of the city, such as Keith’s home in London Fields, are offered to these displaced Londone rs and become emblematic of the forced expulsion of the poor. For the middl e class, the suburbs present an easier opportunity to become homeowners, as they ca nnot meet the standard of living required of life in the city. Conversely, for the uppe r classes the suburbs present the opportunity to enter into the city for work or leisure w ithout the alienating realities of living in the city, but they are left with the most access to mobility and the most choice. For all classes, the suburbs present the merging of th e rural and the urban or at least the borders

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22 of these spaces. The working class are still blocked from nature because of the lack of leisure time offered in their work schedules; the middle classes and the upper classes become stagnated in their transient exis tence in between the two spaces, making both urban and rural incomprehensible. They can only understand the suburban existence—a distilled or false version of the urban and the rural. Masen acknowledges the spatial influence of the suburban, and then he furthe rs the radical potentia l of the country by calling the space “open.” Masen suggests endles s potential within the rural, a direct affront to the reality of the suburbs. Mase n does not immediately discover absolute bliss and comfort once leaving the city; despite the re ality he finds, the rural spaces foster his ability to maintain hope for progress and sa lvation through the auth entic relationship he cultivates within the rural space. Within his initial labeling of the country as ‘open,’ he insinuates that the urban is clos ed, which in the aftermath of the disaster means a site of danger utterly lacking hope for its trapped inhabitants under constant and unforeseeable threat from the enemy. As the feeling of constant threat characterizes the postwar milieu, Wyndham and his contemporary George Orwell epitomize a trend in postwar British literature of presenting apocalyptic situations as a mean s of imagining productive responses to the oppressive political realities that either cause or result from the disasters. These two authors imagine a way to escape from their hi storical reality, the af termath of World War II and the Blitz on London, which had left enduring scars on the national psyche particularly for the inhabitants of L ondon still living amongst the rubble and the developing Cold War paranoia. The War and the Blitz made the insecurity of London and the British Empire obvious, thus leaving the English subject fearful of fascist and

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23 communist occupation. Wyndham and Orwell re cognize the lingering fear over a threat to British sovereignty and thus imagined situ ations where their characters deal with and to varying degrees find pr otection from oppression, partic ularly in a collective understanding of the redemptive principles of the natural and the country, epitomized by the imaging of alternative communities that come into being within this protected space. The focus on the natural permits me to elabor ate Patrick Parrinder’s argument that “the rural sanctuary, a fortified isla nd or valley serving as a last redoubt of ‘Britishness’, is common to almost all the British disaster novels written in th e post-war period of imperial withdrawal” (212). Parrinder focuses on the important theme of the rural sanctuary, but he inevitably concludes that th e futures imagined within these sanctuaries are “deluded endgames” (233). I will carefully examine this repeated theme of the rural sanctuary, but I will argue that these spaces permit a utopian imaging of identity and a reassessment of the mean ing of collectivity. Overall, the alternative communities im agined by Wyndham and Orwell within the spaces of the country reveal the postwar trad ition of using the apocalyptic moment to reveal the limits of oppressive politics and the potential of a progressive reorganization of community. A close reading of the connections between the ideals of the country and the natural and the imagination of alternative communities in The Day of the Triffids and Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four (1949) establishes a particul ar apocalyptic tradition to which authors of the late twentieth century respond. Thus, examining Wyndham’s and Orwell’s novels will help us to better unde rstand J.G. Ballard’s discomfort with the stagnated politics of the la te 1970s, Martin Amis’s critique of Thatcher’s neo-

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24 conservative hierarchies of the 1980s, and Danny Boyle’s interrogation of Tony Blair’s nostalgic New Britain of the late 1990s. The political dimension of British apocalyptic literature emerges in its earliest and most influential manifestations, primarily through the works of Mary Shelley and H.G Wells. Shelley’s Frankenstein questions the costs and benefits of scientific experimentation. Shelley, like many of the apocalyptic writers who follow her, was primarily interested in the effects that technology would have on the individual and thus the family or the community, but because of her Romantic pe rspective, she was particularly interested in how nature contributes to the creat ion of social relationships. Through her frame narrative, Shelley juxtaposes two types of discoverers, Robert Walton, who can celebrate the beauty of the artic and na tural and express this beauty to his sister while simultaneously going about his discove ry, and Victor Franke nstein, who becomes so obsessed with his discovery that he looses contact with the world and, because of his isolation, ensures his failure. Frankenstein’s monster inherits the fate of not being able to appreciate the beauty of the world and the l ove of others, and thus the monster violently rebels against his creator because, unlike Fra nkenstein, the monster is a truly romantic man. The monster represents th e danger of allowing science ra ther than nature to shape our worldview. Shelley’s warning against technology as a way to elevate authentic experiences within the world becomes increasi ngly sentient in a tw entieth-century world of Debordian spectacle and Baudrillardian si mulation that insinuates that there is no content or meaning left as a result of comm odity culture. Like Shelley, Ballard, Amis, and Boyle refuse the solipsistic philosophic trends of postmodern simulation and instead assert the primacy of the collective desires for genuine experiences and relational love.

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25 Wells’s view of the apotheosis of scientif ic rationality and thus his reconfiguration of the natural as the scientific is not as cl early optimistic and redemptive as Shelley’s, but his scientific romances are the standard barer of the British disaster narrative, particularly through their impetus to see di saster as the opportunity to envision the world through new perspectives. Wells’s critical apocalypses influence Wyndham, Orwell, and continue to linger in the minds of a ll other apocalyptic writers. The specific historical event to which The War of the Worlds (1898) most directly responds is the conflict that could arise from African imperial expansion. As evidence th at Wells’s novels are not ahistorical or fantastic, his stylistic choice of realism and scientific authenticity become the standard for critical apocalypses. His alien invade rs are not frightening because of their appearance or size, in fact they are physic ally limited by Earth’s at mosphere, but instead they are terrifying because of their intelligence and abilit y, including their attack on the whole of England, making both London and the countryside spaces of siege and danger and suggesting that England and thus the idea l of Englishness is in danger. Wells’s use of shifting narrative view points in Worlds not only emphasizes the everyman nature of his narrative but also places observers who have a variety of backgrounds and influences in different perspectives to emphasize the potential commonality th at a totality like disaster could achieve. Through these varied narrative voices, Wells establishes the use of apocalypse as a way to look inward and examine the workings of the society as a collective, the people as indi viduals, and the relationships that define humanity when under attack and thus rapidly changing. Examining the critical impact of apocalypse in The Sense of an Ending, Frank Kermode examines how narrative, which is driv en by a need for an ending, allows us to

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26 imagine and understand apocalyptic desires fr om our place in the middle, or in the historically determined categories of our exis tence. In other words, Kermode provides a narrative theory of apocalypse that attempts to understand the communal experiences of narrative. For Kermode, the radicalism of a pocalypse makes it flexible and adaptable to the crisis filled art and time of modernity. Kermode notes that in literary plotting, the End has lost much of its momentum and signi ficance because of our desire to “think in terms of crisis rather than temporal ends” (30). He goes on to note that despite this desire, “we can perceive durat ion only when it is organized,” which for literature means plot (45). As narrative is a pocalyptic in its need for an end and we can only understand temporality through narratives, on some level a ll narratives are narra tives of apocalypse; this statement can be rephrase d, all narratives are revelatory or all narratives break apart to reveal meaning, or it can be violently rephrased that all narr ative is a state of crisis and destruction, particularly of the reigning order. Kermode’s theory of apocalypse responds to the meaning of the word, “revelation or disclosure,” which necessitates an ex amination of apocalypse outside of the historically religious definition of the Christian tradition. The ideal of revelation applies directly to narrative, which itself is the act of revealing thro ugh words, plot, and character. When looking at narratives that are self-reflexively a pocalyptic, the act of disclosure becomes multi-layered. Of all the layers of revelation and disclosure in apocalyptic narratives, I am interested in th e connection between the urban disaster or threat and the potential for rural renewal, pa rticularly how the hostile or nurturing spaces can image new formations for community. These alternative apocalyptic communities are my way of following Kermode’s lessons on the End in modernism and

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27 postmodernism. Kermode realizes that there mu st be “rediscoveries, fruitful revaluation” and “a new use for the past” (121 ), understanding that it is no t apocalypse that takes place but that apocalyptic narrative does; apocalypse is thus a kind of angel of history gestalt experience written in orde r to produce catharsis from its audience. Further developing the relationship betw een the apocalyptic narrative and its audience, Susan Sontag argues for a need to understand the potential fo r the historicity of apocalypse in “The Imagination of Disaster.” Sontag reads the “t ypical science fiction film” (116) to explain how and why we are continually drawn to the imagination of disaster. She starts by establishing comm onality and difference between the different manifestations of disaster: “From a psychol ogical point of view, the imagination of disaster does not greatly differ from one period in history to another. But from a political and moral point of view, it does” (130). A ccording to Sontag, we are all yoked together by a similar emotional response and fear towa rd disaster. Because of this collective response, the threat of disaster can make heterogeneous communiti es arise because the differences of race, class, and gender are fo rgotten in favor of this pressing mutual reaction. We must remember that the apocalyp tic narrative is occasional, an event in which we cannot speak of the political as su ch because we do not have the language to communicate the direct representation of the apocalyptic situation. If we understand the postwar period as Sontag summarizes, “an ag e of extremity” (130), we must understand that the historical and political causes, conf licts, and uses of disaster matter greatly despite the verisimilitude of emotional respons es. In this divide, Sontag explains the dangers of simply celebrating the science ficti on film’s depiction of disaster as spectacle and entertainment. She explains, “the imagery of disaster in science fiction is above all

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28 the emblem of an inadequate response I don’t make to bear down on the films for this. They themselves are only a sampling, stripped of sophistication, of the inadequacy of most people’s response to the unassimilable te rrors that infect the consciousness” (130). Sontag establishes that the desire to imagine the disaster is to escape from the very real terrors and violence of the world. The disast er (violent battle, nuc lear annihilation, or pandemic) is easier to deal with than the re al terrors of global capitalism that cause not only these examples of disa ster but the continual class conflict waged throughout the world. Each of the texts in the apocalyptic tr adition under examination attempts to use these imagined disasters as the catalyst to re veal the ways the dangerous forces of global capitalism rule society. Then, like Kermode explains, from the midst of the disaster, these narratives attempt to make sense of or reveal the potential for our world, even when threatened by “unremitting banality and inc onceivable terror” (Sontag 130). Wyndham’s and Orwell’s novels reveal the process of accepting terror as the norm and thus finding ways to adapt and reconfigure the self and the community, particular ly through the spaces of redemption, such as the home th at Bill and Josella cultivate in Triffids and the clandestine “natural” love den th at Julia and Winston visit in Nineteen Eighty Four The Day of the Triffids presents repeated critiques of the effects of industrial capitalism and the imperial nation state on the status of the individua l as a self-contained and self-sufficient ontological being, ultimately presenting the cottage home and the collective island society as models of soci alist productivit y. Wyndham’s novel, like the contemporary adaptation 28 Days Later challenges the zombie genre by linking the monstrous to anti-social, non-egalitarian beha vior. While the triffids are the immediate enemy, the zombie-like humans who retain thei r consciousness but lack even the ability

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29 to provide for themselves or participate in the work required for the preservation of society present an equally dangerous situ ation. The sighted though do not necessarily flourish, as exemplified by the failed Christian community and the violent military communities, but can flourish by adapting a socialist agenda based on communal acceptance and respect, or by not becoming the monstrous, anti-social force fighting against collective salvation. Even the main characters must understand the necessity of collectivity. Masen develops from a selfishly indi vidualistic scientist before the disaster to a thoughtful and able caretaker of the land and the people who depend on him. Masen explains his own transformation as the journalist ic, first person narrator of Triffids which is essentially his path towards a non-traditional family and thei r decision to move to the community on the Isle of Wight. As he ends with an epilogue that starts, “ And there my pers onal story joins up with the rest. You will find it in Elsp eth Cary’s excellent history of the colony ” (228), he emphasizes that the path they have followe d is the logical progression to a collective and redemptive organization for a successful community, and as Masen has discovered the workings of the natural world alongside the reader, he asks the reader to come to the same logical conclusion about the best path fo r the protection of huma nity. He unselfishly ends his individual narrative once it has acco mplished the collective agenda. As his metamorphosis begins shortly after the disa ster, Masen critiques how segregated and useless individuals have become as a result of industrial capitalism. He says, “I knew practically nothing, for instance, of such or dinary things as how my food reached me, where the fresh water came from, how the cl othes I wore were woven and made, how the drainage of cities kept them healthy. Our liv es had become a complexity of specialists”

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30 (12). Masen, unlike the parasitic neo-feudal fascist Torrence, understands the reality that all humans have been left like the blind in te rms of useful labor, and he does not wish to manipulate the non-sighted based on fear. In Wyndham’s apocalypse, the privilege of vision is not based on sight but the need to have foresight of the outcomes of our re liance on technology and our cultivation of the unnatural. Masen explains, “I don ’t think it had ever before occurred to me that man’s supremacy is not primarily due to his brain, as most of the books w ould have one think. It is due to the brain’s capacity to make use of the information conveyed to it by a narrow band of visible light rays” (93). Wyndham realizes the fragility of the visible and correlates this tenable protection to the ever -present danger for corru ption or destruction that surrounds postwar society. By arguing fo r the supremacy of human visibility based on its connection to ontological identity, Wyndham asks for a more complete and careful understanding of the way English society wo rks, the way Englishness influences the subjects identity within the society, and th e historical and political construction of England and Englishness.1 The spaces of the farm and the colony re present a revitalization of authentic collectivity and relationships instead of th e isolation and specia lization of individual identity characteristic of pr e-disaster England. Wyndham’ s critique cannot neatly be summarized as John Clute does, explaining that Wyndham gave an “eloquently middleclass English response to the theme of Disaster ” (667). To do so would be to look at the 1 Wyndham’s critique of vision relates to James Jo yce’s famous phrase in the Proteus chapter of Ulysses “ineluctable modality of the visible.” Stephen De dalus struggles to understand the influences of nationalism, class, and gender on his self-identity. The narrative of the bildungsroman functions similarly to the narrative of apocalypse by imagining new soci al relations, but the main difference is that the bildungsroman is based primarily n the imagination of the individual’s place within the new, while the apocalyptic is based on collective im agination of new experiences.

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31 superficially English icons, the pubs and th e condemnation of those who hope that the Americans will come and save the survivor s, as Wyndham’s main critique. Instead, Edmund Morris argues that Wyndham uses social commentary to look at the aftermath of disaster. Morris’s critique indi cates that the novel requires an examination of the spaces that foster collective ideals. He says, “And wh en disaster happens, the worst is not what it does to such physical infrastr uctures as cities and transport systems, but to the precious intangibles that a democratic government is s upposed to protect: the loyalty of lovers, the upbringing of children, the rule of law, the all-importance of free speech and privacy and good manners” (xiii). These democratic rights are overtly discussed in Triffids thus making them obvious also in the adaptation, 28 Days Later On the most obvious level, the variety of communities in Triffids Christian, military, subsistent, or socialist, thrive or fail contingent upon the degree to whic h they protect democratic rights. The protection of these rights correlates to a vision of history based on Benjamin’s angel of history, which stands amidst the turmo il of the past to piece together an authentic yet non-monumental version of hi story that protects human right s. This vision of history also appears in London Fields through the collective protec tion of childhood innocence. In Triffids Masen’s and Josella’s union eptimozies this role of histor y. Masen explains their first intimate connection: “And we dan ced, on the brink of an unknown future, to an echo from a vanished past” (105). The echo means that the past is still haunting them, but that their union, an embodiment of the pr otection of love and collective agency, can bring them into the future. This future even tually leads them to the socialist community on the Isle of Wight, the ultimate triumph of natural collectivity.

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32 Orwell configures the natural as both a literal and imagined space of respite for protagonist Winston Smith. As Winston begi ns to write in his journal and to choose other behavior that betrays the Party, he longingly recalls his family and a natural landscape that explains his feelings for his fa mily, or more precisely, “a time when there were still privacy, love, and friendship, and when the members of a family stood by one another without needing to know the reason” (28). For Winston, authentic emotion is derived from the family, but under the Pa rty these emotions would only lead to unbearable suffering, which for Winston is sym bolized by the “large eyes of his mother and sister, looking up at him th rough the green water, hundreds of fathoms down and still sinking” (29). The acute star e of the only people who have truly loved Winston haunts his memory because of the suffering derived from their constant process of drowning, a feeling that Winston likewise equates with living under Party control. Because Winston has begun a process of rebellion, he now has a memory of a natural space where his family once experienced “privacy, love, and friendship.” He explains his dream: “Suddenly he was sta nding on short springy turf, on a summer evening when the slanting rays of the sun g ilded the ground. The landscape that he was looking at recurred so often in his dreams that he was never fully certain whether or not he had seen it in the real world. In his wa king thoughts he called to the Golden Country” (29). This reappearing image in Wi nston’s dreams is his oneiric house.2 When it manifests in his thoughts, m oving from unconscious dream to conscious reflections, his name for it “Golden Country” reveals the value that Winston grants to the power of this 2 The oneiric house is Gaston Bachelard’s label of the atavistic dream world, or as he explains, “a house that comes forth from the earth, that liv es rooted in its black earth” (111).

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33 memory. His initial descript ion of the turf and the summ er light does not have any specificity but represents absolute pleasure through its soothing connotations. As he continues relating this dream turned memo ry, he becomes more precise with his description: It was an old, rabbit-bitten pasture, with a good track wandering across it and a molehole here and there. In the ragged hedge on the opposite side of the field the boughs of the elm trees were swaying very fa intly in the breeze, their leaves stirring in dense masses like women’s hair. Some where near at hand, though out of sight, there was a clear, slow -moving stream where dace were swimming in the pools under the willow trees. (29) Winston’s description develops because of the specific geographical features like the track, trees, and stream that make a mappi ng of the space possible. The development furthers the transfer of this oneiric house from his dreams to his thoughts. For Winston, this space represents the salva tion of “privacy, love, and frie ndship,” and thus his mother and sister. The simile describing the tr ees as “women’s hair” reveals Winston’s connection between the salvati on of loving relationships and the feminine. The natural becomes related to the feminine for Wins ton, which means forbidden yet authentic relationships, as opposed to the violent realit y of the Party. The calm, translucent water of the stream opposes the “green water” that drowns and separates Winston from his mother and sister. This wate r is life giving, as the fish a nd the peaceful sound of the flow reveals. The redemptive power of th e natural indicated by the water and the correlation between the natural and the feminine become s synonymous with rebellion as Winston’s experiences continue. This initial natural memory concludes with a dark-haired girl approaching him and tearing off her clot hes (29). Winston does not respond with arousal; instead he channels his desire toward rebellion. He explains his interpretation of

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34 her action: “With its grace a nd carelessness it seemed to a nnihilate a whole culture, a whole system of thought, as though Big Br other and the Party and the Thought Police could all be swept into nothingness by a singl e splendid movement of the arm” (29). The culture of violence and oppression charac terized by the Party becomes replaced in Winston’s memory by authentic emo tional and natural responses. When Winston and Julia first consummate their relationship, it must occur within the space of Winston’s oneiric house. Julia arranges the meeting, but Winston recognizes the similarity to his memory. He describes the exact footpath, molehill, trees and stream, using the same language (102-3). The pure emotional bliss that Winston recognizes in this natural space derives from the layers of authentic relationships, from his mother to sister and now to Julia, that the space provi des him. For Winston, again like Benjamin’s angel, history is defined by the ability to w ithstand catastrophe, whic h in this case means to maintain loving relationships by unders tanding their past and then using this understanding to withstand the terror of the present and thus empha size the necessity of authentic community for the future. But he explains that under the Party, “History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless pr esent in which the Pa rty is always right” (128). The oneiric space contradicts the hi storical understanding allowed by the Party. Because his conception of history has e xpanded beyond the party definition, Winston starts proclaiming of himself and Julia or anyone living under Part y rules, “We are the dead” (113, 145). Even though Winston and Julia cannot maintain the authentic relationship protected by th eir natural environment, they prove, much like Sam and Nicola in London Fields a momentary community can reve al the oppressive politics of

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35 the mainstream and image alternative social formations that suggest ways to resist oppressive realities. Ballard, Amis, and Boyle each imagine new social formations based on the natural or the country that resi st the political realitie s of their time. In High-Rise Ballard critiques the stagnated class structure of 1970s ’ England by relating this stagnation to the space of the metropolitan skyscraper. The narra tive structure mimics the spaces of the building by having three segregated male prot agonists representing ea ch of the classes battling for position within the isolated spaces. Most of the conflict arises over access to mobility within the spaces, revealing that a stagnated environment will lead to chaos. The novel offers an alternative to the chaotic st ruggles of the individu al male protagonists through a collective feminine sp ace within the garden. Th is natural space fosters a collective agenda of pr otection and nurture. Similarly, Amis critiques the hierarchical class structure required under Thatcher’s ne o-conservative government by revealing the oppression of each individual, irrespective of class, when attempting to understand emotional connections and collective social formations. Amis creates the imagined natural space, London Fields, to emphasize the colle ctive need to pr otect innocence and thus avoid catastrophe. Fina lly, Boyle’s film critiques the nostalgia of New Britain by following a non-traditional family as it moves from the urban and into different natural environments, which both attack and protec t the collective agenda. Boyle’s film acknowledges its historical a nd literary influences to em phasize the need to understand history not as a nostalgic cel ebration of previous grande ur, but instead as communal collection of multiple perspectives and traditions.

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36 J.G. Ballard’s Buildings and Neighborhoods In a discussion with Martin Amis, J.G. Ballard explains his reaction to moving from China to England as an adolescent. He says, “The culture shock is still with me. . I wasn’t prepared for the greyness, the harshness of the light, the small, exhausted, shattered community, the white faces, th e closed nature of English life” ( Visiting 79). Ballard relates the poor quality of light to the condition of English life in order to emphasize his position as an observer of postimperial England. The imagery of both the light and the sterile faces show s that he recognizes the sta gnation that characterizes the political and the cultural milieu of postwar E nglish society. In his fiction, non-fiction, and interviews, Ballard addresses the stagnati on within both culture and science fiction. In terms of the later, Ballard argues that the genre should not accept the conventions, plots, narrative styles, or standard characters continually borrowed from H.G. Wells, which have become common place for the genr e (“Which Way to Inner Space?” 197). Instead he creates his narratives, particularly the “disaster novels,” as a way to question the idea of history accepted by the conserva tive government of the 1960s and 1970s and the idea of a monolithic ideal of Englishness, which drives the conservative agenda and does not represent the reality of most of the English, includin g the foreign-born Ballard. Because of Jean Baudrillard, Ballard’s em phasis on the themes of history and of identity is often reduced to theoretical phrases like hyperreality. Perhaps as synonymous to Ballard as disaster, Jean Baudrillard br ought Ballard into the postmodernism debate in 1976. In Baudrillard’s definition of the three st ages of simulacra, natural, productive, and simulation, he concludes that Ballard belongs to the last order because novels like Crash epitomize hyperreality and hyper-functionality. Where as the firs t two divisions of simulacra correspond to the imaginary of utopia and science fiction re spectively, the third

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37 category has no clear imaginary. It is, as Baudrillard explains, “A hallucination of the real, of the lived, of the ev eryday—but reconstituted, some times even unto its most disconcertingly unusual details, recreated like an animal park or a botanical garden, presented with transparent precision, but totally lacking substance, having been derealized and hyperrealized” (Baudrillard online). The third category of simulacra establishes the impossibility of any imaginary when the real has been negated. The nihilism and closure in Baudrillard’s reading of Ballard permits academic critics to attack the novelist on moral grounds and over the tired debate about the categories of fiction and theory.3 The debate about the relationship between Baudrillard and Ballard typically focuses on theoretical terminology without closely reading Ba llard’s novels. However, Nicholas Ruddick suggests a productive way to rethink Ballard’s conception of the real and its relation to the hyperreal, a reading that reveals Ballard’s de sires for the future of science fiction. Ruddick argues, “everywhere in Ballard’s so-called disaster fiction . the real has not been nor is it in the process of being abolished. Far from it: catastrophe, whatever form it takes, actually signifies th e liberation of a “deep” real (associated with the unconscious), that has been until then latent in a “shallow ” manifest reality (held in place by mechanisms of repression)” (Ruddick). Ruddick understands that instead of reducing Ballard’s disasters to the aboliti on of the real, the na rratives that imagine disaster attempt to reveal the effects of oppression on society and individuals. As Ballard calls for science fiction that explores inner space instead of outer space (“Inner” 197), Ruddick attempts to understand Ballar d’s conception of inner space, based on 3 I am talking specifically of the responses to Baudrillard published in Science-Fiction Studies 18.3 (1991).

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38 psychoanalytical theory, as th e unconscious. Ruddick’s criticism turns to Ballard for guidance, a method I also follow, but instead of Ruddick’s psychoanalytic method, I want to understand inner space as spatiality and na rrative space. Since Ballard connects inner space to Earth, the biological, and “temporal perspectives of the personality” (“Inner” 198), understanding inner space requires look ing at the relationship between technological spaces and natural spaces, which th us critiques the effects and influences of the environment on people. With the environment in High-Rise (1975), Ballard contains the stagnated political climate of 1970s England within a forty-stor y luxury apartment bu ilding. Its seemingly homogeneous professional class becomes strict ly segregated into three distinct groups because of the isolation forced on the inha bitants by the stagnation of the building’s organization. As the building welcomes the final tenant and reaches capacity, it undergoes a disassociation from the outside e nvironment, trapping the inhabitants within a revolutionary moment where a shattered a nd segregated community has been forced together and forced into action. As the prota gonists from each social class participate in a futile battle for mobility within the building, a natural caregiving collective forms as a representative of the prog ressive community that could address the stagnation and alienation characteristic of the idea of Engla nd at the moment of the production of this narrative. This natural care-giving collective can be read as a libidinal utopia, a space where wild and unspeakable de sires are unleashed in response to oppression, so that these desires can generate an unders tanding of historical and po litical stagnation. In this context, the stagnation derives from the decline of Britain’s economy throughout the 1960s and culminating in the 1970s when th e simultaneous rise of inflation and

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39 unemployment led to a period popu larly know as ‘stagflation,’ a situation that resulted in the monetarist and consensus policies of Thatcher. My reading of Ballard’s theorizing of th e spaces of the metropolis corresponds to architectural theorist Rem Koolhaas as bot h attempt to imagine new delirious social formations. Koolhaas explores the utopian pot ential of the high-rise and its “Culture of Congestion” in Delirious New York He explains the “true Sk yscraper” as the product of “triple fusion” between the Tower, the metaphor ic, and the grid (99). The triple fusion makes some of the weaknesses of the high-rise into its strengthens: 1) the tower is a metaphor of repeated virgin sights or a gr id of space yet to be conquered; 2) the congested physical conditions of the high-rise mimics the urban environment outside of the building, creating hostility and competitio n; 3) the towers’ conquest of the block reveals isolation within a collective environment. Overall, the difficulty in achieving the verisimilitude of the high-rise derives from the actuality of the metropolitan lot, what Koolhaas calls “an unforeseeable and unstabl e combination of simultaneous activities” (85). By labeling the lot a zone of simu ltaneity, Koolhaas emphasizes the link between grid and tower. Both can serve as the guise for the metropolitan lot since we can never escape the grid in some form or another, especi ally in a subdivided tower that is actually an inverted grid. But the act of separating the two (grid and tower) is only a matter of metaphoric multiplication. Therefore, the pe rfect “triple fusion” cannot occur because the individual parts exist within a feuding simultaneity, each attempting to exert prominence over the others, but failing because of their entwined nature.4 Koolhaas is 4Koolhaas’s attempt to imagine new social formations necessitates that the “true Skyscrapper,” as he calls it, may not exist, but obviously the real spaces of these buildings are always ripe for the potential of delirious revolution. While develo ping the delirious logic of high-ri se space, Koolhaas theorizes “the Skyscraper’s conquest by other forms of culture” (87) by explaining the feuding simultaneity between the

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40 interested in the way that the concentrati on of the fusion enables the production of new kinds of delirious social and cultural re lationships. Similarl y, the disaster in High-Rise results from the construction and fusion of th e building, particularly its means of mobility and its relationship to London. As the novel begins and the thousandth ap artment of the London high-rise has been occupied, allowing the building to reach “cr itical-mass,” so does the disassociation between the building and its actual existe nce within London. Through this continually fracturing relationship, Ballard explores how the isolation and stagnation created by government and economic policies effects the co mpetition between the internal spaces of the building, the historical sp ecificity of London, and the a lienation and disassociation of the building and the inhabitants from the cit y. The narrator describes how Dr. Robert Laing, one of the three male protagonists, views London on the day when the building has been filled: “For all the proximity to th e City two miles away to the west along the river, the office buildings of central London be longed to a different world, in time as well as space” (9). Laing’s con ception of London reveals the impor tance of the city’s history for Londoners’ conception of time. As Laing and the other male protagonists battle for individual superiority, London becomes “slight ly more distant, the landscape of an abandoned planet receding slowly from [the ir] mind[s]” (10). This is because the alienation from the real city forces them to fo rget historical time and reinvent an inner time. As the journey to unde rstand this inner time progres ses through the battle over the inside and outside of the Skyscraper. He explains, “Through volume alone, life inside the Skyscraper is involved in a hostile relationship with life outside: the lobby competes with the street, presenting a linear display of the building’s pretensions and seductions, marked by those frequent points of ascent—the elevators—that will transport the visitor even furthe r into the building’s subjectivity” (88). Koolhaas’s charged language, including words such as hostile competes and seductions indicates that his conception of the feud is not only of interest to architectural design and designers, but instead highlights for “other forms of culture” how the Skyscraper profoundly influence our understanding of the world.

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41 occupation of desirable spaces within the building, fewer and fewer people select to leave the building because they base their unders tanding on the closure and chaos of the building, replicating the stagna tion characteristic of the nove l’s moment. The erasure of historic specificity in favor of a new conception of inner time indicates the need to revise the monumental ideal of historical agency ; but as my reading will show, the call to rethink time does not mean that the characte rs will understand this need in productive ways. Ballard proposes that the reinvention of a new sense of time within the building can free the inhabitants from the oppression of hi storical time, including the stagnation of their current moment, but he recognizes that this reinvention does not automatically occur simply by closing the space from the real space. Ballard relates the ability to imagine a new conception of time, using language sim ilar to Koolhaas, by explaining the feud between high-rise and city. The narrator rela tes the assessment of Dr. Robert Laing, one of the three male protagonists, that in the building “the dimens ions of his life were space, light and the pleasures of a s ubtle kind of anonymity. . In effect, the apartment block was a small vertical city, its two thousand inhabitants boxed up into the sky. The tenants corporately owned the building, which they ad ministered themselves through a resident manager and his staff” (9). The sense of anonymity that Laing adores represents an acceptance of the isolation forced by the vertic ality of the habitation. The phrase “boxed up into the sky” indicates an ungrounded, ubiqui tous spatial dynamic to life within this structure and the imagination of a city within the real city of London, inevitably challenging the allegiance of the inhabitants. With the closing off of the structure from the outside world, the seemingly homogeneous group of apartment owners (grouped by

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42 the act of bourgeois ownership) fractures into a hierarchical spatial striation. The text follows a protagonist from each level: Rich ard Wilder the documentary film maker and father from the lowest levels Laing the quintessential profes sional from the middle level, and Royal the building desi gner and upper-class poster boy from the penthouse. The three social classes eventually fracture in to small collective clans, overtaking the electrical system, garbage disposal, and most importantly the elevators and other passageways through the building. This cl ass confrontation u ltimately leads to apocalypse as “the old social sub-divisions, based on power, capital, and self-interest” (62) become apparent to the oppressed people of the lower levels. The overthrow of class structure leaves the three male protagonists each attempting to secure or protect authority, particularly through the very lo gic of power that created the old social structures. The shift in narrative perspectives between Laing, Wilder, and Royal permits the reader to see different paths to the same closed and isolat ed conclusion, thus reve aling the futility of the old logic. The feud develops emotionally and technol ogically, but both emphasize the need to imagine new social organizations. The occasio n for the start of th e conflict between the lower-level parents and the upper-level dog ow ners, the drowning of one of the stately dogs by Wilder, emphasizes the continual evalua tion of the value of life within the highrise. On an emotional level, Wilder repr esents the absolute destruction of emotion because of his ability to both kill the animal and abandon his family. Wilder’s transformation from an intelligent, hardworki ng cultural critic and artist into an intensely individualistic and hedonistic br ute requires readers to identify that the building actually causes this fragmentation within the individu al psyche and the social structure. In High-

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43 Rise, the fragmentation is linked to the anthropo morphism of the building, which explains the locus of violence. The narrator reveals, “Like a huge and aggres sive malefactor, the high-rise was determined to inflict ever y conceivable hostility upon them” (68). The agency of the building invents within its bodily inha bitants delirious violence, which then makes the inhabitants rise-up against the very violence inflicted upon them—Wilder’s assent of the building is the literal manifestation of the subjected body. Explaining the anthropomorphic nature of high-rise buildings, Jameson elaborates on Koolhaas’s emphasis of the internal logic of the structure: “In Koolhaas, however, if I understand him right, both elevator and grid stand as methods for dealing with the whole bulk of pipes and wiring that taking up some 40 percent of the building’s density, stands as a foreign body unassimilable to praxis or poesis but that must somehow be addressed and dealt with in new and original ways” (“The Uses of Apocalypse” 37). Jameson’s explanation presents an analogy between elevat or and grid and the ve ins and arteries of the human body. As ideals of mobility and or ganization, the elevator and grid cannot be simply identified and then ignored because th ey are the essence or life-giving aspects of the space. In Ballard’s novel, the feud over these idealized spaces em phasizes the need to imagine a new understanding of the anth ropomorphic building. Within the inner landscape of Ballard’s high -rise, the notion of body becomes important as the individual’s and the collective’s changing rela tionship to the space of the building can be read through the marks and scars created duri ng the confrontations. The accumulation of garbage in the building’s lobby, literally bloc king access to the building, the layers upon layers of graffiti on the walls, preventi ng any understanding or conveyance of information, and the war paint on Wilder’s naked chest, revealing his primitive inner

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44 psyche, represent the decline and destruction of the old power logic because of the breakdown of the technological.5 The access to and idea of unrestricted mob ility becomes the central issue of the feud, but simply moving literally to a highe r level does not accomplish the ideals of freedom foundational to mobility. The narr ator explains this struggle over mobility: “Their real opponent was not th e hierarchy of residents in th e heights far above them, but the image of the building in their own minds the multiplying layers of concrete that anchored them to the floor” (69). Th e narrator’s statement emphasizes the misunderstanding of the conflict as a feud between warring clans. Instead, as the closingoff of the building from the surrounding London environment highlights, the battle is over the effects of the buildi ng, the enclosure of the conflict between the nation-state and technology that manifests through the violent fighting over the elevators and other means of movement throughout the seemingly perfect Koolhaasian grid of the high-rise, and the imaging of new social formations less based on individuality, success, and upwardmobility. Each of the male protagonists shares a sim ilar faulty logic about the effects of the building. Wilder feels suffocated because of “the 999 other apartments pressing on him through the walls and ceilings” (58), and Royal “felt crushed by the pressure of all the people above him, by the thousands or indi vidual lives, each with its pent-up time and space” (104) when he ventured to floors be neath the penthouse. Both of them are overwhelmed because of their individualistic understanding of the relationship between 5 The lingual aspects of these rebellions, particular ly the graffiti, illustrates an understanding of techne not simply as that which brings forth being insinuating a metaphysical totality, but instead as the productive qualities of language in the Derridian sense.

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45 themselves and the others in the building; Wild er sees himself as the support beam for the structures of the building, leaving his ches t, which comes to bare the marks of his primitive understanding, to withstand the pressure of all the others. Wilder becomes the worker that Laing and Royal had already stereotyped throug h his imagination of his own role within the building. Royal thinks comp letely about individuality in both time and space, viewing the building as his zoo and the in habitants as his pets. Laing, as the more cerebral character, understands th e effects of the building mentally but with the same ridiculous self-absorption as the other two. He wonders “if this huge building existed solely in his mind and would vanish if he st opped thinking about it” ( 51). Because of the congestion and restricted mobility, the a ssent of the high-rise comes to represent power and domination over the internal orga nizational system of both the high-rise and the developing apocalyptic soci ety. A majority of Wilder’s narrative follows him as he attempts to climb, advancing his base upward as he infiltrates new clans. As time passes, the anthropomorphism of the building forces the inhabitants into a state of primitive animality. For example, Wilder believes he becomes animal as Roya l thinks he becomes zookeeper. Wilder’s accent causes the descen t of his mental and human characteristics since he becomes more primitive, violent, a nd vulgar the higher he rises within the passages of the building; the text suggests th at the highest level of intellect can only be possessed by one entity, and therefore as th e building assumes this position, the humans must resort to a primitive state. As each of the male protagonists retreats to a phallocentric understanding, Laing becoming obsessed with having weak women to protect and Wilder presenting himself not through language but through a literal presentation of his loins, the narrative

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46 perspective becomes more and more circum spect, suggesting a position that only the building could provide as it is the only omnisc ient perspective presented. We are asked to identify the narrator with the building, but the building’ s omniscience should not be read in typical science fiction fashion as the enemy to human rationality. Instead, the building identities the truly br utal and animal within the human and asks what effect development will have on this inner nature The narrator explains the philosophy behind this animal-state: “Even the run-down nature of the high-rise was a model of the world into which the future was carrying them, a landscape beyond technology where everything was either derelict or, more ambiguously, recombined in unexpected but more meaningful ways” (173). This future will most likely never become fully realized because of the dissociation from the historical real, a connection that is more firmly in place in Ballard’s later novels because the hi storical real to whic h they respond is not characterized by the stagna tion of the moment of High-Rise The historical influence on the notion of the future necessitates thinking about Ballard’s ‘inner space’ in terms of temporality. If we read the time of High-Rise as simply a staging ground for the future, then the narrative episodes that constitute the novel sp ecifically explain how the past and the future converge on the present. The presen t moment of the narrative indicates the realization of the utopian poten tial of the future but also with the understanding that the past makes this idealized time impossible. Instead, the narrative time attempts to understand what the present means for the fu ture. When the narrator reveals Royal’s belief that the building is “helping the two thousand re sidents towards their new Jerusalem” (84), the term ‘new Jerusalem’ explains the temporal relationship of the

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47 narrative. ‘New Jerusalem’ celebrates the grandeur of English history and, through its Blakeian connotation, prophesizes a return to this historical ideal. The idea of ‘new Jerusalem’ directly conflicts with the alie nated and isolated “n ew kind of twentiethcentury life” (42) accepted by the passive re sidents of the buildi ng. This passive life celebrates the stagnation that conceives of a present wit hout a past or a future and does not threaten the repetition of middle-class life, the m onotony of leaving the building every day for a career that comes to defi ne the individual. In conflict with the monotonous present of the status quo, Ballard does suggest a future formation of community beyond the reach of the technological alienation of the building’s spaces. In opposition to the developing misogynist lo gic of the male protagonist, Ballard envisions a female collective that emphasi zes protection and development based on the redemptive power of the natural. The typical critical reading of this ending follows the same logic ridiculed within the novel through th e pathetic end of each male protagonist. Epitomizing this faulty reading, Robert Case rio argues, “This denouement could suggest a misogynistic fantasy of women’s role in any new social orde r—but like all other sociohistorical considerations in the n ovel, this one is ambiguously endorsed and ridiculed” (304). Caserio’s reading takes at face value the manipulative, patriarchal narratives provided by Wilder and Royal. Si nce each of these protagonists descends deeper and deeper into mental and physical despair—Wilder even views killing Royal as a “game” (196)—their misogynistic fantasy sh ould not be accepted as the only view. Caserio’s reading enacts a sim ilar violence to the text as Royal’s sexual games against his wife and Wilder’s rape, both epitomizing th e misogynistic fantasy that Caserio wrongly

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48 situates within the female collective.6 The truly productive element of the female, caregiver collective is that it combines wo men of each social division through maternal acts and collective care. As th e most ambiguous factor of this collective is an explanation of how they came together, it is easy to dism iss them as fantasy, but such a reading does not acknowledge the narrative perspective of the novel. As the building has been manipulating the male protagon ists, the readers only see the women’s journey through the eyes of the men. Instead, we must read the women through their own logic based on the little evidence that the men do relate. The masculine desire to rise through th e high-rise represen ts the intensely hierarchical class structure created by the pow er logic of capitalism; but the feminine idea of mobility, marked as pathological by the men, is based on a logic of nomadism and circuitous social structure. My understanding of Ballard’s feminist imagining of community develops from Meaghan Morris’s “cramped space,” which is an overtly feminist understanding of Deleuze and Guattari’s notion of minor literature. She explains “cramped space” as “highly deterritorialized” and “political” (xviii) and may be more useful for feminist analysis than minor becau se “the poverty of resources in the ‘cramped space’ of the minor means that each individual intrigue connects immediately to politics, and that the individual matters intensely. . So everything has collective value; there is no room for a ‘master’ enunciation to develop that is separate from the collective” (xviii). Morris’s notion of individuali ty highlights an important connection to the collective because the individual is only fully reali zed once he or she announces the collective 6 W. Warren Wagar argues for a similar reading of Balla rd’s novels: “Although Ballard’s utopias, one may contend are mystagogic and escapist an d even decadent, they are utopias, and utopias of a post-capitalistic landscape in which technocrats and tycoons alike would be out of work” (67).

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49 enunciation and thus leaves behi nd the selfishly isolated master narrative of power. In Ballard’s novel the master e nunciation is the patriarchal battle for space, which the women extinguish through their journey towa rds new beginnings within the pastoral landscape of the sculpture garden. We have already established that the masculine journey through the building is based on violence and power, but the femi nine journey is based on protection and knowledge. The masculine perspective of the three main protagonists makes this conclusion difficult to recognize, but the la nguage of the narrat or, representing the omniscience of the building, indicates the reading I am suggesting. Early in the feud over the elevators, Laing encounters a young wo man, a masseuse, who has mastered the mobility of the elevators. The narrator’s ex planation of this encounter highlights the difference between Laing’s perspective and the female one. The narrator explains, “Laing immediately recognized her as one of th e ‘vagrants,’ of whom there were many in the high-rise, bored apartment-bound housewives and stay-at-home adult daughters who spent a large part of their time riding the elevators and wandering the long corridors of the vast building, migrating endlessly in search of change or excitement” (38). Laing’s knowledge is based on the old power logic, and thus he understands the women based on their worth within that power. They do not embody the work and inge nuity that indicates success under his logic. To him they are ma rked by idleness and boredom, worthless to the economy of power because they are housewiv es relegated to the domestic realm. He later comments that another woman, Eleanor Powell, also rides “the elevators up and down in a fuddled attempt to find her way out of the building” (47). In his conception, the elevators are utilitarian, so he views the women’s rides as illogical because he does

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50 not understand the philosophical journey that the elevators provide for the women. Believing in a similar logic, Wilder dislikes Helen’s “lack of spirit” and characteristic “passivity” (56). For Wilder, Helen’s lack of ambition is justificat ion to leave her and their sons when he endeavors to rise in the building. The narrator uses language to establish that the masculine perspective is not the only one in the building. The quotation marks around ‘vagrant’ indicate the narrator’s e ffort to attach this diminutive label to Laing, thus distancing the narr ative from Laing’s conclusi ons. The phrase ‘migrating endlessly’ has a less clear attribution. In Laing’s view the phrase embodies the futility and failure of the women within the old pow er logic, but in terms of the narrator’s attempt to imaging new social formation based on mobility, the phrase summarizes a new logic. The nomadic movement of women like the masseuse and Eleanor Powell refutes the stagnated masculine perspe ctive of the three protagonis ts because, although it can be viewed as endless, it is really only endl ess temporally. The constant movement through the elevators and the building is the women working to establish a collective for the future. Thus, it is endless in the sense that its accomplishments are not immediately achieved like the narrow agenda of Wilder’s rise to the top of the building. The female agenda is pushed into the background by the narrative focus on the men. For example, during Wilder’s first journey away from his family and the lower levels, he again encounters the young masseuse in the elevat or. To him she appears “pallid and undernourished” (76), a statement of the worth that he sees in her similar to Laing’s assessment of her vagrancy. The narrator’s analogical statement of her reaction to him refers to both the masculine and feminine logi cs. According to the narrator, “she watched

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51 Wilder with interest, as if glad to welcome hi m to this private domain” (76). If we read this from Wilder’s perspective, it empha sizes his cockiness and belief that women desperately need men, especially to support them as they stay in the private and domestic realm. As the feminine logic is based on co llectivity, the masseuse’s interest in Wilder shows a willingness to ingratiate him into the group as long as he will abandon his patriarchal identity. Calling the elevator private is a way to emphasize that understanding the anthropomorphic nature of the buildi ngs structure will reve al the philosophical freedom provided by the feminist logic. When she says to him, “‘We can travel anywhere’” (76), she is emphasi zing this freedom; but he read s it as insanity because the elevators simply go up and down to him. As he continues, he “came across a commune composed exclusively of women” (78). Th e narrator labels the group as a commune to express the collective agenda of the women. Because of the women’s distrust for the individuality that Wilder repr esents, he wrongly explains “the ir hostility to him, not only because he was a man, but because he was so obviously trying to climb to a level above their own” (78). Wilder views their distru st through the old logic, establishing a power hierarchy between male and female and betw een the structures of class. He cannot understand that their hostility is towards the patriarchal beha vior and agenda that he embodies. Even labeling their reaction as hos tility, instead of distrust or dislike, identifies the masculine obsession with vi olence and confrontation that drives the narratives of the male characters. In opposition to the violence that characteri zes the masculine experience within the high-rise, the narrator offers the more ph ilosophical understanding and journey of the

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52 women. The narrator expl ains Mrs. Steele’s concept of the building: She referred to the high-rise as if it we re some kind of huge animate presence, brooding over them and keeping a magisterial eye on the events taking place. There was something in this feeling—th e elevators pumping up and down the long shafts resembled pistons in the chamber of a heart. The residents moving along the corridors were the cells in a network of arteries, the lights in their apartments the neurons of a brain. (47) Mrs. Steele presents the anthropomorphic pers pective of the building. Unlike Wilder and Royal, who characteristic of their self-centered attitudes, view the building as a mass of concrete weighing down upon them, Mrs. Steele comprehends the omniscient perspective of the building, proving that the women’s ab ility to move throughout the building without opposition is due to their connection to it. The biological analogies that she explains concerning the elevators, the residents, and the lights indicate that a theoretical understanding of the spaces’ delirious potential7 aids in the establishment of the feminine collective. As Mrs. Steele’s view is related to the read er through Laing’s presence in their apartment, the obvious e xplanation of the biological lan guage is simply to attribute it to Laing since he is a medical doctor. That reading does not hold up because of the non-clinical biological language, especially pistons, and also because immediately after this passage, Laing reveals his misunderstand ing of Eleanor Powell’ s elevator journeys. Further emphasizing that the deeper unders tanding of the build ing belongs to the women, Helen explains to Wilder, “‘I think they only exist inside my head’” (53), referring to the swimming pool and the most coveted part of th e building, the roof garden, also called the sculpture garden. The garden becomes the redemptive home of the female collective. As the narrative doe s not provide readers ac cess to Helen’s reason 7 I am again referring to my reading of Koolhaas alongside Ballard, including Jameson’s emphasis on the biological aspects of the pa ssageways of the space.

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53 for her journey into this space, we are left to assume that her journey is philosophical. She comprehends the existen ce of these spaces metaphysi cally, and this understanding, far from the lunacy that Wilder attaches to her statement, permits her to join the collective. Even as the female collective grows and gains agency, the men still do not comprehend its importance. Royal believes that Mrs. Wilder lives in the penthouse apartments because she is “a valuable hostage” (158) against Wilder and that she can earn her keep by working as a house servant. He once again reveals that women are only understood through economic terms. Royal explai ns that she “had regained her strength and self-confidence” (158), which in his term s means a more valuable servant. He does not realize that this strength and self-confidence, like the ex citement she feels after she joins forces with two young women from the 7th floor to reopen the classes for the children (137), derives from the collective agency of the women. The women are able to communicate in a new language, which the men do not understand. Royal notices the change in communication because Helen “spoke in a flat voice unlike the animated tone she used with Anne and the other women” (159). Dr. Pangbourne, Royal’s upper-class rival, believes that he controls the women by giving them a primitive language based on birth-cries. What he does not realize is that the women, already gaining collective agency through communication, use their biological conn ection to the building to transform this naturally feminine language into their own, rebelling against his patriarchal control. The women who do not become a part of the gard en collective are left, like Eleanor Powell, “wandering about the corridors in a vacant way as if she had lost the key to her mind” (114); or else the women remain submissive to the patriarchal power like the young

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54 woman, “content to have Wilder’s strong arm around her shoulders” (188). These women are blocked from their place with the others and thus remain oppressed under the old logic. The ending reveals the masculine and femini ne responses to the oppression caused by the violent power of the old logic. Wild er’s killing of Royal is the stereotypical masculine response to the violent high-rise space because Royal embodies the elitism and social isolation that make the building possi ble. The female collective of caregivers similarly responds to the violent subjectiv ity of women under the old logic. The women’s final location in the sc ulpture garden is essential fo r their agency. The garden had previously served as Royal’s sanctuar y, blocking all others from it because nobody equaled his social position. The narrator explains th at “the doors, chained for so long to exclude them, were now wide open” (197). Royal represents the chains that have previously contained the lower classes. No w that they have access, the space becomes idyllic, “freshly painted” and “vibrant with li ght” (197). This garden serves to nurture the innocence of the children, the embodiment of a future that escapes the stagnated twentieth-century life epitomized by the ma sculine experience in the building. The women can never fully realize the historical revisionist aim of th eir garden collective because they are too influenced by the old lo gic. They still wear evening gowns and aprons, patriarchal symbols. The narrator e xplains the importance of their dress: “They seemed to belong to another century and a nother landscape, except for their sunglasses, whose dark shades stood out again the blood-no tched concrete of the roof-terrace” (198). While they may seem to represent a return to nineteenth century values of work and gender, their anachronistic sunglasses indicate a coolness that permits them to withstand

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55 the chaos of their moment. They are figures like Benjamin’s angel of history, protecting the natural innocence of yout h, nurturing youth’s redemptive possibility, and aiding the growth of a future egalitarian society. Their primitiveness is a means to protect the children and thus the potential for a future. They control a fire a nd carry knives, showing that they absolutely refuse the passivity expe cted of them under the old logic. They will no longer serve the men, but they will nurture them, if like Wilder, they will become one of their children. Wilder always had a strain in his personality that desired to be looked after like a child by women, including his wi fe. When Wilder first approaches the women, the narrator describes how the “circ le of women drew closer” (198). The circular formation of the wome n highlights the colle ctive and egalitarian formation of the women since none occupies a position of authority in this formation. The circuitousness of their society and their journey through the building reemphasizes the important understanding of the anthropomorphic building that they have been providing to readers. When Wild er calls them his “new mothers,” he shows his willingness to become one of their innocent children. As a child, he can no longer use the women as sexual objects, but instead he must submit to their logic. Wilder’s inclusion into the group emphasizes that this social formation presents a feminist logic that directly opposes the master narrative. Ba llard does not indicate if the feminist logic will succeed or fail; he simply offers thei r ideals as a redemptive way to understand history and inner space. The novel’s conclusion resorts back to the ‘master’ narrative of Laing, thus explaining that until this late tw entieth-century space can come to terms with collectivity, the disaster will repl icate and spread elsewhere.

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56 The narrator ends by telling how the revolution has spread to an adjacent high-rise; through Laing’s evaluation, the narrator reveal s, “Laing watched them contentedly, ready to welcome them to their new world order” (204). The conception of this “new world order” supports Wagar’s argument that “in Ballard’s transvaluation of the traditional Western wisdom, even dystopias are utopian ” (54). The ideas apocalypse and dystopia connect to Jameson’s discussions of these very concepts and also hi s reading of Ballard’s understanding of the historical and the pres ent. He argues that apocalypse “and its weaker embodiments in the various dystopias . are seemingly histor ical visions—if not of the very end of history—that have in fact more modest expository functions as ways of articulating a social structure in full evol ution” (“The Use of Apocalypse” 38). As Ballard’s careful explication of the spaces of the metropolis c ontinues throughout his fiction, obviously he views these spaces and their effects as a ch anging structure and attempts to understand the evolution through a variety of revolutions. By looking briefly at Millennium People (2003), we will see how Ballard addresses the cultural ideals of the moment in orde r to explore how a conception of history influence the understanding and existence of space. The conception of millennium has two poles for the novel. On one side it repres ents the apocalyptic and the revelatory as they pertain to Ballard’s proj ect; but it also refers to the nostalgic Millennium Project conceived by the Blair government, particul arly because the most visible icon of the Project, the Millennium Wheel, also known as the London Eye, a carnival ride that supposedly provides the guest with a transce ndent perspective of the metropolis, plays a pivotal role in the narrative. The centrality of this space indicates that while the middle

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57 class revolution in Chelsea Marine, a gated-community,8 is on the surface a revolt against the pacification of the middle class by the re sponsibility to propert y taxes, school fees, maintenance charges, parking fines, and the institutions of culture that instill social responsibility and make for a doc ile citizen, the actual revoluti on that Ballard calls for is a more complete, less carnivalesque, no tion of the historical present. The historical passivity of the Millenni um Project assumes that the Millennium Wheel provides the transcendence needed in a meaningless world. The narrator, a psychologist named David Markham, provide s the running commentar y on the status of ideas in the twenty-first century. He join s with a group of revolutionaries, Kay Churchill who leads the dissatisfied home owners in their plight agai nst the management company, tourism, and the film industry and Richard G ould, who carries out so-called “meaningless violence” by bombing Heathrow and the Tate Modern and killing a television star; for Gould, only the meaningless could provide mean ing in a meaningless world; Gould is the spokesperson for Baudrillard. Markham is the foil to Gould’s philosophy, looking for meaning through relationships with others. Be fore Markham can realize his role as foil, he has to go through a philosophical journey w ith Gould. After hearing the news of the Tate bombing, David comments, “The city was a vast and stationary carousel, forever boarded by millions of would-be passengers who took their seats, waited and then 8 The gated community is the embodiment of the New Urbanist movement, which Andrew Ross defines as “mixed-housing, mixed-use, walkable town with sma ll lots, interconnected streets, and an identifiable center and edge” (73). Ross’s analysis develops from his experiences living in the infamous planned community at Disney World, Celebration. While the cultural and historical specificity of Celebration does not relate to Chelsea Marina, the historical background for the development of such New Urbanist communities does. Ross explains that these communities emerge out of the blurring of lines between private and public. He explains that in the aftermath of the Cold War, “[m]ore and more of what has been public sector was being turned over to private and corporate interests” (311). As the threat of communism and nuclear annihilation dissipated w ith the end of the Cold War, th e economic forces found a way to control the middle classes through privatization of urban space.

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58 dismounted. I thought of the bomb cutting th rough another temple of enlightenment, silencing the endless murmur of cafeteria conversations. Desp ite myself, I felt a surge of excitement and complicity” (159). David notices that the tourism and perspective promised by a spin on the Millennium Wheel is the commonplace position of the inhabitant of the postmodern city, a pa ssive, undeveloped accep tance of a cultural understanding based on nostalgia and chatter. The attack on the National Film Theater leaves the Millennium Wheel carrousels cove red with black soot, blocking this false transcendence and asking the revolutionaries to understand their posit ions without the aid or control of cultural and governmental influenc es. In addition, the attack on the Tate was meant for the Millennium Bridge, hoping to return the wobble that caused its repeated closure after its first opening and made it a symbol of the failure of the Project. David’s admission of the uncertainty of perspective parallels Joseph Conrad’s anonymous frame narrator in Heart of Darkness Reviewer John Gray notices the relationship between Ballard and Conrad, sa ying, “this mesmerisi ng novel about a world on the brink of despair could be read as a Conradian fable of loss and dereliction set on the banks of the Thames” (Gray). Gray di smisses this relations hip because he wrongly says that Ballard’s world “lack s the social structures that Conrad’s characters took for granted” (Gray). Gray gets at the root of Conrad and Ballard’s projects, which is an attempt to explain the inner workings of individuals and communities under the tumultuous conditions of modernity a nd postmodernity, respectively. Overall, Ballard attempts to counteract the stagnated and nostalgic historical agenda of the moment of each text. For Ballard the crisis is not the middle class revolution of High-Rise and Millennium People which at most may temporarily shut

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59 down the economy, but instead a societ y where the hyperreal provides the only understanding of the individua ls’ relationship to the co mmunity. Reconsidering the Ballard-Baudrillard connection, Bradley Butterfield explains that both agree with Donna Harraway that to be human is to be part m achine, but these technol ogies are controlled by multinational capitalism (74). He conclude s, “In a world dominated by immeasurable simulacra despite the conti nued existence of the body, Ballard’s and Baudrillard’s aestheticism claims social re levance by demonstrating in gue rrilla fashion interventions whereby one fiction is played against anot her as a means of ch allenging the darkest secrets and silent hopes of the social imaginary” (74). In Millennium People the fictions that play out against each other are Gould’ s dangers obsession with “meaningless acts” and Markham’s questioning need for answers. Markham literally needs to know who was responsible for the deat h of his ex-wife, but thr ough his immersion into Gould’s world and the revolution within Chelsea Marina, Markham realizes that he needed to understand how the historical and politic al influence the technology of the body. Markham transitions from th inking of women as sexual ob jects and relating to men through their mutual sexual experiences with women to having compassion and connection with others. Like Markham, W ilder undergoes a similar transformation about the idea of power. Through both of these me n, Ballard offers a new social imaginary based on collectivity, authenticity, and redemption. Martin Amis’s Millennarian Fears and Hopes Like Millennium People Martin Amis’s London Fields (1989) deals with the shift from the twentieth to the twenty first century. In a 1995 interview with Graham Fuller, Martin Amis explains his interest in se tting the novel on the precipice of the coming millennium. He says, “You do feel that history is approaching a climax and that all over

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60 the world one is seeing the classical symptoms of millennarian anxiety and fever: fundamentalism, strange weather, et cetera I think 1999 will be the year of people behaving strangely” (“The Prose”). The majo rity of Amis criticism responds to the strange behavior of postmodern narrative, qu estioning the status of authorial intention, accuracy, and control. While Amis certainly does address these metafictional topics, and critics like Brian Finney, who analyzes Amis’s depiction of the sadis tic aims and desires of writers and readers, and Peter Stokes who explains how Amis’s postmodernism relates literary discourses and social discourses to problemati ze the power of the authorial voice, have successfully explicated how the games that Amis plays challenge narrative conventions, often there is not much attention given to the historical climax that Amis sees causing this strange beha vior of writers, characters, and perhaps most importantly society. Instead of reading Amis as a stylis t who includes some satirical elements, I wish to reverse the emphasis and read Amis as a sa tirist who uses style to reinforce his critique of the “strange behavior” of late-twentieth-century Britain, particularly the Thatcher Government’s destruction of the welfare state. The obvious climatic historical events surrounding the novel ar e the end of the Thatcher government and the impending collapse of the Soviet Union, but the historical climax most notably haunting London Fields is the potential of a nuclear holocaust. As the themes in Einstein’s Monsters Time’s Arrow and London Fields show, Amis views himself and other writers of hi s generation as part of the nuclear age. Amis embraces his position within the nuclear age9 and creates a nuclear rhetor ic that goes beyond the Cold War terms of superpowers, armaments, disarm aments, and deterrence, a rhetoric he titles 9 In “Apocalyptic London in the Fiction of Mar tin Amis,” Magdalena Maczynska labels Amis’s relationship between nuclear crisis and the spaces of the city as Amis’s “insidious apocalypse.”

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61 “Thinkability” in the introduction to Einstein’s Monsters A nuclear apocalypse provides a potential destruction of narrative. In “No Apocalypse, Not Now,” Derrida explains that literature, which he labels as a stockpile, has always belonged to the nuclear epoche. Because of the possible and absolute destruc tion of the archive, Derrida argues we are forced to see literature’s “rad ical precariousness and the radi cal form of its historicity” (27). To get at this radicality, Derrida calls for “nuclear criticism” which goes to the limit through its self-destruction and bursting apart. In London Fields Amis conducts an experiment in Derrida’s “nuclear criticis m” by looking at the radical potential for the novel to burst apart the contro lling narratives of class and gender. The bursting apart occurs through the creation of a community that embraces the utopian destruction of hegemonic narratives within the lived environment of London. By setting London Fields in an imagined future, Amis focuses on the apocalyptic promise of revelation, reaching a higher state of existence and understanding, or in other words the absolute completion of narrative, whic h could be disaster or salvation: disaster leading to salvation, or salvat ion revealing the real cause of disaster. He creates a rhetorical space, named confusingly also London Fields, which, by existing within the real London, shows the inability for individuals to escape the spatial reality of class and state control. The rhetorical gesture s upports James Diedrick’s claim that “at the allegorical level the nov el is an apocalyptic jeremiad about the world’s decadence and exhaustion at the end of the century” (157) Following through on the complaint, the novel offers London Fields as the space th at permits and necessitates the utopian possibility of the destruction of narratives based on hierarch ical power. The novel’s title and the space described in the novel folds the pastoral simplicity of a pre-capitalist time

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62 onto the collapse of the welfare state and the disappearance of socialist sympathies, hoping to reveal the need for the creation of a community that can burst apart the controlling class system. Through this commun ity, Amis attempts to recoup the socialist goals destroyed by Thatcher’s a ssault on the welfare state. In the novel, Samson Young writes the stor y of Nicola Six, a self-professed murderee10 as she identifies, manipulates, and completes her own murder. Samson and Nicola meet Guy Clinch, the foil, and Keith Talent, the cheat, in a pub called the Black Cross. Guy an Oxford educated, extremel y wealthy and attractive man has everything but feels like he is nothing, and Keith an uneducated criminal has nothing but feels like he deserves everything he desires. Nicola manipulates each of these men to behave as she wishes and thus manipulates Samson w ho continually cannot prevent himself from becoming part of the narrative he claims to transcribe. As the backdrop to the murder story, the millennium quickly approaches. The millennium has several dramatic situations: the Crisis, a global conflict that c ould lead to the detona tion of nuclear bombs over Warsaw and Marble Arch (394), the illn ess of the First Lady of the United States, Faith, a total eclipse, and the unexplainable torrents of horrend ous weather around the world. John Dern argues that each of the main characters of London Fields the murderee, the cheat, and the foil, are genre characters representing the postmodern, the modern, and the Romantic. He bases his argument on James Diedrick’s reading of Nicola’s ability to manipulate parody—parody of love with Guy, parody of sex with Keith, and parody of postmodern narrative habits with Samson (D iedrick 148). By extending Diedrick’s 10 This term is an example of Amis’s devotion to word play. The term attempts to revise the idea of the femme fatale from film noir by giving the temptress more control of the violence that surrounds her.

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63 argument of parody onto literary periodization, Dern reveals “Amis’ way of illustrating that the great forms of the past have been exhausted and need to be redeployed” (7). Dern’s focus on the periodization of form a ddress one of the central questions of the novel—the ability for narrative to create meaning out of chaos and use this materiality to accomplish “nuclear criticism.” Frederick Holm es explains Amis’s dissatisfaction with the construction of cultu re; he says, “In the fin de sicle climate of Amis’s London (which seems as much a satiric commen t on present day London as an admonitory prophecy of its future), the only availabl e narrative for constructing the self and interacting socially are either debased and shallow or hopeless ly anachronistic. They are the product of mass consumerist culture” (55). As Holmes indicates, Amis critiques how capitalism has effected the social relationships essential for the understanding of identity and collectivity. Since Amis sees the spectacl e of consumerist culture altering the social fabric, instead of reading each character as re presenting a literary form, we should look at how each epitomizes the three stages of capita lism that Frederic Jameson defines through his spatial analysis of culture.11 The correlation between the stages of cap italism and the characters in the novel emphasizes London Fields as a critique of hier archical economics. Th e grid indicative of market capitalism concentrates power in a central location, which epitomizes Guy who 11 Jameson describes “the first kind of space of classical or market cap italism in terms of a logic of the grid” ( Jameson Reader 277). The analogy of the grid reveals the hierarchical stru cture clearly on display in this stage. The second stage that Jameson describes is “the passage from market to monopoly capital, or what Lenin called the ‘stage of imperialism’” (278). During this stage the distance between individual experience and the conceptualization of experience move further and further apart. Jameson describes the limit of individual experience as “a tin y corner of the social world, a fi xed-camera view of a certain section of London” (278). From this small section of London the individual cannot possibly fathom his or her position within the colonial system of the British Empire. The third stage of Jameson’s formation, “the moment of the multinational network, or what Ma ndel calls ‘late capitalism’” (280), has abandoned the older city and the nation-state, leaving behind the modes of production of the first two stages in ruins. Under the third stage, spatial conception occurs th rough “cognitive mapping,” which provides a way to understand “the totality of class relations on a global scale” (283).

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64 “still had all the money, and all the strengt h” (464) according to Samson. Guy’s home, Lansdowne Crescent, represents the power of wealth and the history of bourgeois rule. Guy controls the space of the City, the fina ncial district of London, which is represented as “£1000 suits and platinum wrist-watches an d sported uranium credit cards” (91). The true testament to Guy’s power and the space of the City is th at he never actually has to work; a grid keeps everything in order for him ev en if he is oblivious to the organization. His wealth propagates the hi erarchical structure. Opposed to Guy, Keith’s failures and closed worldview epitomize the second stage. His Council flat, Windsor House, is his specific tiny corner, and his fixed-camera view is mediated by popular television. His understanding of self de rives from an understanding of English nationality as th e stereotype of pub culture, da rts, and football. Samson explains Keith’s Englishness through Keith’s pride “to represent his country in an England shirt” (67) and Keith ’s view of a football match through clichs (97-98). Keith does not conceptualize his limitations and reliance on stereotype and clich because he does not have the ability to place himself within the narrative of empire. Raymond Williams coins the term ‘knowable commun ities’ (165) to label the difficulty of comprehending community during the rise of in dustrial capitalism and the expanse of the metropolis. Williams sees the circulation of narratives as essential to the creation of a community since the face-to-fa ce encounter is no longer pos sible. The circulation of narrative occurs explicitly in London Fields as each character sh ares their writing with Samson and thus with the readers, but circul ation also implicitly shows how Amis merges the different spaces of capita lism, mostly within the Black Cross, to highlight the limitations placed on individuals by the organizat ion of capitalism. For example, as Guy

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65 merges into Keith’s space, through the pub, the darts, and the women, Guy maintains the power granted by his capital; but he encounter s alienation like Keith because he cannot comprehend his position, as epitomized by hi s inability to understand the historical allusion of Enola Gay and Little Boy. In ot her words, he does not know the narrative and thus does not have acces s to the community. The final stage has two representatives in the novel, both Samson and Nicola. As a “citizen of the world,” Samson occupies an om nipresent spatial reality. He is never at home and therefore never not at home, protec ting himself from the alienation that hinders the other male characters. Similarly, Nicola enacts a “nomad progress through the city. Chelsea, Blackfriars, Rege nt’s Park, Bloomsbury Hampst ead, and so on. And now the dead-end street” ( London Fields 60). Nicola, more so than any character, comprehends her place within the narratives that constr uct her reality, and she manipulates these narratives to point out their construction and potentially propose change. Her nomadism ironically charts nineteenth century mone yed locations, some of which have been gentrified with various degrees of success. She not only surveys the city, but she surveys its economic and cultural heritage, the later emphasized by the inclusion of Bloomsbury. Including her “home” as the last entry on her list proves that she understands the misogyny of society and uses that energy ag ainst men; she unders tands the stagnation caused by the class system and so she confr onts it with her own brand of socialism, redistributing wealth between Guy and Keith. Because of her ability to comprehend and manipulate hegemony or to circulate narrativ es and create her own community, Nicola represents the century.

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66 The space of London that Samson and Nicola occupy is not a place on the actual map; their space is London Fields, which repr esents the totality of the imagining of London and of the narratives of our historical moment. London Fields is living narrative, “communal fantasy and sorrow” (391), technolo gical discovery and ca tastrophe, pastoral innocence, and utopia simultaneously. The utopian achievements of the space, London Fields, epitomizes Jameson’s desc ription of utopia as it emer ges from Ursula Le Guinn’s writing.12 Jameson’s description overcomes the naivety of a utopia free from disaster, but instead looks at the potential for interp ersonal relationships when freed from the domination of the economic, political, and so cial. Gavin Keulks explains a similar relationship with Amis’s use of feminist rh etoric. He says, “In later works such as Einstein’s Monsters and London Fields for instance, feminist rh etoric is couched in the language of nuclear war, which threatens to obliterate authentic emotive relationships” (182). Samson creates London Fields as the space that permits these interpersonal relationships to thrive. Samson’s naming of London Fields takes in to account the violence and destruction of history; London Fields was the place where Samson’s father worked on “High Explosives Research” (182) and the place wh ere Samson was exposed to the radiation that now slowly kills him. As we are a ll actually slowly dying, the novel questions why we obsess over the sins of the past. Sams on responds to the question of inheritance, freeing London Fields from this hi storical origin by transformi ng it into a utopian space. He explains, “If I shut my eyes or even if I keep them open I can see the parkland and the 12 Jameson explains: “Utopia is, in other words not a place in which humanity is freed from violence, but rather one in which it is released fo r the multiple determinisms (economic political, social) of history itself: in which it settles its accounts with its ancient collective fatalisms, precisely in order to be free to do whatever it wants with its in terpersonal relationships” ( Jameson Reader 376).

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67 sloped bank of the railway line. The folia ge is tropical and innocuous, the sky is crystalline and innocuous. It f act the entire vista has a kidd ie-book feel. . It is all outside history” (323). London Fields is a pastoral playground that protects and preserves childhood innocence; Nicola and Sam witness the children playing with boats in London fields (95), and Sam remembers play ing with his now dead brother, David. London Fields has the redemptive power to absorb disaster, the Crisis or Sam’s radiation poisoning, and return to a state of innocence. London Fields presents love, Amis’ figure of th e interpersonal relationship, as the only way to survive the end of the twentieth century. With innocence and love preserved, the predators who thrive off of the corrupt ed narratives of capitalist accumulation and sexual perversity no longer have the materi als to succeed. Amis figures love as the narrative that can overcome class conflict, de stroying the uneven development of capital accumulation, and providing the possibility of a truly working welfare state, namely through Kim Talent, Keith’s innocent baby daught er. For this welfare state to work, all must take responsibility for the preservati on of innocence by realiz ing the self through the community, not through the libidinal desires of consumerism and individual preservation and accomplishment. Interest ingly, Amis suggests a similar hope in The Information through Marco, the only innocent charact er who thus resists the corrupted popular assumptions about information. Amis’s continual return to these narratives of progress through the innocent reinforces my argu ment that his work needs to be read as social satire. In London Fields the preservation of innocence needs to be the work of community, which can confront hegemony and permit love, or actual concern for others,

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68 to create change. The community arises pr agmatically from the Black Cross, the place where all four characters, representing the f our points of the cross, meet, mingle, and collaborate. The Black Cross makes explic it the connection betw een the novel and the biblical Apocalypse through the reference to Christian iconography; bu t it also merges the scientific black hole with the Apocalypse. As Hope is Guy’s wife and Faith is the First Lady, we need to look outside of re ligion for salvation from the historical determinism that prevents progress; we need to look to community. The Black Cross, as the space of community within both London and London Fields, represents the need to overthrow the cl ass system in order to protect and fulfill the individual, a goal directly opposed to Thatcher ’s ideology of individual responsibility. Amis’s critique alludes to Karl Marx’s idea of community as he presents it in The German Ideology. In the community of the Black Cross, all characters become “anachronistic kinds of characters” (134), as Samson labels Keith. In other words, they escape the spatial realiti es of the divisions of labor that limit them, suggesting alternative narratives and alternative communities that burst apart the do minant narrative of alienation. For example, Guy experiences a ve rsion of love and desire outside of the narrative of marriage that demanded he marry to enhance his power and wealth. Keith experiences a version of love through the respect and suppor t given to him by the others, but especially Nicola who provides him with knowledge that permits him entrance to the knowable. The problem though for all of these characters is that they cannot escape determinism. Samson and Nicola are alrea dy “the dead” throughout the novel. Their deaths at the literal end of the novel em phasizes the teleological requirements of hierarchical narratives; as Samson represents the global and Nicola the century, both of

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69 which will come to an end, neither is outside history nor outside of the determinisms that block the utopian vision. Understanding Samson and Nicola as “the d ead” helps explains the responsibility of the community. We have already seen th e importance of love, and Samson explains that “[t]he act of love take s place in a community of deat h” (282). Samson makes clear that we must understand death to fully understa nd this community of love. On one level death means Jameson’s sense of the end as it dominates the postmodern. Samson explains that Nicola sees this sense of th e end dominating her time, remember that she represents the centur y, and thus she finds community in the narratives of the end. Samson says: She welcomed and applauded the death of ju st about anything. It was company. It meant you weren’t quite alone. A dead flow er, the disobliging turbidity of dead water, slow to leave the jug. A dead car ha lf-stripped at the side of the street, shot, busted, annulled, abashed. A dead cloud. Th e Death of the Novel. The Death of Animism, the Death of Nave Reality, th e Death of the Argument from Design, and (especially) the Death of the Principle of Least jAstonishment. The Death of the Planet. The Death of God. The deat h of love. It was company. (296) Amis satirizes the postmodern obsession with this sense of the end; the absence of Roland Barthes’ “Death of the Author” from the list proves that Amis’s continual assertion of the authorial presence, through himself as character, as ghost, or as puppetmaster13 is a critique of the obsessive adhe rence to these narra tives. Instead of accepting the sense of the end, Amis looks at how it creates community. Nicola finds comfort in existing simultaneously with these metanarratives. Whenever Samson identifies the dead, he does so as a colle ctive grouping of himself and Nicola—“We’re 13 In Money Martin Amis the character meets and influen ces the everyman prota gonist John Self. In The Information a narrative voice labeled as M.A. and having biographical features that identify Martin Amis, appears intermittently. Also, Amis is an anagram of I Sam, the narrator of London Fields

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70 the dead” (260, 391). In one passage he repeats the phrase three times (391). These reiterations establish that with each utte rance, it takes on new meanings. Samson’s and Nicola’s literal manifestation as the dead counteracts the uncriti cal acceptance of the postmodern metanarratives of the end. In a way, their deaths free the living from this sense of the end. As we have already established that the ch aracters reveal the hi storical and spatial development of capitalism, it makes sense to look at the association of the dead in Marx. In Captial, Marx explains, “Capital is dead labour, that, va mpire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, th e more labour it sucks. The time during which the labourer works, is the time duri ng which the capitalist consumes the labour power he has purchased of him” (362-63). Samson repeatedly refers to himself as a vampire; he says, “I’m like a vampire. I can’t enter unless I’m asked in over the threshold. Once there, though, I stick around” (42). His identification bares more similarity to Marx then the mere parallels in the wording vampire-like and like a vampire. Samson and Nicola literally suck the evils out of the future for the community of love. Their deaths end the conservative narrati ves of the postmodern sense of the end, suggesting a bursting apart of all conservative, controlling narratives by the community of love that has resulted from such sacrifice and labor. Th eir deaths do not guarantee that such a community or future will materialize, but their deaths reveal its possibility. Kenneth Asher reaches a similar conclu sion through his Lawrentian reading of London Fields He argues, “Nicola’s death becomes a ma tter of cosmic readjustment, the order of things being set right. . At the most abst ract level Nicola’s elimination is a necessary condition of Kim’s survival” (21). Asher ri ghtly identifies the manifestation of this

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71 loving, innocent future in Kim Talent. Through the relationship between the dead— Nicola and Samson—and Kim, we see Marx’s famous understanding of history: “The tradition of the dead generations weighs lik e a nightmare on the brains of the living” (595). Amis asks how the nightmare can be revelatory instead of disastrous through Kim Talent. Kim Talent, Keith’s innocent daughter, suggests the possibility for a future outside of the corrupted narratives haunting the rest of the novel. Samson posses the question: “Now I know the British Empire isn’t in the shape it once was. But you wonder: what will the babies’ babies look like?” (283). The obvi ous answer is Marmaduke, the hyperactive, monstrous child of Guy and Hope. He is the consumer par excellance destroying all in his path in order to co mplete his consumption. But by merely asking about the future, Samson indicates hope for an alternative; he repeatedly says “I must do something for the child” (120), referring to Kim. Samson sees Kim as an exemplar of Walter Benjamin’s angel of history. Samson di rectly references the messianic quality of his death ( London Fields 182), similar to the angel who will “awaken the dead” (Benjamin 257). As we have established that hi s death is the revelatory act, this parallel seems warranted. Further supporting this c onnection with Benjamin’s angel, storms, similar to those threat ening the angel, litera lly threaten throughout the novel, at one point killing “nineteen people, and thirty-three milli on trees” (43). The storm for Benjamin is the essence of his philosophy of history. He says, “This st orm irresistibly propels him [the angel] into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him

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72 grows skyward. This storm is what we ca ll progress” (258).Malco lm Bull explains the historical conception epitomized by the angel: Against the conception of the future as a ‘progression through a homogeneous, empty time’ in which progress and catastrophe, civilization and barbarism, are forever perpetuated in the ineradicable suffering of the toiling masses, Benjamin juxtaposes another conception of history—not an eschatology in which the future is foreclosed by eternity, but a political messi anism in which the revolutionary classes make the continuum of history explode. (150) Through Kim, London Fields makes the historic al spaces of capitalism explained through the other characters r each its explosion. The novel ends right at this moment, leaving only traces of what may result. This novel is not about saving Kim, but instead proposing how to save all through her model. The storm, or danger, that most threaten s Kim is the inheritance of abuse, passed from the world to Keith, from Keith to Kath and finally from Kath to innocent Kim. In Kim, Samson proposes the monumental figur e, like the angel of history, who may withstand the eschatological na rratives of history, to show the need for a revolutionary, apocalyptic history. Kim is st ill at the stage where she will not remember the historical narrative and instead could have access to th e narrative of progress and change. Because of her lack of consciousness, she is protecte d, but also she has no ab ility or knowledge of her role. Samson locates the responsibility for protecting Kim in the community, and thus sees his narrative as a warning of what will happen when and if innocence disappears. Discussing the emergence of scie nce fiction themes in Amis’s word, David Moyle concludes that Amis took up the project “because he had to, because it suddenly seemed necessary to break earth-bound rule s in order to express adequately his perception of the world: a world in which horror has moved beyond th e black hole, but a world in which salvation—as end, a new be ginning—is up to us, only us” (315). Moyle

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73 sees a promise of salvation similar to my c onclusions. Thus, when Samson says to Mark Asprey in his suicide note, “Be my literary executor: throw everything out” (468), he does not want, as the most obi vious connotation would suggest, his work to be trashed, that would be an end like the metanarratives he has so completely critiqued. Instead, he wishes for the less obvious meaning of hi s narrative spreading and creating knowable communities that can help the angel resist th e debris and follow the storm forward. He leaves the choice to Asprey because the unde rstanding of the second meaning of his wish proves that his end has accomplished the historical revolution necessary. From Disaster to Community only 28 Days Later In the introduction to the collection British Horror Cinema Steve Chibnall and Julian Petley lament both the status of the ho rror genre in British popular culture and the lack of academic critical attention paid to the genre. They hope for a horror film that can set off a genre cycle like Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels did for the crime film (8). Ritchie’s film earned critic al attention and commer cial success because it addresses issues of masculinity, violence, cl ass, and family by looking comically at the status of Englishness in a pos t-Thatcher Britain. Ritchie’s film is as much about the high jinks of inept criminals, the inclusion of rhyming slang in to everyday language, and the system of power in the London underworld, as it is about the status of English cultural identity. Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, released in 2002, has the potential to garner attention for the horror genre like Ritc hie’s film did for the crime genre. 28 Days Later looks at the aftermath of a biol ogical disaster that has turned almost all of England into flesh eating, rage infected zombies. Both directors appeal aesthe tically to the Cool Britannia idea of popular culture that appreciates en ergetic pop music, club culture, and a fashion sense all distinctly British, suggesti ng that commercial su ccess for the British

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74 film industry requires packaging British culture in a way that can reaffirm an independent cultural identity for the British audience while still appealing to the foreign Anglophile. Both directors acknowledge the influences of their genre’s forbearers, making 28 Days Later a postmodern pastiche of several differe nt novels, novelistic styles, horror films, and historical events. The film looks at how disaster, real and imagined, affects the individual and the individual’s relationship to others. The understanding of identity and community that results merges the imagery of disaster through allusi ons and references to other texts to prove that understanding must come from a critical examination of influence, change, and connectivity. The postmodern character of 28 Days Later combines derivative and adapted narratives and styles with a critical examina tion of Great Britain’s place within the global circulation of economic and cu ltural capital. Screenwriter Alex Garland, best known for his novel The Beach cites the work of Wells and Wyndham, particularly The Day of the Triffids and Ballard’s “disaster novels” as infl uences for his screenplay (Osmond 38, Macaulay 40). The most obvious filmic influe nces are George Romero’s films. Finally, although the film was completed during the an thrax scare and distributed as the SARS outbreak and monkeypox created media hysteri a, Boyle explains, “We actually had a lower level of paranoia in mind—a very Bri tish one—which was the continued scare over mad cow disease and the sudden foot-and-mout h outbreak. For months, the U.K. was full of fields of burning animals—biblical imag es of pyres on the horizon, smoke filling the sky” (qtd. in Lim 48). The Br itish paranoia that sparked Boyl e and Garland’s interest in epidemic disaster in the film was a destru ction of the British live stock industry, but beyond this economic destruction, mad cow, lik e dementia and Alzheimer, means that

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75 rational and reasonably healthy individuals can be mentally debilitated by exposure to contaminates encountered everyday. The film pays homage to the imagery of the burning animal carcasses in a chilling shot from th e empty M602 of Manchester entirely reduced to blazing pyre and a smoke filled sky. An industrial center, Manchester’s destruction marks the historical end of Britain’s industr ial empire, a factor that the government has aggressively attempted to preserve. 28 Days Later critiques the aggressive attempt to maintain an ideal of British statehood and iden tity by equating the institutions of control, especially the church and the military, with th e rage that has infected society. The small community of survivors eventually abandons th eir individual class a nd racial categories as they attempt to find an “answer to infection,”14 what the radio broadcast from the military encampment offers survivors. The answer is not a return to the system of inequality and hierarchical power advocated by the military community, but instead the protection of a cooperative community based on equality and concern for the other. 28 Days Later examines how rage and violence are dangerous and destructive forces in our world. The film begins with a montage of images of ri ots, public hangings, and protests, images systemic of the rage, pa rticularly towards the other, which haunt our political reality. The images contain poli ce, labeled in several different languages, violently and futilely attempting to contain the riotous masses, showing a culture of violence. These masses occupy developed ci ties and underdeveloped locations; they are of Middle Eastern, European, and Asian decent As these images repeat, the viewer notices that they are broadcasted on several te levision sets for the chimpanzee viewer in a lab. The animal looks helplessly into the camer a, victimized by the media rhetoric of fear 14 All film quotes are my transcriptions.

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76 that attempts to contain the masses. The an imal is the helpless victim and witness to violence just like the film’s audience. The me dia images of violent rebellion are meant to control the fearful observer, replacing th e spectacle of public execution, which as Foucault argues ensured the power of the s overeign. He explains, “Not only must the people know, they must see with their own eyes. Because they must be made to be afraid; but also because they must be the w itnesses, the guarantors, of the punishment, and because they must to a certain extent ta ke part in it” (58). While the images of violence broadcasted are simulacra of violence, they represent both a threat to an ordered, civilized way of life, a stereotype of Eng lishness, and also the potential for violence within each of us that must be contained. The scene of the animal forced to watch images of violence alludes to Stanley Kubrick’s filmic adaptation of A Clockwork Orange The wording of the title contains two references that apply to 28 Days Later ; first, orange connotes orangutan, which could mean any ape-like creature (even humans taken of their free will), and second, the Cockney phrase “as queer as a clockwork or ange,” meaning that despite appearance something is not right internally. The chimp in the research facility that watches the violent images seems passive and sweet, despite the violence that we see from others. When young hooligan Alex de Large exchanges his murder sentence to become a subject in an experiment to cure viol ent tendencies, he is repeated ly forced to watch different images of violence, rape, and historical atroci ties such as the Holocaust. The experiment requires that his eyes be wire d open, creating another parallel to the second beginning of 28 Days Later and the very close up shot of Jim’s eye, the digital video permitting the viewer to see every eyelash, another connection to A Clockwork Orange because of

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77 Alex’s false eyelashes. Th roughout the experiments and duri ng the scenes of violence cheery or classical music accompanies the images The conflict between the effect of the violent imagery and the response to the music forces viewers to understand the images as negative consciously instead of physically. Like A Clockwork Orange 28 Days Later questions the meaning of violence, its func tion within society, and its attack on the family. In 28 Days Later the lab, called the Cambridge Prim ate Research Center, functions allegorically. Much like Manchester re presents the industria l center of England, Cambridge represents the inte llectual history of England, reinforced by the password to enter the facility, “Think.” The activists who release the rage virus, encounter a scientist, a hackneyed horror stereotype of the mad scientist. The scientist justifies the experiments, proclaiming, “In order to cure, you must first understand. ” While the easily transferable virus is an extreme example of the dangers of biological weapons and misguided scientific experiments, the montage of images and the name rage indicate that violence is a pathology alr eady in us. The virus transforms anyone who comes into contact with the inf ected into zombie-like creatures only concerned with devouring the flesh of the non-infected and spreading the infection, very easy since the infected vomit torrents of blood. The infected, characterized by red eyes and an infectious red skin condition, move very, very fast and twitch, whic h Boyle modeled after an epileptic fit; he also borrowed physical imagery from rabies and the Ebola virus (Osmond 39). The use of a variety of real pathol ogical conditions suggests rage as the ultimate pathology for society.

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78 The infected are a new breed of zombie, their speed representative of absolute efficiency. Their speed, uncommon for horror film zombies, and their efficiency directly relate to the etymology of the term from the African and Caribbean legends of witchcraft resurrecting corpses so that the zombies co uld be unconscious, willing laborers of the land. If the work of the infected is to spr ead infection, then they succeed, and in a global environment where circulation is essential fo r productivity, the worker must be quick and thus efficient. Ironically, the infected enact a perverse version of Thatcher’s agenda that supported individual productivity and accomplishmen ts at the cost of society’s collective welfare. Conversely, the infected oppose T ony Blair’s vision of a ‘New Britain,’ the slogan revealed at Blair’s first party conference as l eader in 1994. He clearly summarized his vision of ‘New Britain’ at th e party conference in 1997, his first after being elected to government, which I previously cited. While the infected are a direct opponent to Blair’s ‘New Britain’ because they lack the consciousness to create, care, and consider, the protagonist of 28 Days Later Jim, embodies the protection of old British values at a time when a ‘New Britain’ has been brought about by apocalypse. His journey begins as he awakens completely unaware in the hospital, continues with a tour of evacuated London, then unites him w ith other survivors, and finally takes the group to countryside communities of first a military dictatorship and then a utopian collectivity. The journey show s that the “creative,” “compassionate,” and “outwardlooking” values that Blair validates cannot be found in a nostalgic attempt to return to British traditions—Jim’s initial perspective —but instead can only be realized once the alienating categories of class, ge nder, and race are destroyed.

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79 The violence of destruction caused by the rage virus has subsided once Jim, who has been in a comma, awakens twenty-eight days after the initial infection. The first shot of this second beginning to the film focu ses on Jim’s eye, privileging his vision and perspective. The shot firmly establishe s the connection to John Wyndham’s postwar novel, The Day of the Triffids Wyndham’s novel likewise be gins with the protagonist, Bill Masen, in the hospital recovering from temporary blindness caused by the sting of a triffid. The strongest ideol ogical connection between the no vel and the updated film is that Boyle and Garland, like Wyndham, attempt to establish an ontology that responds to disaster. In 28 Days as Jim wanders from the hospital and into the empty streets of London, his tourism reveals the film’s distinctly British political and cultural responses. Jim’s wandering takes him to many of th e landmarks of London: St. Paul’s, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Bridge the Embankment, and the London Eye. As Jim walks on Westminster Bridge he st eps on souvenir replicas of Big Ben, the scattered, discarded location of these massproduced toys ironically epitomizing the status of the once grand metropolis. Jim’ s rest on Westminster Bridge recalls Wordsworth’s famous sonnet “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge,” which captures an equally still view of the c ity. In the poem, the only motion in the early morning metropolis is the Thames.15 Wyndham makes a similar statement in Triffids : “The Thames flowed imperturbably on. So it would flow until the day the Embankments crumble and the water spread out and West minster became once more an island in a 15 Occupying a space so famously expl ained in canonical literature in a fantastic postmodern film explains the relationship defined by de Certeau in “Walking in the City” between the concept of the city and the contradictions arising from urban agglomeration. De Certeau explains, “Perspective vision and prospective vision constitute the twofold projection of an opaque past and an uncertain future onto a surface that can be dealt with” (93-4).

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80 marsh” (128). In the film the only motion we see is Jim’s walking, but through these literary connections we can attach Jim’s m ovement to the lifeblood of the city, the Thames.16 The Thames is not displayed as a figure of opposition like one would find in William Blake or Iain Sinclair. Explaining the choice of locations an d images in the DVD commentary, Boyle notes that he was attracted to iconic imag es. All of the places Jim views, with the exception of the London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, record the iconic history of the city. By merging the new Eye so re, with these majestic landmarks, the film enacts a perverse version of ‘New Britain,’ similar to Ballard’s critique in Millennium People The London Eye is part of the Blair gover nment’s Millennium Project, an effort to celebrate the cultural legacy and influence of the past in the present and for the future. The Millennium Dome, the most famous part of this failed development project was to be a center for culture, unironically located in Gr eenwich, a symbol of the dominance of the British Empire and the belief the England was the center of the world. The London Eye, which repeatedly reappears in Jim’s view, me rges with these iconic structures, mocking the thought of resurrecting the old British values Blair valo rizes because, as de Certeau explains, the city makes clear that the pa st is unintelligible and the future unseen, especially when the vision of that future depends on a carnival ride. The excessive accumulation of the city is also marked by the toppled red doubledecker bus, the end of transportation or the circulation of people, and the scattered £20 notes, the end of the circulation of capital. The critique of the symbolic value of capital continues in Boyle’s 2005 Millions as the UK switches over to the Euro, leaving unspent 16 Although not on Westminster Bridge, Alex, in A Clockwork Orange takes a similar self-reflexive walk alongside the river when he has been cast aside by his family.

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81 and unconverted pound notes worthless, excep t as wallpaper. The status of the circulation of capital is a direct critique of globalization. Ne ither film make s a conclusive statement about globalization, bu t both look at how the increa singly global circulation of narrative and capital affects individual and national identity. Si milarly commenting on the globalization of the image, Jim’s tour stop s as he ventures into Piccadilly Circus to find the giant advertisements supplanted by a message board of notes to missing family members. The disaster necessitates the s ubstitution of messages of human relationship and emotion for the messages of consumer desi res, the advertisements. The scene of the message board, based on photos from the Kobe earthquake in 1995 and prophesizing 9/11 New York City, emphasizes that the initial res ponse to disaster is an attempt to reclaim relationships and thus a c onnection to the community. The historical and global repetitions of these images of people’s grie f proves that the imagination of disaster always returns the consciousness to the interp ersonal relationships that can remain and protect the individual throughout unintelligible events, even with very different political and historical causes, from natu ral disaster, to terrorist attack, to technological mistake. There is always the danger that such repe titions erase difference and enact a traumatic forgetting of singularity that is its own apocal yptic violence. To a void such a result, the trauma must be internalized on both an indivi dual and historical level, bringing logic to emotional extremism. The more local concern fo r identity plays out in 28 Days Later through the small community of non-infected. It comprises Jim, Selena, a chemist, Fr ank, a cab driver, and his daughter, Hannah. Jim first encounters Selena after turning to a church for sanctuary from his confusion; he has to attack an inf ected Anglican priest to save himself, Jim’s

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82 first reluctant refusal of institutions. Selena then saves Jim from the pursuing infected, taking him to her hideout in a mini-mart in th e underground. She explai ns the situation to Jim, and he immediately asks what the govern ment is doing about it; he cannot imagine that the leaders could become infected like everyone else. At this moment, Jim still believes “there is always a government.” Conversely, Selena has completely abandoned all conventions of relationships and emoti ons as a defense to the confusion caused by disaster. Similarly, her race and gender do not matter remotely as survival rules their consciousness. She is so focused on surviv al that later she brutally kills another companion before he can become infected and then tells Jim she would do the same to him. She says that “plans are pointless” and attempts to persuade Jim to the same position, sarcastically attacking his nostalgi a by asking him, “Do you want to save the world or just fall in love and fuck?” In this statement, Selena makes her first vulgar connection to Jim, but it does start to break down her survival instincts so that she can return to the interpersonal relationships that actually will assure her survival. This exchange takes place amongst pristine countryside ruins. The scene recalls the trip to the Scottish Highlands by the gang in Boyle’s Trainspotting Tommy believes that a return to nature will help the group identify with th eir cultural heritage a nd identity, saving them from the relationship problems they all enc ountered the previous night. Renton, instead, lambastes the Scottish identity and colonial history. His pessimism is much like Selena’s. Selena’s initial outlook epitomizes Susan Sontag’s argument that the imagery of disaster “is above all the emblem of an inadequate response ” (130). Sontag’s argument explains that as we can never actually extend our narrative beyond a disastrous end, we

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83 are not equipped to deal with the very forces that could cause this end. Selena, who now has to live beyond the end, can only propose thes e two clichd solutions that satisfy the two destinies of “unremitting banality and in conceivable terror” (130) that Sontag says define our age of extremes, which are a fascist return to the previous mode of history or a reestablishment of patriarchy. Ironically, both of Selena’s propositions could lead to terror. To avoid this terr or, Jim and Selena unite with Frank and Hannah to form a postmodern family unit that reworks power relationships and ultimately refuses patriarchy. As they leave London, they go through a gradual w ithdrawal from the capitalist system of labor and consumption a nd thus redefine their collective identity through interpersonal relationships. The path toward the utopian community requires them to refuse the labels, especially consumer and class, which define their location and perspe ctive in the city. Just as Jim’s understanding of the disaster re quires a visit to his parent’s suburban home, the tower block occupied by Hannah and Frank permits a shift in the group’s focus. Brought to the block by flashing lights, another reference to The Day of the Triffids Jim and Selena encounter a barricad e of shopping trolleys. The trolleys, previously used to increase and aid consumption, now stand as a barricade between the preservation of civilized life and the rampant infection. The t ools of capitalism have been made useless, but they can be reinvented in a new formation. The imagery of the building, the barricades and the battle in the hallway, resonates with Ballard’s novels, especially High Rise Frank has dealt with the apocalypse by re defining these tools in hopes of protecting himself and his daughter. The excess of the s hopping carts is repeated in the myriad of buckets of all different sizes and colors, wh ich Frank has placed on the roof to collect

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84 water. The lack of water shows that even the tower building, a sy mbol of modernity, no longer functions, and thus the community must leave behind the skeleton of the metropolis. As they leave the building in Frank’s black cab, another iconic image of London, Frank turns on the meter and jokingl y says, “Just so you know, I don’t take checks or credit cards.” Despite the horrors around, they find solace in their freedom from labor and money. This solace conti nues as they stop for a “supermarket sweep.”17 The supermarket looks serene in comparison to the chaos outside. All four take immense pleasure in their free shopping. Copying the comparison of bread lo aves by Stephen and Peter in Romero’s film, Jim and Frank look fo r the best scotch. Whereas Romero’s men allude to phallic imagery, Jim and Frank’s deci sion to take the quality scotch shows that they have embraced the destruction of their working class status. They now have the freedom to acquire products that previous ly would have been unavailable. The characters’ choices in consumption emphasize th at they still have their consciousness and thus responsibility. In a symbolic leaving behind of capitalism, Fra nk places his credit card on the check out counter. Now that the community has left behind the alienation of capitalism, they can construct a community based on equality. Just as class categories no longer matter, race never factors into the narrative of the film. Instead of ba sing respect for difference on historically or genetically based markers, re spect for difference should lead to respect for everyone’s difference from each other. As their communal bonds strengthen, Selena realizes that love for another is a reason to live, and Jim reali zes that the infected must be violently destroyed to preserve the love that remains. 17 This event is almost directly repeated from Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. The repetition of this scene more firmly connects 28 Days Later to the zombie genre.

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85 However, the members of the military commun ity attempt to preserve the system of patriarchy and capitalism cr umbling around them. They have occupied a mansion, collected stockpiles of electronic equipment, and cannot contain their sexual urges. Thinking they have killed Jim, the military men make Hannah and Selena dress in ball gowns, constricting costumes of patriarchy.18 In anger, Jim returns, unleashes the chained infected held on the grounds, and ki lls the remaining military men. Jim’s release of the infected into the corr upt, or infected, house reaffirms that rage has always been a part of patriarchy. The most aggressive sexua l predator, Corporal Mi tchell, dies by Jim’s hands. Jim has become so enraged by the at tack on his community that he proves that rage can also be a productive human emoti on. He has become covered in blood, looking like an infected, but his goa l is always to reunite w ith Hannah and Selena. When he pokes out the eyes of Corporal Mitchell, he proves that oppressive patriarchy has always been a form of bli ndness and unconscionable so cietal organization. This image evokes the Surrealism of Luis Bunel’s and Salvador Dali’s famous image from Un Chien Andalou of an eyeball being cut open by a razor. The use of Surrealist techniques parallels Ballard. As Colin Gr eenwood explains, “The Surrealist techniques that Ballard has used involve deliberate disso ciations and mystifica tions. The object is taken from its usual context and dismantled, or put in a new context, or confused with other objects. But the result of the proce ss is not mere nonsense, but a revaluation” (104). In the image of the eyes from 28 Days Later takes on such a variety of meanings and connections: from the blindness of The Day of the Triffids to the Surrealist desires of 18 The connection between femininity and costuming likewise occurs in Ballard’s High Rise By adorning these dresses in moments of crisis, both texts reveal the ridiculousness of the ornamental and nonfunctional female attire.

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86 Un Chien Andalou, to violent retribution for the sins of patriarchy. On one level this destruction of the eyes instead of the cutting of the Surrealist image is a violent refusal of modernity, and the end of the movie then as ks what visibility means for postmodernity. What results in 28 Days Later is a revaluation of the mean ing of vision, envisioning, and premonitions of the future and its potential. To confirm a new notion of equality within the community of the remaining survivors, the women must now save Jim’s lif e just as he has saved them. Selena’s transformation from an aggressive malconten t to a protector proves that this film imagines a form of family that integrates traditional gender roles while still allowing for the transformative events of apocalypse. Sele na can sew, but her sewing is an effort to include the family into the process of reciviliza tion and not an effort to care for the family in the more traditional sense of clothing and feeding. Even the alte rnate ending projects the women as the new watchdogs of society—ending with the final image of them leaving behind Jim’s body, a sign of the death of patriarchy, and walking forward into a new world where they will protect themselves and be just fine. The camera angle of this final shot of the alternate ending indicates the film’s position as the remnants of patriarchy, but as they woman walk away they progress into a future beyond the gaze or imagination of the viewer. The space that nurtures the alternative fa mily is the country, a common theme of postwar apocalyptic narratives. The film does not insinuate th at the natural will provide a utopian space. The military country-home prove s that capitalist alie nation extends to the spaces of the country. Eventually, the commun ity’s retreat to the modest cottage in the Lake District proves that a self-sufficient space can still provide, as Raymond Williams

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87 explains, “an affirmation of vitality and of th e possibility of rest in conscious contrast with the mechanical order, the artificial routin es, of the cities” (252). As the last infected lays emaciated on the ground and the community is rescued, it becomes clear that the epidemic has been contained within Great Br itain. This has been, as Boyle explained, a particularly British epidemic created by the vi olent need to uphold the iconic history of Britain. Discussing this view of hist ory in terms of his most recent film, Millions Boyle explains, “It’s about saying goodbye, how importa nt that can be particularly for the British. We love hanging on to the past here” (qtd. in Lim 50). 28 Days Later proves that it is dangerous to hang on to the past with too strong of a grip, especially when that past is an epic fallacy th at creates an unproductive nosta lgia and propagates a violent patriarchy. Instead, the film imagines a feminist idea of family based on mutual protection and sufficiency. Conclusions: The Nature of the Fam ily in the Twenty-First Century Throughout the postwar period, ap ocalyptic narratives contin ue to evoke disaster as a means to critique the political organizati ons of community and imagine new formations of community. In many of these cases, the ne w formations present revised visions of the family. From the female caregiver collective in High Rise to London Field’s nurturing of youth and innocence, through 28 Days Later’s rural feminist family, each vision unites different generations, classes, and races by freeing them fr om the oppressive politics of their moments. In extending this dialogue in to the future, I am drawn to Ian McEwan’s Saturday (2005) as an indication of the direction of the apocalyptic narrative. McEwan posits that the twenty-first century does not need to imagine disaster because the violent political climate of global politics in the Blair/Bush era makes everyday life open to disaster. He explains in an interview with Zadie Smith, “well, to go back to where we

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88 started this converstation, to 9/11, and the sense of invasion, one can only do it on a private scale. If you say the airliner hit th e side of the building, a thousand people died, nothing happens to your scalp. So I, in a sens e, tried to find the private scale of that feeling” (61). Following in th e tradition of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway McEwan’s narrative follows Dr. Henry Perowne through a day that begins in the early morning by witnessing a fire plane landing in the distance, proceeds to a street meeting with Baxter, a violent thug, and ends by his upper-middle class family life being burst apart by the intrusions of the criminality and the violence of the underclass that his privileged life and family have ignored. Baxter’s disruption forces Perowne to realize that “London, his small part of it, lies wide open, impossibl e to defend, waiting for its bomb, like a hundred other cities” (286). Perowne’s assessment th at London “wait[s] for its bomb” is not a passive acceptance of inevitabl e destruction; his words indi cate a shift in perspective from isolated privilege to collective concern. He realizes, “He lives in different times— because the newspapers say so doesn’t mean it isn’t true. But from the top of his day, this is a future that’s harder to read, a hori zon indistinct with possibilities” (286). Saturday concludes that ignoring the c onsequences of violence indica tive of both the treatment of the underclass in New Britain and the coalition war against Iraq will foreclose the utopian imagination of collectivity by the disaster narrative. McEwan makes us understand violence as the real material effects of life in the twenty-first century. Only through this realization can Perowne return to his l oving wife and family, and only through this realization will all the bombs waiting for their cities be defused.

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89 CHAPTER 3 GANGSTER COMMUNITIES: IMAGI NING THE UNDERWORLD AND UNDERSTANDING MASCULINITY The underworld fantasy enables the professional criminal in times of crisis to conjure some order from the imaginary community and inj ect it into a life-worl d that is prone to chaotic, seemingly incoherent interludes. It is from the combination of these archaeological excursions and regular engageme nts with the enacted environments of contemporary serious criminality that professi onal criminal appropriate their identities. —Dick Hobbs Bad Business: Professional Crime in Modern Britain Indeed, for those who were concerned to de fine such differences what underlay the aesthetic difference between America and Briti sh cinema was an ideological one. While Hollywood was essentially indivi dualist, British cinema was essentially communitarian. —Alistair Davies, “A cinema in between: Postwar British cinema” In his sociological study of criminality in Britain, Dick Hobbs uses evidence and anecdotes gleaned by interviewing criminals to explain how the professional criminal fits into the imaginary, the economics, and the hi story of Britain. Unlike the hierarchical Sicilian-American organized crime, Hobbs contends that British organized crime generates its own organizational structures and these “coalitions” can “adapt to the exigencies of the contemporary market” (1 1). Continuing the theme of flexible collectivity instead of hierarchy, Hobbs point s out that British organized crime does not have as clear an origin as American prohibition, and thus tend to be more entrepreneurial. This spirit of invention extends to the idea of the British gangster. Hobbs does not spend any time on narratives that depict British or ganized crime, but his analysis of the underworld, quoted above, does pr ovide an interesting entry po int for an analysis of the

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90 gangster narrative. As Hobbs explains, the unde rworld is “[o]ne of the most powerful of these inductive inferences” (108). He labe ls the “inductive inference” as a way to describe the idea that emerges from past trends or experiences that helps individuals deal with the present. The idea of the underworld is part of “the codi fication of professional criminal culture” (108). The underworld is an imaginary that provides protection and commonality to the criminal by enabling access to a collective idea. In other words, the imaginary community of the underworld is e ssential for the identi ty of the British gangster. When applied to the many and varied film ic representations of British criminality in the postwar period, the underworld is the metonymic substitution for the collectivity that defines British cinema generally and the gangster genre specifically. As Alistair Davies concludes that the main ideological difference between American and British cinema is that the former is individualistic and the later communitarian, this is especially telling for a gangster genre that has such deep roots and influences in American culture yet preoccupies British filmmake rs. In presenting the underwor ld to a wide audience, the British gangster film is preoccupied with expl aining how the political ideologies of their different moments influence the ideas of co mmunity, masculinity, and Englishness. In the immediate postwar years economic scarci ty and end-of-empire anxiety made the gangster genre, comedies and realistic melodr amas alike, particularly interested in upholding the gentleman gangster who protected his gang with rigor. As the feminist movement rapidly changed gender roles fr om 1960s and into the 1980s, the idea of masculinity became of central concern for the gangster genre. During this period, intensely individual and hypermasculine gangster s attempt to protect the fantasy of the

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91 underworld from destruction. In the 1990s as gender issues become less polarized, a new version of the gangster emerges. By pr oviding a genealogy that explains how the gangster genre adapts to political discourse and then comparing the individualist gangster of the late 1970s to the retu rn to collectivity and a new ve rsion of masculinity in the 1990s, I will argue that these more recent f ilms image the underworld as an alternative community that can contain dissidence while still allowing each individual member of the community to uphold the morality essen tial for national identity. Reading the Underworld: A Genealogy of the Postwar Period When discussing the postwar gangster film a logical starting place is St. John Legh Clowes’s 1948 adaptation of James Hadley Chases’s novel No Orchids for Miss Blandish because this film created such a scandal that it influenced the censorship and content of films to follow. This film’s depiction of violence and female sexuality was met with hostility primarily because it was seen as a Hollywood film. Presupposing this hostility, in 1944 George Orwell examined the deve loping cultural production of gangster literature in his essay “Ra ffles and Miss Blandish” ( Critical Essays 161-178). Orwell compares the iconic existence of Raffles a gentleman criminal exceedingly popular during the late nineteenth a nd early twentieth centuries, to James Hadley Chase’s 1939 novel No Orchids for Miss Blandish which, due to widespread appeal, was turned into first a play and then a film. Orwell descri bes Raffles as an innocuous public-school man, cricketer, and charmer—the essence of Englishness. Despite Raffles’ criminality, Orwell shows that the figure embodies the ethics of a gentleman because he refuses to abuse the hospitality of the host by robbing him, and he will only participate in the murders of the “deserving”—foreigners and criminals more vi olent than himself. Orwell sees an engagement with ethics and morals as the definitive feature in the development of the

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92 popular gangster genre. In describing No Orchids’ plot, which he details as the kidnapping of Miss Blandish, a millionaire’ s daughter, the resulting feud between two gangs over her, and her subsequent rape and relationship with her rapist, Orwell condemns the text on moral grounds. He explains that No Orchid’s popularity must owe to its publication during a moment of national crisis, “during th e Battle of Britain and the blitz” (168). His focus on an extraordin ary moment removes the novel’s popularity from the everyday existence and cultural identity of its readers and places its reception in terms of the unexplainable and unrepeatable. He concludes that the criminality in No Orchids is entirely American in character, traditi on, and language, inscribing its moral depravity as a result of its non-English identity. He pr edicts that the gangster genre will refuse Americanization and return to th e figure of the charming Raffles. The Ealing comedies that arguably fit into the gangster genre, The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) and The Ladykillers (1955), present an interest ing revision of the Raffles figure. While these comedies seem frivolous to some critics, Steve Chibnall and Robert Murphy dismiss them as “whimsical comedies . rather than serious explorations of the underworld” (8), they clearly illustrate how the genre responds to the politics of its moment. Like most of the Ealing comedies produced in the immediate postwar years, a time defined by rationing, bomb wreckage, and strict class structure, these films are escapist fantasies that suggest an alternative reality and wa y of life while simultaneously upholding the ethics and morality of Englishness as a utopian promise. John Ellis argues, “Ealing’s comedy does not deal with resentments or guilt so much as with aspirations and Utopian desires. It is not primarily concer ned with satire, which can be identified with the playing out of class resent ments. . Ealing’s comedy style was new in that it dealt

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93 with the Utopian desires of the lower middle cl ass rather than its resentments” (154). Explaining a similar outcome in her analysis of British national cinema, Sarah Street concludes that these comedies derive “their ideological im petus from fears about state power and a mistrust of bureaucr atic structures in general pl us the persistence of social class and a preoccupation with sexual repression” (64). The Lavender Hill Mob continually returns to issues of state power, bureaucratic structures, and social class. The majority of the narrative of The Lavender Hill Mob occurs in flashback as Henry “Dutch” Holland explains the sequence of events that have led to his decadent and exotic lif e. The narrative structure makes classifying this film as a gangster film possible because it represents a fantastic imagining of the heist by the protagonist. Holland may not be a gangster in the denotative sense, but his desire for a place in an imagined underworld necessitates the classification. The basic plot is that Holland, a meek, dependable, and respectable bank transfer agent responsible for gold bullion, dreams of wealth. Through Holland’s dreams, the film critiques the assumption that the working class is simply meant for poverty, showing images of the masses commuting to work, as Holland explains that he, unlike most, was in a position to change his status. He may not be a Raffles figure by birth, but he aspires to uphold the same ideals. Holland represents i ngenuity despite adversity. Fu rthering the critique of the treatment of the working cla ss, Holland’s boss claims that he cannot promote Holland because he does not have the creativity needed for advancement. This proves to be ridiculous when Holland teams up with Alfr ed Pendlebury, the owner of a factory that produces lead souvenirs, and concocts an elabor ate plan to steal the bullion and transform it into Eiffel Towers for exportation to France. Needing criminal help for their plan, the

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94 two business men set a trap by talking loudl y in public of an unsecured safe in Pendlebury’s factory. Holland and Pendlebur y make the two men who arrive confirm that they are “professional criminals”—an utte rance that cements the group as a criminal mob. The easy access to professional crim inality for the two lower-middle-class characters emphasizes the fantasy of rebelli on against bureaucracy at the heart of this film, which is typical of the Ealing come dies. The merging of respectability and criminality transforms both pairs of men. While explaining the heist to the group, one of the criminals questions Holland but then recants, saying “you’re the boss.” The confirmation of his intelligence makes Holla nd increasingly more and more confident, indicated to the audience by the change in his mannerisms, standing more upright, looking straight into the camer a, and expecting others to please him instead of always pleasing others. When the newspapers proclaim him a hero for supposedly attempting to thwart the heist and aiding the police in capturing the crimin als, he literally rises in social standing. This is depicted by the scene where Holland vi sits in reversed hierarchical order the offices of the top bank employees and ends by leading the others into the chancellor’s office. Holland becomes the epitome of re spectability by both the bureaucracy of the bank and the criminals who will permit Holland and Pendlebury to bring their share of the haul back from France because they are “gentlemen.” Their ingenuity permits them to outsmart the police on several occasions; first, when they establish the gang in Pendlebury’s warehouse and more importantly when they escape from the police training headquarters with the last of the gold towers Through a classic allusion to the Keystone Cops running around aimlessly, Holland and Pendl ebury prove smarter than the system.

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95 The film, though, does not celebrate decaden ce or hedonism. The final image of Holland’s arm shackled to the police officer who has just heard the tale confirms to the audience that there are repercussions for be havior. The film does not suggest that Holland should be punished for his heist. Rath er, once Holland sets up his exotic life, he looses touch with the ingenuity and respectab ility that made him successful, he becomes completely individualist, and thus he must be punished. The Ladykillers the last Ealing comedy produced before the studio came under control of the BBC, also proves that those who no longer upho ld the ideals of Englishness, even if the ideals seem absurd in the postwar moment, will eventually be punished. Set mostly in an old Victorian hom e, lopsided because of the war, the film focuses on a gang led by Professor Marcus pull s a heist and uses an elderly widow, Mrs. Wilberforce to secure the money. The setting merges the house as a symbol of the scars of war with the London neighborhoods surround ing St. Pancras Station, a space that symbolizes mobility and acceleration, and thus promise through the railroads. Importantly, this is still a space of familiarity : as Mrs. Wilberforce walks down the street, she greets all the shop owners by name. Within the combination of these spaces, the film indicates a need to move forward; but the incongruence of the ideological meaning of the house and the train makes that difficult. The cul-de-sac, the l iteral location of the house, metaphorically connotes both end and ci rcularity. Emphasizing the difficulty of progress, the audience has no clea r model within the film to lead them forward. The gang is destined for failure as they only act the part of refined gentlemen, disguising themselves as a string quartet—they show that one cannot become a gentleman simply through outward appearance. Professor Marcus ’s deformed teeth serve as comic fodder

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96 especially to viewers who have seen Alec Gu inness in a variety of roles in other Ealing comedies. The teeth are also as an ever-pre sent reminder of his lack of refinement. Overall each member of the gang contribute s to the stereotypes of criminality: the mastermind, the teddy boy, the trickster, the mo ronic muscle, and the ruthless enforcer. Charles Barr carefully details the allegor ical parallels within the film. The gang are the post-war Labour Govern ment; taking over ‘the House’, they gratify the Conservative incumbent by thei r civilized behaviou r (that nice music) and decide to use at least the faade of respectability fo r their radical programme of redistributing wealth . Their success is undermined by two fact ors, interaction: their own internecine quarrels, and the startling, paralyzing charisma of the ‘natural’ governing class, which effortlessl y takes over from them again in time to exploit their gains (like th e Conservative taking over power in 1951, just as the austerity years came to an end). (171-2) Barr views The Ladykillers as a political allegory cri tiquing government policies and party ideologies. The film though does not cl early valorize one party or way. The gang has a noble purpose, but their means of se rving that purpose are absurd. Mrs. Wilberforce is well intentioned but completely oblivious of the workings of the postwar world in which she now lives. Exaggerating the faults of both sides, when Mrs. Wilberforce discovers the crime and scolds the men, they decide to kill her. What inevitably saves Mrs. Wilberforce, though, is that she represents devotion to empire; her war hero husband watches over her from his portrait on the wall, his sacrifice living on through her. She is protected from violence by her devotion to the nation, and as the men of the gang cannot understand this, they each meet their deaths. The men’s discomfort in the scene when they are forced to have t ea with Mrs. Wiberforce’s friends proves that they cannot even relate to the most typical activity associated with Englishness. In the end, Mrs. Wilberforce keeps the money because the police, tired of hearing her fantastic stories, do not believe that she actually has the money for which they have been

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97 searching. As in The Lavender Hill Mob the bureaucracy app ears inept, and upholding an imperial version of Englishness is rewarded. The Ealing comedies directly address the postwar moment and examine issues of national identity, but they do not provide obvi ous access to the imagining of realistic criminal underworld. The dramatic gangste r films of the postwar period, especially Brighton Rock (1947), present a gritty and authentic look at the underworld. As a spiv film,1 Brighton Rock an adaptation of Graham Greene’ s novel, deals with the economics of postwar scarcity, particularly the crimin ality created by the culture of selling rationed items on the black market. In a Brighton that harkens back to the intra-war years, it costs six pence just to sit down w ith a date on the boardwalk. Brighton Rock shows Pinkie’s and Colleoni’s gangs feuding for rights to co llect protection money a nd for control of the race track—two of the main economic basis for organized crime in Britain. The feud between Pinkie’s industrious gang and Co lleoni’s foreigners capitalizes on the xenophobia created in times of war. Pinkie Brown, the young and driven leader of the small gang, displays his confidence to the a udience through several cl ose-up shots of his face, a foreshadowing of the scar of failure that will plague his later appearance. Pinkie’s confidence proves that while he may just be a spiv, he has the makings of a gangster. Pinkie expects perfection from hi s subordinates; so when Spicer leaves a hole in Pinkie’s alibi for the time of Frank’s murder, the gang unravels. Pinkie looses focus on his real enemy, Colleoni, and is thus punished by a sl ash across the face. Pinkie becomes more 1 The term spiv has origins in the 1930s; it is generally used as a term of differentiation from the gangster, who is part of organized criminality. Instead, the spiv is man who uses his wits to make a living rather than holding permanent employment. The spiv gets involved in any and all black-market ventures and typically is identifiable by flashy dress. In the gangster genre, the spiv is intimately connected to the rationing and scarcity after the war.

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98 and more neurotic because Ida investigates Fran k’s death. She is the antithesis of the film noir femme fatale because she does not tempt hi m but instead taunts him. Ida’s confused role, as the mother figure and the foil, mirro rs Pinkie’s confusion a bout love and women. Having married Rose to keep her quiet about th e falsity of his alibi, Pinkie sinks further and further into irrationality. He proclaims his hatred for Rose on the phonograph record and then convinces Rose to kill herself, de spite the warnings of Cubit, his fellow gang member to “never touch the girl.” Once Cub it learns of Pinkie’s plan, he turns his friend over to the police because Pinkie has sunk be low the level of decency required of a gentleman, even one who is a criminal. The ending of the film differs from the ending of the novel because in the latter Rose hears Pinkie proclaim his hatred. The censors’ demand that the film reflect Pinkie’s salvation instead of his hatred shows that the underworld in these films is a fantasy that orders and unifies the ethics of criminality. As evidence that Brighton Rock is an imagination of the underworld, the film begins with a disclaimer that explains Brighton is really the happy vacation destination that its name immediately evokes. The disclaimer removes the events of the film from the real world of the audience a nd reassures that their escapist fantasy of Brighton includes both leisur e and danger. Bright on is thus a fantasy as both the commodified version of tourist escape and its ordering of the underworld. As the gangster genre develops from thes e early representations, the classification of the gangster becomes more precise. The Raffles figure, the spiv, and the criminal mastermind are replaced by a professional crimin al who works within a highly structured economic organization. Through the 1960s a nd 1970s, the gangster becomes associated with market capitalism, stylized wealth, calculated violence, and intense misogyny. The

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99 Kray brothers’ real life rise to power and popularity tran sforms the gangster into a mythological figure, similar to Jack the Ripper. Known for their ruthless behavior, which garnered media attention, the Krays brought the underworld more firmly into the consciousness of the public. With the increased attention on criminality, the films likewise became much more violent. Speci fically, the violence towards women permits the gangster to establish his pow er and virility in a moment when the feminist movement has challenged both. Performance (1970) and Get Carter (1971) present refine d and stylized, but extremely violent, gangsters who break the rules of the underworld and become entirely individualist. In Performance Chas does not understand that he works for the business, which means he works for his boss. The s cene where Chas’s boss confronts him because of his choices uses the same camera tricks associated with his la ter drug use. This suggests that power is Chas’s first drug of choice. Chas cannot ex act revenge against a bookie simply because he has personal problems, a fact his boss makes clear. Chas sees his strength as absolute power and thus does not understand that within the organization he is no more than an enforcer. In Get Carter Jack Carter makes a similar mistake about his position. When he learns of his brothe r’s death, he leaves London to return home to Newcastle. In the opening scene, his London co lleague warns him that he is overstepping barriers by reentering th e gangland of Newcastle, but Cart er selfishly needs revenge and thus disregards the warnings. Both men use sexuality as a way to c ontrol women, exhibiting their masculinity through misogyny. Sexuality, like violence, cr eates a language of masculinity. Chas, even after his exposure to the bohemian li fe that is ideologically opposed to the

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100 underworld, still vehemently refuses to thi nk of himself as anything but “all man.” Carter, even when interrupted during sex, can pull a gun, frighten away the opposition, and remain in control. The image of him standing outside the be d-and-breakfast naked yet holding the gun aloft is symbolic of his pha llocentric vision of ma sculinity. Both men may get to live out the violent fantasies th ey desire in and out of the bedroom, but inevitably both are killed because of their violations of gangland ethics. Neither film offers an image of an underworld community because the perspectives of the films’ protagonists do not understa nd their interconnectedness to the underworld. Chas previously wished to proclaim his individua lity, but when immersed within the drug use and sexuality of the counter-culture, he attempts to reestablish the ab solute categories that order his world. Carter’s misogyny becomes th e filter through whic h he views the world, depicted explicitly in the scene where he im agines the femme fatale’s driving the get-away car as an analogy for sex. He does not make an authentic connection to anyone in the film. The last scene between Carter and his niece (who may be his daughter) is an unplanned encounter where he gives her money, highlighting his belief that his sexual, monetary, and violent potential defines him. When each of the protagonists dies in the conclusions, there are no lasting effects caused by their murders because their individuality has led to isolat ion. These endings emphasize the tragic nature of the realist gangster, obsessed with an impossible ideal of masculinity that ultimately leads to his downfall. Beginning with a similar interest in the in dividuality and power of masculinity, the 1980s film directly engages w ith the economic policies of Thatcherism, identifying the gangster as businessman. The Long Good Friday (1981) explores the internationalization

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101 of the British economy, particularly the tran satlantic bonds epitomized by the relationship between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Re gan. The gangster genre’s characteristic interest in violence, moralit y, and success become intrinsica lly linked to an understanding of the changing economy. Exploring the rela tionship between morality and the economy, Anna Marie Smith argues, “For Thatcher, th e welfare state’s promotion of a dependency culture and the interference in the free market on the part of the nationalized industries and trade union movement cons tituted the most serious thre ats to moral standards. Economic renewal, therefore, entailed a moral revolution: a return to individual responsibility, free market entrepreneuria lism and British nationalism” (3). In The Long Good Friday Harold Shand aims to redevelop the Docklands with the investments of the American Mafia. The film critiques the Thatcherite emphasis on the entrepreneurial by showing Shand and Councilperson Harris pander to the American interests. Shand’s nervousness before Charlie’s, the American Ma fioso, arrival and his repeated attempts to make Charlie more comfortable establishes an awkward power relationship between the two godfathers, indicating Shand’s sense of infe riority. Shand’s inability to secure the redevelopment deal indicates the failures of the individualist economic gangster and his absolute belief in neo-liberalism. The film questions the relationship between criminality and business. Shand does not think of himself as a gangster but rather as a businessman, scoffing at any reference to the former term. His gang is organized li ke and labeled as a “corporation” or “the firm.” Indicating his entrepreneurial philo sophy, Shand speaks to th e “trusted friends” gathered on his yacht. He begins, “I’m not a politician. I’m a businessman with a sense of history. And I’m also a Londoner. And toda y is a day of great historical significance

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102 for London. Our country’s not an island any more We’re a leading European state. And I believe that this is the decade in which London will become Europe’s capital.” As his speech indicates, Shand views the world through absolute categories—he’s not a politician because he gets things done as a businessman, meaning he does not pansy around talking about ideas, but instead he act s aggressively and e fficiently. He calls himself a Londoner in the same fashion, suggest ing the label as a monolithic identity and acknowledging his inability to understand hi s world except through the rhetoric of capitalist accumulation. The historical signif icance he refers to is economic development actually detached from any vision of London. He foresees the European Union and hopes for British centrality; after all, he beli eves “No other city has got . such an opportunity for profitable progres s.” Shand’s conservative utopi an vision is similar to Fukuyama’s end of history since both view freemarket capitalism as the utopian closure. In more personal terms, his vision of the future proves that he can only comprehend identity and meaning through contractual organizations. His idea of history is a nostalg ic vision of a return to Victorian identity hierarchies and economic success. Following his speech, Shand laments to Charlie that London used to be the busiest port in all of Europe. As he glances from the deck of his yacht sailing along the Thames, he stares with contempt at the empty docks. To him this image is a direct contradiction to the im age of himself, an image which he connects to the Tower Bridge. When he delivers his “hands across the ocean” pitch, he is framed by the bridge in the background; it literally encompasses hi m, both visually and metaphorically. Built in 1894, the bridge’s architecture, the iconic twin pillars and the functional bridge lifts, symbolizes Victorian decadence and status but al so utility. This is the vision he holds for

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103 his corporation. The basis for his understand ing is a stereotypical idea of Englishness— he explains that “the Yanks l ove snobbery. They really feel they’ve arrived in England,” he describes his pub as ha ving “real old London characte r,” and his lover’s name, Victoria, alludes to an ideal of feminine Englishness. His stereotypical idea of Englishness leads to the repeated reinforcem ents of outdated race, gender, sexual, and nationalist hierarchies: Shand views Brixton as a racial wasteland f illed with “scum;” he beats his lover when she becomes the more instinctual business voice and goes against him; he repeatedly lampoons his dead co lleague and friend, Colin, because of his homosexuality; and he uses racial epitaphs to describe the Irish. His ignorance prevents him from understa nding the threat po sed by the IRA. The violence that plagues Shand throughout the film, from the explosion of his mother’s chauffeur, the murder of his sidekick, and the bombing of his pub, challenges his businessman faade. In the matter of seconds, Shand shifts from calling the car bombing outside a church “the work of a maniac” to proclaiming “I’ll have his carcass dripping blood by midnight.” The first statement repres ents the profit-driven businessman, but the second indicates the opposition between neo-liber al rhetoric and underworld ethics. The first sees profit as the only basis for action, bu t the latter sees protec tion and retribution as equally powerful motivators. Shands is so intoxicated by capita lism that he cannot occupy the imaginary space of the underworld e ssential to the identity formation of the gangster. When he attempts to exert his au thority through intense violence, we see Shand as an irrational thug, not a str ong leader. When he sends “the corporation” out to gather all those who may have knowledge about his problems, he presents an arsenal of weapons for the choosing, but then absurdly says “Lads, try and be discreet.” He then

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104 hangs his rival gang bosses from meathooks without learning anything about who is behind the plot. When he eventually discovers that the IRA is culp able, he sets out on a course of “annihilation,” as he calls it. Shand does not understand the political violence of the IRA because it is diam etrically opposed to his brand of self-interested economic brutality. He will not allow Parky, the corrupt police officer he employs, to refer the case to the Special Branch, and he does not heed Parky’s warning about th e IRA: “They’re not just gangsters. They run half of Londonderry on terror. It could be London next.” While Shand wanted to become more than a gangster through a “legitimization of the corporation,” the IRA succeeds at the task because of their political organization of the underworld. The final sequence emphasizes the absolute need for a political imagination of the underworld by the gangster. Believing that he has “solved his problem” by killing two members of the IRA, Shand goes to the Americ ans ready to finalize the deal. He learns that they are returning to New York and begins to rant, criticizing the values and visions of the Americans. His irrational substituti on of profit as the meas uring stick of success makes him unable to protect his “corporati on.” Colin and Eric have already been murdered by the IRA, and Shand kills his s econd-in-command, Jeff, when he explains to Shand that the IRA cannot be handled like ot her business deals gone awry. The final lengthy shots of Shand’s reaction after the IR A seizes him and Victoria emphasizes that he has not previously realized the reasons for his failure. The camera focuses on Shand as he progr esses from anger, denial, and then acceptance. This is Shand’s conversion e xperience. Taking place on Good Friday, the film has an underlying theme of faith and salv ation. Shand has placed his faith in free-

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105 market capitalism and individuality. He now has to understand his errors. Shand’s conversion begins after he viciously attack s Jeff for his betrayal, calling him Judas. Shand thus sees himself as the Christ figure. He returns home to cleanse himself, the blood washing away as the audience wonders if he expresses remorse. When he quickly returns to his businessman persona e, we learn that he still sees himself as the martyr. The true conversion occurs before the IRA assassi nates him. In the car, the image shifts several times away from Harold’s emotionally descriptive facial re sponses and back to the IRA gunman. The juxtaposition of these images further establishes the dichotomy between the IRA’s political and religious dedication and Harold Shand’s capitalist criminality. Until this point, he has not even thought that he has placed his faith in the wrong ideology, Anglo-American capitalism. He realizes that he has blocked the political potential of the im agined space of the underworld, which is amorphous and flexible. For example, the IRA creates an underworld that unities its members through the allegiance to the discourses of Catholicis m and Irish nationalism. Shand now has to mourn his own failures as a gangster and not as a businessman, and he accepts his impending death. Harold Shand, like Jack Carter, has lost touch with the collectivity embedded with the imaginary space of the underworld. Their isolation prevents them from understanding the epistemological shifts of postwar English cu lture, leaving them obsolete and dispensable. In each of the f ilms discussed, business repeatedly interferes with a productive imaging of the underworld. These films emphasize the incompatibility of Thatcherism, particularly the attempt at “forging new disc ursive articulations between the liberal discourses of the ‘free ma rket’ and economic man and the organic

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106 conservative themes of tradition, family a nd nation, respectability, patriarchalism and order” (Hall 2). In these films, the economic man has no access to tradition, except through nostalgia, or the family and nation, except through overstated gender hierarchies and clichs of Englishness. Their respect and order hinge on one fact, profit and productivity. Stuart Hall ar gues that unless the left unders tands Thatcherism “it cannot renew itself because it cannot understand the wo rld it must live in if it is not to be ‘disappeared’ into permanent marginality” (272 ). Faced with the failures of Blarism for understanding Thatcherism and renewing the le ft, the next generation of gangster films are anti-Blairist fables that reveal the ep istemological uncertainty of his “renewal” ideologies. These films do forge a new di scursive formation between economics and family by connecting profit to the imagination of an underworld that nurtures the family and expels the individual. New Laddism and a Return to the Underw orld: Masculinity and Collectivity in Films by Guy Ritchie and Jonathan Glazer Issues of masculinity are of central c oncern to the gangster films throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and this focus does not change in the 1990s. However, the idea of masculinity does develop with the political a nd cultural polici es of Blair’s New Britain. Using Blair’s own words, we can summarize the ideals of New Britain, “Creative. Compassionate. Outward-looking. Old British values, but a new British confidence.” These terms have become a sort of slogan becau se of Blair’s rhetori cal repetition of these adjectives in speech after speech. The cultura l manifestation of Blair’s New Britain is Cool Britannia, a reclamation of British cultural currency with an egalitarian bent. Geoff Brown associates the rhetori cal erasure of class hierarch ies in Blair’s vision of New Britain with the government’s endorsement of Cool Britannia. The main idea is to

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107 reclaim the popular attention that the British music indus try had established in the previous decades, to capitalize on the cultura l currency of the Beatles British Invasion and the punk subculture. Brown explains how “Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, was happy to tell readers that Noel Galla gher, of Oasis, and the contemporary classical composer George Benjamin are ‘both musicians of the first rank’; nor could he acknowledge any distin ction in value between Bob Dylan and John Keats. In the world of Cool Britannia they were all equal citizens” (31). The issue of confidence presents the biggest problem for the representation of masculinity in 1990s gangster films. Claire Monk explains how the political situations of the 90s affects the depiction of masculinity in British cinema: “the mainstream of British cinema at a moment when the fallout of post-industrialis m and Thatcherism collided with the gains of feminism, produced a strand of male-focused films whose gender politics were more masculinist than feminist” (157). The reorga nization of labor that occurred when women entered the workforce in great numbers ma de social divisions more obvious and problematic to the perceived power and author ity of masculinity, especially the with the coterminous reduction of physical labor and mi ddle management jobs predominately held by men and the expansion of th e service sector employment more evenly distributed to women. From these changing times, a new idea of masculinity commonly labeled as “new laddism” emerges. Claire Monk and Steve Ch ibnall both explain the cu lture surrounding new laddism in their analyses of British gangster films. The idea has an intrinsic connection to the creation of the post-feminist magazine culture characterized by Loaded first published in 1994, and Maxim Monk thus views this men’s movement as a “media construction.”

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108 Her argument reveals a similarity between ne w laddism and New Labor’s propagation of the cultural movement of Cool Britannia, bot h are easily dismissed fantasies. Similarly, Danny Leigh writes in Sight and Sound “Given the rise of the new lad consumer with his unashamed taste for testosterone-fuelled pleas ures, the rise of the new Brit gangster film can be seen as an inevitable counterpart to the success of such UK men’s magazines as Loaded and FHM” (23). Steve Chibnall does not view new laddism and the 1990s gangster film with as much contempt as Monk. He differentiates between “gangster heavy,” characterized by Get Carter and The Long Good Friday and “gangster light” (282). The “heavy films” are re alistic in style and substance, with a focus on the details of period and place. “Gangster light” reflects an awareness of the artifice of film-making. Chibnall explains: the most crucial characteristic of ‘gangs ter light’ is what we might call is ‘fauxness.’ This is not used in the pejorative sense in which ‘fake’ is used, implying an attempt to fool the viewer with a counterf eit which purports to be authentic, but as a word to describe an idealized pastiche of the real which is willingly, and even enthusiastically, legitimated by the viewer. Faux-ness is a knowing theatrical distortion of real life, a mutually co ndoned simulacrum that, by a typically postmodern conceit, is something bette r than the real thing. (283) Chibnall’s reading indicates that the change s in the gangster film in the 1990s should not be dismissed simply because they seem fake. His work attempts to read the 1990s gangster film through not only the lens of the past, but also by reading these films on their own terms. Following his approach, instead of dismissing new laddism as a masculinist fantasy, I would argue that the 1990 s’ gangster film is embroiled within an imagination of an underworld that no longe r follows the obvious codes of the previous decades. Instead, these films address the malleability of gender by returning to a collective formation that valorizes protection of the family (a term applicable to any

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109 organization that fosters prot ection of a group), and thus wh ich reclaims creativity and compassion as masculine traits. The gangsters in Guy Ritchie and Jona than Glazer’s films not only uphold the ideals of morality and nationa lism validated by Blair’s visi on of New Britain, but it is their collective validation of these ideals that contributes to their successes. Despite their refusal of the individuality of early films in the genre, these gangsters are legitimated as criminals by their ability to manipulate and co ntrol the extreme violent potential in their idea of the underworl d. The shift from The Long Good Friday to these films centers on the connection of morality to the responsibility of the individual for the earlier film to the desires of the group in the more recent. Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast (2001) achieved widespread popularity and attention in both Britain a nd the United States. Therefor e they fit nicely into the pattern of popularity detailed by Orwell and also they bring a stylized version of new laddism to the audience; these two films pack age the violent and vulgar lad culture of the British underworld within nationalist alle gories that uphold the community and the family as moral institutions by suggesting alte rnative organizations that fit within the traditional ideology of masculinity. Ultim ately, it is within these alternative organizations that the films posit collectivity, cooperation, and ingenui ty as essential for an imaging of the 1990s underworld. Both films have fairly straight-forward plots. Lock, Stock follows a gang of four lads (Ed, Bacon, Tom, and Soap) as they try to make a quick fortune at a game of cards; instead they find themselves in debt to “Harry the Hatchet” for a half million pounds. To pay back their debt, they concoct a plan to rob from a gang of hardened criminals who

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110 have just pulled a job on a group of former public school boys who harvest top grade marijuana for Rory Breaker, a caricature of the London yardie. Throughout the film, the lads survive as all the “real” criminals meet violent deaths; and in the end, they may even have made a nice profit. Sexy Beast begins on the coast of Sp ain at the villa of Deedee (a retired showgirl) and her hus band Gal Dove (a retired gang ster) as a boulder plummets down the mountainside and smas hes into their swimming pool Gal and Deedee spend all their time relaxing at the poolside, shopping, a nd dining with their British friends and former coworkers, Aitch and Jackie. All four lead a peaceful existence until Don Logan shows up from London to force Gal out of re tirement. His psychotic and obsessive presence threatens the way of life the four ha ve built, and to survive, they must kill him and send Gal back to London to cover up the crim e. Gal goes back and participates in his final job for Teddy Best before returning to his new life, which has been reconstructed after the momentary intrusions. Despite appearing on the surface as very different films, es pecially with the generational gap between the tw o groups of protagonists and the spatial distance between the two main locales, these films function pedagogically remarkably similar. Both directors, Guy Ritchie and Jonathan Glazer, got their starts directing music videos. Their previous directing experience, along with th eir youthfulness, has earned them the label “MTV directors.”2 Holding true to their backgrou nds, each director includes a music video within the films. These musical brea ks from the dialogic narratives provide a summary of the internal logic of each film. We can read the music videos as summaries 2 Ritchie even won the 1999 MTV Movie Award for Best New Filmmaker.

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111 of the utopian visions of the films. In the case of these internal music videos,3 these utopian visions show how individuals (char acter or audience) can position themselves within the safe confines of alternative co mmunities, marriages, and families, and thus escape the destructive ev ils of the Darwinian capitalist underworld that more often than not destroys individuals who l ack capital and power. The packaging of this important message within a music video directly responds to postmodern youth culture which has been raised on information in thirty -second intervals—the sound bite and the advertisement. While the music used in Lock, Stock typically stereotypes the characters—such as Greek music playing for Nick the Gree k, Reggae for the public school marijuana growers, and hard rock for the neighbor gang—in several of the cases the music embodies the hybridity of Cool Britannia. In Lock, Stock’s narrative the music video displays the celebration of th e four lads after they have successfully hijacked their neighbors, a more brutal gang. The lads’ te chno/brit-pop theme song, heard several times throughout the film, plays while they drink to excess and goof off at JD’s Bar, owned by Ed’s father. The lads’ theme song subsumes th e libidinal urges of th e Brixton garage and house scene within the safe c onfines of Brit-pop popularity. The scene starts with the four sitting around a table taking shots of liquor The messy table is covered with glasses 3 The uses of music in both films follow eight of fi fteen functions of non-digetic music as illustrated by Jerrold Levinson. Levinson includes: “(1) the indicating or revealing of something about a character’s psychological condition, including emotional states, personality traits, or specific cognitions; (2) the modifying or qualifying of some psychological attribution to a character independently grounded by other elements of the film; (5) the foreshadowing of a dramatic development in a situation being depicted on screen; (6) the projecting of a story-ap propriate mood attributable to a scene as a whole; (7) the imparting to the viewer of a sense that the happenings in the f ilm are more important than those of ordinary life; (9) the suggesting to the viewer of how her or she is to regard or feel about some aspect of the story, for example, compassionately; (12) the lulling or memorizing of the viewer, so as to facilitate emotional involvement in the fictional world to which the viewer would otherwise prove resistant; (14) the expressing by the filmmaker of an attitude toward, or view on, the fictional story or aspect thereof” (492-3).

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112 and liquor bottles along with playing cards. The disorder of the objects on the table suggests a drunken condition to the audience, an d the fast action and cuts of the scene only confirm this condition. The combinati on of the cards and the drunkenness shows the audience that life is a game to these four; the poker game summarizes the chance and luck required in life, incl uding how to manipulate the sy stem—both criminal and legal— for self-promotion. The game of life that th ey are playing includes much more than the dangerous position in which they found them selves by gambling though. It includes the criminal heist of their nei ghbors that they have accomplis hed by playing the part of violent criminals. Having planned and executed the heist sm oothly, the lads base their success on their intelligence, organization, and ability to manipulate the underworld system. In the video they mock those who would lessen th eir abilities with marijuana by making Bacon appear as a clown with two ex aggerated joints coming out of each ear. Bacon must be the one positioned as the clown because he sa mples their haul, but his submission to the mockery proves that he has learned his less on or at least acknowledges his mistake and now only consumes legal drugs—cigars and alco hol. Ritchie’s critique of drug culture suggests that we read the f ilm as a direct response to Trainspotting .4 In an interview with Joshua Klein, Ritchie acknowledge s such, saying, “Even fucking Trainspotting was about a bunch of smackheads and disaster, wasn’t it? It was hardly a sal ubrious, uplifting topic to pick. I don’t know what it is with the Brits. I don’t know why that happens, this 4 It is interesting how Trainspotting’s popularity follows a similar pattern to No Orchids It was first an Irving Welsh novel, which despite its excesses, drug usage, and scatology found itself on the Booker Prize shortlist. It underwent a critical battering for its im morality at the same time that it found popular and critical support for its authentic renderings of youth culture and Scottish culture. Like No Orchids it was turned into a play and then quick ly a movie. The film made millions of dollars domestically and internationally before spawning a marketing campaign of Trainspotting paraphernalia.

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113 obsession with depressing fucking genres. I ha ve no interest in it whatsoever” (online). Ritchie’s statement indicates that classifying Lock, Stock in the same model as Get Carter or The Long Good Friday would be a mistake because his films do not examine the postindustrial wasteland of England. Instead, I contend, we should see Ritchie as crafting a comedy which owes more to the tradition of the Ealing films. Ritchie uses many of the same narrative techniques of overstatement, irony, and flashback characteristic of the Ealing films. Ritchie’s indictment does not align his work with American cinema, which requires a happy ending, but instead a more trad itional form of English cinema. The lads are “uplifting” in the same way as Mr. Holland from The Lavender Hill Mob : the audience identifies with their desires to cha nge the status quo existence and celebrates the ingenuity that brings ab out such change. The rest of the action in the music vi deo scene shows the four goofing off, attempting to light a fart, crawling on the pi ano, playing with chef uniforms, and dancing around the bar. Although each of these actions seems arbitrary, they all refer to the cultural politics of the film. The dancing and acrobatics prove th at the young men have able and trained bodies. The chef uniform a ppears earlier in the film when the others visit Soap at work in a restau rant; the narrator tells the audien ce that he is proud of his job and represents the sensible side of the four. In the music video the white uniform appears at first like a straightjacket; but once they put it on properly its true nature becomes obvious. These uniforms comment on the necessary manipulation of restrictive employment in order to make the economi c system fit the indi vidual worker. The juvenile practice of attempting to light farts jokingly calls attention to anal obsession and the issue of homophobia within this film’s entirel y masculine world. For example, those

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114 who are less stereotypically ma sculine, such as the public school boys who only have an air rifle as protection, are labeled as poof s. The inscription of a hierarchical understanding of sexuality is one of the de partures from the utopian vision offered through its collectivity. The film does not fully realize its potential. However, there is another way to r ead the homophobia. The film suggests homosexuality, but also heterosexuality as sy mptomatic of the immorality that these four lads must avoid. Sexuality is seen as a distraction from the communal organization required of a successful group; therefore women are absented from the underworld in this film. For example, the two stupi d criminals that Harry hires to steal the antique rifles are too distracted by the strippers to pay full atte ntion to their job offe r. We could simply dismiss the film as homophobic and misogynistic but that would be too simple. When the four lads pass out at the end of the musi c video, their decadence has left them in a collective position that their portrayal of homophobia preclu des them from realizing. Only in their drunkenness can they form a passive unity, essentially cuddling with each other along the benches. At this moment in the film, the lads do not understand the importance of their unity. But as the music video serves as a concentrated summary of the changing idea of masculinity presented th rough and realized by the lads, this final image has an ironic effect for viewers by gi ving them access to this important facet of underworld identity before the lads can verb alize such a conclusion. This music video functions more like an omniscient narrator than simply another s cene in the film. The alternative community imagined within the film permits the dissidence of youth culture and the individual re alization to contribute to an eventual realization of the responsibility for upholding the morality of Englishness within the family. The

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115 collectivity requires that each of the four create their individual identity based on their place within the group. Eddie, Bacon, Tom, and Soap are only fully realized as individuals and function as such because of their loyalty to the group. The voice-over narrator introduces each lad based on the pr imary characteristic that defines their predominate role in the group. Soap repr esents the sensible side; Tom is the entrepreneur; Bacon has savvy, styl e, and strength; and Eddie l eadership. Instead of fully embodying the characteristic that introduces them, each group member exhibits all characteristics throughout the film; they form what Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari call a body without organs. Their loyalty to each other legitimates these lads as a gang, and through this collectivity they imagine an underworld community. Once the film establishes their loyalty with in the local collectiv e of the gang, then the gang can bare the real responsibility for uphol ding a national identity. The survival of the community, particularly in the face of th e real violence of the capitalist underworld, depends upon nationalism. Upholding the prin ciple characteristics lauded under Blair’s New Britain—responsibility, ingenuity, stre ngth, and morality—these lads figure nationalism as primary to their success. As evidence for their appreciation of Englishness, after the lads have broken into the neighbors apartment Eddie begins to make a cup of tea, explaining to Soap “if you think I’m going to war without one you’re mistaken.” The tea is synecdoche for the power of the state, and t hus Eddie attaches the gang’s power to their belief in nationalism. He explains, “The entire British Empire was built on cups of tea.” This is not to say that they are brainwashed by nationalism, but instead have questioned these beliefs and sti ll validate them. A lthough they admit that

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116 the Empire has ended, they still see upholdi ng tradition and honoring that Empire as a necessary loyalty that the community has earned. The film encourages the audience to em brace its ideological message by addressing the audience as if they were a part of the community. Th e most immediate way that the film accomplishes the inclusion of the audi ence is through the voice-over narrator who carefully explains and introduces the characters to the audience. Then the film asks the audience to pass on the message to others by figuring strong patriarc hal figures as the infallible and most desirable identity. With in the film there are two actual fathers— Eddie’s father JD and Big Chris, Harry the Hatchet’s enforcer w ho brings his son and protg Little Chris on the job. It is important that the most famous celebrities in the film play these roles; Sting is JD and notori ous bad boy footballer Vinnie Jones plays Big Chris. Their celebrity status makes it more likely that the audience will listen to their message. JD owns the bar where the lads ha ngout. In fact he owns the bar outright, without a mortgage or debts. He is testament to the rewards of hard work and participation in the community. Harry re veals JD’s place within the community by identifying Eddie by his filial relation when he first meets him. Even Harry, the porn king and embodiment of complete immorality and selfishness, valorizes the father figure. When the lads get into debt to Harry, Chri s visits JD to tell him of the boys’ problems and let him know that Harry finds the bar desira ble as a trade for forg iveness of the debt. Harry’s interest in the bar proves JD’s wort h as a businessman and also gives him the opportunity to help the lads correct their mistak e. As the lads are adults themselves, JD does not directly interfere. He voices his disapproval at the lad’s actions, including a slap

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117 to Eddie’s face after he hears about the debt but overall he lets the lads make their choices and stands behind th e bar to provide them his opinion on those choices. As an international celebrity Sting’s participation5 in the movie encouraged independent investors to support the film.6 Such support sugges ts that the film’s audience already respects Sting’s opinion since he is a rock st ar and has appeared in other gangster films. Likewise the audience will likely recognize Vinnie Jones from his football days. Ritchie originally only intende d to give Jones a cameo appearance in an attempt to validate his film’s bad boy persona,7 but then Jones’s character grew. He plays Big Chris. As Chris’s son is only an adolescent, Chris directly reprimands his son when he makes mistakes. He yells at crimin als for swearing in front of his son, but yells louder at his son when he swears. Despite his illegal employment as Harry’s muscle, he teaches his son morality and expects his son to obey. He repeatedly instructs his son to put on his seatbelt, attempting to protect him from a form of violence over which he has no control. In this statement Chris reveals a maternal caregiver si de in addition to his paternal instructions. Instead of appearing like one of the hardened criminal s who all die throughout the film, Chris, the just and lawful enforcer, is a Christ figure. He exhibits grace by only harming those who have harmed themselves by not repaying their debt. In fact, he does not kill anyone for money as that would not serve a purpose; he does not kill until his son’s life is threatened. Ha ving just deposited the cash and antique rifles at Harry’s, he 5 Reportedly, he was such a fan of the project that he worked for a salary of only one pound. 6 Sting’s wife Trudie Styler, a fan of Ritchie’s short film The Hard Case worked to get Ritchie’s production company the funds needed to proceed with the film. 7 Jones’s antics include appearing in a video called Soccer’s Hard Men for which he received a £20,000 fine and a six-month suspension, and biting Mirror journalist Ted Oliver’s nose in a Dublin bar.

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118 returns to his car. He has parked blocks away from Harry’s so as to not receive a ticket (a testament to his lawfulness). When he return s to find Paul, the leader of the lads’ rival gang, with a knife held at his son’s throat, he says that not getti ng a ticket, not obeying the law does not really matter now. As the sanc tity of his family is now threatened, all codes of morality and honesty no longer matter to him. He crashes the car and brutally kills Paul by repeatedly slamming the car door on his head. By protecting his son, he ensures that the inheritance of his values and devotion to the family will continue for future generations. After the massacres of a ll the hardened criminals, Chris walks away with the cash as his reward. At the film’s end the two fathers, JD and Ch ris, conspire to teac h the lads their final lesson about circumspection and value. Thei r similarities as fathers confirmed by the knowing nod that they exchange as Chris deli vers the lads their final lesson. Fully knowing that the lads are in possession of the antique rifles worth at least a quarter of a million pounds, Chris returns the gym bag with evidence of their wealth. Finding the cash gone the lads experience loss instead of discovery. They do not suspect that the rifles are worth more than the few hundred pounds they spent on them Despite all their lessons on heritage and tradition the lads st ill need their father figures in order to understand fully. While still focusing on familial lineage, th e alternative community introduced in Sexy Beast’s music video addresses the idea of collectivity differently that Lock, Stock Instead of locating individuali ty within a group dynamic, Sexy Beast reconfigures the institution of marriage and the conception of the nuclear family. The music video occurs very early within the film’s narrative, making its pedagogical message only obvious in

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119 retrospect. The film acknowledges the limits of the audience’s interpretative capability by linking the video’s message to the reoccurring semiotic imag e of hearts, most directly in the pool’s tiling and Gal’s smoke ring. The video asks the audience to see the ideal of love, evoked by the heart and the heat imagery, as redemptive. Gal and Deedee and their friends Aitch and Jackie are in need of redemption because they have previously participated in the underworld life in London. With romantic music playing and the four dancing and kissing, Gal provide s narration on the difference between London and Spain. He first explains why he does not miss London, saying, “Fuckin’ place . It’s a dump . Don’t make me laugh . Gray . Grimy . Sooty . What a shit hole . What a toilet . Every cunt with a long face shuff ling about moaning or worried . No thanks. Not for me.” Each of the terms used to describe London connote darkness, dirtiness, and vulgarity. Gal blames the character of the city for forcing people into depression and self-pity; neither of these pathologies permits the individual to uphold morality and nationalism. Conversely, Spain’s effect on the body is exte rnal and emotional. Gal says, “Spain. It’s hot . Hot . Oh, it’s fu ckin’ hot . Too hot? Not for me. I love it.” The heat has been immediately conveyed to the audience in the film’s opening scene of Gal sun bathing. His reddened exposed body looks pain ful and unnatural, but this pathology is only temporary and quickly fades to a smooth tan that makes Gal feel attractive. The heat that Gal refers to in his narration connects physical forms of heat, the sun and the fire of the grill, with the emotional h eat that he has found in his marriage and unconventional family. Whereas in London he felt worried and could only moan, as he narrates, in Spain he finds an attractive identity through the re lationships he forms. In the

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120 video the love between Gal and Deedee allows them to transcend all place, as the concluding scene of their enta ngled bodies floating over the village’s skyline proves. This transcendence of the worl dly environment translates into protection from the evils of the outside. The transcendence also corresponds to th eir family structure, which proves the redemptive capability of love. The young pool boy introduced in the opening scene of the film at first seems only like an em ployee who cares for the pool. But when Gal banishes the boy after Logan first appears, he proves that his new family structure is completely outside of the Brit ish underworld. In an act of paternal education Gal and Aitch take the boy hunting. The act of hunting removes the violent potential and economic position of guns that we see in the London underworld and places them as sport and recreation in Spain. The guns fail to work in the hunt though, proving that the leisured life has no room for violence even if the violence is only in sport. The boy may not have learned how to shoot from Gal and A itch, but he has learned that he is part of their patriarchal family. Thus, the boy retu rns to the villa with the gun at the film’s pivotal confrontation of the two worlds in or der to protect his parental figures, Gal and Deedee from Logan. Logan has brought a psycho tic, destructive presence to the villa; his insomniac rant in front of the mirror and vi olent intrusion into Gal and Deedee’s marriage bed epitomizes the irrationality of his viol ence. So when the boy returns to inflict violence he is not revealing that Gal has co rrupted his innocence; instead he is responding to the irrationality that threatens his family ex istence. The boy first reveals the protective power of familial love, but it is Deedee who act ually protects the family from Logan. Through Deedee, Sexy Beast creates a female charact er attractive sexually and

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121 emotionally to the audience who also has the strength to confront the destruction of her environment. In this way Deedee acts similarly to Big Chris in Lock, Stock Deedee saves Gal physically by shooting Logan a nd emotionally by saying his name over the long distance phone call. By figuring an altern ative family structure as the protection of a leisured life, the film makes marriage and ch ildrearing attractive goals for the audience. Like Lock, Stock Sexy Beast legitimates itself as a film through the celebrity personae in the film. I call them personae because, unlike Lock, Stock where the specific celebrity, Sting or Jones, is important because of their individual achievements outside of film making, Sexy Beast draws on the status of its celeb rities to propagate its message; the status extends from the finesse and polis h of the leading man to the gruff character actor. Ben Kingsley plays psychotic criminal Don Logan. Most notable for his role as Gandhi, Kingsley made a living acting in the he ritage films that were so popular in the previous decades and had crossed over into Hollywood blockbusters. His Academy Award nomination for the aforementioned role shows that the international community recognizes Kingsley as a worldclass actor. It is significant that he provides the commentary on the DVD version of the film because his film making experience legitimates Sexy Beast as much more than simply a gangster genre film. While Kingsley ensures that Sexy Beast will attract a much broader audience than Lock, Stock the former film does not betray gangster genre tradition. Casting Ray Winstone as Gal connects Sexy Beast to the genre tradition because Winstone’s fame has come from playing gangsters, most recently and perhaps famously in Gary Oldman’s Nil by Mouth (1997) and Antonia Bird’s Face (1997). Like Kingsley, Winstone has received critical accolades for his performances but from BAFTA. Winstone’s work does not fit

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122 the formulae of Hollywood individualism typica lly lauded. Instead, he plays character parts essential for the imagi ng of the underworld and the cr eation of the gangster as a version of Englishness or at least an Englishness only appr eciated at home. Winstone explains in the interview on the Sexy Beast DVD that he is known for punching the guy, not kissing the girl as he does in this film. Thus he does not have to act violent in this film in order for the lad audiences to see hi m as a potential violent presence since they can remember his previous performances. Further supporting his prowess, he physically towers over Kingsley’s diminutive Logan in th e verbal confrontati ons between the two. Gal could obviously protect hims elf if he so chose, but his life is now about love and not violence. Gal’s protection of himself and his fam ily takes him to London for the film’s second half. It is important th at his desire to prot ect his family should force him to return to London because the first sect ion of the film establishes that the family’s escape to Spain has protected them from the violence in London. The overlap in the relationship between the city (London) and the country (Spain) leads me to Raymond William’s seminal discussion of the importance of these spaces in English lit erature and culture. Williams clearly establishes that the rela tionships between the two are constantly changing historical realities. He even tually summarizes the twentieth century relationships through “association with mobility and isolation” (290). By looking at how both Lock, Stock and Sexy Beast relate mobility and isolation to space, we can see, as William suggests how “the contrast of country and city is one of the major forms in which we become conscious of a central part of our experience and of the crises of our society” (289). Depicting the narrative e nvironment that Gal had detailed in the music

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123 video, the first image of London presented to th e viewer is covered over by a torrential downpour—a direct opposition to the pristine light in the shots of Spain. For the most part the identifiable s cenes of London solely depict the st ereotypical tourist survey of the city—from hotel to restaura nt to pub. Conversely, the mo st telling scenes of London epitomize mobility because although they are not identifiable in an analogical fashion, they are instead experience as Ga l travels in automobiles. The film figures such mobility as the in tellectual realization of the traveler and audience. Take for example the scene where Teddy Best’s heist becomes apparent to the audience. The camera travels as fast as if it were a vehicle from the street to the sauna and into the bank vault. It is thus through these drives in th e city that Gal final becomes comfortable with his heist, bur ring Logan in his retiled swi mming pool in order to protect his family. Through his spatial understanding Gal becomes Benjamin’s “city dweller.” This figure, “whose political supremacy over the provinces is demonstrated many times in the course of the century, attempts to br ing the countryside into town. In panoramas, the city opens out to landscape—as it will do later, in subtler fashion, for the flaneurs” (6). Gal’s function as the city dweller responds to the global landscape of countryside, which he has now managed to bring into the town. Furthermore, the film’s depiction of city and country extends beyond the British borders. This suggests a global country to respond to the increasingly complex multiracial London. In the past few decades th e south of Spain has transformed into a gathering place for the working cl asses to live out the fantasy of leisure. The south of Spain has thus transformed into a satellite version of the English seaside resorts, complete with fish and chip shops on every corner a nd the dreams of the work ing class on display.

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124 The opening scene of Gal sunbathing suggests th e English character of the south of Spain by playing The Strangler’s “Peaches” (1977). The Strangler’s began during the heyday of the British punk movement in 1975, and have continued to release albums and tour into the new millennium. The Strangler’s s ong attaches the Cool Britannia ideals of cultural egalitarianism to owning a villa in the south of Spain, thus the alternative community located at the villa is accessibl e to all who work to wards achieving it. Lock, Stock’s characters stay in London, but like Gal they expe rience the city through driving. The most obvious examples occu r when the four lads return to Eddie’s apartment after their night of cel ebration at JD’s bar. The c ity is clearly visible to the audience outside the car’s windows, locating the lads in the city even while they are in transit. While the specific locale is not accessible, the lads’ ability to navigate the labyrinthine London reveals a complex understanding of spatial position. The other gangs who travel, Rory’s and the neighbors never reveal their place to the audience because the windows are always blocked part ially or completely. Their criminality prevents them from connecting to the tr anshistorical political space. The lad’s collectivity is connected to th eir London existence by these dr iving scenes. While in the car they tell each other jokes and stories, which like the goofing off in the bar seem arbitrary but are not. The jokes and stor ies are only partially completed for the audience—the lack a punch line or a set up. The lads however receive the information completely because of their collective consci ousness, because of their existence as the film’s “wish image.” Benjamin explains that these “are images in the collective consciousness in which the new is permeated with the old . in them the collective seeks both to overcome and to transfigure the im maturity of the social product and the

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125 inadequacies in the social organization of production” (4). In a Benjaminian sense the lad’s collectivity seeks to overcome and transfigure th e social production of the underworld. The film creates the underworld of London through a language of the East End. The London underworld traditionally worked within the East End; Lock, Stock’s indirect allusions to the Kray brothers (such as ha ving former gang member Lenny McLean play Barry the Baptist) acknowledges the reality of this tradition and the characters’ discussions of other films in the gangster genre celebrates the tradition. Peter Ackroyd explains the historical image of the East End in his biography London “The East End was in that sense the ultimate threat and the ul timate mystery. It represented the heart of darkness” (679). The cockney rhyming slang us ed by almost all the characters places the film within the East End. There is very little authentic cockney spoken though, as most of the characters represent a hybrid identity within this new lad underworld; the language reveals the opening out of the environment. The critical assessment of the film’s la nguage responds to the varied types of cockney. Steve Chibnall celebrates Ritchie’ s dialogue: “Their speech, on the other hand, has achieved a remarkable level of vernacu lar sophistication, driv en by metaphor, coded into colourful rhyming slang and decorated with ironic euphemism and gross obscenities. Ritchie takes great care to en sure that the colour, rhythm and humour of his dialogue suggests a believable milieu” (283). Chibnall labels this milieu as ladland, taking the film’s national allegory out of the actual lived spaces of the city and placing it in the fantastical ladland where the young white male’s fantasy of the underworld can thrive. The invention of a filmic version of ga ngland language is another reason that Lock, Stock

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126 cannot be read like a realist gangster film. However, some critics, such as Danny Leigh, deride the film because of its language; he argues, “the mockney-accented gunplay of the Lock, Stock era begins to look like easy-on-the-eye bourgeois por nography, while the vast bulk of violent crime remains—as ever—perpet rated by and on the working class” (25). The language is part of the popular culture of the 1990s gangster film and new laddism.8 Like the inventive language, the building used as the exte rior of the lads’ apartment removes the film from the re alism of the East End underwor ld because it is physically located in a different part of the city. The exterior can be found down a side street after crossing the newly built Millen ium Bridge. The bridge make s tourist attractions of the South Bank, the Tate Modern, the rebuilt Globe Theater, the Royal Festival Hall, and the National Theater, easily accessible from the City. The faade is located on a street surrounded by council flats and other indepe ndent philanthropic housing projects. Stenciled on to the side of the Lock, Stock building is a warning to fans—“This is Not a Photo Opportunity.” This ne ighborhood has nothing directly to do with the film, and as its warning reveals it does not want to have anything to do with the film. But by claiming that this building in the Sout h looks more like the East End he imagines in the film, Ritchie’s London acknowledges the history a nd heritage of the underworld while conceiving it as a space open to emendation. The images of the fam ily offered introduce the true meaning of compassion and creativity, not the debased versions repeated as the foundation of New Britain. These two films work within the gangster genre tradition and within the political climate of post-Thatcher Britain by confi guring individual identity and community 8 The popular rappers The Streets and Dizzy Rascal use a language similar to the Mockney of Lock, Stock

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127 organization along the lines of morality a nd nationalism. These films address their audiences by creating attractive alterna tive communities that seem outside the mainstream, while all along subverting the violent potential of laddism as a youth movement. Through the films’ paternal relati onships they figure the passing of tradition from fathers to sons as protection and em powerment of the worthy characters from the evils of gangland business. The imaginati on of the underworld explains the spatial realities of the city and the country and permits the characters to travel. This underworld is the alternative community, suggesting ch ange from within the dominant order. Ritchie’s and Glazer’s films are departures from the genre because of their forward looking familial communities. They indi cate the potential for an alternative understanding of masculinity even though they do not fully imagine how that potential will play out. This is the first step towards the renewal of a leftist agenda. The accomplishments of these films in presenting these familial collectives proves they are departures from other contemporary films, like Gangster Number One and Layer Cake which revisit out-dated visions of the underw orld. Both films refuse to name their protagonists, emphasizing the discomfort with identity characteristic of the gangster genre, Lock, Stock and Sexy Beast are able to address the shifting epistemological meaning of Englishness under Thatcherism and Blarism because the engage the ways the political discourse influence the idea of masculinity and the creation on an imagined space that makes understanding identity possible.

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128 CHAPTER 4 “WE’RE ALL ENGLISH NOW”: TRANS FORMATION NARRATIVES AND THE SECOND-GENERATION IMMIGRANT COMM UNITY IN HANIF KUREISHI AND ZADIE SMITH Kureishi belongs to a tradition of inquiry into the ‘state of the nation’ and the meanings of ‘Englishness’ which reaches back well into the nineteenth century. For example, his novels engage with ‘condition of England writ ers as varied as Dickens and H.G Wells. More immediate forbearers whom his writing c ites in this respect include J. B Priestly, T.S. Eliot and Orwell himself. In contrast to their various fears about the threats posed by fascism, mass unemployment or mass culture, for Kureishi the key issue is the unanticipated rapidity and scar e of the unraveling of Britain’s long history as an imperial power. —Bart Moore-Gilbert, Hanif Kureishi Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) follows the first-person protagonist, Karim Amir, as he grows from a teenager isolated from the world around him by life in his parents’ suburban home to a young man free to explore the city. As he explains, “In the suburbs people rarely dreamed of striking ou t for happiness. It was all familiarity and endurance: security and safety were the reward of dullness” (8). For Karim’s family this dullness means his I ndian father, Haroon, commuting to his civil service job on the exact same regimented schedule, his English mother, Margaret, working in a shoe store and following a prec ise television viewing schedule, and Karim and his brother, Allie, avoiding their parent s and going to school. When Karim’s father does “strik[e] out for happiness” by having an affair, the dissoluti on of his parents’ marriage pushes Karim out into the world, into journeys to London and then New York. The realization of his parents as individuals and sexual creat ures begins his journey and influences his transformation from one w ho had been living a stagnated existence, defined by his love of tea, cycling, and liste ning to records and en tering another world by

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129 reading Norman Mailer (62), which repeated la te into each and every night. As the realization of his father’s se xuality catalyzes his awaking, Karim’s discovery of his own identity and his relationships to others involves understanding his own transformation from youth by coming to terms with his se xuality. In general, the journey to understanding the self as one tr ansforms from child to adult is complicated for the second generation immigrant because it also means fully confronting racial and national hybridity, a pattern foundational to The Buddha of Suburbia and influential to novels that follow Kureishi’s lead in constructing a ne w vision of the canon of English literature.1 Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (2000), a novel that reworks many of the themes of The Buddha of Suburbia takes a transnational and transhis torical look at the creation of a multicultural, millennial London. The four divi sions of the narrative present a varied perspective on the mapping of the family and the city. The structure, beginning with two segments supposedly devoted to the fathers and concluding with two sections narrated from the perspective of their children, would suggest a traditional, linear notion of history and inheritance. Instead, th e narrative voice is more of a postmodern free-indirect discourse, voicing the plurality and hybrid ity of millennial London by providing as many perspectives as available. The city, a sp ace of ordered chaos and polyphony, stimulates a bleeding together of individual voices in the voice of the city. The Jones family, Archie, a quintessential Englishman, Clara, from a fa mily of Jamaican Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Irie, their biracial daughter, embodies th e merging of voices since they are a 1 In London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City Sukhdev Sandhu argues that Kureishi influences a wave of fictions about the city by women in the 1990s. She cites the themes of humor, mobility, and communal identity as those that overlap (271-3). Although Sandhu does not include Zadie Smith as one of the authors influence by Kurieishi, she easily could have. I will show how Smith responds to these same themes.

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130 conglomerate of English and Jamaican. They are the inevitable offspring of the colonial project, and thus, the youngest daughter discovers the meaning of a postcolonial existence. She reaches this conclusion thr ough her relationships with the Iqbal twins, Magid and Millat, sons of Bengali parents Samad and Alsana, but they are born and raised, until one is sent back home, in Engl and. The twins do not face the same racial identity crisis as Irie, but each youngster ex periences cultural alienation because they identify as English by birth but their familie s have other ideas of home. Figuring out the self and the relationship between the self and the world is indicative of youth, but in the immigrant condition, this identity crisis may not end. As Haroon, Karim’s father explains, “We’re growing up together ” (22). Pragmatically, the second-generation immigrant novel should be concerned with the idea of youth because the writers that fit in to this category have recently come of age as artists. This is not to say that ther e have not previously been second generation immigrants or second generation nov elist in Britain, but it is to say that the prevalence of second generation novelists writing about s econd generation characters has been a relatively recent phenomenon. Ku reishi’s 1990 novel is one of the foundational texts of the genre.2 To call it a genre requires offering a definition, and the difference between the immigrant novel and the second generati on immigrant novel clarifies the definition; whereas, the immigrant novel c onstitutes a genre dealing with complex notions of identity, history, and nation, as the writers and characters address the ve ry real trauma of transplanting one home with the other, the second generation novel deals with the 2 Bart Moore-Gilbert asked participants at the ‘Contin ental Drift: Asian Writers in Transit’ conference in London in 1999 to comment on the relationship of Kureishi’s work to their own. Atima Srivastava and Meera Syal both cited The Buddha for making it possibl e to write about black Britain particularly through the bildungsroman (191-2).

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131 absence created by being born and raised in a country that the family does not identify as its own but with which the child does. This divide was crystallized by the 1962 Commonwealth Immigration Act that established the first distinction between passport holders based on place of birth. This was a way to control black immigration during decolonization, but it firmly plants a legal divi de between the generations of immigrants. Certainly, we cannot lump t ogether all immigrant or second generation immigrant novelists into one category, but those ma king up the group including Diran Adebayo, Hanif Kureishi, Andrea Levy, Zadie Smith, and Meera Syal do have more much more in common than the simple biographical fact of being born in England to immigrant parents.3 My aim is to examine the repetitions of key narrative conventions, particularly the transformation narrative and the idea of history, and thus repu diate the argument put forth by James Procter in his in troduction to the anthology Writing Black Britain that there is “virtually no sense of a community (albeit imagined) or tradition (albeit invented) of black British writing” (6). By looki ng specifically at how Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth adapt the conventions of the bildungsroman to explore the transformation of histor y and identity by the second generations’ realization of their collective agency, I w ill argue that the sense of an alternative community is essential in both the narratives and the traditions of black British writing,4 in general, and second generati on immigrants in particular. 3 While this list is neither exhaustive nor representative of the scope of this study, it does include the most popular authors of this group. These are the author’s whose narratives circulate th e most widely and create the largest readership communities. 4 Black generally refers to all non-white immigrants from the colonies. The homogenizing label of black British writing may not be ideal, but others, such as Mark Stein have looked at the problems of this label. It is, however, a valid label because it reflects the discourse on race in postwar Britain. As Anna Marie

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132 Bildungsroman, Emergence, and Transformation As novels of identity formation, the second generation bildungsroman is preoccupied with defining the characteristic s that contribute to the second generation milieu. This constantly developing identity cannot simply rely on an established stereotype or consensus because those w ould not acknowledge the transient and hybrid ideas of history, heritage, nationality, and re ligion that preoccupy the second generation. The second generation does not have access to the idyllic, imagined past that comforts their parents in the face of bigotry and bi ases of life in England. Thus, where the immigrant had the very real and very diffi cult trouble of adapti ng the ideals of a homeland to a new space, the second generation does not have any preprogrammed ideals and thus must come to understand their place afre sh. They are educated in their parents’ ideals, but these do not compute or translat e within the hybrid worldview that defines their very existence. Thus they cannot le arn their parents’ lessons, leaving them to occupy an absence in need of an identity, which is thus an identity that is both limited in the understanding it offers, and freed for an understanding it promises. The distance between the absence and the potential free dom often disappears as the individual overcomes the isolation caused by a youthful di slike for their own liminal ethnic, racial, and religious identity and embrace the collect ivity that their ephemeral heritage makes possible. The second generation immigrant novels’ fo ci on education, realization, and transformation call for an examination of th ese narratives as examples of bildungsroman The general idea of the term derives from a ve ry specific set of late eighteenth-century Smith argues, “The post -war official discourse on race in Britain has reproduced the co lonial differentiation of blackness in many forms” (96).

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133 German novels of education, most famously Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship and obviously not including the novels under examination here. Scholars from many geographic regions continue to debate the us e and validity of this term, and looking at some of the influential critical voices on this genre permits us to rethink the idea of the bildungsroman as it relates to the postmodern immigrant novel. Fritz Martini traces the etymology of the term to its early beginnings. He identifies two lectures by Karl (von) Morgenstern in 1819 and 1829 where Morgenstern expounds upon the label. Martini, thr ough his analysis of Morgenster n, concludes that the term applies to the function of the novel as a form. Martini argues “The source of his creation of the term lay in the perspective from wh ich Morgenstern defended the novel as a moral means of education, as opposed to the conception of the novel as mere entertainment, pleasure, fantasy, and as an escape from real ity” (24). As opposed to the epic, which shows the hero as he influences hi s surroundings, the novel explores how the surroundings influence the individual, particular ly the inner self (17). For Morgenstern the novel has the capacity to not only reflect the morals of a society but also to influence these morals by educating the reader on the creation of the self. Morgenstern’s early definition did not require that novels contain a narrative base d on the formal education of the protagonist to be called a Bildungsroman because he saw the novel itself as education. Martini argues that the Bildungsroman “was to attribute to the novel an immediate practical and pedagogi cal responsibility fo r the individual and, in the “real” social fabric, to give it a connection to philo sophy, to morality, to “life,” which let it be understood less as “literature” a nd more as a direct expression of the author, as a confession and document of life, as a depicti on of his own individuality and nation” (24).

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134 While the notion of authorial intention in Ma rtini’s reading of Morgenstern is out dated, the argument that the novel, a means of edu cation, is best suited for the depiction of “individuality and nation” is pa rticularly interesting in the case of the second generation immigrant because the political and economic r ealities of the twenty-first century makes these terms much more flexible and indetermin able than during the eighteenth century. Overall, Martini’s argument that the bildungsroman is focused on a depiction of individuality and nation applies to the text s under examination because these are the two ideas constantly attempting to be reconciled for the characters and the readers alike.5 Another prominent critical voice on the b ildungsroman, M. M. Bakhtin, defines the genre based on the two facets of “the time-space and the image of man in the novel” (19). While the relationship between time and the individual is a constitute part of the genre, for Bakhtin the necessary trait is for texts “t o single out specifically the aspects of man’s essential becoming” (20). Like Martini’s reading, Bakhtin’s basic definition extends beyond the formal aspects of traditional educa tion, typically meani ng formal schooling or perhaps apprenticeships and an obvious aspect of the classical German examples. By focusing on becoming instead of educati on, Bakhtin opens the genre to more philosophical and less formal journeys toward s knowledge. Bakhtin notes that the vast majority of novels know only the “ ready-made hero.” This hero is shifted in space up and down the social ladder as he approaches his goal, but he is pe rsonally and internally 5 The attention to the relationship between individuality and nation emphasizes why much of the more recent scholarship on the bildungsroman addresses traditionally marg inalized voices and voices created by the imperial project; these studies include: Pin-Chia Feng, The Female Bildungsroman by Toni Morrison and Maxine Hong Kingston: A Postmodern Reading ; Julia Alexis Kushigian, Reconstructing Childhood: Strategies for Reading for Culture and Gender in the Spanish American Bildungsroman ; Esther Kleinbord Labovitz, The Myth of the Heroine: The Female Bildungsroman in the Twentieth Century: Dorothy Richardson, Simone De Beauvoir, Doris Lessing, Christa Wolf ; Gerta LeSeur, Ten Is the Age of Darkness: The Black Bildungsroman ; Wangari Wa Nayatetu-Waigwa, The Liminal Novel: Studies in the Francophone-African Novel

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135 unchanged. Conversely, in the “novel of human emergence ,” Bahktin’s term, “time is introduced into man, enters into his very image, changing in a fundamental way the significance of all aspects of hi s destiny and life” (21). Bahk tin presents five temporal schema for emergence: two based on cycli cal time, one on biographical time, one on pedagogical time, and the last, and most impor tant for both Bahktin and for my argument, one on historical time. He says that in this type “man’s individual emergence is inseparably linked to historical emergence” (23). In the previous types the world remained immobile and in the background. Through the bildungsroman a new understanding of the world emerges: “it presen ted a different side of the world to man, a side that had previously been foreign to the nove l. It led to radical reinterpretation of the elements of the novel’s plot and opened up fo r the novel new and realistically productive points for viewing the world” (23). On the mo st general level, Bahk tin indicates that the bildungsroman must be read as a way to rethink the world. And more specifically, consistent with his emphasis on emergence, Bahktin sees potentia l for the genre to rethink radically both the idea and depiction of the self and the historical through texts. While this is a potential reading of Bahk tin, Franco Moretti explains the limits of Bhaktin’s historical argument. In The Way of the World Moretti looks at the material historiography of the bildungsroman. He expl ains that this new s phere of historical existence celebrated by Bahktin actually meant “knowing how to keep history at a safe distance separating the destiny of the individual from the great collective waves of the nineteenth century” (vii), such as the French revolution, the Napoleonic wars, and Industrialization. Moretti argues that it is essential to view the bildungsroman as not just a bridge between epochs as Bahktin does but as a mirror to social divisions, particularly

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136 between bourgeoisie and aristocrac y. He argues that the classical Bildungsroman comes into being because “Europe has to attach a meaning, not so much to youth, as to modernity ” (5). Therefore, the bildungsroman is the symbolic form both created by the historical convergences of the ev ents of the nineteenth century, and it is also most able to explain the difficult reality of a rapidly changing world. Because of this specific set of historical confluences, More tti argues that while the genre may change with its movement from continental Europe to England and with its thematic development into an ideal of youth characterized by the products of the end of the ni neteenth and early twentieth century, the genre as a symbolic form comes to an end by 1914 because of the changes in the historical moment. The Bildungsroman as Moretti explains it, clearly follows the pattern he presents, but there is so mething that remains. I am interested in how the remnants of the genre reconfigure themselves, particular ly through voices of races, classes, or genders that were not re presented or permitted access to the genre’s classical tradition. When comparing the period in Britain from 1960 to 2000, it is obviously not as defined by distinctive historical events as the period of modernit y, but for immigrants who faced hostilities in attitudes, employment, and laws during decolonization, the worst epitomized by the celebration of Enoch Po well’s “River of Blood” speech and the National Front, this period presents a diffi cult environment for all to understand an ever changing idea of Englishness. Mark Stein ar gues that the bildungsroman becomes better thought of as the novel of transf ormation because it is “about the formation of its protagonists—but, importantl y, it is also about the transformation of British society and cultural institutions” (xiii). Stein recognizes that looking at the formation of the

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137 individual in black British literature provides a microsc ope to understand society and cultural institutions, but I would particular ly emphasize that it provides a way to understand post-imperial Englishness. The main characteristic s of the novel of transformation are “[t]he f eature of finding a voice and the relationship between the individual and a larger group” (30). The act of voicing identity makes the bildungsroman, the novel of transformation, part icularly suited for texts dealing with youth coming to terms with their own, their fa mily’s, their culture’s, and their nation’s identities. Naming, or Who is the Second Generation? The introduction of The Buddha of Suburbia indicates this awareness of voicing identity, particularly through a focus on the annunciation of the name. The first person narrator begins, “My name is Karim Amir, and I am an Englishman born and bred, almost. I am often considered to be a f unny kind of Englishman, a new breed as it were, having emerged from two old histories” (3). Significantly, the narrator-protagonist begins with a powerful utterance of his na me, expressing ownershi p of his individual identity and establishing the confidence that epitomizes his freedom which derives from his status as a “new breed” able to put asid e the “old histories” in preference for the new one he contributes to, namely that of a multicultural England. Thus, an important part of the creation of second-generati on identity is contributing to a new history and a new conception of the role of history and inheritanc e for the individual. But at the same time, Karim realizes the limits of his freedom. He can proclaim his nationality as English, but he must qualify it as “almost.” The word almost indicates a process of becoming at the root of the identity formation of the second generation; it also introduces the

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138 understanding that humor can be vital for deal ing with the bigotry th at some would pile against Karim for identifying himself as an Englishman. Karim constructs a confused vision of race because of the acts of naming carried out by his white family members. His perspect ive on the influence of the utterance of the name is shaped by his Uncle Ted and Aunt J ean, who refuse to identify his father by his Indian name and instead pref er the anglicized version, Harry. Karim explains their motives: “It was bad enough his being an Indi an in the first place, without having an awkward name too. They’d called Dad Harry from the first time they’d met him, and there was nothing Dad could do about it” (33) From within the supposedly comfortable surroundings of the family, Karim first sees th e self being denied and assimilated. He recognizes the lack of power and control by his father, a feeling that he comes to realize is definitive for the black male. This is not to say that his own family hates him and his father because of their skin color; and in f act, Ted doesn’t truly identify them as other. On one of Ted and Karim’s journeys into London for a football match, Ted notices Karim’s interest in the slums of Herne H ill. While Karim calls them “places so compelling and unlike anything I was used to seeing” (43), Ted dismisses Karim’s interest with the simple expl anation, “That’s where the niggers live. Them blacks” (43). Ted reveals that racism is an institutional fact in Britain created by the class structure. Ted’s inability to realize that some would label Karim with the same disgust proves that Ted’s explanation is rote memory and not intrin sic belief. In fact, it fits the persona he occupies on these trips, that of soccer hoolig an. He smashes the lightbulbs of the train with a knife and encourages Karim to shat ter a lightbulb onto an elderly Indian man without any thought of the meaning of hi s thoughts or actions. While Karim cannot

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139 internalize the meaning of this racist behavi or at this time, it doe s shape his developing understanding of identity. White Teeth includes a similar commentary on the connections between identity and naming. Citing names such as Is aac Leung, Danny Rahman, Quang O’Rourke, and Irie Jones (a main charac ter), the narrator labels them, “C hildren with first and last names on a direct collision course. Names that se crete within them mass exodus, cramped boats and planes, cold arrivals, me dical checkups” (271). The narrator’s commentary on these names shows how labels can reflect the hybridity of a multiethnic Britain. Beyond representing the racial conflict in society, these names also serve as reminders of the difficult history surrounding colonization and de colonization. Saying that these names are on “a direct collision course” emphasizes the volatile condition of identity in postimperial Britain; as the narrator goes on to conclu de, “it is still hard to admit that there is no one more English than the Indian, no one mo re Indian than the English” (272). This conclusion directly summarizes the end product of the imperial project, the commingling of peoples, cultures, and history so much so th at the original definitions cease to exist and what emerges is a new version of Englishness that must be aware of the effects of imperialism and immigration. These novels express an acute awareness of Derrida’s claim in “Sauf le nom (PostScriptum)” that “it is always necessary to be more than one in order to speak, several voices are necessary for that” (35). As he de velops the idea of this multiplicity of voices, he reveals distrust for “community” “because of its connotation of participation, indeed fusion, identification” (46). Instead he speak s “of another being-toge ther than this one here, of another gathering-toge ther of singularities, of anothe r friendship” (46) that make

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140 this voicing possible. The act of nami ng the second generation as an alternative community cannot be based on participation or fusion because they do not assimilate into the dominant tradition of Englishness, particular ly not the inside/outsi de divide indicative of Powellism. Their process of becoming a “being-together” or a “gathering-together” is based on the singularities coming to terms with hybrid identities and thus realizing that only through the voicing of an alternativ e community can the second generation be realized as a voice. The idea of hybridity is complex and has varied definitions, but I am particularly interested in Sa lman Rushdie’s definition in defense of his famous novel: The Satanic Versus celebrates hybridity, im purity, intermingling, the transformation that comes of new and unexpected combinations of human beings, cultures, ideas, politics, m ovies, songs. It rejoices in mongrelization and fears the absolutism of the Pure. Mlange hotchpotch, a bit of this and a bit of that is how newness enters the world It is the great possibility that mass migration gives to the world, and I have tried to embrace it. The Satanic Verses is for change-by-fusion, change-by-conjoining. It is a love song to our mongrel selves. (40) Rushdie’s definition reveals that hybridity is not simply a la bel given to that which we do not understand; it is es sential for dealing w ith the changing world because from the mixing of previously opposed or conflicti ng identities a new, a third revolutionary identity can emerge. Hybridity is th e essence of naming the second generation. Mapping the Second Generation The second generation experi ence is tied to the relati onship between historical understanding and identity construction. Both White Teeth and The Buddha of Suburbia reveal the differences in experiences of firs t and second generation immigrants within the spaces of London, particularly the differen ce between the spaces that cause suburban stasis and permit urban mobility. Because of the focus on the city, the narrator of White Teeth conceives of the second generation thr ough ideas and images of circularity. Discussing the status of the immigrant in E ngland, the narrator explains, “Even when you

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141 arrive, you’re still going back and forth; your children are going round and round” (136). The use of the second person by the narrator establishes a connection between the narrative and the reader through the assumption that th e statement resonates with a general truth held by both. The general tr uth is that understanding the relationship between the first and second generation perspe ctives requires spatial terms; the similar construction of phrases “back and forth” and “round and round” ensures that the reader understand these are not juxtaposed subject positions, but relationa l ones. The first generation is characterized by the oppositional spatiality of back and forth, consistent with the attempt to apply homeland ideals on to their new spaces and also to remember the homeland through the developing sense of self created in England. The characters attempt to live simultaneously in a past that no longer exists and a present that does not match expectations. The “round and round” of the second generation reveals an acceptance or willingness to c onstruct identity within only the immediate world surrounding, again restating the freedom ye t limit of the second generation subject position. Because they do not have the burden of obsessing over a memory of an origin yoked to the homeland, they are not constrained by the nostalgic longing of their parents. A similar spatial relationship emerge s from the understanding of space and mobility by Haroon and Karim in The Buddha of Suburbia Karim, attracted to the freedom promised by mobility from the s uburbs, particularly by the promise of an eventual journey from the suburbs to London (a journey that forces Karim from life on the periphery of society and into life as part of society), understands how the city works. He explains, “I knew all the streets and ever y bus route” (7). The bus routes are the circulatory system for the urban youth, transp orting Karim into what is only a dream

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142 world that he desires but eventually becomes his experiences in London. Karim memorizes these routes to give himself acce ss to the circulation that surrounds him; memorizing the bus system effectively is Kari m’s personal version of the test, commonly referred to as the knowledge, that London taxi drivers must pass to ensure they know how to move about the city. Through his knowledge Karim expresses his connection to life in this environment. He distances himself from his father’s identity as an immigrant through his understanding. Karim expresses dism ay that Haroon “had been in Britain since 1950—over twenty years—an d for fifteen of those years he’d lived in the South London suburbs. Yet still he stumbled around th e place like an Indian just off the boat” (7). Karim’s analogy proves that he dislikes th e naivety of the immigr ant perspective. In his immature stage, Karim belittles the immigr ant as away to distance himself from his Indian paternity. When Changez first arri ves from India, Karim access their burgeoning friendship, “And because he was slightly dim, or at least vulnerable and kind and easily led, being one of the few people I could mock and dominate with impunity, we became mates” (97). Karim focuses on the provincialis m of the immigrants in his life to make himself seem more cosmopolitan, a position that Karim strives for at any and all costs because he believes it grants him access to the Eng lish culture that he celebrates. Like Karim, the other second generation ch aracters adamantly refuse the nostalgic position of their parents through varied forms of rebellion, most obvi ously participation in Western youth culture complete with drugs and sexual experimentation, a reality that is announced by the varied rebellions of almo st every offspring in the Begum/Iqbal clan (182). The parental opinions of these re bellions epitomize the divide between the generations. Where as Millat’s mother, Alsana, can clearly st ate, “He is second

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143 generation—he was born here—naturally he wi ll do things differently” (Smith 240), his father responds, “And don’t speak to me of second generation! One generation! Indivisible! Eternal!” (241). Alsana admits that her son’s birth place creates a natural difference in his behaviors from her own, but Samad holds firm to his Muslim beliefs that all our connected based on thei r mutual faith, which does no t account for the changes of culture or influences of his English educated son. Zadie Sm ith explains this divide in generational perspectives in an interview with Gretchen Holbroon Gerzina. Smith says, “You do write as a generation and you do write under the influence of some of the same things, and one of the main things we’re infl uenced by is the idea of a network, so instead of centres and . roots—things . that Rushdie’s generation was maybe more concerned with—my generation thinks of th ings as networks” (274). Here Smith elaborates on the spatial analogi es that she attaches to each generation in the novel. The first generations’ “back and forth” is con ceived of as “centres and roots,” supported adamantly by the almost foolish obsession ove r origins and inheritance by Samad in White Teeth and Anwar in The Buddha of Suburbia Conversely, the circularity of the second generation is represented by ne tworks, a figuration which acknowledges decentered origins and requires collaborat ive definition of concepts and self. The decentering of origins causes Millat, Irie, and Karim to experience similar feelings of isolation. Millat and Karim both e xpress feelings of raci al confusion. Karim, after explaining the liberal cont inental education that Jamila exposes to him, concludes, “The thing was, we were suppose to be Englis h, but to the English we were always wogs and nigs and Pakis and the rest of it” (53). Millat expresses a sim ilar thought when asked if he had read one of the KEVIN pamphlet s: “He knew that he, Millat, was a Paki no

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144 matter where he came from; that he smelled of curry; had no sexua l identity; took over other people’s jobs; or had no job and bummed off the state; or gave all the jobs to his relative; . In short, he knew he had no face in this country, no voice in the country” (194). Importantly, both young men are spurre d to these conclusions by the written word. Their reactions, while filled with emo tional confusion, are the logical result of the construction of knowledge and nation under Powe llism. As Anna Marie Smith explains, “By its very structure, the Powellian phant asmatic construction of the post-colonial British nation displaces the cause of all disorder onto external sources: since Britain is an essentially complete, independent and unified nation-space, any interr uptions within that space must be caused by foreign elements” ( 136). Millat’s thought illustrates Smith’s argument by focusing on the problems of une mployment—jobs stolen by immigrants— and welfare—immigrants refuse work—even though these are contradictory statements that attempt to make the immigrant the absolute scapegoat. Drawing on Zizek’s conception of fantasy, Smith argues that this is not simply a scapegoat model that would take the outsider status for gr anted. Instead, she claims that Powell was able to draw on “organic racist traditions” to promote the idea of a “unified nation-space” and thus mask the trauma of decolonization (136). The second generation immigrants present a problem for this phantasmatic construction because th ey are a product of the failed colonial project. While they may be made to feel as the outsider, they posses the passport of those born in Britain or Ireland and thus are an interruption to the concept of unity, an interruption that comes from within. The Immigrant Condition: Historic al Unity, Individual Ingenuity To understand the disruption to unity cause d by the coming together of the second generation as a multiplicity of voices, we must take a step back and examine how the

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145 older generation understands the idea of histor y and its effect on identity. The fathers in White Teeth, Archie and Samad, the archetypes of the oblivious Englishman and the proud immigrant, provide a complete picture of the blinders of both monumental English history and nostalgic longing for colonial supremacy. Im portantly, Samad and Archie meet as soldiers during World War II. A ssigned to the same tank command, the two men were quickly homogenized despite their di ffering backgrounds by the assimilation of military life and the erasure of individuality by regimentation, duty, and service. Archie was immediately infatuated with the Bengali man sitting across from him, unable to remove his stare. Unlike the racist attacks of the others in the tank, Archie identifies with Samad because he saw that they were both subs ervient within the racial and class system of England. Samad similarly understands the English class system, but unlike Archie, he will not simply accept forced mediocrity. Samad asks one of the other enlisted soldiers “Is it so complex, is it so impossible, that you and I, stuck in this British machine, could find it in ourselves to fight together as Br itish subjects?” (73). Samad and Archie both understand that their subject posi tions, both in terms of servi ce to the nation and in terms of their subservient social status, make them more alike than different. Together, they try to underst and the idea of Englishness that causes the feelings of disconnect. They know that they will never represent the ideal of Englishness depicted by their captain, Thomas Dickinson-Smith, and the meaning of his familial name. The Dickinson-Smiths based their pride on the l ong history of family blood spilled on foreign soil in service to England during wars or, in substitution, the Irish Situation. The family name represents service and duty to country and monarchy. What Samad and Archie do not seem to internalize is that Thomas, though, did not desire the same self-sacrifice that

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146 his family name represents. In a way, this notion of the landed, aristocratic family represents a past that does not apply to the turmoil of the twentieth century. The name represents a sense of nostalg ia, of English gentility, count ry houses, and public schools that facilitates the Powellian racist discourse. As their captain, Thomas, does not stand for the ideal of Englishness granted by his name, Samad and Archie should dismiss the myth of the Dickinson-Smith family, a myth that says they are inconsequential to history; but instead they obsess over access to the power they see based on status (a power that no longer exists but that still controls those who seek access to it). Attempting to understand the connection to history, Samad fights against his marginalization at all times, pa rticularly through telling his ve rsion of his family history. He does not realize that propa gating an oppositional history c ontributes to his subservient position. Samad cements his relationship to Archie by telling him about his blood. The narrator explains, “And there was no stronge r evocation of the blood that ran through him, and the ground which that blood has staine d over the centuries, than the story of his great-grandfather. So Samad told Arch ie the much neglected, hundred-year-old, mildewed yarn of Mangal Pande” (84). To Samad, Mangal Pande is a revolutionary who stood up to English occupation. But Western hi story tells a different story of an inept coward. This divide in hi storical consensus epitomizes the plight of the immigrant unable to find a voice in the dominant culture. Samad presents this as evidence against Archie believing the negative judgments he he ars about the East. He needs Archie to understand that “the land they call ‘India’ goes by a thousand names and is populated by millions, and if you think you have found two men the same among that multitude, then you are mistaken” (85). While Samad seems to uphold a revolutionary idea of historical

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147 understanding and historiography, his life, partic ularly his troubled re lationship to home,6 undermines his message. He may say that India is indefinable, but once he has a life and family in England he has a steadfast idea of how a Muslim immi grant should live, an ideal he cannot even live up to himself. Samad and Archie’s war experiences create a troubled relationship with a complex idea of home. During the war, each realizes their lack of connection to the idea of home as haven, a typical reaction to the atrocities carried out in the name of the nation. The narrator explains, “They looked out on to st ars that lit up unknown country, but neither man clung particularly to home” (82). The na rrator uses the romantic clich that by looking at the stars, the indivi dual is gazing at the same s cene available at home, thus creating a connection despite distance. Archie ’s alienation derives from the realization that Samad has a deeper commitment to serv ice to England than he does. The narrator explains that Samad would “revenge the killing of men who would not have acknowledged him in a civilian street. Arch ie was amazed. It wa s his country; in his small, cold-blooded, average way he was one of the many essential vertebrae in its backbone, yet he could feel nothing comparab le for it” (80-1). Archie may feel ownership, inclusion, and particip ation, but his overall feeling is apathy. His inability to kill Dr. Sick can be read as the translation of his apathy into incompetence, but he really does not understand the validity of murder ev en from supposed protection of England. Samad has the passion of patriotism, but he has no idea where to locate its roots or even where to attach the fervor. He complains to Archie: “What am I going to do, after this 6 The resonance between Samad’s label of India and E. M. Forster’s observation that no story could ever capture the “many-headed monster” of India indicates Samad’s assimilation to English intellectual culture, a contributing factory to his alienating vision of history.

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148 war is over, this war is already over—what am I going to do? Go back to Bengal? Or to Delhi? Who would have such as Englishman there? To England? Who would have such an Indian?” (95). He will never have the chan ce to be a hero like Mangal Pande because of the world in which he lives irrespective of the opinion of Pande as hero or cowards. Samad’s experiences have acerbated the realties of the imperial project, and he thus no longer has a real place to call home. Instea d, he attaches his passion to an India he remembers and an England he hopes for (one in which his family could regain its status); but neither is real. After the war, as each man attempts to establish a home and family in London, their relationship to home changes with fatherhood. Neither develops the connection to home as haven that was destroyed for them during th e war. Samad, feeling disrespected by his work as a waiter, wishes he could wear a sign that explains his identity. In this sign, he would explain, “I AM NOT A WAITER. I HAVE BEEN A STUDENT, A SCIENTIST, A SOLDIER, MY WIFE IS CALLED AL SANA, WE LIVE IN EAST LONDON BUT WE WOULD LIKE TO MOVE NORTH” (49). His identity crisis and feeling of purposelessness develops because he does not feel at home in East London. Archie, despite being a white Londoner, is so alie nated by the immensity of the metropolis overpowering his feeling of individual worth, which he explains as “tiny and rootless” (10), that he would resort to suicide. He experiences home only through his second wife, Clara Bowden, because “Clara was from somewh ere. She had roots. More specifically, she was from Lambeth (via Jamaica)” (23). Archie’s feeling of rootlessness, and the assessment that Clara had roots, reveals the titular theme of White Teeth The novel searches the biological (teeth, ha ir, genetics), horticultural, and historical idea of roots,

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149 trying to understand how these ch ange in the post-imperial mo ment of racial and national hybridity. For Samad and Archie, the interest in root s supplants their fee lings of homelessness as they become more concerned with the i ssue of inheritance. Samad first introduces Archie to this topic during the war, explaining “Our children will be born of our actions. Our accidents will become their destinies ” (87). Samad first not es a direct connection between the lived history of the parents and their progeny, but then he emends this idea by adding in chance and fate. These mystical ideas come to dominate Samad and Archie negatively. Alsana, Samad’s wife, explains the problem of Samad’s obsession with inheritance and how it will affect the childre n. She says that “they will always have daddy-long-legs for fathers. One leg in the present, one in the past. No talking will change this. Their roots will always be ta ngled” (68). Because Samad and Archie have been so affected by the war, they can live the present only thr ough the past, through the experience of war—a war that teaches them all they believe they need to know and thus ensures it is all they will know. These men married much younger women and became fathers relatively late in life, so such a b linded perspective only deepens the generational disconnect between them and their children. To their children, Samad and Archie deal with the contemporary world only through the filter of the war. The fathers seem isolated and outdated to children living in a very diffe rent postwar reality. The incompatibility of the fathers’ worldview to the children’s is best demonstrated by an alyzing two collective environments, the space of O’Connell’s Pool room, “an Irish poolroom run by Arabs with no pool tables” (154), and the television watchi ng of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The inability to see the present except through th eir wartime experiences prove that they

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150 remain stagnate and withdrawn, without home, even when presented with the community of family and friendship. O’Connell’s, a contradictory space by its very existence as a poolroom without pool tables, is the closest semblance to a home for Archie and Samad because it represents the obsession with th e past that defines them. Everyday, at exactly the same time, Archie and Samad meet at O’Connell’s to eat the same food and ignore the same fellow patrons. The narrator explains, “And that was what Archie loved about O’Connell’s. Everything was remembered, not hing was lost. History was never revised or reinterpreted, adapte d or whitewashed. It was as solid and as simple as the encrusted egg on the clock” (160-1). The egg on the cl ock mirrors the earlier mention of the “yolkstained window” (154), putting a literal screen on the perspective from which Archie and Samad view the world from within the restau rant. The egg and yolk are the embodiment of the memory of war that similarly clouds their vision of the world. Like the yellowing window, the war memories create a barricade between them and those who do not see the world from the same perspective. O’Conne ll’s is removed from time and thus removed from reality: “It could be 1989 outside, or 1999, or 2009, and you could still be sitting at the counter in the V-neck you wore to your wedding in 1975, 1945, 1935. Nothing changes here, things are only retold, remembere d. That’s why old men love it” (204). As O’Connell’s represents the barricade that exists between Archie and Samad and the present, it is fitting that in this space the me n work out the plan to send one of the twins back to Bengal. Forcefully removing Magi d from his home and returning him to Bengal attempts to take the twins out of the real time of multicultural Britain, which for Samad is absolute corruption of moral and religious turpitude. Samad has a vision of Magid

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151 returning from this educational experience as the intelligent, re spected, and devout man that Samad wishes he were. In O’Connell’s, Samad can remember the version of Bengal that he wants, irrespective of the dangers and pov erty that are a very real part of everyday life. For example, Samad cannot unders tand when Alsana reacts emotionally over hearing of the assassination of Indira Ghandi because he doe s not remember that in the present moment their friends and family still live in Delhi (165). As further evidence of the barricade cr eated by Samad’s and Archie’s obsession with their wartime experiences, when the fam ilies gather to watch on television the fall of the Berlin Wall the men can only understand th e event through their past experiences. This moment cements the wall between the fathers and their children, emphasizing to the younger generation the need for community inst ead of isolation, collectivity instead of individuality. The narrator begins, “A wa ll was coming down. It was something to do with history” (197), setting the tone for this event as a paradigmatic moment. Samad and Archie do not understand the relevance of this moment. Archie ex plains, “I’m not so sure that it’s such a good thing. I mean, you’ve got to remember, me and Samad, we were there And believe me, there’s good reason to have it split in two. Divide and conquer, young lady” (198). Samad echoe s Archie’s opinion, adding “You younger people forget why certain things were done you forget their significance. We were there” (198-9). Their responses indicate that they believe no history exists or matters after the War. They cannot understand the shif t in political meaning marked by the fall of the Wall. Irie respond s explosively: “He goes on like he knows everything. Everything’s always about him —and I’m trying to talk about now, today Germany” (199). Irie acknowledges the selfishness and is olation of the fathers’ views. As an

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152 adolescent, she cannot respond productively to the men because she is too emotional and passionate. They do, however, cause her to seek out the opposite approach, as she responds, “Fine! I’ll take it to the streets with the rest of the proletariat” (200). Irie’s proclamation indicates that th e causes of her and Millat’s rebellions are actually quests for the connections that are blocked by their fa thers’ isolated nostalg ia. They need a new way to understand the world, and that way is through alternative form s of collectivity. The collectivity of the second generation de velops, in part, because of the absurd conservatism attached to the individual i ngenuity celebrated by th e older generations. There are two strong para llels on this topic in White Teeth and The Buddha of Suburbia Both novels critique the philosophy of do-it-you rself renovations as a substitute for the narrative of English grandeur. Karim analyzes the meaning of DIY: “Kitchens had been extended, lofts converted, walls removed, ga rages inserted. This was the English passion, not for self-improvement or culture or wit, but for DIY, Do It Yourself, for bigger and better houses with more mod cons the painstaking accumulation of comfort and, with it, status—the concre te display of earned cash” (75) Karim understands that the urge behind this philosophy is purely economic, or more precisely about displaying one’s wealth. When Eva decides to move the makeshift family from the suburbs to London, she uses home renovations as a mask for her in securities. As long as it appears that she has an endless stream of mone y and artistic eye, then it be comes her truth. The racist discourse of Powellism derives from similar usages of myths and lies. Also, Eva enlists Ted and Karim as her workers because Ted is looking for meaning, just like the other isolated, unhappy adults and because she need s to mold Karim as she transforms the house. Ted’s and Eva’s penchants for renovati on put a superficial sheen on their mid-life

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153 crises, making their lives seem purposeful despite the humdrum of their middle-class existence. Haroon’s posing as the Buddha fo llows a similar logic—the self can feel important and connected to society simply because others believe in the wisdom and grant the status. In White Teeth Archie sees DIY as an affront to incompetence and bad luck. He is prepared to fix small appliances as they break or to shelter his family from a bad storm because these are “the practical ities” (186) that garner him “control over the elements” (188). The tree that falls through the kitche n despite his preparations symbolizes the absolute destruction of a myth of Englis hness based on individual accomplishment and ingenuity. The second conservative absurdity that appe ars in both novels is the caricature of the nostalgic immigrant who attempts to carry out masculinist fantasies about his families. Both Samad and Anwar manipul ate their families by making life-altering decisions fabricated on ideals of religion and cu lture that have slipped from their grasps. Anwar conducts a hunger strike until his militant feminist daughter Jamila agrees to an arranged marriage with a Muslim from India. Karim explains the transformations of both Anwar and his father: Maybe there were similarities between what was happening with Dad, with his discovery of Eastern philosophy, and Anwa r’s last stand. Perhaps it was the immigrant condition living itself out through them. For years they were both happy to live like Englishmen. Anwar even sco ffed pork pies as long as Jeeta wasn’t looking. . Now, as they aged and seemed settled here, Anwar and Dad appeared to be returning to India, or at least to be resisting the English here. (64) Karim’s assessment that the two men’s behavi or indicates “the immigrant condition” is further supported by Samad’s equally nostalgic decision to send one of his twin sons back to Bengal. “The immigrant condition” mean s adapting to the behaviors and ways of

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154 English culture, even eating a pork pie, but at the expense of retaining the cultural identity of India. These men are in difficu lt positions because they do not want to return physically to India. Rather they want to retu rn to an idea of their culture that never truly existed. They need an imagined home to c ounter the feelings of failure and corruption that plague them. Samad believes his son needs to be a good Muslim because Samad has failed, resorting to gambling and infidelities. Anwar does not feel that he has lived up to the class status that his wife and daughter deserves and thus belie ves that a son-in-law will bless the family with success. Both are ridiculously wrong; Magid returns from Bengal more English and secular than his br other, and Changez is lazy, incapable of work, and eventually open to the liberal lifes tyles and sexualities th at Anwar so feared. The comic outcomes of their decisions prove that such an opinion should be laughed at. The mistakes these men make explain what Ka rim means when he says that they “seemed settled here.” The immigrant is an actor pr etending to fit in and assimilate but really becoming disjointed and isolated. The sec ond generation has to find ways to navigate this same terrain, but ultimately they must construct relationships that permit not only settlement but also definition of racial a nd national identity. Realizing the Alternative Community: Di scovery, Sexuality, and Collectivity To combat these feelings of isolation, th e second generation characters seek out collective relationships that f acilitate an understanding of how racial diversity constructs a new idea of Englishness. Their underst anding, their education, though, cannot take place within the formal school system becau se the school is a space of control and homogenization, much like the military was for Samad and Archie. Glenard Oak, the school in White Teeth is literarily a panoptic space. As the narrator explains, “Glenard Oak had a complex geography. No t that it was particularly la byrinthine in design. It had

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155 been built in two simple stages, firs t in 1886 as a workhouse (result: large red monstrosity, Victorian asylum) and then added to in 1963 when it became a school (result: gray monolith, Brave Ne w Council Estate)” (241). Th e school is a palimpsest of imperial history, first a space to enclose poverty and then a space to satiate class upheaval. The history of the school’s namesake reveals the same problem of historical consensus as Mangal Pande as the namesake, Sir Edmund Flecker Glenard can be viewed as either an educational philanthropist or a colonial villain (252-55). In The Buddha of Suburbia Karim’s school is a microcosm of the vi olence that derives from racism. He explains that he had enough of it: I was sick of being affectionately ca lled Shitface and Curryface, and of coming home covered in spit and snot and ch alk and woodshaving. We did a lot of woodwork at our school, and the other kids liked to lock me and my friends in the store room and have us chant ‘Mancheste r United, Manchester United, we are the boot boys’ as they held chisels to our thro ats and cut off our s hoelaces. We did a lot of woodwork because they didn’t think we could deal with books. (63) Karim does not learn book knowledge at school, which forecloses his father’s dream that his sacrifices (leaving the homeland) will ensu re his son reaches a higher social standing. Instead, Karim learns to deal with the demands and dangers of a racist society. It is easy to understand why Karim does not value school, why he concludes “I didn’t want to be educated. It wasn’t the right time of my life for concentratio n, it really wasn’t” (94). The education that these students l earn at school is the language of hatred. Bored and disgusted by this language, the second generation attempts to find other educational spaces, other collective environmen ts that nurture their discovery of the changing ideas of history and nation. The school yard in White Teeth fits the requirements. The narrator explains, “Desp ite every attempt to suppress it, the school contained and sustained patches, hangouts, disputed territories, satellite states, states of

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156 emergency, ghettos, enclaves, islands. Ther e were no maps, but commons sense told you, for example, not to fuck with the ar ea between the garbage cans and the craft department” (241). Within the school, the real education takes place as the youth learn to navigate the multiple spaces for which we lear n there is no map. They must construct the map, just like they must construct the meaning of their hybrid identity within the spaces of London. Navigating this te rrain takes “common sense,” an epistemology that the second generation immigrant is suited to because the duality of their existence is always already about navigating a “d isputed territory” of being both English and other. Fittingly, within the school yard Millat and Ir ie are entwined with Joshua Chalfen and his middle class family. The Chalfens initially appear to be the quintessential English family, a fact that attracts Irie because of “[t]he purity of it,” but “It didn’t occur to her that the Chalfens were, after a fashion, im migrants too (third generation, by way of Germany and Poland, ne Chalfenovsky” (273) Uncomfortable with her biracial appearance, Irie finds in the Chalfens “an illic it thrill, like a Jew munching a sausage or a Hindu grabbing a Big Mac. She was crossing borders, sneaking into England” (273). Through the Chalfens, Irie earns the confid ence to overcome her discomfort with her physical appearance; they expose her to the fa ntasy of Englishness that she desires, but once Irie realizes both their immigrant history and their pe rsonal flaws, she debunks the fantasy of the Chalfens as the embodiment of Englishness. Once Irie realizes that nobody is “more English than the Eng lish” (273), she can in terrogate the identi ty and meaning of homeland for the second generation. Similar to Irie, all the other main adolescent characters enter into collective educational spaces that force them to disc overy new meanings and constructions of

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157 identity; Millat thinks of hi s friends as a gang and then participates in the Muslim group, Keepers of the Eternal and Victorious Islami c Nation (KEVIN); Joshua aligns with an animal rights group that demonizes his father’s research; Karim learns from his theater groups; Jamila moves into a commune. Early on Millat’s friends b ecome Millat’s Crew, “joining the ranks of the other street crews: Becks, B-boys, Indie kids, wide-boys, ravers, rudeboys, Acidheads, Sharons, Tracies, Ke vs, Nation Brothers, Raggis, and Pakis; manifesting itself as a kind of cultural mongr el of the last three categories” (192). Despite their adolescent urges, such as priding themselves on “the number of euphemisms they could offer for homosexuality” (192), they draw on a range of gangs from different historical moments and of di verse races (they do not discriminate). Through KEVIN, Millat seeks the religion th at his father proclaims and that his brother is suppose to learn by growing up in Bangladesh. His partic ipation in this group reveals the limits of fundamentalism. Inte rpreting Millat’s Crew’s participation in a violent protest against Rushdie, Dominic H ead argues, “Smith is also anxious to demonstrate how the ugliness that is dismi ssed as ‘fundamentalism’ is produced by an exclusive English ethnicity” (185). Head is correct to connect Smith’s critique of fundamentalism to the racist di scourse that causes inevitable rebellion. Millat’s religious fundamentalism cannot last because he is pa rt of the liberal wo rld of popular culture, particularly the American gangster film, a nd sexual experimentation. The teachings of KEVIN inevitably show him the ridiculousness in believing that traditional beliefs will work in the contemporary moment. As the Chalfens’ religion in science, Joshua’s participation in the animal ri ghts group, FATE, is a direct re bellion against his family’s beliefs. But like Millat, his sexual obsession w ith the head of the group becomes more of

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158 a focus than the political cause. Sexuality b ecomes the real vehicle for transformation, proving that inheritance has al ternative meanings when traditional ideas of gender and race are redefined. In The Buddha of Suburbia Karim and Jamila both refuse traditional ideas of sexuality, openly exploring relationships. While still living in the suburbs under his parents’ roof, Karim confesses to his mother that he’ll never be ge tting married (18). Karim’s bisexuality makes this refusal a rebel lion against the institution of marriage, an institution he has seen cause pa in and isolation for his parent s. Instead, he explores all relationships, which become increasingly nontra ditional as he moves from the suburbs to London. Jamila, introduced to the power of philosophic thought by a generous Francophile librarian, immerses herself in black arts and race politics. Her revolutionary spirit, though, shifts when she is forced into marriage by her father ’s desperation. After Jamila explains her dilemma to Karim, th eir reaction shows the unity of the second generation. Karim explains, “W e must have stood there outs ide Paradise Stores for at least half an hour, just holding each other and thinking about ou r respective futures” (61). While the immediate decisions each must addre ss is individual, their unity shows that they understand that their tradit ion and history unities them. Eventually, she succumbs to Anwar’s wishes because “[m]arrying Changez would be, in her mind, a rebellion against rebellion, creative novelty itself” (82). Thus, Changez becomes her husband, but her sexual relationships follow the revolutionary path laid out by her philosophi cal readings on gender and race. She still has sex with Ka rim because they are united, and finally she moves, with Changez, into a commune wher e she has a child with another man before having a lesbian relationship. Changez explai ns the role of communal life: “The family

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159 atmosphere is here without the naggi ng aunties. Except for the meetings, yaar They have them every five minutes. We have to sit time after time and discuss this thing and that thing, the garden, the cooking, the conditi on of England, the condition of Chile, the condition of Czechoslovakia” (222). The commu ne is a revised version of family that puts to rest the unreal history of the older generation, “the nagging aunties.” And while Changez is annoyed by the democratic proce ss of communal life, it permits a voice to those who would be denied such a voice in th e aunties’ history. To live in the commune, Jamila must leave the static suburbs for the city, and while we do not see the affects of this journey through her, we see Karim explain th is journey. Karim’s exposure to collectivity occurs th rough his acting jobs in different theater troupes. First, he is forced to deal with racism as he plays Mowgli in The Jungle Book dressing in a loin cloth and putting on an Indian accent. During this role, he has a relationship with Helen, whose father, named Hairy Back by Karim, threatens Karim and proclaims, “However many nigge rs there are, we don’t like it We’re with Enoch. It you put one of you black ‘ands near my daughter I’ll smash it with a ‘ammer! With a ‘ammer!” (40). This moment cements the rebe llious potential of sex for Karim. During this first production, Karim also meets Terry who introduces him to class in a way that his suburban stasis never permitted. When he moves onto the second play and the second relationship with Eleanor, he further e xpands his understanding of race and class particularly because now he lives in the city. Karim explains his react ion: “The city blew the windows of my brain wide open. But bei ng in a place so bring, fast and brilliant made you vertiginous with possibility” (126) The imagery of Karim’s description, particularly the phrase “blew the windows of my brain wide open,” establishes an

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160 analogy between the self and the city as home. The window, as the divide between inside and outside and as a visual por tal to the world, signifies his openness to the city. Karim continues this analogy: “London seemed like a house with five thousand rooms, all different; the kick was to work out how they connected, and eventually to walk through all of them” (126). To Karim, London becomes the house that he left when he moved away from his parents; but London becomes his home by becoming a part of it. Thus, he navigates these five thousand rooms through th e relationships, partic ularly sexual ones. Eleanor’s grief over her dead African boyfriend forces Ka rim to realize his racial hybridity. Similarly, Tracey, the other black member of the second theater troupe, forces him to acknowledge racism when she cr itiques his caricature of Anwar. When he travels to New York and lives w ith the first object of his sexual obsession, Charlie (Eva’s son who has become a punk icon) he has internalized the lessons of the city and can finally see how identity has been commodified. He expl ains that Charlie’s music “had lost its drama and attack wh en transported from England with its unemployment, strikes, and class antagonism” (247). He concludes that Charlie “was selling Englishness, and getting a lot of money for it” (247). This statement shows that Karim understands the ubiquitous idea of Englishness. He can accept his mother’s proclamation that he’s not an Indian because he ’s never been to India but instead he is an Englishman because he knows that this label no longer embodies the conservative ideas of language, culture, and sexuality that traditionally defined it. Like Karim’s realization of the mutability of Englishness, Irie seeks a redefinition of homeland. She goes back to her grandmothe r’s house, finding pictures that explain the colonial legacy of her family and her parent age and feeling as if she had reclaimed her

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161 birthright. She is seeking a narrative that sa tisfies her,that fills gaps she believes exist within her because she is biracial. The historiography she constructs, however, forces her to realize that “ homeland is one of the magical fantasy words like unicorn and soul and infinity that have now passed into the langua ge. And the particular magic of homeland its particular spell over Irie, was that it sounded like a beginning. The beginningest of beginnings. Like the first morning of Eden and the day after apocalypse. A blank page” (332). As her identity makes her feel out of place in all places, sh e seeks out origins. What she fails to realize at this moment is that she cannot look to Jamaica or any other place for this beginning—that is the fantasy, the mystical idea. Instead homeland means a new beginning that is truly multicultural so much so that there could be no attempt to trace it to a histor ical homeland. Thus, her child creates the beginning she desires. Having slept with both Magid and Millat hours apart, she finds herself pre gnant with a child whose origins will never be identifiable because “whichever brother it wa s, it was the other one too. She would never know” (426). Already multiracial the uncertain paternity at first depresses Irie, forcing her to ask “if it was not somebody’s child, co uld it be that it wa s nobody’s child?” (426). By being “nobody’s child,” this baby become s everybody’s child. It is the essence of Rushdie’s definition of hybridity. It is a magical hope of the eventuality of multiculturalism, where origins can no longer be traced. The final image of this family is “a snapshot seven years hence of Irie, Jos hua, and Hortense sitting by a Caribbean sea (for Irie and Joshua become lovers in the e nd; you can only avoid your fate for so long), while Irie’s fatherless little girl writes postcards to Bad Uncle Millat and Good Uncle Magid and feels free as Pinocchio” (448). By im agining this as a snapshot, Smith reveals

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162 that it is a fantasy; however, it still reveals th e eventuality of the erasure of the traditional ideas of history and how history indicat es and constructs identit y. What we see in both of these novels is that because most immigrants come from a background with a conservative religious underp inning, one of the primary ways that the second generation immigrant attempts to unde rstand his or her individual identity is through sexual experimentation and thus rebe llion from religious teachings. Through sexuality the second generation reveals the inability to accommoda te the traditional teachings of the parent’s religion within the postmodern London environment. Sexuality becomes a language that second generation immigr ants acquire as they attempt to make a place in their hybrid worlds. Comprehension of this language permits the immigrants to communicate with others about their alienati on, which manifests specifically as a sense of a loss of place, or more importantly, a loss of love. Through the development of their sexuality and thus communicati on, they are able to form unt raditional connections that cement the second generation label as the hope for a flexible identity th at exists within a multicultural and post-imperial London. Conclusions: The Next Direction for Hybridity If we weigh critical attention, Kureis hi has become the voice of the second generation. In fact, perhaps onl y Rushdie receives more attenti on. But with the arrival of equally strong female voices, the second ge neration immigrant narrative has taken another step in its development. Meera Sy al, like Kureishi, is as much a pop culture mainstay as a novelist. Her work continually returns to the themes of second generation immigrants navigating the hybrid world of thei r parents’ traditions and their own English identities. In Life Isn’t All Ha, Ha, H ee, Hee, she shows four young Indian woman navigating life, sexuality, and family in London. In her popular television show, The

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163 Kumars at Number 42, she pl ays the elderly matriarch scandalously debunking the traditions of India and playing a foil to her hybrid grandson. In Anita and Me, young Meena finds her place within rural Wolverhampton without s acrificing the intelligence, history, and family that she initially feels bl ocks her access to an ideal of Englishness. She realizes that she can represent both trad itions, Indian and English, because she comes to occupy a third identity that removes the limits of the prev ious two. Meena’s transformation takes place w ithin the rural English town, with each inhabitant contributing to her developing understanding of gender, class, and history. Syal’s novel proves that the path started by Kureishi’s groundbreaking novel cont inues to grow and develop the genre of the sec ond generation bildungsroman.

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164 LIST OF REFERENCES Ackroyd, Peter. London: The Biography London: Chatto & Windus, 2000. Agamben, Giorgio. The Coming Community Trans. Michael Hardt. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1993. Amis, Martin. Einstein’s Monsters New York: Vintage, 1987. —. London Fields New York: Vintage, 1989. —. “The Prose and Cons of Martin Amis.” Interview by Graham Fuller. Interview 25.5 (1995). The Martin Amis Web Ed. James Diedrick. 4 May 2005. . —. Visiting Mrs. Nabokov and Other Excursions New York: Vintage, 1993. Anderson, Benedict Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism New York: Verso, 1991. Asher, Kenneth. “The Lawrentian Vision of Martin Amis’ London Fields.” Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics 24.1-2 (2001): 15-25. Bachelard, Gaston. “The Oneiric House.” Trans. Joan Ockman. Architecture Culture 1943–1968: A Documentary Anthology. Eds. Joan Ockman with Edward Eigen. New York: Rizzoli, 1993. Bakhtin, M.M. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays Trans. Vern W. McGee. Eds. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holqui st. Austin: U of Texas P, 1986. Ballard, J.G. High-Rise New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975. —. Millennium People London: Harper Perennial, 2003. Barr, Charles. Ealing Studios London: Cameron & Tayleur, 1977. Baucom, Ian. Out of Place: Englishness, Em pire, and the Location of Identity Princeton: Princeton UP, 1999. Baudrillard, Jean. “Two Essays.” Science Fiction Studies 18.3 (1991). 21 Feb. 2005 .

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165 Benjamin, Walter. The Arcades Project Trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1999. —. Illuminations Trans. Harry Zohn. New York: Schocken Books, 1968. Blair, Tony. Speech to the 1997 Labour Party Conference London: Labour Party, 1997. Boyle, Danny, dir. Trainspotting By Irvine Welsh. Perf. Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Kevin McKidd, Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carl yle. 1996. VHS. Miramax. —. 28 Days Later By Alex Garland. Perf. Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Christopher Eccleston, Megan Burns, and Brendan Gleason. 2002. DVD. Twentieth Century Fox, 2003. Bradbury, Malcolm. The Modern British Novel London: Penguin, 1993. Brighton Rock. Dir. John Boulting. By Graham Green. VHS. 1947. Brown, Geoff. “Something for Everyone: Br itish Film Culture in the 1990s.” British Cinema of the 90s Ed. Robert Murphy. London: BFI, 2000. 27-36. Bull, Malcolm. Seeing Things Hidden: Apocalypse, Vision and Totality London: Verso, 1999. Butterfield, Bradley. “Ethical Value and Negative Aesthetics: Reconsidering the Baudrillard-Ballard Connection.” PMLA 114.1 (1999): 64-77. Caserio, Robert L. “Mobility and Masochism: Christine Brooke-Rose and J.G. Ballard.” Novel 21.23 (1988): 292-310. Chibnall, Steve. “Travels in Ladland: The British Gangster Film Cycle 1998-2001.” Chibnall and Murphy 281-291. Chibnall, Steve and Robert Murphy, eds. British Crime Cinema London and New York: Routledge, 1999. Chibnall, Steve and Julian Petley. “The Re turn of the Repressed? British Horror’s Heritage and Future.” British Horror Cinema Eds. Steve Chibnall and Julia Petley. London: Routledge, 2002. Davies, Alistair. “A cinema in between: Postwar British cinema.” British Culture of the Postwar: An Introduction to Literature and Society 1945-1999 Eds. Alistair Davies and Alan Sinfield. London a nd New York: Routledge, 2000. 110-124.

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166 de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life Trans. Steven Rendall. Berkeley: U of California P, 1984. Dern, John A. Martians, Monsters and Madonna: Ficti on and Form in the World of Martin Amis. New York: Peter Lang, 2000. Derrida, Jacques. “No Apocalypse, Not No w (full speed ahead, seven missiles, seven missives).” Diacritics 14.2 (1984): 20-31. —. “Sauf le nom (Post-Scriptum.” On the Name Trans. John P. Leavey. Ed. Thomas Dutoit. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1995. Diedrick, James. Understanding Martin Amis Columbia: U of South Carolina P, 1995. Ellis, John. “Made in Ealing.” Screen 16 (1975). Finney, Brian. “Narrative and Narrate d Homicides in Martin Amis’s Other People and London Fields .” Critique 37.1 (1995). Academic Search Premier EBSCO. Marshall Univ. Library. 18 Nov. 1998 . Foucault, Michel. Discipline and Punish: Th e Birth of the Prison Trans. Alan Sheridan. New York: Vintage, 1977. Franklin, H. Bruce. “What Are We to Make of J.G. Ballard’s Apocalypse?” Voices for The Future: Essays of Major Science Fiction Writers Ed. Thomas D. Clareson. Vol. 2. Bowling Green: Bowling Green U Popular P, 1979. Get Carter Dir. Mike Hodges. DVD. Warner, 1971. Glazer, Jonathan, dir. Sexy Beast DVD. Fox, 2001. Gray, John. “The Search for Meaning.” Rev. of Millennium People by J.G. Ballard. New Statesman 8 Sept. 2003. Academic Search Premier EBSCO. U of F Smathers Library. 31 March 2005 . Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. Empire Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2000. Harvey, David. Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference Oxford: Blackwell, 1996. —. The Urban Experience Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1989. Head, Dominic. The Cambridge Introduction to Modern British Fiction, 1950-2000 Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2002.

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167 Hobbs, Dick. Bad Business: Professional Crime in Modern Britain Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995. Holmes, Frederick. “The Death of the Author as Cultural Critique in London Fields.” Powerless Fictions? Ethics, Cultural Criti que, and American Fiction in the Age of Postmodernism Ed. Ricardo Miguel Alfonso. Postmodern Studies 17. Eds. Theo D’haen and Hans Bertens. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996. 53-62. Jameson, Fredric. The Jameson Reader Eds. Michael Hardt and Kathi Weeks. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. —. The Political Unconscious Cornell UP, 1982. —. “Progress Versus Utopia; or, Can We Imagine the Future?” Science-Fiction Studies 9.2 (1982): 147-58. —. “The Uses of Apocalypse.” Anyway Ed. Cynthia C. Davidson. New York: Rizzoli, 1994. Kermode, Frank. The Sense of an Ending: Studie s in the Theory of Fiction New York: Oxford UP, 1966. Keulks, Gavin. Father and Son: Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis, and the British Novel since 1950 Madison: The U of Wisconsin P, 2003. Koolhass, Rem. Delirious New York: A Retroac tive Manifesto for Manhattan. New York: Monacelli, 1994. Kubrick, Stanley, dir and adapt. A Clockwork Orange By Anthony Burgess. Perf. Malcolm McDowell. 1971. VHS. Warner Brothers, 1999. Kureishi, Hanif. The Buddha of Suburbia New York: Penguin, 1990. The Ladykillers. Dir. Alexander Mckendrick. VHS. EMI Films, 1955. The Lavender Hill Mob. Dir. Charles Crichton. VHS. EMI Films, 1951. Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space Trans. Donald Nicholson-Smith. Oxford: Blackwell, 1991. Leigh, Danny. “Get Smarter.” Sight and Sound 10.6 (June 2000): 22-25. Levinson, Jerrold. “Film Music and Narrative Agency.” Film Theory and Criticism 6th Ed. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. 482512.

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168 Lim, Dennis. “Unchained Malady: With 28 Days Later, Danny Boyle and Alex Garland Step into the Hot Zone.” The Village Voice 48.25 (2003): 48, 50. The Long Good Friday Dir. John Mackenzie. DVD. Criterion, 1998. Macaulay, Scott. “Apocalypse Fiction Redux.” Filmmaker 11.4 (2003): 40. Maczynska, Magdalena. “Apocalyptic London in the Fiction of Martin Amis.” The Image of the City in Literature, Media, and Society Eds. Will Wright and Steven Kaplan. Pueblo, CO: Society for the Inte rdisciplinary Study of Social Imagery, U of Southern Colorado, 2003. 189-193. Martini, Fritz. “Bildungsrom an: Term and Theory.” Trans. Claire Baldwin and James Hardin. Reflection and Action: Essays on the Bildungsroman Ed. James Hardin. Columbia: U of South Carolina P, 1991. 1-25. Marx, Karl. The Marx-Engels Reader 2nd Ed. Ed. Robert C. Tucker. New York: Norton, 1978. McEwan, Ian. Saturday New York: Doubleday, 2005. —.. “Zadie Smith Talks with Ian McEwan.” The Believer Aug 2005: 47-63. Monk, Claire. “Men in the 90s.” British Cinema of the 90s Ed. Robert Murphy. London: BFI, 2000. 156-166. Moore-Gilbert, Bart. Hanif Kureishi Manchester: Manchester UP, 2001. Moretti, Franco. The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture New Ed. Trans. Albert Sbragia. New York: Verso, 2000. Morris, Edmund. Introduction. The Day of the Triffids. By John Wyndham. New York: Modern Library, 2003. Morris, Meaghan. Too Soon Too Later: History in Popular Culture Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1998. Moyle, David. “Beyond the Black Hole: The Emergence of Science Fiction Themes in the Recent Work of Martin Amis. Extrapolation 36.4 (1995): 304-15. Nancy, Jean-Luc The Inoperative Community U of Minnesota P, 1991. Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty Four New York: New American Library, 1981. ---. “Raffles and Miss Blandish.” Critical Essays London: Secker and Warburg, 1951. 163-178.

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169 Osmond, Andrew. “In The Hot Zone.” Cinfantastique 35.3 (2003): 38-40. Parrinder, Patrick. “The Ruined Futures of British Science Fiction.” On Modern British Fiction Ed. Zachary Leader. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2002. 209-233. Performance Dir. Donald Cammell. VHS. Goodtime Enterprises, 1970 Proctor, James. Writing Black Britain 1948-1998: An Interdisciplinary Anthology Manchester: Manchester UP, 2000. Ritchie, Guy. Interview. “The Smoking Man.” The Onion Dir. Joshua Klein. 11 March 1999. Online. http://theavclub.com/avclub3509/bonusfeature13509.html 8 April 2003. —, dir. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels DVD. Polygram,1998. Ross, Andrew. The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Li berty, and The Pursuit of Property Value in Disney’s New Town New York: Ballantine, 1999. Ruddick, Nicholas. “Balla rd/Crash/Baudrillard.” Science-Fiction Studies 19.3 (1992). 2 May 2005 < http://www.depauw.edu/sfs/b ackissues/58/ruddick58art.htm >. Rushdie, Salman. “Minority Literatures in a Multi-Cultural Society.” Displaced Persons Eds. Kirsten Holst Petersen and Anna Rutherford. Aarhus, Denmark: Seklos, 1987. 33-42. Sandhu, Sukhdev. London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City London: Harper Collins, 2003. Sinfield, Alan. Literature, Politics, and Culture in Postwar Britain London: Anthlone P, 1997. Smith, Anna Marie. New Right Discourse on Race and Sexuality: Britain 1968-1990 Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994. Smith, Zadie. White Teeth. New York: Random House, 2000. — “Zadie Smith with Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina.” Writing Across Worlds: Contemporary Writers Talk Ed. Susheila Nasta. London: Routledge, 2004. 26678. Sontag, Susan. “The Imagination of Disaster.” Science Fiction: A Collection of Critical Essays Ed. Mark Rose. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1976.

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170 Stein, Mark. Black British Literature: Novels of Transformation Columbus: The Ohio State UP, 2004. Stokes, Peter. “Martin Amis and the Po stmodern Suicide: Tracing the Postnuclear Narrative at the Fin De Millennium.” Critique 38.4 (1997). Academic Search Premier EBSCO. 7 Nov. 1998 . Street, Sarah. British National Cinema New York: Routledge, 1997. Wagar, W. Warren. “J.G. Ballard a nd the Transvaluation of Utopia.” Science-Fiction Studies 18.1 (1991): 53-69. Wegner, Phillip E. Imaginary Communities: Utopia, The Nation, and The Spatial Histories of Modernity Berkeley: U of California P, 2002. Williams, Raymond. “Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory.” New Left Review 82 (1973): 3-16. — The Country and The City New York: Oxford UP, 1973. Wolfreys, Julian. Writing London Volume 2: Mate riality, Memory, Spectrality New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Wyndham, John. The Day of the Triffids New York: Modern Library, 2003.

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171 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Nicole LaRose received her B.A. in hist ory and English from Marshall University in 2000. She was a member of the prestigious Society of Yeager Scholars. She received her M.A. in English from the University of Florida in 2002. Her first publication on Martin Amis’s The Information developed from her master’s thesis. She has also published an article on William Wordsworth. Star ting in the fall semester, she will be an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Houston-Downtown.


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Title: Gangsters, Zombies, and Other Rebels: Alternative Communities in Late Twentieth-Century British Novels and Films
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0014923/00001

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Title: Gangsters, Zombies, and Other Rebels: Alternative Communities in Late Twentieth-Century British Novels and Films
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Copyright Date: 2008

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Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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GANGSTERS, ZOMBIES, AND OTHER REBELS: ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITIES
IN LATE TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRITISH NOVELS AND FILMS















By

NICOLE LAROSE


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006

































Copyright 2006

by

Nicole LaRose















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Throughout each stage of my education, I have had mentors who both pushed me to

exceed my own expectations and supported me completely. As an undergraduate,

Richard Badenhausen first taught me how to write (especially breaking me of my

dependency on "to be" verbs), then he showed me the beauty of British literature, and

finally he suggested graduate school in English. Without his guidance, I would have

never found a career that both challenges me and excites me. I thank him for his

continued friendship.

I could never have made it through the dissertation without the guidance and

support of my co-directors, Julian Wolfreys and Phillip Wegner. I thank them both for

putting up with my obstinacy and transforming me into a more circumspect thinker.

Julian has shown me the commitments of a scholar. His courses extended well beyond

the classroom-he taught me a new way of thinking. London is now more than an

obsession. The discussions and debates we had during independent studies and reading

groups made my dissertation possible. I thank him for his diligence and his commitment.

I admire his focus and passion and hope I can sustain even a fraction of it. However, I

still say Jordan is far superior to Magic. Additionally, Phil always has a way of

explaining my ideas to me better than I can. He takes my convoluted, incomplete

ramblings and shows me the potential. Talking with him about my dissertation in his

office made the project develop and also kept me sane during the process. I thank him

for teaching me that criticism can be about the productive and the utopian. I also thank









him for his unfailing support of the Marxist Reading Group. Through the entire process

of planning and executing the conference, just knowing that the group can turn to Phil for

help makes it so much easier. Plus, the after-party would not be half as fun without him.

Throughout graduate school, different English department administrators have

stressed to the students the importance of networking, and I always thought they were

slightly crazy. That was until I met Gavin Keulks, fellow Martin Amis aficionado, at the

Twentieth-Century Literature Conference at the University of Louisville. No other

participants may have come to our early morning panel, but I still found my discussion

with Gavin the most productive conference panel I have attended. If I believed in fate, I

would have to say that the academic gods wanted me to have a professional relationship

with Gavin because we showed up on the same panel at a small conference at the

University of South Carolina a few months later. Gavin has been a valuable resource

during the dissertation and the job search. I only hope that I can be as helpful to him

someday.

On a day-to-day basis, my fellow English graduate students have been the most

consequential in my development. I could have never made it through without the

support and mentoring of Megan Norcia. I thank Meg for challenging me as a scholar

and comforting me as a friend. Meg is my model of goodness and my guide to success.

Without her, I would have never learned to quilt nor had the quilters, especially Kirsten

Ortega, Lisa Hager, and Tonya Bain-Creed, who got me through my first years of

graduate school with our Sunday night renewals of pizza and fun movies. Meg, and the

other peeps, Emily Garcia, Nishant Shahani, Rochelle Mabry, and Brian Doan, kept my

reading on track with our Borders trips. More recently, I have had the Jai-Alai gang









providing sustenance. Aaron Shaheen has shown me strength and perseverance, Andrew

Reynolds is an example of patience, and Wesley Beal has reminded me why I started this

process. Without Wesley's and Michael Vastola's devotion, the MRG could not have

organized such wonderful conferences these past two years. I thank my friends for

helping me work through complex theoretical ideas, allowing me to let loose and act like

a fool, and accepting me as I am. Lastly, I have to thank my roommates, Todd Reynolds

and Roger Whitson, for putting up with my nagging and bossiness. I thank Todd for

sharing my odd obsession with Law and Order and all things sports, and I thank Roger

for his excitement because nobody else could talk about Derrida during The Surreal Life.

Lastly, I have to thank my family for their constant support and love. My sassy

sisters, Rachel Coleman, Mara Shelton, and Allison Snow, have been with me literally

and figuratively at all times. They were with me as I grew into an adult and knowing that

they are still with me has given me constant comfort. My brothers, Phil and Jason

LaRose, like my roommates, put up with my bossiness because they know I only want

the best for them. I thank them for expecting the same for me. I could never express my

thanks to my parents, Phil and J LaRose. They have always supported me

unconditionally. Seeing my father's pride as he told the rest of the family about my

completion of the PhD and my job as a professor meant so much to me. During the last

months as I have finished this project, I sat on my front porch taking full benefit of the

springtime breezes. In the tree in our front yard was a nest with baby birds who would

excitedly call to their mother when she returned with food. Their chirps provided me

comfort because they reminded me that I also have a mother who always returns to

nurture me. This care has obviously changed throughout the years, but I know that she is









always looking after me. She told me I could be anything I wanted to be and even

indulged my ridiculous dream of being an NFL quarterback. Knowing that she believes

in me gets me through any difficult part of my life. Without her, I could have never

finished this project.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS


A C K N O W L ED G M EN T S ......... ................. .......................................... ....................... iii

A B S T R A C T .......................................... .................................................. v iii

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION: IMAGINING ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITIES ......................1

2 APOCALYPTIC COMMUNITIES: THE DISASTER AND REEALATION OF
CLA SS AND SPA CE ........................................................... .. ............... 20

A Genealogy of the Postwar Apocalyptic Narrative: The Influences and Examples
of John W yndham and George Orwell....................................... .......................20
J.G. Ballard's Buildings and Neighborhoods .................................. .................36
M artin Amis's M illennarian Fears and Hopes................................. ............... 59
From Disaster to Community only 28 Days Later .............................. ...............73
Conclusions: The Nature of the Family in the Twenty First Century ........................87

3 GANGSTER COMMUNITIES: IMAGINING THE UNDERWORLD AND
UNDERSTANDING MASCULINITY................... ..........................................89

Reading the Underworld: A Genealogy of the Postwar Period.................................91
New Laddism and a Return to the Underworld: Masculinity and Collectivity in
Films by Guy Ritchie and Jonathan Glazer.....................................................106

4 "WE'RE ALL ENGLISH NOW": TRANSFORMATION NARRATIVES AND
THE SECOND-GENERATION IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY..........................128

Bildungsroman, Emergence, and Transformation............................... ...............132
Naming, or W ho is the Second Generation? ................................. ............... 137
M apping the Second G generation ....................... ............ ...... ............... .... 140
The Immigrant Condition: Historical Unity, Individual Ingenuity ........................144
Realizing the Alternative Community: Discovery, Sexuality, and Collectivity....... 154
Conclusions: The N ext Direction for Hybridity ...................................................... 162

L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ........................................................................ ................... 164

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................. ............... 171















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

GANGSTERS, ZOMBIES, AND OTHER REBELS: ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITIES
IN LATE TWENTIETH-CENTURY BRITISH NOVELS AND FILMS

By

Nicole LaRose

August 2006

Chair: Julian Wolfreys
Cochair: Phillip Wegner
Major Department: English

"Gangsters, Zombies, and Other Rebels: Alternative Communities in Late

Twentieth-Century Novels and Films" examines how narratives from the 1980s and

1990s respond to Margaret Thatcher's neo-conservative regime and Tony Blair's "New

Britain." Through examining a range of genre fictions, I investigate the ways British

apocalyptic, gangster, and immigrant narratives imagine new social formations, which I

call "alternative communities." Chapter 1 explores the scholarly trends in postwar

British literature, calling for a political intervention that understands the potential for

narrative to express collectivity.

Chapter 2 surveys narratives of disaster and apocalypse. I begin by examining the

ways Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, and George Orwell establish a tradition of critical

apocalypses. This tradition is built upon in J.G. Ballard's depiction of a stagnated post-

imperial Britain in High-Rise and Millennium People, Martin Amis's critique of

Thatcher's hierarchical Britain in London Fields, and filmmaker Danny Boyle's









interrogation of Blair's conservatism in 28 Days Later. The apocalypses in these

narratives-created by urban development, imminent nuclear war, and biological

warfare-lead to the destruction of reigning racial, class, and gender divides, and, even

more significantly, enable alternative communities to come into being.

Chapter 3 surveys the development of the gangster film during the postwar period.

I compare earlier depictions in the genre of individuality and hypermasculinity,

epitomized by the 1980 film The Long Good Friday, with the vision of collectivity in

1990s films such as Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Jonathan

Glazer's Sexy Beast. These more recent films explore popular culture's influence on

national and gender identities and introduce a more flexible vision of masculinity, one

that protects a new familial collective.

Chapter 4 explores the ways the genre of the immigrant bildungsroman imagines

postcolonial hybrid identities. I argue that female authors, such as Zadie Smith, adapt the

paradigm of second-generation immigrant narratives established by Hanif Kureishi to the

particularity of the female immigrant experience. The resolution of the conflict between

their families' efforts to maintain tradition with their own desires to become more fully

"English" reveals an emergent cultural identity freed from older historical

determinations.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION: IMAGINING ALTERNATIVE COMMUNITIES

Community is, in a sense, resistance itself: namely, resistance to immanence.
Consequently, community is transcendence.

-Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community

Tricksters or fakes, assistants or 'toons, they are the exemplars of the coming
community.

-Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community

So it was; in Eighties fiction, apocalyptic visions, corrupted Utopias and threatened
cities were everywhere. Gothic violence, the uncanny, the fantastic and the
grotesque, were back; here innocence is generally corrupted, violence erupts
suddenly, psychic extremes are explored, danger stalks the dead world, and there is
an unstable relationship between 'real life' and art. Dracula, Vlad the Impaler,
Jekyll and Hyde, Jack the Ripper-now in the changed guise of 'the serial killer,'
the marauding mobile man who represents the dangerous urban darkness-were all
dusted down from their role in popular myth, and popular movies, and recycled for
the service of modern narrative. Freaks and monsters, incest and sexual violence,
all the devices of the uncanny, estranging and deceptive on offer in the rich stock of
Gothic reappeared in profusion.

-Malcolm Bradbury, The Modern British Novel

Malcolm Bradbury's summary of the British novel of the 1980s suggests violence,

extremism, and the presence of misfits as the definitive characteristics of the novel at this

moment. His assessment forces us to see the novel since 1980 as an exploration of the

condition of post-imperial British history and hybridized English identity. Following

Bradbury's lead, this project takes up the figures of three specific formations of the

misfit, defined generally as any figure that embodies dissension against an assimilating

idea of Englishness created by the imperial project. The figures under examination-the

zombie or automaton, the gangster, and the immigrant-inhabit three crucial genres of









postwar British literature. Each genre that corresponds to these figures-the apocalyptic,

the underworld, and the immigrant narrative-addresses the impact of cataclysmic

change and violence on the individual and the individual's relationship to society.

Through a genealogy of each genre, I argue that these late Twentieth-century narratives

imagine productive collective formations, which I am calling alternative communities.

These alternative communities respond to the hegemonic political discourse that

determines identity construction by revealing the limits of the preconceived ideas and

indicating change.

This project follows several strands of theoretical inquiry concerning: first, the idea

of British literature, its relationship to political debate, and the means by which scholars

explore this interaction; second, the meaning of community, particularly the imagining of

collective formations as a narratological act; and third, the role of spatial theory in

understanding narratives that are self-reflexively concerned with the production of the

spaces of the city and the effects such built environments have on the individual and the

community. Alternative communities emphasize protection of a collective social

organization and destruction of reigning racial, class, and gender divides; alternative

communities embrace hybridity, heterogeneity, and the transience of society, while at the

same time understanding the alienating realities of cultural estrangement and the need to

share experience in hopes of collective understanding.

Malcolm Bradbury's aforementioned survey of the Twentieth-century British novel

epitomizes one of two prevalent critical trends in the field, both of which influence how I

situate my project: these are the thematically or temporally organized survey and the

single author study. This second category attempts to construct a canon of contemporary









literature by providing introductions to students of literature. While these works do often

accomplish careful readings of an author's oeuvre that can lead to more extensive

scholarly explorations,1 the theoretical limits dictated by their audience constrain these

studies to the surface. One unfortunate reality that emerges from such studies is a cult of

celebrity that inevitably includes authors in the salacious pages of the gossip columns.

When the friendships and feuds, the love affairs, and the exorbitant pay and purchases of

literary celebrities become part of the scholarly debate, intellectual rigor becomes

difficult to maintain.

The other strand of critical inquiry, the survey, influences my project more directly.

Even within this model, we still find works like Bradbury's which spends more time

listing examples of novels that fit into the categories he labels rather than actually

conducting a reading of these novels. Bradbury introduces the concepts, theories, and

history intrinsic to the production of literature in Great Britain, but he does not engage

these topics with more than a passing glance. Like the single-author study, Bradbury's

detailed survey is more of a resource for students looking for direction or guidance as to

which novels develop similar subjects in a similar context. In this strand, we also find

studies like D. J. Taylor's After The War: The Novel and English Society since 1945,

which dismisses the postwar novel because of its aesthetic inferiority to the Victorian

novel, primarily in the realm of characterization. He argues that the theme of most

interest in the postwar novel is decline, and this theme results in the production of novels

that pale in comparison to their predecessors. I have to agree with Taylor that the


1 I am personally indebted to James Diedrick's Understanding Martin Amis to which I have referred for my
undergraduate senior thesis, my master's thesis, and now for this project. Diedrick's study is part of The
Understanding Contemporary British Literature series from the University of South Carolina Press, which
is an exceptional example of the strand of criticism to which I refer.









postwar novel and the Victorian novel are completely different beasts, but I disagree with

the assumption that they are even comparable. Taylor fails to understand that the postwar

novel must be read within its own political and historical context.

Unlike Taylor, several scholars do approach postwar literature and culture on its

own terms and without immediate dismissal and contempt. Philip Tew's The

Contemporary British Novel, John Brannigan's Orwell to the Present: Literature in

England 1945-2000, and Dominic Head's The Cambridge Introduction of Modern

British Fiction, 1950-2000, while still satisfying the role of undergraduate introductory

resources, do engage with the important themes of identity and nationalism central to the

postwar narrative. Significantly, they each read the novels beginning in the mid-1970s

with a keen awareness of Thatcherism as a pivotal paradigm shift in the relationship

between politics and textual productions.

The direct engagement with the politics and history that influence the production of

literature connects these scholars to the same field of inquiry as that presented in the most

important study of this model, Alan Sinfield's Literature, Politics, and Culture in

Postwar Britain. He presents a cultural materialist study keenly aware of "the historical

conditions in which textual representations are produced, circulated and received" (xxiii).

He explains that cultural materialists will "engage with questions about the relations

between dominant and subordinate cultures, the implications of racism, sexism and

homophobia, the scope for subaltern resistance, and the modes through which the system

tends to accommodate or repel diverse kinds of dissidence" (xxiii). The focus on

dissidence leads him to characterize the postwar period as composed of "cultures of

discord." His "cultures of discord" have a progressive utopian aim of finding a way for









"literary and leftist intellectuals to make themselves useful" by "orienting their efforts,

for the time being, towards a subcultural constituency." The subcultural constituency to

which he finds the most potential-lesbians and gay men-do not have to offer their

"efforts and talents to a disdainful or predatory mainstream" (xxiv). He suggests that

other groups disadvantaged on grounds of class, race, nation, and gender may also have

the same potential.

From Sinfield's suggestion, my project begins. The apocalyptic, gangster, and

immigrant genres imagine how the disadvantages of class, race, nation, and gender can

produce productive alternatives to the mainstream. They create a subcultural

constituency on the representational level. Also in terms of literary history, these genres

each constitute a subcultural constituency because of their historic marginalization by

traditional canon formation. They are alternative in both their realization of identity

construction and their presence in the canon of British literature.

The term alternative also has a specific political referent that contributes to my

understanding of the communitarian interest in these narrative genres. The explicit use of

the word alternative is an ironic assessment of Thatcherism, particularly the response to

Thatcherism's refusal of consensus and the liberal aims of the welfare-state. Dominic

Head explains the relationship between Thatcherism and cultural production.

The election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister in 1979 signaled the definitive
end of the post-war consensus. The policies of Thatcherism attacked consensus
politics on every front: her government stood for privatization and a free-market
economy, and for the reform of trade union law. Backed by an authoritarian
approach to resisting groups, and a monetarist squeeze on inflation, the Thatcher
government 'redefined' British politics. The changes to British society and
culture were dramatic, generating a spirit of either adventurous entrepreneurship or
deplorable avarice. Novelists tended to take the latter view, lamenting the
imminent collapse of the welfare state, and a new era of inequality and social
division. (30)









Head acknowledges that the divisive nature of Thatcher's economic policies forced

artists and novelists to explore the meaning of such alienating and hierarchical

organization and to engage the social problems that resulted. Thatcherism coined the

infamous acronym TINA, "there is no alternative" to global neo-liberal capitalism.

Because of this belief, the Thatcher government policies celebrated individual ingenuity

and responsibility as the pinnacle of British success and the essence of Englishness. She

touted a return to Victorian values accompanied by a minimization or absenting of state

intervention in society. In most historical and theoretical analyses, Thatcherism is

immediately connected with economic policy,2 ignoring social and moral issues.

Anna Marie Smith notices this gap and interrogates the ways the new right

discourse shapes attitudes towards race and sexuality. The moral vision of Thatcherism,

as Smith explains, was that economicmc renewal, therefore entailed a moral revolution: a

return to individual responsibility, free market entrepreneurialism and British

nationalism" (3). By identifying immigration and homosexuality as opposed to this

formation of morality, the new right was able to manipulate the societal fears surrounding

the end of consensus politics. Smith argues, "Powellism and Thatcherism were

hegemonic discourses in the sense that they proposed new visions of the social order and

successfully stigmatized alternative visions so that their political projects appeared to be

the only credible frameworks for the interpretation of the national crisis" (69). Smith's

analysis of these discourses highlights their existence as myths that organize the

formation of identity and society; in other words, they function as hegemonic narratives

that attempt to foreclose the potential for alternatives.

2 For example, see Peter Riddell's The Thatcher Era and Its Legacy or Dennis Kavanagh, Thatcherism and
British Politics: The End of Consensus?









Influenced by Smith's argument, I maintain that the relationship between postwar

politics and the production of narrative literature centers on the circulation of four

ideologies that create a vision of Englishness in the postwar period. Literary narratives

respond to these ideologies, elevating them to myths in the sense that Nancy establishes

in The Inoperative Community as "the will of community" (57). Through this

acknowledgement of these myths, the literary narratives thus reveal the limits of these

ideologies by presenting the alternatives that the myths have attempted to destroy. The

four ideologies of central concern to the postwar narrative are the end of consensus,

Powellian racism, Thatcherite individualism, and Blarite New Britain. Each emerges

from a perceived crisis, especially postwar decline, black immigration, and the end of the

imperial project, and attempts to satiate the dangers of the crisis. The narratives and

genres under examination acknowledge the hegemonic organization of these political

myths and then imagine alternative utopian communities that propose a way to rethink

the collective identities that organize postwar society.

My understanding of the relationship between these myths and the imaging of

community by the narratives of the postwar also develops from a polyvalent

understanding of the meaning of community. Examining the metaphysical categories of

being, singularity, and community, Jean-Luc Nancy deconstructs community to see it not

as fusion, but instead as political resistance. Importantly, the transcendence that Nancy

sees as possible is to come; it is the utopian potential. He suggests understanding the

community to come through literary communism. In forming this definition, Nancy

differentiates between myth, which we have previously defined as "the will of

community"(57), and literature as interruption, but that which does not know what it has









interrupted (72). For my study, it is important not to view narrative as myth, not to view

it as a unifying force for community. Instead, I want to examine how narrative as

literature can interrupt and thus open the space for the community to come, or what I am

calling alternative communities. I intend for the semantics of this phrase to establish a

relationship similar to what Nancy sees between myth and literature. Whereas myth,

which may very well be destructive and false, creates a fusion, literature causes the

disruption. Moreover, as in Nancy's formulation of an understanding of literature

requiring an understanding of myth, the alternative community can only be realized

through its disruption of a unified, hegemonic version of community. In my argument

this unified version is defined through the political myth that dominates the period of the

narrative's production.

The status of the zombie, the gangster, and the immigrant as the vehicle for the

imaging of the alternative community develops from Giorgio Agamben's naming of the

actors of the coming community-Tricksters or fakes, assistants or 'toons. These very

real actors named by Agamben are on the periphery, those who struggle to create a name

and a place for themselves within a community. The struggle itself, like the interruption

of literature, exposes both the power of dominant hegemonic forms of community and the

selfish benefit for those who dictate the hegemonic order. Each of Agamben's actors is

subordinate within the dominant order, but from that subordinate position arises a new

formation of power aimed at revealing the oppression of hegemonic power and thus

calling for an alternative (A similar relationship to power will be revealed through my use

of spatial theory). Thus, the alternative community embraces those actors like the

zombie, the gangster, and the immigrant who are not easily assimilated into the









organizing myths of political discourse and thus are more readily able to work against the

dominant vision.

The work of the actors of the alternative community suggests a parallel to Walter

Benjamin's messianic thought as both are a means to think potential within an era of

uncertainty. Specifically, the angel of history suggests a potential for explaining the

unthinkable. Benjamin's angel establishes a perspective without the fallacies and limits

of academic, monumental historiography and a perspective able to withstand the dangers

associated with hegemonic discourse. Also, Benjamin's idea of the flaneur opens another

vision of prophetic potential. As a symbol of the bourgeois, the flaneur does not have to

be cognizant of the work actually accomplished nor must the work be static and final to

have effect; the traces that emerge can provide resistance to symbolic power despite the

impermanence. Similarly, the real examples Agamben lays out as exemplars of the

coming community need not be aware of the potential within their actions. Thus, the

work accomplished by the zombie, the gangster, or the immigrant in the creation of

productive alternative communities may not be a part of the collective agenda-instead,

it will arise from the collectivity.

It is impossible to discuss community without interrogating Benedict Anderson and

Raymond Williams, as both address the relationship between community and

nationalism. Anderson's famously named notion, "imagined communities," explains that

while members of a community will never actually encounter each other they share a

deep transhistorical bond based on their believed acceptance within this imagined

community: "Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuiness, but by

the style in which they are imagined" (6). Developing Anderson's framework, Phillip









Wegner explores the workings of "imaginary communities" as a way to understand the

convergence of modernity and the rise of the nation state He argues, "They are not real

in that they portray actual places in the world; rather, they are real ... in that they have

material, pedagogical, and ultimately political effects, shaping the ways people

understand, and as a consequence, act in their worlds" (xvi). Wegner indicates the

progressive potential for reading the creation of narrative communities as the vehicle for

action, as those whose effects cannot be ignored or erased.

Williams also sees potential for understanding the imagination of community. In

The Country and the City, Williams coins "knowable communities" in order to address

the changing social relationships throughout the later half of the nineteenth century.

Because of the rise of industrialization and the metropolis, the transformation of labor

and class made the ability to know a whole community more and more difficult. So

instead 'knowable communities' arose based on communication instead of face-to-face

contact. The emphasis on communication makes the circulation of material, most notably

novels and mass media, essential for the creation of communities. Again within

Williams' formation, we see a new form of community, one based on commonality of

reading and knowledge, come to exist within the pragmatic idea of community, an

organization of similar individuals yoked together because of their proximity. The

'knowable community' opens up the idea of community, emphasizing mobility and

circulation, but it presents new problems in terms of language. Williams responds in

ways similar to Nancy, who claims literature is an interruption but then does not explain

how to fully recognize or conceive of the interruption. Williams sees novels by such

writers as George Eliot and Thomas Hardy providing new ways of looking at the









language of farmers, craftsmen, and other working people and thus providing a new way

to look at class structure within the 'knowable community.' Like Williams's literary

examples, the narratives under examination in this project introduce new ways to look at

the language of gender, sexuality, and class.

In "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory," Williams begins the

project of rethinking the examination of class through his formation of a methodology for

cultural studies. Questioning the relationship between productive forces and social

relationships, Williams challenges the notion of a totality for cultural theory. He sees this

totality as hegemony or as he defines, "a whole body of practices and expectations; our

assignments of energy, our ordinary understanding of the nature of man and his world. It

is a set of meanings and values which as they are experienced as practices appear as

reciprocally confirming. It thus constitutes a sense of reality for most people in the

society" (9). From hegemony derives the historical practice of the "selective tradition,"

what the dominant culture chooses to emphasize of their tradition and past. Because of

the 'selective tradition,' Williams wants cultural theorists "to recognize the alternative

meanings and values, the alternative opinions and attitudes, even some alternative senses

of the world, which can be accommodated and tolerated within a particular effective and

dominant culture" (10). The alternative is also opposed to the dominant culture, but it

can lead to residual and emergent forms of culture. The residual are the lived practices of

some previous social formation, whereas the emergent represents the creation of new

practices and formations. My readings of the alternative communities in the three generic

traditions show how Williams' cultural practices take on concrete form.









The issue of methodology that reappears in these studies of community necessitates

a focus on narrative theory and the circulation of narratives. Thus, each chapter of the

project will contribute to an overall genre study of narratives of community, permitting

me to trace the historical development of each genre. This focus on genre will encourage

an examination of specific narrative similarities, repetitions, and reiterations within the

genres. Frederic Jameson most informs my desire to combine narrative theory with a

politically and culturally aware study. At the very start of The Political Unconscious,

Jameson identifies "the priority of the political interpretation of literary texts" (17) as the

inevitability of all reading and interpretation. Citing Deleuze and Guattari's idea of

schizo-analysis, Jameson hopes to shift the question of literary interpretation from the

question of what does the text mean to the question of how does the text work. The

traditional focus of interpretation has many of the limits of Nancy's idea of myth; this

mode of interpretation reveals the always already read nature of texts because of the

layers of cultural influence the individual reader brings to the text. The desire to look at

how texts work does not mean an immediate escape from the limits of mimetic

interpretation, but through the political examination, readers can acknowledge the

historical and cultural influences to themselves and the texts.

By the act of sorting and grouping, genre is always a political and historical

construct dictated by the literary market and the modes of interpretation. My desire to

establish a politically aware narrative theory in my project necessitates acknowledging

how these texts circulate, a product of both the market and the criticism. First in terms of

theoretical circulation, the generic genealogy must explain how the community between

temporal periods arises. Community is itself a narrative, the narrative most able to









withstand the violence of postwar society in a productive rather than dismissive way. I

contend that the resilience, adaptability, and accessibility of narratives of community

make them an attractive and necessary field of study. In order to examine the circulation

of narrative, the representative novels and films within each generic tradition have

reached a wide audience, or in other words continually circulate.3

The final theoretical school that influences and shapes my study of community is

spatial theory. Community needs to be examined as a spatial construct, as a means to

understand spatial environments, such as cities. Also, the imagining and understanding

of space reveals the affects on the individual and the collective. Space has a deep

connection to an understanding of culture, particularly how the construction of the

environment shapes the community. Such a focus reveals just as much about the

environments as the people. In Out ofPlace: Englishness, Empire, and the Locations of

Identity, Ian Baucom argues that space and place in literature are essential concepts for

the creation of identity. Baucom looks at the British government's attempts to make

Englishness correspond to race and not space. Baucom challenges the governmental plan

by looking at the identity shaping forces of particularly English places. In these

instances, he explains the meaning of place and space.

Place here is not a mere expanse but something that contains and communicates a
certain type of tradition. Whereas space in the legal discourses on Britishness
serves as the basis for a system of categorization, in this mediation of Englishness
place grounds a system of education. Where British space bestows only a common
name on all the empire's subjects, English place [. .] reforms the identities. (18)





3 One possible way to look at the commercial circulation is through the culture of literary and film prizes in
Britain, since many of the novels and films in my study have appeared on award lists and been nominated
for excellence.









Baucom reveals the nuances associated with an understanding of the spatial construct of

Englishness and identity under post-imperialism.

The spatial theories of Henri Lefebvre and David Harvey also contribute to my

understanding of urban spaces. In The Production of Space, Lefebvre establishes a three-

part schema for thinking about space, which he labels "spatial practice," "representations

of space," and "representational space" (38). These three correspond to the experienced,

the perceived, and the lived (or as Harvey prefers, the imagined). The representational

spaces, the imagined spaces are the work of the alternative community.

Developing a similar tripartite system, Harvey, in Justice, Nature, and the

Geography of Difference, analyzes Raymond Williams's understanding of space, place,

and environment. He asserts that this tripartite system develops in Williams's novels

because it did not in his cultural theory. Harvey attempts to correct Williams's divisions

by viewing theorization "as a continuous dialectic between the militant particularism of

lived lives and a struggle to achieve sufficient critical distance and detachment to

formulate global ambitions" (44). Through militant particularism, Harvey sees a way "to

create a critical space from which to challenge hegemonic discourses" (101). Harvey

distrusts viewing those who many label as "voices from the margins" as having more

authentic and thus more revolutionary positions. In order to avoid turning the zombies,

gangsters, and immigrants, the actors of my alternative communities into these

romanticized marginalized voices, I must look at the particularity, especially spatially of

their concerns. Harvey suggests a "theory of historical-geographical materialism" as the

way to avoid romanticizing the marginalized, since space defines difference and

otherness and is thus the locus of agency and the possibility of emancipatory politics.









Primarily, he argues that discursive activity is the activity of mapping space. His idea of

mapping allows a revision of ideas of power, social relations, and the imaginary (112),

thus providing a method for thinking about actors such as Agamben's exemplars of the

coming community. Both Harvey's and Lefebvre's theories of space allow us to question

how the spaces of the city and the country in these genres contain the various layers of

meaning that makes the imagining of alternatives possible. Perhaps better than any other

space, the city provides a contested space where the dominant hegemonic discourses and

the alternative communities must coexist.

London specifically is the exemplar of the alternative community because it can

never be simply mapped, labeled, or identified. Instead, it is always a place undergoing

constant imagination and reimagination. As Julian Wolfreys explains, "London thus only

reveals or gives itself, if it does this at all, through acts of self-disclosure and inscription

in the very appearance of resisting its own revelation. In its most apparently familiar

appearances, there remains nonetheless the invisible, the undecidable, self-disclosure

arriving, to paraphrase Heidegger, as that very aspect which conceals itself" (9).

Wolfreys shows that we cannot merely say London is a place, instead "it takes place" (4).

History is essential to an understanding of the complexity of London, but this is a history

composed of layers of meaning inscribed by the events, the inhabitants, and all other

traces that compose the city. The work of the alternative community is inherently tied to

not only a realization of London's incomprehensible totality but the simultaneous attempt

to imagine its singularities. The narratives that define each generic strand of the

alternative community understand that their creation and realization are always









momentary, are always traces of the historical and political understandings that constitute

their existence and their place within the world.

Chapter 2 explores narratives of disaster and apocalypse. I begin by examining that

ways Mary Shelley and H.G. Wells establish a specifically British tradition of critical

apocalypses that is then developed by postwar writers like George Orwell and John

Wyndham. The postwar writers emphasize the role of nature in understanding

overwhelming oppressive political realities. This tradition is built upon in J.G. Ballard's

depiction in High-Rise of a stagnated post-imperial Britain. By relating Ballard's

depiction of the spatial organization of the residential skyscraper to Rem Koolhaas's idea

of delirious social formations, I examine how identity categories, such as nationality,

class, and gender, are spatially constructed and thus can be rethought and reformed

through a new imagination of community. I then look at Ballard's recent novel,

Millennium People, to more fully understand the influence of spatiality on identity.

In the next part of Chapter 2, I examine Martin Amis's critique of Thatcher's

hierarchical Britain in London Fields. I argue that Amis, using a model much like

Derrida's nuclear criticism, interrogates how the historical stages of capitalism,

represented by the three main characters, create a class hierarchy that prevents all

individuals, from high to low, from truly understanding their place in the postmodern

world. Instead, Amis concludes that a collective, non-hierarchical organization of

community, one that protects innocence, experience, and originality, is necessary.

In the final section of Chapter 2, I examine filmmaker Danny Boyle's portrayal of

Blair's conservatism in 28 Days Later. Boyle brings together images of Empire, historic

disaster, and canonical Postwar British films to critique the nostalgia in Blair's rhetoric









and agenda. Boyle understands the political potential for British apocalyptic narratives,

repeating the ontological interrogation of John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids, the

effects of violence in A Clockwork Orange, and the alienation characteristic of his

previous film Trainspotting. Like Amis and Ballard before him, Boyle uses this heritage

of images to question the ideal political and governmental organization for British

society, ultimately concluding that a return to a rural landscape is needed for new social

formations to emerge. Ultimately, the apocalypses in this narratives-created by urban

development, imminent nuclear war, and biological warfare-lead to the destruction of

reigning racial, class, and gender divides, and even more significantly, enable alternative

communities to come into being.

Chapter 3 surveys the gangster film during the Postwar period. I trace the

development of the ideas of Englishness and masculinity in the genre. I begin with the

Ealing comedies, such as The Lady Killers, where a supposedly intelligent gang of

criminals fail because of their inability to understand the devotion to Empire of their

elderly victim; then, I look at bohemian culture in films such as Performance; finally, I

compare the depiction of individuality and hypermasculinity, epitomized by the 1980

film The Long Good Friday, with the vision of collectivity in 1990s films such as Guy

Ritchies's Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Jonathan Glazer's Sexy Beast.

Both of these films respond to "New Laddism," which emerges from men's magazines

and attempts to recoup an idea of masculinity after the women's movement. These more

recent films explore popular culture's influence on national and gender identities and

introduce a more flexible vision of masculinity, one that struggles to protect a new

familial collective. In Lock, Stock, the gang of lads has to understand their cultural and









gender heritage in order to survive and prosper. Ultimately, this lesson is taught by the

two literal fathers in the film, emphasizing that even in a hypermasculine underworld

protection of innocence and education of youth is necessary for survival. Likewise, in

Sexy Beast, violence is only acceptable for protection of the non-traditional family unit,

creating a version of masculinity that fosters criminal success because of a more

circumvent understanding of the traditional power structures of gender relationships.

Both films use popular music to enter the critiques of masculinity and familial

responsibility into the popular cultural milieu.

Each of the second generation immigrant novels in Chapter 4 is by and about

Anglo-Indians attempting to find a balance between the Indian cultures their parents

desperately hope to preserve and the English culture in which they have grown up. Hanif

Kureishi's The Buddha of Suburbia (1990) and Zadie Smith's White Teeth (2000) both

follow young adult protagonists attempting to find a balance between their family's

desires and their own identity. Each text is a specific type of Bildungsroman, paralleling

the coming of age of the second-generation immigrants with the assimilation of Indian

culture into mainstream English culture. The texts deal with issues of sexuality,

marriage, and feminism to show the changing ideals from the conservative parents to the

more progressive children. Each text addresses some of the most stereotypical aspects of

English popular culture, such as pop music and football, highlighting the pervasiveness of

a mass national culture. These texts all focus on the types of places under scrutiny in

Baucom's work. Each of these texts integrate popular culture as a narrative technique,

bringing an already specific and established narrative to the texts and also making the

texts speak to an audience trying to come to terms with hybridity in a myriad of forms.









By contrasting the suburbs, where immigrants have been literally pushed to the

margins, with London, where the desires for discovery are fostered, these novels see

sexuality as a rhetoric for navigating the world. Once the protagonists understand the

divide established by the built city environment, the mythic nature of the idea of

homeland becomes apparent. These second-generation immigrant protagonists transform

their lack of a home, their hybridity, into a constant ability to feel at home anywhere

because they live within a global community defined by hybrid cultures. Making a

global London overtly obvious, these protagonists show the benefits of cultural

acceptance and collaboration. These texts emphasize that within a global society, culture,

space, and community are entwined.














CHAPTER 2
APOCALYPTIC COMMUNITIES: THE DISASTER AND REEALATION OF CLASS
AND SPACE

The apocalyptic types-empire, decadence and renovation, progress and
catastrophe-are fed by history and underlie our ways of making sense of the world
from where we stand, in the middest.

-Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending

This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past.
Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps
piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would
like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.

-Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History"

A Genealogy of the Postwar Apocalyptic Narrative: The Influences and Examples of
John Wyndham and George Orwell

As Bill Masen, the protagonist of John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids (1951)

attempts to come to terms with the disaster that has left most of society blind and thus

easy prey for the triffids, mobile and poisonous plants, he describes his surroundings and

the feelings that they evoke: "To the left, through miles of suburban streets, lay the open

country; to the right, the West End of London, with the City beyond. I was feeling

somewhat restored, but curiously detached now, and rudderless" (38). Masen's ability to

see grants him an already privileged perspective that permits him to survey his world and

to decide how the spaces of the "open country" and "the City" will affect his psyche. His

reaction to the spaces epitomizes a trend throughout postwar British apocalyptic

narratives to view the country and nature as redemptive, especially in the face of

overwhelming and incomprehensible disaster. The influence of spatiality on the causes









of and responses to disasters reveals the political critique of apocalyptic narratives. In

this case, Masen yokes his left with the country and his right with the City, responding to

the first with feelings of restoration and the latter with feelings of detachment. The

political connotations of left and right emphasize that the redemptive country is not a

conservative space of nostalgia, but instead a progressive space; whereas, the City, the

literal space of business within London, represents the repressive ideological realities of

monopoly capital. The novel critiques the oppressive reality of capitalism with the very

premise of the disaster-the insinuation that the greed for profits gained from the

production of triffid oil has propagated this disaster, or on a more aphoristic level that

greed will always lead to some sort of disaster.

While coming to terms with the inevitability of disaster, Masen shows a realist

understanding of the spaces of redemption by mediating the country with the borders of

the suburbs. The suburbs of London emerge for several reasons, each related to class

status. For the lower classes, the suburbs represent a forced expulsion from the city as

the gentrification of previously working-class areas makes housing unaffordable or

unavailable. The council estates on the borders of the city, such as Keith's home in

London Fields, are offered to these displaced Londoners and become emblematic of the

forced expulsion of the poor. For the middle class, the suburbs present an easier

opportunity to become homeowners, as they cannot meet the standard of living required

of life in the city. Conversely, for the upper classes the suburbs present the opportunity

to enter into the city for work or leisure without the alienating realities of living in the

city, but they are left with the most access to mobility and the most choice. For all

classes, the suburbs present the merging of the rural and the urban or at least the borders









of these spaces. The working class are still blocked from nature because of the lack of

leisure time offered in their work schedules; the middle classes and the upper classes

become stagnated in their transient existence in between the two spaces, making both

urban and rural incomprehensible. They can only understand the suburban existence-a

distilled or false version of the urban and the rural. Masen acknowledges the spatial

influence of the suburban, and then he furthers the radical potential of the country by

calling the space "open." Masen suggests endless potential within the rural, a direct

affront to the reality of the suburbs. Masen does not immediately discover absolute bliss

and comfort once leaving the city; despite the reality he finds, the rural spaces foster his

ability to maintain hope for progress and salvation through the authentic relationship he

cultivates within the rural space. Within his initial labeling of the country as 'open,' he

insinuates that the urban is closed, which in the aftermath of the disaster means a site of

danger utterly lacking hope for its trapped inhabitants under constant and unforeseeable

threat from the enemy.

As the feeling of constant threat characterizes the postwar milieu, Wyndham and

his contemporary George Orwell epitomize a trend in postwar British literature of

presenting apocalyptic situations as a means of imagining productive responses to the

oppressive political realities that either cause or result from the disasters. These two

authors imagine a way to escape from their historical reality, the aftermath of World War

II and the Blitz on London, which had left enduring scars on the national psyche

particularly for the inhabitants of London still living amongst the rubble and the

developing Cold War paranoia. The War and the Blitz made the insecurity of London

and the British Empire obvious, thus leaving the English subject fearful of fascist and









communist occupation. Wyndham and Orwell recognize the lingering fear over a threat

to British sovereignty and thus imagined situations where their characters deal with and

to varying degrees find protection from oppression, particularly in a collective

understanding of the redemptive principles of the natural and the country, epitomized by

the imaging of alternative communities that come into being within this protected space.

The focus on the natural permits me to elaborate Patrick Parrinder's argument that "the

rural sanctuary, a fortified island or valley serving as a last redoubt of 'Britishness', is

common to almost all the British disaster novels written in the post-war period of

imperial withdrawal" (212). Parrinder focuses on the important theme of the rural

sanctuary, but he inevitably concludes that the futures imagined within these sanctuaries

are "deluded endgames" (233). I will carefully examine this repeated theme of the rural

sanctuary, but I will argue that these spaces permit a utopian imaging of identity and a

reassessment of the meaning of collectivity.

Overall, the alternative communities imagined by Wyndham and Orwell within the

spaces of the country reveal the postwar tradition of using the apocalyptic moment to

reveal the limits of oppressive politics and the potential of a progressive reorganization of

community. A close reading of the connections between the ideals of the country and the

natural and the imagination of alternative communities in The Day of the Triffids and

Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four (1949) establishes a particular apocalyptic tradition to

which authors of the late twentieth century respond. Thus, examining Wyndham's and

Orwell's novels will help us to better understand J.G. Ballard's discomfort with the

stagnated politics of the late 1970s, Martin Amis's critique of Thatcher's neo-









conservative hierarchies of the 1980s, and Danny Boyle's interrogation of Tony Blair's

nostalgic New Britain of the late 1990s.

The political dimension of British apocalyptic literature emerges in its earliest and

most influential manifestations, primarily through the works of Mary Shelley and H.G

Wells. Shelley's Frankenstein questions the costs and benefits of scientific

experimentation. Shelley, like many of the apocalyptic writers who follow her, was

primarily interested in the effects that technology would have on the individual and thus

the family or the community, but because of her Romantic perspective, she was

particularly interested in how nature contributes to the creation of social relationships.

Through her frame narrative, Shelley juxtaposes two types of discoverers, Robert Walton,

who can celebrate the beauty of the artic and natural and express this beauty to his sister

while simultaneously going about his discovery, and Victor Frankenstein, who becomes

so obsessed with his discovery that he looses contact with the world and, because of his

isolation, ensures his failure. Frankenstein's monster inherits the fate of not being able to

appreciate the beauty of the world and the love of others, and thus, the monster violently

rebels against his creator because, unlike Frankenstein, the monster is a truly romantic

man. The monster represents the danger of allowing science rather than nature to shape

our worldview. Shelley's warning against technology as a way to elevate authentic

experiences within the world becomes increasingly sentient in a twentieth-century world

of Debordian spectacle and Baudrillardian simulation that insinuates that there is no

content or meaning left as a result of commodity culture. Like Shelley, Ballard, Amis,

and Boyle refuse the solipsistic philosophic trends of postmodern simulation and instead

assert the primacy of the collective desires for genuine experiences and relational love.









Wells's view of the apotheosis of scientific rationality and thus his reconfiguration

of the natural as the scientific is not as clearly optimistic and redemptive as Shelley's, but

his scientific romances are the standard barer of the British disaster narrative, particularly

through their impetus to see disaster as the opportunity to envision the world through new

perspectives. Wells's critical apocalypses influence Wyndham, Orwell, and continue to

linger in the minds of all other apocalyptic writers. The specific historical event to which

The War of the Worlds (1898) most directly responds is the conflict that could arise from

African imperial expansion. As evidence that Wells's novels are not ahistorical or

fantastic, his stylistic choice of realism and scientific authenticity become the standard

for critical apocalypses. His alien invaders are not frightening because of their

appearance or size, in fact they are physically limited by Earth's atmosphere, but instead

they are terrifying because of their intelligence and ability, including their attack on the

whole of England, making both London and the countryside spaces of siege and danger

and suggesting that England and thus the ideal of Englishness is in danger. Wells's use

of shifting narrative view points in Worlds not only emphasizes the everyman nature of

his narrative but also places observers who have a variety of backgrounds and influences

in different perspectives to emphasize the potential commonality that a totality like

disaster could achieve. Through these varied narrative voices, Wells establishes the use

of apocalypse as a way to look inward and examine the workings of the society as a

collective, the people as individuals, and the relationships that define humanity when

under attack and thus rapidly changing.

Examining the critical impact of apocalypse in The Sense of an Ending, Frank

Kermode examines how narrative, which is driven by a need for an ending, allows us to









imagine and understand apocalyptic desires from our place in the middle, or in the

historically determined categories of our existence. In other words, Kermode provides a

narrative theory of apocalypse that attempts to understand the communal experiences of

narrative. For Kermode, the radicalism of apocalypse makes it flexible and adaptable to

the crisis filled art and time of modernity. Kermode notes that in literary plotting, the

End has lost much of its momentum and significance because of our desire to "think in

terms of crisis rather than temporal ends" (30). He goes on to note that despite this

desire, "we can perceive duration only when it is organized," which for literature means

plot (45). As narrative is apocalyptic in its need for an end and we can only understand

temporality through narratives, on some level all narratives are narratives of apocalypse;

this statement can be rephrased, all narratives are revelatory or all narratives break apart

to reveal meaning, or it can be violently rephrased that all narrative is a state of crisis and

destruction, particularly of the reigning order.

Kermode's theory of apocalypse responds to the meaning of the word, "revelation

or disclosure," which necessitates an examination of apocalypse outside of the

historically religious definition of the Christian tradition. The ideal of revelation applies

directly to narrative, which itself is the act of revealing through words, plot, and

character. When looking at narratives that are self-reflexively apocalyptic, the act of

disclosure becomes multi-layered. Of all the layers of revelation and disclosure in

apocalyptic narratives, I am interested in the connection between the urban disaster or

threat and the potential for rural renewal, particularly how the hostile or nurturing spaces

can image new formations for community. These alternative apocalyptic communities

are my way of following Kermode's lessons on the End in modernism and









postmodernism. Kermode realizes that there must be rediscoveriess, fruitful revaluation"

and "a new use for the past" (121), understanding that it is not apocalypse that takes place

but that apocalyptic narrative does; apocalypse is thus a kind of angel of history gestalt

experience written in order to produce catharsis from its audience.

Further developing the relationship between the apocalyptic narrative and its

audience, Susan Sontag argues for a need to understand the potential for the historicity of

apocalypse in "The Imagination of Disaster." Sontag reads the "typical science fiction

film" (116) to explain how and why we are continually drawn to the imagination of

disaster. She starts by establishing commonality and difference between the different

manifestations of disaster: "From a psychological point of view, the imagination of

disaster does not greatly differ from one period in history to another. But from a political

and moral point of view, it does" (130). According to Sontag, we are all yoked together

by a similar emotional response and fear toward disaster. Because of this collective

response, the threat of disaster can make heterogeneous communities arise because the

differences of race, class, and gender are forgotten in favor of this pressing mutual

reaction. We must remember that the apocalyptic narrative is occasional, an event in

which we cannot speak of the political as such because we do not have the language to

communicate the direct representation of the apocalyptic situation. If we understand the

postwar period as Sontag summarizes, "an age of extremity" (130), we must understand

that the historical and political causes, conflicts, and uses of disaster matter greatly

despite the verisimilitude of emotional responses. In this divide, Sontag explains the

dangers of simply celebrating the science fiction film's depiction of disaster as spectacle

and entertainment. She explains, "the imagery of disaster in science fiction is above all









the emblem of an inadequate response. I don't make to bear down on the films for this.

They themselves are only a sampling, stripped of sophistication, of the inadequacy of

most people's response to the unassimilable terrors that infect the consciousness" (130).

Sontag establishes that the desire to imagine the disaster is to escape from the very real

terrors and violence of the world. The disaster (violent battle, nuclear annihilation, or

pandemic) is easier to deal with than the real terrors of global capitalism that cause not

only these examples of disaster but the continual class conflict waged throughout the

world. Each of the texts in the apocalyptic tradition under examination attempts to use

these imagined disasters as the catalyst to reveal the ways the dangerous forces of global

capitalism rule society. Then, like Kermode explains, from the midst of the disaster,

these narratives attempt to make sense of or reveal the potential for our world, even when

threatened by "unremitting banality and inconceivable terror" (Sontag 130). Wyndham's

and Orwell's novels reveal the process of accepting terror as the norm and thus finding

ways to adapt and reconfigure the self and the community, particularly through the spaces

of redemption, such as the home that Bill and Josella cultivate in Triffids and the

clandestine "natural" love den that Julia and Winston visit in Nineteen Eighty Four.

The Day of the Triffids presents repeated critiques of the effects of industrial

capitalism and the imperial nation state on the status of the individual as a self-contained

and self-sufficient ontological being, ultimately presenting the cottage home and the

collective island society as models of socialist productivity. Wyndham's novel, like the

contemporary adaptation 28 Days Later, challenges the zombie genre by linking the

monstrous to anti-social, non-egalitarian behavior. While the triffids are the immediate

enemy, the zombie-like humans who retain their consciousness but lack even the ability









to provide for themselves or participate in the work required for the preservation of

society present an equally dangerous situation. The sighted though do not necessarily

flourish, as exemplified by the failed Christian community and the violent military

communities, but can flourish by adapting a socialist agenda based on communal

acceptance and respect, or by not becoming the monstrous, anti-social force fighting

against collective salvation.

Even the main characters must understand the necessity of collectivity. Masen

develops from a selfishly individualistic scientist before the disaster to a thoughtful and

able caretaker of the land and the people who depend on him. Masen explains his own

transformation as the journalistic, first person narrator of Triffids, which is essentially his

path towards a non-traditional family and their decision to move to the community on the

Isle of Wight. As he ends with an epilogue that starts, "And there mypersonal story joins

up 1 i/h the rest. You will find it in Elspeth Cary's excellent history of the colony" (228),

he emphasizes that the path they have followed is the logical progression to a collective

and redemptive organization for a successful community, and as Masen has discovered

the workings of the natural world alongside the reader, he asks the reader to come to the

same logical conclusion about the best path for the protection of humanity. He unselfishly

ends his individual narrative once it has accomplished the collective agenda. As his

metamorphosis begins shortly after the disaster, Masen critiques how segregated and

useless individuals have become as a result of industrial capitalism. He says, "I knew

practically nothing, for instance, of such ordinary things as how my food reached me,

where the fresh water came from, how the clothes I wore were woven and made, how the

drainage of cities kept them healthy. Our lives had become a complexity of specialists"









(12). Masen, unlike the parasitic neo-feudal fascist Torrence, understands the reality that

all humans have been left like the blind in terms of useful labor, and he does not wish to

manipulate the non-sighted based on fear.

In Wyndham's apocalypse, the privilege of vision is not based on sight but the need

to have foresight of the outcomes of our reliance on technology and our cultivation of the

unnatural. Masen explains, "I don't think it had ever before occurred to me that man's

supremacy is not primarily due to his brain, as most of the books would have one think.

It is due to the brain's capacity to make use of the information conveyed to it by a narrow

band of visible light rays" (93). Wyndham realizes the fragility of the visible and

correlates this tenable protection to the ever-present danger for corruption or destruction

that surrounds postwar society. By arguing for the supremacy of human visibility based

on its connection to ontological identity, Wyndham asks for a more complete and careful

understanding of the way English society works, the way Englishness influences the

subjects identity within the society, and the historical and political construction of

England and Englishness.1

The spaces of the farm and the colony represent a revitalization of authentic

collectivity and relationships instead of the isolation and specialization of individual

identity characteristic of pre-disaster England. Wyndham's critique cannot neatly be

summarized as John Clute does, explaining that Wyndham gave an "eloquently middle-

class English response to the theme of Disaster" (667). To do so would be to look at the


1 Wyndham's critique of vision relates to James Joyce's famous phrase in the Proteus chapter of Ulysses,
"ineluctable modality of the visible." Stephen Dedalus struggles to understand the influences of
nationalism, class, and gender on his self-identity. The narrative of the bildungsroman functions similarly
to the narrative of apocalypse by imagining new social relations, but the main difference is that the
bildungsroman is based primarily n the imagination of the individual's place within the new, while the
apocalyptic is based on collective imagination of new experiences.









superficially English icons, the pubs and the condemnation of those who hope that the

Americans will come and save the survivors, as Wyndham's main critique. Instead,

Edmund Morris argues that Wyndham uses social commentary to look at the aftermath of

disaster. Morris's critique indicates that the novel requires an examination of the spaces

that foster collective ideals. He says, "And when disaster happens, the worst is not what

it does to such physical infrastructures as cities and transport systems, but to the precious

intangibles that a democratic government is supposed to protect: the loyalty of lovers, the

upbringing of children, the rule of law, the all-importance of free speech and privacy and

good manners" (xiii). These democratic rights are overtly discussed in Triffids, thus

making them obvious also in the adaptation, 28 Days Later. On the most obvious level,

the variety of communities in Triffids, Christian, military, subsistent, or socialist, thrive

or fail contingent upon the degree to which they protect democratic rights.

The protection of these rights correlates to a vision of history based on Benjamin's

angel of history, which stands amidst the turmoil of the past to piece together an authentic

yet non-monumental version of history that protects human rights. This vision of history

also appears in London Fields through the collective protection of childhood innocence.

In Triffids, Masen's and Josella's union eptimozies this role of history. Masen explains

their first intimate connection: "And we danced, on the brink of an unknown future, to an

echo from a vanished past" (105). The echo means that the past is still haunting them,

but that their union, an embodiment of the protection of love and collective agency, can

bring them into the future. This future eventually leads them to the socialist community

on the Isle of Wight, the ultimate triumph of natural collectivity.









Orwell configures the natural as both a literal and imagined space of respite for

protagonist Winston Smith. As Winston begins to write in his journal and to choose

other behavior that betrays the Party, he longingly recalls his family and a natural

landscape that explains his feelings for his family, or more precisely, "a time when there

were still privacy, love, and friendship, and when the members of a family stood by one

another without needing to know the reason" (28). For Winston, authentic emotion is

derived from the family, but under the Party these emotions would only lead to

unbearable suffering, which for Winston is symbolized by the "large eyes of his mother

and sister, looking up at him through the green water, hundreds of fathoms down and still

sinking" (29). The acute stare of the only people who have truly loved Winston haunts

his memory because of the suffering derived from their constant process of drowning, a

feeling that Winston likewise equates with living under Party control.

Because Winston has begun a process of rebellion, he now has a memory of a

natural space where his family once experienced "privacy, love, and friendship." He

explains his dream: "Suddenly he was standing on short springy turf, on a summer

evening when the slanting rays of the sun gilded the ground. The landscape that he was

looking at recurred so often in his dreams that he was never fully certain whether or not

he had seen it in the real world. In his waking thoughts he called to the Golden Country"

(29). This reappearing image in Winston's dreams is his oneiric house.2 When it

manifests in his thoughts, moving from unconscious dream to conscious reflections, his

name for it "Golden Country" reveals the value that Winston grants to the power of this


2The oneiric house is Gaston Bachelard's label of the atavistic dream world, or as he explains, "a house
that comes forth from the earth, that lives rooted in its black earth" (111).









memory. His initial description of the turf and the summer light does not have any

specificity but represents absolute pleasure through its soothing connotations. As he

continues relating this dream turned memory, he becomes more precise with his

description:

It was an old, rabbit-bitten pasture, with a good track wandering across it and a
molehole here and there. In the ragged hedge on the opposite side of the field the
boughs of the elm trees were swaying very faintly in the breeze, their leaves stirring
in dense masses like women's hair. Somewhere near at hand, though out of sight,
there was a clear, slow-moving stream where dace were swimming in the pools
under the willow trees. (29)

Winston's description develops because of the specific geographical features like the

track, trees, and stream that make a mapping of the space possible. The development

furthers the transfer of this oneiric house from his dreams to his thoughts. For Winston,

this space represents the salvation of "privacy, love, and friendship," and thus his mother

and sister. The simile describing the trees as "women's hair" reveals Winston's

connection between the salvation of loving relationships and the feminine. The natural

becomes related to the feminine for Winston, which means forbidden yet authentic

relationships, as opposed to the violent reality of the Party. The calm, translucent water

of the stream opposes the "green water" that drowns and separates Winston from his

mother and sister. This water is life giving, as the fish and the peaceful sound of the flow

reveals.

The redemptive power of the natural indicated by the water and the correlation

between the natural and the feminine becomes synonymous with rebellion as Winston's

experiences continue. This initial natural memory concludes with a dark-haired girl

approaching him and tearing off her clothes (29). Winston does not respond with

arousal; instead he channels his desire toward rebellion. He explains his interpretation of









her action: "With its grace and carelessness it seemed to annihilate a whole culture, a

whole system of thought, as though Big Brother and the Party and the Thought Police

could all be swept into nothingness by a single splendid movement of the arm" (29). The

culture of violence and oppression characterized by the Party becomes replaced in

Winston's memory by authentic emotional and natural responses.

When Winston and Julia first consummate their relationship, it must occur within

the space of Winston's oneiric house. Julia arranges the meeting, but Winston recognizes

the similarity to his memory. He describes the exact footpath, molehill, trees and stream,

using the same language (102-3). The pure emotional bliss that Winston recognizes in

this natural space derives from the layers of authentic relationships, from his mother to

sister and now to Julia, that the space provides him. For Winston, again like Benjamin's

angel, history is defined by the ability to withstand catastrophe, which in this case means

to maintain loving relationships by understanding their past and then using this

understanding to withstand the terror of the present and thus emphasize the necessity of

authentic community for the future. But he explains that under the Party, "History has

stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right"

(128). The oneiric space contradicts the historical understanding allowed by the Party.

Because his conception of history has expanded beyond the party definition, Winston

starts proclaiming of himself and Julia or anyone living under Party rules, "We are the

dead" (113, 145). Even though Winston and Julia cannot maintain the authentic

relationship protected by their natural environment, they prove, much like Sam and

Nicola in London Fields, a momentary community can reveal the oppressive politics of









the mainstream and image alternative social formations that suggest ways to resist

oppressive realities.

Ballard, Amis, and Boyle each imagine new social formations based on the natural

or the country that resist the political realities of their time. In High-Rise, Ballard

critiques the stagnated class structure of 1970s' England by relating this stagnation to the

space of the metropolitan skyscraper. The narrative structure mimics the spaces of the

building by having three segregated male protagonists representing each of the classes

battling for position within the isolated spaces. Most of the conflict arises over access to

mobility within the spaces, revealing that a stagnated environment will lead to chaos.

The novel offers an alternative to the chaotic struggles of the individual male protagonists

through a collective feminine space within the garden. This natural space fosters a

collective agenda of protection and nurture. Similarly, Amis critiques the hierarchical

class structure required under Thatcher's neo-conservative government by revealing the

oppression of each individual, irrespective of class, when attempting to understand

emotional connections and collective social formations. Amis creates the imagined

natural space, London Fields, to emphasize the collective need to protect innocence and

thus avoid catastrophe. Finally, Boyle's film critiques the nostalgia of New Britain by

following a non-traditional family as it moves from the urban and into different natural

environments, which both attack and protect the collective agenda. Boyle's film

acknowledges its historical and literary influences to emphasize the need to understand

history not as a nostalgic celebration of previous grandeur, but instead as communal

collection of multiple perspectives and traditions.









J.G. Ballard's Buildings and Neighborhoods

In a discussion with Martin Amis, J.G. Ballard explains his reaction to moving

from China to England as an adolescent. He says, "The culture shock is still with me..

.I wasn't prepared for the greyness, the harshness of the light, the small, exhausted,

shattered community, the white faces, the closed nature of English life" (Visiting 79).

Ballard relates the poor quality of light to the condition of English life in order to

emphasize his position as an observer of post-imperial England. The imagery of both the

light and the sterile faces shows that he recognizes the stagnation that characterizes the

political and the cultural milieu of postwar English society. In his fiction, non-fiction,

and interviews, Ballard addresses the stagnation within both culture and science fiction.

In terms of the later, Ballard argues that the genre should not accept the conventions,

plots, narrative styles, or standard characters continually borrowed from H.G. Wells,

which have become common place for the genre ("Which Way to Inner Space?" 197).

Instead he creates his narratives, particularly the "disaster novels," as a way to question

the idea of history accepted by the conservative government of the 1960s and 1970s and

the idea of a monolithic ideal of Englishness, which drives the conservative agenda and

does not represent the reality of most of the English, including the foreign-born Ballard.

Because of Jean Baudrillard, Ballard's emphasis on the themes of history and of

identity is often reduced to theoretical phrases like hyperreality. Perhaps as synonymous

to Ballard as disaster, Jean Baudrillard brought Ballard into the postmodernism debate in

1976. In Baudrillard's definition of the three stages of simulacra, natural, productive, and

simulation, he concludes that Ballard belongs to the last order because novels like Crash

epitomize hyperreality and hyper-functionality. Where as the first two divisions of

simulacra correspond to the imaginary of utopia and science fiction respectively, the third









category has no clear imaginary. It is, as Baudrillard explains, "A hallucination of the

real, of the lived, of the everyday-but reconstituted, sometimes even unto its most

disconcertingly unusual details, recreated like an animal park or a botanical garden,

presented with transparent precision, but totally lacking substance, having been

derealized and hyperrealized" (Baudrillard online). The third category of simulacra

establishes the impossibility of any imaginary when the real has been negated. The

nihilism and closure in Baudrillard's reading of Ballard permits academic critics to attack

the novelist on moral grounds and over the tired debate about the categories of fiction and

theory.3

The debate about the relationship between Baudrillard and Ballard typically focuses

on theoretical terminology without closely reading Ballard's novels. However, Nicholas

Ruddick suggests a productive way to rethink Ballard's conception of the real and its

relation to the hyperreal, a reading that reveals Ballard's desires for the future of science

fiction. Ruddick argues, "everywhere in Ballard's so-called disaster fiction ... the real

has not been nor is it in the process of being abolished. Far from it: catastrophe,

whatever form it takes, actually signifies the liberation of a "deep" real (associated with

the unconscious), that has been until then latent in a "shallow" manifest reality (held in

place by mechanisms of repression)" (Ruddick). Ruddick understands that instead of

reducing Ballard's disasters to the abolition of the real, the narratives that imagine

disaster attempt to reveal the effects of oppression on society and individuals. As Ballard

calls for science fiction that explores inner space instead of outer space ("Inner" 197),

Ruddick attempts to understand Ballard's conception of inner space, based on


3 I am talking specifically of the responses to Baudrillard published in Science-Fiction Studies 18.3 (1991).









psychoanalytical theory, as the unconscious. Ruddick's criticism turns to Ballard for

guidance, a method I also follow, but instead of Ruddick's psychoanalytic method, I want

to understand inner space as spatiality and narrative space. Since Ballard connects inner

space to Earth, the biological, and "temporal perspectives of the personality" ("Inner"

198), understanding inner space requires looking at the relationship between

technological spaces and natural spaces, which thus critiques the effects and influences of

the environment on people.

With the environment in High-Rise (1975), Ballard contains the stagnated political

climate of 1970s England within a forty-story luxury apartment building. Its seemingly

homogeneous professional class becomes strictly segregated into three distinct groups

because of the isolation forced on the inhabitants by the stagnation of the building's

organization. As the building welcomes the final tenant and reaches capacity, it

undergoes a disassociation from the outside environment, trapping the inhabitants within

a revolutionary moment where a shattered and segregated community has been forced

together and forced into action. As the protagonists from each social class participate in a

futile battle for mobility within the building, a natural care-giving collective forms as a

representative of the progressive community that could address the stagnation and

alienation characteristic of the idea of England at the moment of the production of this

narrative. This natural care-giving collective can be read as a libidinal utopia, a space

where wild and unspeakable desires are unleashed in response to oppression, so that these

desires can generate an understanding of historical and political stagnation. In this

context, the stagnation derives from the decline of Britain's economy throughout the

1960s and culminating in the 1970s when the simultaneous rise of inflation and









unemployment led to a period popularly know as 'stagflation,' a situation that resulted in

the monetarist and consensus policies of Thatcher.

My reading of Ballard's theorizing of the spaces of the metropolis corresponds to

architectural theorist Rem Koolhaas as both attempt to imagine new delirious social

formations. Koolhaas explores the utopian potential of the high-rise and its "Culture of

Congestion" in Delirious New York. He explains the "true Skyscraper" as the product of

"triple fusion" between the Tower, the metaphoric, and the grid (99). The triple fusion

makes some of the weaknesses of the high-rise into its strengthens: 1) the tower is a

metaphor of repeated virgin sights or a grid of space yet to be conquered; 2) the

congested physical conditions of the high-rise mimics the urban environment outside of

the building, creating hostility and competition; 3) the towers' conquest of the block

reveals isolation within a collective environment. Overall, the difficulty in achieving the

verisimilitude of the high-rise derives from the actuality of the metropolitan lot, what

Koolhaas calls "an unforeseeable and unstable combination of simultaneous activities"

(85). By labeling the lot a zone of simultaneity, Koolhaas emphasizes the link between

grid and tower. Both can serve as the guise for the metropolitan lot since we can never

escape the grid in some form or another, especially in a subdivided tower that is actually

an inverted grid. But the act of separating the two (grid and tower) is only a matter of

metaphoric multiplication. Therefore, the perfect "triple fusion" cannot occur because

the individual parts exist within a feuding simultaneity, each attempting to exert

prominence over the others, but failing because of their entwined nature.4 Koolhaas is



4Koolhaas's attempt to imagine new social formations necessitates that the "true Skyscrapper," as he calls
it, may not exist, but obviously the real spaces of these buildings are always ripe for the potential of
delirious revolution. While developing the delirious logic of high-rise space, Koolhaas theorizes "the
Skyscraper's conquest by other forms of culture" (87) by explaining the feuding simultaneity between the









interested in the way that the concentration of the fusion enables the production of new

kinds of delirious social and cultural relationships. Similarly, the disaster in High-Rise

results from the construction and fusion of the building, particularly its means of mobility

and its relationship to London.

As the novel begins and the thousandth apartment of the London high-rise has been

occupied, allowing the building to reach "critical-mass," so does the disassociation

between the building and its actual existence within London. Through this continually

fracturing relationship, Ballard explores how the isolation and stagnation created by

government and economic policies effects the competition between the internal spaces of

the building, the historical specificity of London, and the alienation and disassociation of

the building and the inhabitants from the city. The narrator describes how Dr. Robert

Laing, one of the three male protagonists, views London on the day when the building

has been filled: "For all the proximity to the City two miles away to the west along the

river, the office buildings of central London belonged to a different world, in time as well

as space" (9). Laing's conception of London reveals the importance of the city's history

for Londoners' conception of time. As Laing and the other male protagonists battle for

individual superiority, London becomes "slightly more distant, the landscape of an

abandoned planet receding slowly from [their] mind[s]" (10). This is because the

alienation from the real city forces them to forget historical time and reinvent an inner

time. As the journey to understand this inner time progresses through the battle over the

inside and outside of the Skyscraper. He explains, "Through volume alone, life inside the Skyscraper is
involved in a hostile relationship with life outside: the lobby competes with the street, presenting a linear
display of the building's pretensions and seductions, marked by those frequent points of ascent-the
elevators-that will transport the visitor even further into the building's subjectivity" (88). Koolhaas's
charged language, including words such as hostile, competes, and seductions, indicates that his conception
of the feud is not only of interest to architectural design and designers, but instead highlights for "other
forms of culture" how the Skyscraper profoundly influence our understanding of the world.









occupation of desirable spaces within the building, fewer and fewer people select to leave

the building because they base their understanding on the closure and chaos of the

building, replicating the stagnation characteristic of the novel's moment. The erasure of

historic specificity in favor of a new conception of inner time indicates the need to revise

the monumental ideal of historical agency; but as my reading will show, the call to

rethink time does not mean that the characters will understand this need in productive

ways.

Ballard proposes that the reinvention of a new sense of time within the building can

free the inhabitants from the oppression of historical time, including the stagnation of

their current moment, but he recognizes that this reinvention does not automatically occur

simply by closing the space from the real space. Ballard relates the ability to imagine a

new conception of time, using language similar to Koolhaas, by explaining the feud

between high-rise and city. The narrator relates the assessment of Dr. Robert Laing, one

of the three male protagonists, that in the building "the dimensions of his life were space,

light and the pleasures of a subtle kind of anonymity. ... In effect, the apartment block

was a small vertical city, its two thousand inhabitants boxed up into the sky. The tenants

corporately owned the building, which they administered themselves through a resident

manager and his staff' (9). The sense of anonymity that Laing adores represents an

acceptance of the isolation forced by the verticality of the habitation. The phrase "boxed

up into the sky" indicates an ungrounded, ubiquitous spatial dynamic to life within this

structure and the imagination of a city within the real city of London, inevitably

challenging the allegiance of the inhabitants. With the closing off of the structure from

the outside world, the seemingly homogeneous group of apartment owners (grouped by









the act of bourgeois ownership) fractures into a hierarchical spatial striation. The text

follows a protagonist from each level: Richard Wilder the documentary film maker and

father from the lowest levels, Laing the quintessential professional from the middle level,

and Royal the building designer and upper-class poster boy from the penthouse. The

three social classes eventually fracture into small collective clans, overtaking the

electrical system, garbage disposal, and most importantly the elevators and other

passageways through the building. This class confrontation ultimately leads to

apocalypse as "the old social sub-divisions, based on power, capital, and self-interest"

(62) become apparent to the oppressed people of the lower levels. The overthrow of class

structure leaves the three male protagonists each attempting to secure or protect authority,

particularly through the very logic of power that created the old social structures. The

shift in narrative perspectives between Laing, Wilder, and Royal permits the reader to see

different paths to the same closed and isolated conclusion, thus revealing the futility of

the old logic.

The feud develops emotionally and technologically, but both emphasize the need to

imagine new social organizations. The occasion for the start of the conflict between the

lower-level parents and the upper-level dog owners, the drowning of one of the stately

dogs by Wilder, emphasizes the continual evaluation of the value of life within the high-

rise. On an emotional level, Wilder represents the absolute destruction of emotion

because of his ability to both kill the animal and abandon his family. Wilder's

transformation from an intelligent, hardworking cultural critic and artist into an intensely

individualistic and hedonistic brute requires readers to identify that the building actually

causes this fragmentation within the individual psyche and the social structure. In High-









Rise, the fragmentation is linked to the anthropomorphism of the building, which explains

the locus of violence. The narrator reveals, "Like a huge and aggressive malefactor, the

high-rise was determined to inflict every conceivable hostility upon them" (68). The

agency of the building invents within its bodily inhabitants delirious violence, which then

makes the inhabitants rise-up against the very violence inflicted upon them-Wilder's

assent of the building is the literal manifestation of the subjected body.

Explaining the anthropomorphic nature of high-rise buildings, Jameson elaborates

on Koolhaas's emphasis of the internal logic of the structure: "In Koolhaas, however, if I

understand him right, both elevator and grid stand as methods for dealing with the whole

bulk of pipes and wiring that, taking up some 40 percent of the building's density, stands

as a foreign body unassimilable topraxis orpoesis but that must somehow be addressed

and dealt with in new and original ways" ("The Uses of Apocalypse" 37). Jameson's

explanation presents an analogy between elevator and grid and the veins and arteries of

the human body. As ideals of mobility and organization, the elevator and grid cannot be

simply identified and then ignored because they are the essence or life-giving aspects of

the space. In Ballard's novel, the feud over these idealized spaces emphasizes the need to

imagine a new understanding of the anthropomorphic building. Within the inner

landscape of Ballard's high-rise, the notion of body becomes important as the

individual's and the collective's changing relationship to the space of the building can be

read through the marks and scars created during the confrontations. The accumulation of

garbage in the building's lobby, literally blocking access to the building, the layers upon

layers of graffiti on the walls, preventing any understanding or conveyance of

information, and the war paint on Wilder's naked chest, revealing his primitive inner









psyche, represent the decline and destruction of the old power logic because of the

breakdown of the technological.5

The access to and idea of unrestricted mobility becomes the central issue of the

feud, but simply moving literally to a higher level does not accomplish the ideals of

freedom foundational to mobility. The narrator explains this struggle over mobility:

"Their real opponent was not the hierarchy of residents in the heights far above them, but

the image of the building in their own minds, the multiplying layers of concrete that

anchored them to the floor" (69). The narrator's statement emphasizes the

misunderstanding of the conflict as a feud between warring clans. Instead, as the closing-

off of the building from the surrounding London environment highlights, the battle is

over the effects of the building, the enclosure of the conflict between the nation-state and

technology that manifests through the violent fighting over the elevators and other means

of movement throughout the seemingly perfect Koolhaasian grid of the high-rise, and the

imaging of new social formations less based on individuality, success, and upward-

mobility.

Each of the male protagonists shares a similar faulty logic about the effects of the

building. Wilder feels suffocated because of "the 999 other apartments pressing on him

through the walls and ceilings" (58), and Royal "felt crushed by the pressure of all the

people above him, by the thousands or individual lives, each with its pent-up time and

space" (104) when he ventured to floors beneath the penthouse. Both of them are

overwhelmed because of their individualistic understanding of the relationship between



5 The lingual aspects of these rebellions, particularly the graffiti, illustrates an understanding of techne, not
simply as that which brings forth being insinuating a metaphysical totality, but instead as the productive
qualities of language in the Derridian sense.









themselves and the others in the building; Wilder sees himself as the support beam for the

structures of the building, leaving his chest, which comes to bare the marks of his

primitive understanding, to withstand the pressure of all the others. Wilder becomes the

worker that Laing and Royal had already stereotyped through his imagination of his own

role within the building. Royal thinks completely about individuality in both time and

space, viewing the building as his zoo and the inhabitants as his pets. Laing, as the more

cerebral character, understands the effects of the building mentally but with the same

ridiculous self-absorption as the other two. He wonders "if this huge building existed

solely in his mind and would vanish if he stopped thinking about it" (51). Because of

the congestion and restricted mobility, the assent of the high-rise comes to represent

power and domination over the internal organizational system of both the high-rise and

the developing apocalyptic society. A majority of Wilder's narrative follows him as he

attempts to climb, advancing his base upward as he infiltrates new clans. As time passes,

the anthropomorphism of the building forces the inhabitants into a state of primitive

animality. For example, Wilder believes he becomes animal as Royal thinks he becomes

zookeeper. Wilder's accent causes the descent of his mental and human characteristics

since he becomes more primitive, violent, and vulgar the higher he rises within the

passages of the building; the text suggests that the highest level of intellect can only be

possessed by one entity, and therefore as the building assumes this position, the humans

must resort to a primitive state.

As each of the male protagonists retreats to a phallocentric understanding, Laing

becoming obsessed with having weak women to protect and Wilder presenting himself

not through language but through a literal presentation of his loins, the narrative









perspective becomes more and more circumspect, suggesting a position that only the

building could provide as it is the only omniscient perspective presented. We are asked

to identify the narrator with the building, but the building's omniscience should not be

read in typical science fiction fashion as the enemy to human rationality. Instead, the

building identities the truly brutal and animal within the human and asks what effect

development will have on this inner nature. The narrator explains the philosophy behind

this animal-state: "Even the run-down nature of the high-rise was a model of the world

into which the future was carrying them, a landscape beyond technology where

everything was either derelict or, more ambiguously, recombined in unexpected but more

meaningful ways" (173). This future will most likely never become fully realized

because of the dissociation from the historical real, a connection that is more firmly in

place in Ballard's later novels because the historical real to which they respond is not

characterized by the stagnation of the moment of High-Rise. The historical influence on

the notion of the future necessitates thinking about Ballard's 'inner space' in terms of

temporality.

If we read the time of High-Rise as simply a staging ground for the future, then the

narrative episodes that constitute the novel specifically explain how the past and the

future converge on the present. The present moment of the narrative indicates the

realization of the utopian potential of the future but also with the understanding that the

past makes this idealized time impossible. Instead, the narrative time attempts to

understand what the present means for the future. When the narrator reveals Royal's

belief that the building is "helping the two thousand residents towards their new

Jerusalem" (84), the term 'new Jerusalem' explains the temporal relationship of the









narrative. 'New Jerusalem' celebrates the grandeur of English history and, through its

Blakeian connotation, prophesizes a return to this historical ideal. The idea of 'new

Jerusalem' directly conflicts with the alienated and isolated "new kind of twentieth-

century life" (42) accepted by the passive residents of the building. This passive life

celebrates the stagnation that conceives of a present without a past or a future and does

not threaten the repetition of middle-class life, the monotony of leaving the building

every day for a career that comes to define the individual. In conflict with the

monotonous present of the status quo, Ballard does suggest a future formation of

community beyond the reach of the technological alienation of the building's spaces.

In opposition to the developing misogynist logic of the male protagonist, Ballard

envisions a female collective that emphasizes protection and development based on the

redemptive power of the natural. The typical critical reading of this ending follows the

same logic ridiculed within the novel through the pathetic end of each male protagonist.

Epitomizing this faulty reading, Robert Caserio argues, "This denouement could suggest

a misogynistic fantasy of women's role in any new social order-but like all other

sociohistorical considerations in the novel, this one is ambiguously endorsed and

ridiculed" (304). Caserio's reading takes at face value the manipulative, patriarchal

narratives provided by Wilder and Royal. Since each of these protagonists descends

deeper and deeper into mental and physical despair-Wilder even views killing Royal as

a "game" (196)-their misogynistic fantasy should not be accepted as the only view.

Caserio's reading enacts a similar violence to the text as Royal's sexual games against his

wife and Wilder's rape, both epitomizing the misogynistic fantasy that Caserio wrongly









situates within the female collective.6 The truly productive element of the female,

caregiver collective is that it combines women of each social division through maternal

acts and collective care. As the most ambiguous factor of this collective is an explanation

of how they came together, it is easy to dismiss them as fantasy, but such a reading does

not acknowledge the narrative perspective of the novel. As the building has been

manipulating the male protagonists, the readers only see the women's journey through

the eyes of the men. Instead, we must read the women through their own logic based on

the little evidence that the men do relate.

The masculine desire to rise through the high-rise represents the intensely

hierarchical class structure created by the power logic of capitalism; but the feminine idea

of mobility, marked as pathological by the men, is based on a logic of nomadism and

circuitous social structure. My understanding of Ballard's feminist imagining of

community develops from Meaghan Morris's "cramped space," which is an overtly

feminist understanding of Deleuze and Guattari's notion of minor literature. She explains

"cramped space" as "highly deterritorialized" and "political" (xviii) and may be more

useful for feminist analysis than minor because "the poverty of resources in the 'cramped

space' of the minor means that each individual intrigue connects immediately to politics,

and that the individual matters intensely. So everything has collective value; there is

no room for a 'master' enunciation to develop that is separate from the collective" (xviii).

Morris's notion of individuality highlights an important connection to the collective

because the individual is only fully realized once he or she announces the collective


6 W. Warren Wagar argues for a similar reading of Ballard's novels: "Although Ballard's utopias, one may
contend are mystagogic and escapist and even decadent, they are utopias, and utopias of a post-capitalistic
landscape in which technocrats and tycoons alike would be out of work" (67).









enunciation and thus leaves behind the selfishly isolated master narrative of power. In

Ballard's novel the master enunciation is the patriarchal battle for space, which the

women extinguish through their journey towards new beginnings within the pastoral

landscape of the sculpture garden.

We have already established that the masculine journey through the building is

based on violence and power, but the feminine journey is based on protection and

knowledge. The masculine perspective of the three main protagonists makes this

conclusion difficult to recognize, but the language of the narrator, representing the

omniscience of the building, indicates the reading I am suggesting. Early in the feud over

the elevators, Laing encounters a young woman, a masseuse, who has mastered the

mobility of the elevators. The narrator's explanation of this encounter highlights the

difference between Laing's perspective and the female one. The narrator explains,

"Laing immediately recognized her as one of the 'vagrants,' of whom there were many in

the high-rise, bored apartment-bound housewives and stay-at-home adult daughters who

spent a large part of their time riding the elevators and wandering the long corridors of

the vast building, migrating endlessly in search of change or excitement" (38). Laing's

knowledge is based on the old power logic, and thus he understands the women based on

their worth within that power. They do not embody the work and ingenuity that indicates

success under his logic. To him they are marked by idleness and boredom, worthless to

the economy of power because they are housewives relegated to the domestic realm. He

later comments that another woman, Eleanor Powell, also rides "the elevators up and

down in a fuddled attempt to find her way out of the building" (47). In his conception,

the elevators are utilitarian, so he views the women's rides as illogical because he does









not understand the philosophical journey that the elevators provide for the women.

Believing in a similar logic, Wilder dislikes Helen's "lack of spirit" and characteristic

"passivity" (56). For Wilder, Helen's lack of ambition is justification to leave her and

their sons when he endeavors to rise in the building. The narrator uses language to

establish that the masculine perspective is not the only one in the building. The quotation

marks around 'vagrant' indicate the narrator's effort to attach this diminutive label to

Laing, thus distancing the narrative from Laing's conclusions. The phrase 'migrating

endlessly' has a less clear attribution. In Laing's view the phrase embodies the futility

and failure of the women within the old power logic, but in terms of the narrator's

attempt to imaging new social formation based on mobility, the phrase summarizes a new

logic.

The nomadic movement of women like the masseuse and Eleanor Powell refutes

the stagnated masculine perspective of the three protagonists because, although it can be

viewed as endless, it is really only endless temporally. The constant movement through

the elevators and the building is the women working to establish a collective for the

future. Thus, it is endless in the sense that its accomplishments are not immediately

achieved like the narrow agenda of Wilder's rise to the top of the building. The female

agenda is pushed into the background by the narrative focus on the men. For example,

during Wilder's first journey away from his family and the lower levels, he again

encounters the young masseuse in the elevator. To him she appears "pallid and

undernourished" (76), a statement of the worth that he sees in her similar to Laing's

assessment of her vagrancy. The narrator's analogical statement of her reaction to him

refers to both the masculine and feminine logics. According to the narrator, "she watched









Wilder with interest, as if glad to welcome him to this private domain" (76). If we read

this from Wilder's perspective, it emphasizes his cockiness and belief that women

desperately need men, especially to support them as they stay in the private and domestic

realm. As the feminine logic is based on collectivity, the masseuse's interest in Wilder

shows a willingness to ingratiate him into the group as long as he will abandon his

patriarchal identity. Calling the elevator private is a way to emphasize that understanding

the anthropomorphic nature of the buildings structure will reveal the philosophical

freedom provided by the feminist logic. When she says to him, "'We can travel

anywhere'" (76), she is emphasizing this freedom; but he reads it as insanity because the

elevators simply go up and down to him. As he continues, he "came across a commune

composed exclusively of women" (78). The narrator labels the group as a commune to

express the collective agenda of the women. Because of the women's distrust for the

individuality that Wilder represents, he wrongly explains "their hostility to him, not only

because he was a man, but because he was so obviously trying to climb to a level above

their own" (78). Wilder views their distrust through the old logic, establishing a power

hierarchy between male and female and between the structures of class. He cannot

understand that their hostility is towards the patriarchal behavior and agenda that he

embodies. Even labeling their reaction as hostility, instead of distrust or dislike,

identifies the masculine obsession with violence and confrontation that drives the

narratives of the male characters.

In opposition to the violence that characterizes the masculine experience within the

high-rise, the narrator offers the more philosophical understanding and journey of the









women. The narrator explains Mrs. Steele's concept of the building:

She referred to the high-rise as if it were some kind of huge animate presence,
brooding over them and keeping a magisterial eye on the events taking place.
There was something in this feeling-the elevators pumping up and down the long
shafts resembled pistons in the chamber of a heart. The residents moving along the
corridors were the cells in a network of arteries, the lights in their apartments the
neurons of a brain. (47)

Mrs. Steele presents the anthropomorphic perspective of the building. Unlike Wilder and

Royal, who characteristic of their self-centered attitudes, view the building as a mass of

concrete weighing down upon them, Mrs. Steele comprehends the omniscient perspective

of the building, proving that the women's ability to move throughout the building without

opposition is due to their connection to it. The biological analogies that she explains

concerning the elevators, the residents, and the lights indicate that a theoretical

understanding of the spaces' delirious potential7 aids in the establishment of the feminine

collective. As Mrs. Steele's view is related to the reader through Laing's presence in

their apartment, the obvious explanation of the biological language is simply to attribute

it to Laing since he is a medical doctor. That reading does not hold up because of the

non-clinical biological language, especially pistons, and also because immediately after

this passage, Laing reveals his misunderstanding of Eleanor Powell's elevator journeys.

Further emphasizing that the deeper understanding of the building belongs to the

women, Helen explains to Wilder, "'I think they only exist inside my head'" (53),

referring to the swimming pool and the most coveted part of the building, the roof

garden, also called the sculpture garden. The garden becomes the redemptive home of

the female collective. As the narrative does not provide readers access to Helen's reason



I am again referring to my reading of Koolhaas alongside Ballard, including Jameson's emphasis on the
biological aspects of the passageways of the space.









for her journey into this space, we are left to assume that her journey is philosophical.

She comprehends the existence of these spaces metaphysically, and this understanding,

far from the lunacy that Wilder attaches to her statement, permits her to join the

collective.

Even as the female collective grows and gains agency, the men still do not

comprehend its importance. Royal believes that Mrs. Wilder lives in the penthouse

apartments because she is "a valuable hostage" (158) against Wilder and that she can earn

her keep by working as a house servant. He once again reveals that women are only

understood through economic terms. Royal explains that she "had regained her strength

and self-confidence" (158), which in his terms means a more valuable servant. He does

not realize that this strength and self-confidence, like the excitement she feels after she

joins forces with two young women from the 7th floor to reopen the classes for the

children (137), derives from the collective agency of the women. The women are able to

communicate in a new language, which the men do not understand. Royal notices the

change in communication because Helen "spoke in a flat voice unlike the animated tone

she used with Anne and the other women" (159). Dr. Pangbourne, Royal's upper-class

rival, believes that he controls the women by giving them a primitive language based on

birth-cries. What he does not realize is that the women, already gaining collective agency

through communication, use their biological connection to the building to transform this

naturally feminine language into their own, rebelling against his patriarchal control. The

women who do not become a part of the garden collective are left, like Eleanor Powell,

"wandering about the corridors in a vacant way as if she had lost the key to her mind"

(114); or else the women remain submissive to the patriarchal power like the young









woman, "content to have Wilder's strong arm around her shoulders" (188). These

women are blocked from their place with the others and thus remain oppressed under the

old logic.

The ending reveals the masculine and feminine responses to the oppression caused

by the violent power of the old logic. Wilder's killing of Royal is the stereotypical

masculine response to the violent high-rise space because Royal embodies the elitism and

social isolation that make the building possible. The female collective of caregivers

similarly responds to the violent subjectivity of women under the old logic. The

women's final location in the sculpture garden is essential for their agency. The garden

had previously served as Royal's sanctuary, blocking all others from it because nobody

equaled his social position. The narrator explains that "the doors, chained for so long to

exclude them, were now wide open" (197). Royal represents the chains that have

previously contained the lower classes. Now that they have access, the space becomes

idyllic, "freshly painted" and "vibrant with light" (197). This garden serves to nurture the

innocence of the children, the embodiment of a future that escapes the stagnated

twentieth-century life epitomized by the masculine experience in the building. The

women can never fully realize the historical revisionist aim of their garden collective

because they are too influenced by the old logic. They still wear evening gowns and

aprons, patriarchal symbols. The narrator explains the importance of their dress: "They

seemed to belong to another century and another landscape, except for their sunglasses,

whose dark shades stood out again the blood-notched concrete of the roof-terrace" (198).

While they may seem to represent a return to nineteenth century values of work and

gender, their anachronistic sunglasses indicate a coolness that permits them to withstand









the chaos of their moment. They are figures like Benjamin's angel of history, protecting

the natural innocence of youth, nurturing youth's redemptive possibility, and aiding the

growth of a future egalitarian society. Their primitiveness is a means to protect the

children and thus the potential for a future. They control a fire and carry knives, showing

that they absolutely refuse the passivity expected of them under the old logic. They will

no longer serve the men, but they will nurture them, if like Wilder, they will become one

of their children. Wilder always had a strain in his personality that desired to be looked

after like a child by women, including his wife. When Wilder first approaches the

women, the narrator describes how the "circle of women drew closer" (198). The

circular formation of the women highlights the collective and egalitarian formation of the

women since none occupies a position of authority in this formation.

The circuitousness of their society and their journey through the building

reemphasizes the important understanding of the anthropomorphic building that they

have been providing to readers. When Wilder calls them his "new mothers," he shows

his willingness to become one of their innocent children. As a child, he can no longer use

the women as sexual objects, but instead he must submit to their logic. Wilder's

inclusion into the group emphasizes that this social formation presents a feminist logic

that directly opposes the master narrative. Ballard does not indicate if the feminist logic

will succeed or fail; he simply offers their ideals as a redemptive way to understand

history and inner space. The novel's conclusion resorts back to the 'master' narrative of

Laing, thus explaining that until this late twentieth-century space can come to terms with

collectivity, the disaster will replicate and spread elsewhere.









The narrator ends by telling how the revolution has spread to an adjacent high-rise;

through Laing's evaluation, the narrator reveals, "Laing watched them contentedly, ready

to welcome them to their new world order" (204). The conception of this "new world

order" supports Wagar's argument that "in Ballard's transvaluation of the traditional

Western wisdom, even dystopias are utopian" (54). The ideas apocalypse and dystopia

connect to Jameson's discussions of these very concepts and also his reading of Ballard's

understanding of the historical and the present. He argues that apocalypse "and its

weaker embodiments in the various dystopias are seemingly historical visions-if not

of the very end of history-that have in fact more modest expository functions as ways of

articulating a social structure in full evolution" ("The Use of Apocalypse" 38). As

Ballard's careful explication of the spaces of the metropolis continues throughout his

fiction, obviously he views these spaces and their effects as a changing structure and

attempts to understand the evolution through a variety of revolutions.

By looking briefly at Millennium People (2003), we will see how Ballard addresses

the cultural ideals of the moment in order to explore how a conception of history

influence the understanding and existence of space. The conception of millennium has

two poles for the novel. On one side it represents the apocalyptic and the revelatory as

they pertain to Ballard's project; but it also refers to the nostalgic Millennium Project

conceived by the Blair government, particularly because the most visible icon of the

Project, the Millennium Wheel, also known as the London Eye, a carnival ride that

supposedly provides the guest with a transcendent perspective of the metropolis, plays a

pivotal role in the narrative. The centrality of this space indicates that while the middle










class revolution in Chelsea Marine, a gated-community,8 is on the surface a revolt against

the pacification of the middle class by the responsibility to property taxes, school fees,

maintenance charges, parking fines, and the institutions of culture that instill social

responsibility and make for a docile citizen, the actual revolution that Ballard calls for is

a more complete, less carnivalesque, notion of the historical present.

The historical passivity of the Millennium Project assumes that the Millennium

Wheel provides the transcendence needed in a meaningless world. The narrator, a

psychologist named David Markham, provides the running commentary on the status of

ideas in the twenty-first century. He joins with a group of revolutionaries, Kay Churchill

who leads the dissatisfied homeowners in their plight against the management company,

tourism, and the film industry and Richard Gould, who carries out so-called "meaningless

violence" by bombing Heathrow and the Tate Modern and killing a television star; for

Gould, only the meaningless could provide meaning in a meaningless world; Gould is the

spokesperson for Baudrillard. Markham is the foil to Gould's philosophy, looking for

meaning through relationships with others. Before Markham can realize his role as foil,

he has to go through a philosophical journey with Gould. After hearing the news of the

Tate bombing, David comments, "The city was a vast and stationary carousel, forever

boarded by millions of would-be passengers who took their seats, waited and then



8 The gated community is the embodiment of the New Urbanist movement, which Andrew Ross defines as
"mixed-housing, mixed-use, walkable town with small lots, interconnected streets, and an identifiable
center and edge" (73). Ross's analysis develops from his experiences living in the infamous planned
community at Disney World, Celebration. While the cultural and historical specificity of Celebration does
not relate to Chelsea Marina, the historical background for the development of such New Urbanist
communities does. Ross explains that these communities emerge out of the blurring of lines between
private and public. He explains that in the aftermath of the Cold War, moreoe and more of what has been
public sector was being turned over to private and corporate interests" (311). As the threat of communism
and nuclear annihilation dissipated with the end of the Cold War, the economic forces found a way to
control the middle classes through privatization of urban space.









dismounted. I thought of the bomb cutting through another temple of enlightenment,

silencing the endless murmur of cafeteria conversations. Despite myself, I felt a surge of

excitement and complicity" (159). David notices that the tourism and perspective

promised by a spin on the Millennium Wheel is the commonplace position of the

inhabitant of the postmodern city, a passive, undeveloped acceptance of a cultural

understanding based on nostalgia and chatter. The attack on the National Film Theater

leaves the Millennium Wheel carrousels covered with black soot, blocking this false

transcendence and asking the revolutionaries to understand their positions without the aid

or control of cultural and governmental influences. In addition, the attack on the Tate

was meant for the Millennium Bridge, hoping to return the wobble that caused its

repeated closure after its first opening and made it a symbol of the failure of the Project.

David's admission of the uncertainty of perspective parallels Joseph Conrad's

anonymous frame narrator in Heart ofDarkness. Reviewer John Gray notices the

relationship between Ballard and Conrad, saying, "this mesmerising novel about a world

on the brink of despair could be read as a Conradian fable of loss and dereliction set on

the banks of the Thames" (Gray). Gray dismisses this relationship because he wrongly

says that Ballard's world "lacks the social structures that Conrad's characters took for

granted" (Gray). Gray gets at the root of Conrad and Ballard's projects, which is an

attempt to explain the inner workings of individuals and communities under the

tumultuous conditions of modernity and postmodemity, respectively.

Overall, Ballard attempts to counteract the stagnated and nostalgic historical

agenda of the moment of each text. For Ballard the crisis is not the middle class

revolution of High-Rise and Millennium People, which at most may temporarily shut









down the economy, but instead a society where the hyperreal provides the only

understanding of the individuals' relationship to the community. Reconsidering the

Ballard-Baudrillard connection, Bradley Butterfield explains that both agree with Donna

Harraway that to be human is to be part machine, but these technologies are controlled by

multinational capitalism (74). He concludes, "In a world dominated by immeasurable

simulacra despite the continued existence of the body, Ballard's and Baudrillard's

aestheticism claims social relevance by demonstrating in guerrilla fashion interventions

whereby one fiction is played against another as a means of challenging the darkest

secrets and silent hopes of the social imaginary" (74). In Millennium People the fictions

that play out against each other are Gould's dangers obsession with "meaningless acts"

and Markham's questioning need for answers. Markham literally needs to know who

was responsible for the death of his ex-wife, but through his immersion into Gould's

world and the revolution within Chelsea Marina, Markham realizes that he needed to

understand how the historical and political influence the technology of the body.

Markham transitions from thinking of women as sexual objects and relating to men

through their mutual sexual experiences with women to having compassion and

connection with others. Like Markham, Wilder undergoes a similar transformation about

the idea of power. Through both of these men, Ballard offers a new social imaginary

based on collectivity, authenticity, and redemption.

Martin Amis's Millennarian Fears and Hopes

Like Millennium People, Martin Amis's London Fields (1989) deals with the shift

from the twentieth to the twenty first century. In a 1995 interview with Graham Fuller,

Martin Amis explains his interest in setting the novel on the precipice of the coming

millennium. He says, "You do feel that history is approaching a climax and that all over









the world one is seeing the classical symptoms of millennarian anxiety and fever:

fundamentalism, strange weather, et cetera. I think 1999 will be the year of people

behaving strangely" ("The Prose"). The majority of Amis criticism responds to the

strange behavior of postmodern narrative, questioning the status of authorial intention,

accuracy, and control. While Amis certainly does address these metafictional topics, and

critics like Brian Finney, who analyzes Amis's depiction of the sadistic aims and desires

of writers and readers, and Peter Stokes, who explains how Amis's postmodernism

relates literary discourses and social discourses to problematize the power of the authorial

voice, have successfully explicated how the games that Amis plays challenge narrative

conventions, often there is not much attention given to the historical climax that Amis

sees causing this strange behavior of writers, characters, and perhaps most importantly

society. Instead of reading Amis as a stylist who includes some satirical elements, I wish

to reverse the emphasis and read Amis as a satirist who uses style to reinforce his critique

of the "strange behavior" of late-twentieth-century Britain, particularly the Thatcher

Government's destruction of the welfare state.

The obvious climatic historical events surrounding the novel are the end of the

Thatcher government and the impending collapse of the Soviet Union, but the historical

climax most notably haunting London Fields is the potential of a nuclear holocaust. As

the themes in Einstein's Monsters, Time's Arrow, and London Fields show, Amis views

himself and other writers of his generation as part of the nuclear age. Amis embraces his

position within the nuclear age9 and creates a nuclear rhetoric that goes beyond the Cold

War terms of superpowers, armaments, disarmaments, and deterrence, a rhetoric he titles

9 In "Apocalyptic London in the Fiction of Martin Amis," Magdalena Maczynska labels Amis's
relationship between nuclear crisis and the spaces of the city as Amis's "insidious apocalypse."









"Thinkability" in the introduction to Einstein's Monsters. A nuclear apocalypse provides

a potential destruction of narrative. In "No Apocalypse, Not Now," Derrida explains that

literature, which he labels as a stockpile, has always belonged to the nuclear epoche.

Because of the possible and absolute destruction of the archive, Derrida argues we are

forced to see literature's "radical precariousness and the radical form of its historicity"

(27). To get at this radicality, Derrida calls for "nuclear criticism" which goes to the limit

through its self-destruction and bursting apart. In London Fields, Amis conducts an

experiment in Derrida's "nuclear criticism" by looking at the radical potential for the

novel to burst apart the controlling narratives of class and gender. The bursting apart

occurs through the creation of a community that embraces the utopian destruction of

hegemonic narratives within the lived environment of London.

By setting London Fields in an imagined future, Amis focuses on the apocalyptic

promise of revelation, reaching a higher state of existence and understanding, or in other

words the absolute completion of narrative, which could be disaster or salvation: disaster

leading to salvation, or salvation revealing the real cause of disaster. He creates a

rhetorical space, named confusingly also London Fields, which, by existing within the

real London, shows the inability for individuals to escape the spatial reality of class and

state control. The rhetorical gesture supports James Diedrick's claim that "at the

allegorical level the novel is an apocalyptic jeremiad about the world's decadence and

exhaustion at the end of the century" (157). Following through on the complaint, the

novel offers London Fields as the space that permits and necessitates the utopian

possibility of the destruction of narratives based on hierarchical power. The novel's title

and the space described in the novel folds the pastoral simplicity of a pre-capitalist time









onto the collapse of the welfare state and the disappearance of socialist sympathies,

hoping to reveal the need for the creation of a community that can burst apart the

controlling class system. Through this community, Amis attempts to recoup the socialist

goals destroyed by Thatcher's assault on the welfare state.

In the novel, Samson Young writes the story of Nicola Six, a self-professed

murderee10 as she identifies, manipulates, and completes her own murder. Samson and

Nicola meet Guy Clinch, the foil, and Keith Talent, the cheat, in a pub called the Black

Cross. Guy an Oxford educated, extremely wealthy and attractive man has everything

but feels like he is nothing, and Keith an uneducated criminal has nothing but feels like

he deserves everything he desires. Nicola manipulates each of these men to behave as

she wishes and thus manipulates Samson who continually cannot prevent himself from

becoming part of the narrative he claims to transcribe. As the backdrop to the murder

story, the millennium quickly approaches. The millennium has several dramatic

situations: the Crisis, a global conflict that could lead to the detonation of nuclear bombs

over Warsaw and Marble Arch (394), the illness of the First Lady of the United States,

Faith, a total eclipse, and the unexplainable torrents of horrendous weather around the

world.

John Dern argues that each of the main characters of London Fields, the murderee,

the cheat, and the foil, are genre characters representing the postmodern, the modern, and

the Romantic. He bases his argument on James Diedrick's reading of Nicola's ability to

manipulate parody-parody of love with Guy, parody of sex with Keith, and parody of

postmodern narrative habits with Samson (Diedrick 148). By extending Diedrick's

10 This term is an example of Amis's devotion to wordplay. The term attempts to revise the idea of the
femme fatale from film noir by giving the temptress more control of the violence that surrounds her.










argument of parody onto literary periodization, Dern reveals "Amis' way of illustrating

that the great forms of the past have been exhausted and need to be redeployed" (7).

Dern's focus on the periodization of form address one of the central questions of the

novel-the ability for narrative to create meaning out of chaos and use this materiality to

accomplish "nuclear criticism." Frederick Holmes explains Amis's dissatisfaction with

the construction of culture; he says, "In thefin de sickle climate of Amis's London

(which seems as much a satiric comment on present day London as an admonitory

prophecy of its future), the only available narrative for constructing the self and

interacting socially are either debased and shallow or hopelessly anachronistic. They are

the product of mass consumerist culture" (55). As Holmes indicates, Amis critiques how

capitalism has effected the social relationships essential for the understanding of identity

and collectivity. Since Amis sees the spectacle of consumerist culture altering the social

fabric, instead of reading each character as representing a literary form, we should look at

how each epitomizes the three stages of capitalism that Frederic Jameson defines through

his spatial analysis of culture."

The correlation between the stages of capitalism and the characters in the novel

emphasizes London Fields as a critique of hierarchical economics. The grid indicative of

market capitalism concentrates power in a central location, which epitomizes Guy who

1 Jameson describes "the first kind of space of classical or market capitalism in terms of a logic of the
grid" (Jameson Reader 277). The analogy of the grid reveals the hierarchical structure clearly on display in
this stage. The second stage that Jameson describes is "the passage from market to monopoly capital, or
what Lenin called the 'stage of imperialism'" (278). During this stage the distance between individual
experience and the conceptualization of experience move further and further apart. Jameson describes the
limit of individual experience as "a tiny corer of the social world, a fixed-camera view of a certain section
of London" (278). From this small section of London the individual cannot possibly fathom his or her
position within the colonial system of the British Empire. The third stage of Jameson's formation, "the
moment of the multinational network, or what Mandel calls 'late capitalism'" (280), has abandoned the
older city and the nation-state, leaving behind the modes of production of the first two stages in ruins.
Under the third stage, spatial conception occurs through "cognitive mapping," which provides a way to
understand "the totality of class relations on a global scale" (283).









"still had all the money, and all the strength" (464) according to Samson. Guy's home,

Lansdowne Crescent, represents the power of wealth and the history of bourgeois rule.

Guy controls the space of the City, the financial district of London, which is represented

as "1000 suits and platinum wrist-watches and sported uranium credit cards" (91). The

true testament to Guy's power and the space of the City is that he never actually has to

work; a grid keeps everything in order for him even if he is oblivious to the organization.

His wealth propagates the hierarchical structure.

Opposed to Guy, Keith's failures and closed worldview epitomize the second stage.

His Council flat, Windsor House, is his specific tiny corner, and his fixed-camera view is

mediated by popular television. His understanding of self derives from an understanding

of English nationality as the stereotype of pub culture, darts, and football. Samson

explains Keith's Englishness through Keith's pride "to represent his country in an

England shirt" (67) and Keith's view of a football match through cliches (97-98). Keith

does not conceptualize his limitations and reliance on stereotype and cliche because he

does not have the ability to place himself within the narrative of empire. Raymond

Williams coins the term 'knowable communities' (165) to label the difficulty of

comprehending community during the rise of industrial capitalism and the expanse of the

metropolis. Williams sees the circulation of narratives as essential to the creation of a

community since the face-to-face encounter is no longer possible. The circulation of

narrative occurs explicitly in London Fields as each character shares their writing with

Samson and thus with the readers, but circulation also implicitly shows how Amis merges

the different spaces of capitalism, mostly within the Black Cross, to highlight the

limitations placed on individuals by the organization of capitalism. For example, as Guy









merges into Keith's space, through the pub, the darts, and the women, Guy maintains the

power granted by his capital; but he encounters alienation like Keith because he cannot

comprehend his position, as epitomized by his inability to understand the historical

allusion of Enola Gay and Little Boy. In other words, he does not know the narrative and

thus does not have access to the community.

The final stage has two representatives in the novel, both Samson and Nicola. As a

"citizen of the world," Samson occupies an omnipresent spatial reality. He is never at

home and therefore never not at home, protecting himself from the alienation that hinders

the other male characters. Similarly, Nicola enacts a "nomad progress through the city.

Chelsea, Blackfriars, Regent's Park, Bloomsbury Hampstead, and so on. And now the

dead-end street" (London Fields 60). Nicola, more so than any character, comprehends

her place within the narratives that construct her reality, and she manipulates these

narratives to point out their construction and potentially propose change. Her nomadism

ironically charts nineteenth century moneyed locations, some of which have been

gentrified with various degrees of success. She not only surveys the city, but she surveys

its economic and cultural heritage, the later emphasized by the inclusion of Bloomsbury.

Including her "home" as the last entry on her list proves that she understands the

misogyny of society and uses that energy against men; she understands the stagnation

caused by the class system and so she confronts it with her own brand of socialism,

redistributing wealth between Guy and Keith. Because of her ability to comprehend and

manipulate hegemony or to circulate narratives and create her own community, Nicola

represents the century.









The space of London that Samson and Nicola occupy is not a place on the actual

map; their space is London Fields, which represents the totality of the imagining of

London and of the narratives of our historical moment. London Fields is living narrative,

"communal fantasy and sorrow" (391), technological discovery and catastrophe, pastoral

innocence, and utopia simultaneously. The utopian achievements of the space, London

Fields, epitomizes Jameson's description of utopia as it emerges from Ursula Le Guinn's

writing.12 Jameson's description overcomes the naivety of a utopia free from disaster,

but instead looks at the potential for interpersonal relationships when freed from the

domination of the economic, political, and social. Gavin Keulks explains a similar

relationship with Amis's use of feminist rhetoric. He says, "In later works such as

Einstein's Monsters and London Fields, for instance, feminist rhetoric is couched in the

language of nuclear war, which threatens to obliterate authentic emotive relationships"

(182). Samson creates London Fields as the space that permits these interpersonal

relationships to thrive.

Samson's naming of London Fields takes into account the violence and destruction

of history; London Fields was the place where Samson's father worked on "High

Explosives Research" (182) and the place where Samson was exposed to the radiation

that now slowly kills him. As we are all actually slowly dying, the novel questions why

we obsess over the sins of the past. Samson responds to the question of inheritance,

freeing London Fields from this historical origin by transforming it into a utopian space.

He explains, "If I shut my eyes or even if I keep them open I can see the parkland and the


12 Jameson explains: "Utopia is, in other words not a place in which humanity is freed from violence, but
rather one in which it is released for the multiple determinisms (economic, political, social) of history itself:
in which it settles its accounts with its ancient collective fatalisms, precisely in order to be free to do
whatever it wants with its interpersonal relationships" (Jameson Reader 376).









sloped bank of the railway line. The foliage is tropical and innocuous, the sky is

crystalline and innocuous. It fact the entire vista has a kiddie-book feel. ... It is all

outside history" (323). London Fields is a pastoral playground that protects and

preserves childhood innocence; Nicola and Sam witness the children playing with boats

in London fields (95), and Sam remembers playing with his now dead brother, David.

London Fields has the redemptive power to absorb disaster, the Crisis or Sam's radiation

poisoning, and return to a state of innocence.

London Fields presents love, Amis' figure of the interpersonal relationship, as the

only way to survive the end of the twentieth century. With innocence and love preserved,

the predators who thrive off of the corrupted narratives of capitalist accumulation and

sexual perversity no longer have the materials to succeed. Amis figures love as the

narrative that can overcome class conflict, destroying the uneven development of capital

accumulation, and providing the possibility of a truly working welfare state, namely

through Kim Talent, Keith's innocent baby daughter. For this welfare state to work, all

must take responsibility for the preservation of innocence by realizing the self through

the community, not through the libidinal desires of consumerism and individual

preservation and accomplishment. Interestingly, Amis suggests a similar hope in The

Information through Marco, the only innocent character who thus resists the corrupted

popular assumptions about information. Amis's continual return to these narratives of

progress through the innocent reinforces my argument that his work needs to be read as

social satire.

In London Fields, the preservation of innocence needs to be the work of

community, which can confront hegemony and permit love, or actual concern for others,









to create change. The community arises pragmatically from the Black Cross, the place

where all four characters, representing the four points of the cross, meet, mingle, and

collaborate. The Black Cross makes explicit the connection between the novel and the

biblical Apocalypse through the reference to Christian iconography; but it also merges

the scientific black hole with the Apocalypse. As Hope is Guy's wife and Faith is the

First Lady, we need to look outside of religion for salvation from the historical

determinism that prevents progress; we need to look to community.

The Black Cross, as the space of community within both London and London

Fields, represents the need to overthrow the class system in order to protect and fulfill the

individual, a goal directly opposed to Thatcher's ideology of individual responsibility.

Amis's critique alludes to Karl Marx's idea of community as he presents it in The

German Ideology. In the community of the Black Cross, all characters become

"anachronistic kinds of characters" (134), as Samson labels Keith. In other words, they

escape the spatial realities of the divisions of labor that limit them, suggesting alternative

narratives and alternative communities that burst apart the dominant narrative of

alienation. For example, Guy experiences a version of love and desire outside of the

narrative of marriage that demanded he marry to enhance his power and wealth. Keith

experiences a version of love through the respect and support given to him by the others,

but especially Nicola who provides him with knowledge that permits him entrance to the

knowable. The problem though for all of these characters is that they cannot escape

determinism. Samson and Nicola are already "the dead" throughout the novel. Their

deaths at the literal end of the novel emphasizes the teleological requirements of

hierarchical narratives; as Samson represents the global and Nicola the century, both of









which will come to an end, neither is outside history nor outside of the determinisms that

block the utopian vision.

Understanding Samson and Nicola as "the dead" helps explains the responsibility

of the community. We have already seen the importance of love, and Samson explains

that "[t]he act of love takes place in a community of death" (282). Samson makes clear

that we must understand death to fully understand this community of love. On one level

death means Jameson's sense of the end as it dominates the postmodern. Samson

explains that Nicola sees this sense of the end dominating her time, remember that she

represents the century, and thus she finds community in the narratives of the end.

Samson says:

She welcomed and applauded the death of just about anything. It was company. It
meant you weren't quite alone. A dead flower, the disobliging turbidity of dead
water, slow to leave the jug. A dead car half-stripped at the side of the street, shot,
busted, annulled, abashed. A dead cloud. The Death of the Novel. The Death of
Animism, the Death of Naive Reality, the Death of the Argument from Design, and
(especially) the Death of the Principle of Least jAstonishment. The Death of the
Planet. The Death of God. The death of love. It was company. (296)

Amis satirizes the postmodern obsession with this sense of the end; the absence of

Roland Barthes' "Death of the Author" from the list proves that Amis's continual

assertion of the authorial presence, through himself as character, as ghost, or as

puppetmaster13 is a critique of the obsessive adherence to these narratives. Instead of

accepting the sense of the end, Amis looks at how it creates community. Nicola finds

comfort in existing simultaneously with these metanarratives. Whenever Samson

identifies the dead, he does so as a collective grouping of himself and Nicola-"We're



13 In Money, Martin Amis the character meets and influences the everyman protagonist John Self. In The
Information, a narrative voice labeled as M.A. and having biographical features that identify Martin Amis,
appears intermittently. Also, Amis is an anagram of I Sam, the narrator of London Fields.









the dead" (260, 391). In one passage he repeats the phrase three times (391). These

reiterations establish that with each utterance, it takes on new meanings. Samson's and

Nicola's literal manifestation as the dead counteracts the uncritical acceptance of the

postmodern metanarratives of the end. In a way, their deaths free the living from this

sense of the end.

As we have already established that the characters reveal the historical and spatial

development of capitalism, it makes sense to look at the association of the dead in Marx.

In Captial, Marx explains, "Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by

sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. The time during

which the labourer works, is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour

power he has purchased of him" (362-63). Samson repeatedly refers to himself as a

vampire; he says, "I'm like a vampire. I can't enter unless I'm asked in over the

threshold. Once there, though, I stick around" (42). His identification bares more

similarity to Marx then the mere parallels in the wording vampire-like and like a vampire.

Samson and Nicola literally suck the evils out of the future for the community of love.

Their deaths end the conservative narratives of the postmodern sense of the end,

suggesting a bursting apart of all conservative, controlling narratives by the community

of love that has resulted from such sacrifice and labor. Their deaths do not guarantee that

such a community or future will materialize, but their deaths reveal its possibility.

Kenneth Asher reaches a similar conclusion through his Lawrentian reading of London

Fields. He argues, "Nicola's death becomes a matter of cosmic readjustment, the order

of things being set right. ... At the most abstract level Nicola's elimination is a necessary

condition of Kim's survival" (21). Asher rightly identifies the manifestation of this









loving, innocent future in Kim Talent. Through the relationship between the dead-

Nicola and Samson-and Kim, we see Marx's famous understanding of history: "The

tradition of the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living"

(595). Amis asks how the nightmare can be revelatory instead of disastrous through Kim

Talent.

Kim Talent, Keith's innocent daughter, suggests the possibility for a future outside

of the corrupted narratives haunting the rest of the novel. Samson posses the question:

"Now I know the British Empire isn't in the shape it once was. But you wonder: what

will the babies' babies look like?" (283). The obvious answer is Marmaduke, the

hyperactive, monstrous child of Guy and Hope. He is the consumer par excellence,

destroying all in his path in order to complete his consumption. But by merely asking

about the future, Samson indicates hope for an alternative; he repeatedly says "I must do

something for the child" (120), referring to Kim. Samson sees Kim as an exemplar of

Walter Benjamin's angel of history. Samson directly references the messianic quality of

his death (London Fields 182), similar to the angel who will "awaken the dead"

(Benjamin 257). As we have established that his death is the revelatory act, this parallel

seems warranted. Further supporting this connection with Benjamin's angel, storms,

similar to those threatening the angel, literally threaten throughout the novel, at one point

killing "nineteen people, and thirty-three million trees" (43). The storm for Benjamin is

the essence of his philosophy of history. He says, "This storm irresistibly propels him

[the angel] into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him









grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress" (258).Malcolm Bull explains the

historical conception epitomized by the angel:

Against the conception of the future as a 'progression through a homogeneous,
empty time' in which progress and catastrophe, civilization and barbarism, are
forever perpetuated in the ineradicable suffering of the toiling masses, Benjamin
juxtaposes another conception of history-not an eschatology in which the future is
foreclosed by eternity, but a political messianism in which the revolutionary classes
make the continuum of history explode. (150)

Through Kim, London Fields makes the historical spaces of capitalism explained through

the other characters reach its explosion. The novel ends right at this moment, leaving

only traces of what may result. This novel is not about saving Kim, but instead proposing

how to save all through her model.

The storm, or danger, that most threatens Kim is the inheritance of abuse, passed

from the world to Keith, from Keith to Kath and finally from Kath to innocent Kim. In

Kim, Samson proposes the monumental figure, like the angel of history, who may

withstand the eschatological narratives of history, to show the need for a revolutionary,

apocalyptic history. Kim is still at the stage where she will not remember the historical

narrative and instead could have access to the narrative of progress and change. Because

of her lack of consciousness, she is protected, but also she has no ability or knowledge of

her role. Samson locates the responsibility for protecting Kim in the community, and

thus sees his narrative as a warning of what will happen when and if innocence

disappears. Discussing the emergence of science fiction themes in Amis's word, David

Moyle concludes that Amis took up the project "because he had to, because it suddenly

seemed necessary to break earth-bound rules in order to express adequately his

perception of the world: a world in which horror has moved beyond the black hole, but a

world in which salvation-as end, a new beginning-is up to us, only us" (315). Moyle









sees a promise of salvation similar to my conclusions. Thus, when Samson says to Mark

Asprey in his suicide note, "Be my literary executor: throw everything out" (468), he

does not want, as the most obvious connotation would suggest, his work to be trashed,

that would be an end like the metanarratives he has so completely critiqued. Instead, he

wishes for the less obvious meaning of his narrative spreading and creating knowable

communities that can help the angel resist the debris and follow the storm forward. He

leaves the choice to Asprey because the understanding of the second meaning of his wish

proves that his end has accomplished the historical revolution necessary.

From Disaster to Community only 28 Days Later

In the introduction to the collection British Horror Cinema, Steve Chibnall and

Julian Petley lament both the status of the horror genre in British popular culture and the

lack of academic critical attention paid to the genre. They hope for a horror film that can

set off a genre cycle like Guy Ritchie' s Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels did for the

crime film (8). Ritchie's film earned critical attention and commercial success because it

addresses issues of masculinity, violence, class, and family by looking comically at the

status of Englishness in a post-Thatcher Britain. Ritchie's film is as much about the high

jinks of inept criminals, the inclusion of rhyming slang into everyday language, and the

system of power in the London underworld, as it is about the status of English cultural

identity. Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later, released in 2002, has the potential to garner

attention for the horror genre like Ritchie's film did for the crime genre. 28 Days Later

looks at the aftermath of a biological disaster that has turned almost all of England into

flesh eating, rage infected zombies. Both directors appeal aesthetically to the Cool

Britannia idea of popular culture that appreciates energetic pop music, club culture, and a

fashion sense all distinctly British, suggesting that commercial success for the British









film industry requires packaging British culture in a way that can reaffirm an independent

cultural identity for the British audience while still appealing to the foreign Anglophile.

Both directors acknowledge the influences of their genre's forbearers, making 28 Days

Later a postmodern pastiche of several different novels, novelistic styles, horror films,

and historical events. The film looks at how disaster, real and imagined, affects the

individual and the individual's relationship to others. The understanding of identity and

community that results merges the imagery of disaster through allusions and references to

other texts to prove that understanding must come from a critical examination of

influence, change, and connectivity.

The postmodern character of 28 Days Later combines derivative and adapted

narratives and styles with a critical examination of Great Britain's place within the global

circulation of economic and cultural capital. Screenwriter Alex Garland, best known for

his novel The Beach, cites the work of Wells and Wyndham, particularly The Day of the

Triffids, and Ballard's "disaster novels" as influences for his screenplay (Osmond 38,

Macaulay 40). The most obvious filmic influences are George Romero's films. Finally,

although the film was completed during the anthrax scare and distributed as the SARS

outbreak and monkeypox created media hysteria, Boyle explains, "We actually had a

lower level of paranoia in mind-a very British one-which was the continued scare over

mad cow disease and the sudden foot-and-mouth outbreak. For months, the U.K. was full

of fields of burning animals-biblical images of pyres on the horizon, smoke filling the

sky" (qtd. in Lim 48). The British paranoia that sparked Boyle and Garland's interest in

epidemic disaster in the film was a destruction of the British live stock industry, but

beyond this economic destruction, mad cow, like dementia and Alzheimer, means that









rational and reasonably healthy individuals can be mentally debilitated by exposure to

contaminates encountered everyday. The film pays homage to the imagery of the burning

animal carcasses in a chilling shot from the empty M602 of Manchester entirely reduced

to blazing pyre and a smoke filled sky. An industrial center, Manchester's destruction

marks the historical end of Britain's industrial empire, a factor that the government has

aggressively attempted to preserve. 28 Days Later critiques the aggressive attempt to

maintain an ideal of British statehood and identity by equating the institutions of control,

especially the church and the military, with the rage that has infected society. The small

community of survivors eventually abandons their individual class and racial categories

as they attempt to find an "answer to infection,"14 what the radio broadcast from the

military encampment offers survivors. The answer is not a return to the system of

inequality and hierarchical power advocated by the military community, but instead the

protection of a cooperative community based on equality and concern for the other.

28 Days Later examines how rage and violence are dangerous and destructive

forces in our world. The film begins with a montage of images of riots, public hangings,

and protests, images systemic of the rage, particularly towards the other, which haunt our

political reality. The images contain police, labeled in several different languages,

violently and futilely attempting to contain the riotous masses, showing a culture of

violence. These masses occupy developed cities and underdeveloped locations; they are

of Middle Eastern, European, and Asian decent. As these images repeat, the viewer

notices that they are broadcasted on several television sets for the chimpanzee viewer in a

lab. The animal looks helplessly into the camera, victimized by the media rhetoric of fear


14 All film quotes are my transcriptions.









that attempts to contain the masses. The animal is the helpless victim and witness to

violence just like the film's audience. The media images of violent rebellion are meant to

control the fearful observer, replacing the spectacle of public execution, which as

Foucault argues ensured the power of the sovereign. He explains, "Not only must the

people know, they must see with their own eyes. Because they must be made to be

afraid; but also because they must be the witnesses, the guarantors, of the punishment,

and because they must to a certain extent take part in it" (58). While the images of

violence broadcasted are simulacra of violence, they represent both a threat to an ordered,

civilized way of life, a stereotype of Englishness, and also the potential for violence

within each of us that must be contained.

The scene of the animal forced to watch images of violence alludes to Stanley

Kubrick's filmic adaptation of A Clockwork Orange. The wording of the title contains

two references that apply to 28 Days Later; first, orange connotes orangutan, which could

mean any ape-like creature (even humans taken of their free will), and second, the

Cockney phrase "as queer as a clockwork orange," meaning that despite appearance

something is not right internally. The chimp in the research facility that watches the

violent images seems passive and sweet, despite the violence that we see from others.

When young hooligan Alex de Large exchanges his murder sentence to become a subject

in an experiment to cure violent tendencies, he is repeatedly forced to watch different

images of violence, rape, and historical atrocities such as the Holocaust. The experiment

requires that his eyes be wired open, creating another parallel to the second beginning of

28 Days Later and the very close up shot of Jim's eye, the digital video permitting the

viewer to see every eyelash, another connection to A Clockwork Orange because of









Alex's false eyelashes. Throughout the experiments and during the scenes of violence

cheery or classical music accompanies the images. The conflict between the effect of the

violent imagery and the response to the music forces viewers to understand the images as

negative consciously instead of physically. Like A Clockwork Orange, 28 Days Later

questions the meaning of violence, its function within society, and its attack on the

family.

In 28 Days Later, the lab, called the Cambridge Primate Research Center, functions

allegorically. Much like Manchester represents the industrial center of England,

Cambridge represents the intellectual history of England, reinforced by the password to

enter the facility, "Think." The activists, who release the rage virus, encounter a

scientist, a hackneyed horror stereotype of the mad scientist. The scientist justifies the

experiments, proclaiming, "In order to cure, you must first understand." While the easily

transferable virus is an extreme example of the dangers of biological weapons and

misguided scientific experiments, the montage of images and the name rage indicate that

violence is a pathology already in us. The virus transforms anyone who comes into

contact with the infected into zombie-like creatures only concerned with devouring the

flesh of the non-infected and spreading the infection, very easy since the infected vomit

torrents of blood. The infected, characterized by red eyes and an infectious red skin

condition, move very, very fast and twitch, which Boyle modeled after an epileptic fit; he

also borrowed physical imagery from rabies and the Ebola virus (Osmond 39). The use

of a variety of real pathological conditions suggests rage as the ultimate pathology for

society.









The infected are a new breed of zombie, their speed representative of absolute

efficiency. Their speed, uncommon for horror film zombies, and their efficiency directly

relate to the etymology of the term from the African and Caribbean legends of witchcraft

resurrecting corpses so that the zombies could be unconscious, willing laborers of the

land. If the work of the infected is to spread infection, then they succeed, and in a global

environment where circulation is essential for productivity, the worker must be quick and

thus efficient. Ironically, the infected enact a perverse version of Thatcher's agenda that

supported individual productivity and accomplishments at the cost of society's collective

welfare. Conversely, the infected oppose Tony Blair's vision of a 'New Britain,' the

slogan revealed at Blair's first party conference as leader in 1994. He clearly

summarized his vision of 'New Britain' at the party conference in 1997, his first after

being elected to government, which I previously cited. While the infected are a direct

opponent to Blair's 'New Britain' because they lack the consciousness to create, care,

and consider, the protagonist of 28 Days Later, Jim, embodies the protection of old

British values at a time when a 'New Britain' has been brought about by apocalypse.

His journey begins as he awakens completely unaware in the hospital, continues with a

tour of evacuated London, then unites him with other survivors, and finally takes the

group to countryside communities of first a military dictatorship and then a utopian

collectivity. The journey shows that the "creative," "compassionate," and "outward-

looking" values that Blair validates cannot be found in a nostalgic attempt to return to

British traditions-Jim's initial perspective-but instead can only be realized once the

alienating categories of class, gender, and race are destroyed.









The violence of destruction caused by the rage virus has subsided once Jim, who

has been in a comma, awakens twenty-eight days after the initial infection. The first shot

of this second beginning to the film focuses on Jim's eye, privileging his vision and

perspective. The shot firmly establishes the connection to John Wyndham's postwar

novel, The Day of the Triffids. Wyndham's novel likewise begins with the protagonist,

Bill Masen, in the hospital recovering from temporary blindness caused by the sting of a

triffid. The strongest ideological connection between the novel and the updated film is

that Boyle and Garland, like Wyndham, attempt to establish an ontology that responds to

disaster. In 28 Days as Jim wanders from the hospital and into the empty streets of

London, his tourism reveals the film's distinctly British political and cultural responses.

Jim's wandering takes him to many of the landmarks of London: St. Paul's, Big

Ben, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Bridge, the Embankment, and the London Eye.

As Jim walks on Westminster Bridge he steps on souvenir replicas of Big Ben, the

scattered, discarded location of these mass-produced toys ironically epitomizing the

status of the once grand metropolis. Jim's rest on Westminster Bridge recalls

Wordsworth's famous sonnet "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge," which captures an

equally still view of the city. In the poem, the only motion in the early morning

metropolis is the Thames.15 Wyndham makes a similar statement in Triffids: "The

Thames flowed imperturbably on. So it would flow until the day the Embankments

crumble and the water spread out and Westminster became once more an island in a



15 Occupying a space so famously explained in canonical literature in a fantastic postmodern film explains
the relationship defined by de Certeau in "Walking in the City" between the concept of the city and the
contradictions arising from urban agglomeration. De Certeau explains, "Perspective vision and prospective
vision constitute the twofold projection of an opaque past and an uncertain future onto a surface that can be
dealt with" (93-4).









marsh" (128). In the film the only motion we see is Jim's walking, but through these

literary connections we can attach Jim's movement to the lifeblood of the city, the

Thames.16 The Thames is not displayed as a figure of opposition like one would find in

William Blake or lain Sinclair.

Explaining the choice of locations and images in the DVD commentary, Boyle

notes that he was attracted to iconic images. All of the places Jim views, with the

exception of the London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, record the iconic

history of the city. By merging the new Eye sore, with these majestic landmarks, the film

enacts a perverse version of 'New Britain,' similar to Ballard's critique in Millennium

People. The London Eye is part of the Blair government's Millennium Project, an effort

to celebrate the cultural legacy and influence of the past in the present and for the future.

The Millennium Dome, the most famous part of this failed development project was to be

a center for culture, unironically located in Greenwich, a symbol of the dominance of the

British Empire and the belief the England was the center of the world. The London Eye,

which repeatedly reappears in Jim's view, merges with these iconic structures, mocking

the thought of resurrecting the old British values Blair valorizes because, as de Certeau

explains, the city makes clear that the past is unintelligible and the future unseen,

especially when the vision of that future depends on a carnival ride.

The excessive accumulation of the city is also marked by the toppled red double-

decker bus, the end of transportation or the circulation of people, and the scattered 20

notes, the end of the circulation of capital. The critique of the symbolic value of capital

continues in Boyle's 2005 Millions, as the UK switches over to the Euro, leaving unspent

16 Although not on Westminster Bridge, Alex, inA Clockwork Orange, takes a similar self-reflexive walk
alongside the river when he has been cast aside by his family.









and unconverted pound notes worthless, except as wallpaper. The status of the

circulation of capital is a direct critique of globalization. Neither film makes a conclusive

statement about globalization, but both look at how the increasingly global circulation of

narrative and capital affects individual and national identity. Similarly commenting on

the globalization of the image, Jim's tour stops as he ventures into Piccadilly Circus to

find the giant advertisements supplanted by a message board of notes to missing family

members. The disaster necessitates the substitution of messages of human relationship

and emotion for the messages of consumer desires, the advertisements. The scene of the

message board, based on photos from the Kobe earthquake in 1995 and prophesizing 9/11

New York City, emphasizes that the initial response to disaster is an attempt to reclaim

relationships and thus a connection to the community. The historical and global

repetitions of these images of people's grief proves that the imagination of disaster

always returns the consciousness to the interpersonal relationships that can remain and

protect the individual throughout unintelligible events, even with very different political

and historical causes, from natural disaster, to terrorist attack, to technological mistake.

There is always the danger that such repetitions erase difference and enact a traumatic

forgetting of singularity that is its own apocalyptic violence. To avoid such a result, the

trauma must be internalized on both an individual and historical level, bringing logic to

emotional extremism.

The more local concern for identity plays out in 28 Days Later through the small

community of non-infected. It comprises Jim, Selena, a chemist, Frank, a cab driver, and

his daughter, Hannah. Jim first encounters Selena after turning to a church for sanctuary

from his confusion; he has to attack an infected Anglican priest to save himself, Jim's









first reluctant refusal of institutions. Selena then saves Jim from the pursuing infected,

taking him to her hideout in a mini-mart in the underground. She explains the situation to

Jim, and he immediately asks what the government is doing about it; he cannot imagine

that the leaders could become infected like everyone else. At this moment, Jim still

believes "there is always a government." Conversely, Selena has completely abandoned

all conventions of relationships and emotions as a defense to the confusion caused by

disaster. Similarly, her race and gender do not matter remotely as survival rules their

consciousness. She is so focused on survival that later she brutally kills another

companion before he can become infected and then tells Jim she would do the same to

him. She says that "plans are pointless" and attempts to persuade Jim to the same

position, sarcastically attacking his nostalgia by asking him, "Do you want to save the

world or just fall in love and fuck?" In this statement, Selena makes her first vulgar

connection to Jim, but it does start to break down her survival instincts so that she can

return to the interpersonal relationships that actually will assure her survival. This

exchange takes place amongst pristine countryside ruins. The scene recalls the trip to the

Scottish Highlands by the gang in Boyle's Trainspotting. Tommy believes that a return

to nature will help the group identify with their cultural heritage and identity, saving them

from the relationship problems they all encountered the previous night. Renton, instead,

lambastes the Scottish identity and colonial history. His pessimism is much like

Selena's.

Selena's initial outlook epitomizes Susan Sontag's argument that the imagery of

disaster "is above all the emblem of an inadequate response" (130). Sontag's argument

explains that as we can never actually extend our narrative beyond a disastrous end, we









are not equipped to deal with the very forces that could cause this end. Selena, who now

has to live beyond the end, can only propose these two cliched solutions that satisfy the

two destinies of "unremitting banality and inconceivable terror" (130) that Sontag says

define our age of extremes, which are a fascist return to the previous mode of history or a

reestablishment of patriarchy. Ironically, both of Selena's propositions could lead to

terror. To avoid this terror, Jim and Selena unite with Frank and Hannah to form a

postmodern family unit that reworks power relationships and ultimately refuses

patriarchy. As they leave London, they go through a gradual withdrawal from the

capitalist system of labor and consumption and thus redefine their collective identity

through interpersonal relationships.

The path toward the utopian community requires them to refuse the labels,

especially consumer and class, which define their location and perspective in the city.

Just as Jim's understanding of the disaster requires a visit to his parent's suburban home,

the tower block occupied by Hannah and Frank permits a shift in the group's focus.

Brought to the block by flashing lights, another reference to The Day of the Triffids, Jim

and Selena encounter a barricade of shopping trolleys. The trolleys, previously used to

increase and aid consumption, now stand as a barricade between the preservation of

civilized life and the rampant infection. The tools of capitalism have been made useless,

but they can be reinvented in a new formation. The imagery of the building, the

barricades and the battle in the hallway, resonates with Ballard's novels, especially High

Rise. Frank has dealt with the apocalypse by redefining these tools in hopes of protecting

himself and his daughter. The excess of the shopping carts is repeated in the myriad of

buckets of all different sizes and colors, which Frank has placed on the roof to collect









water. The lack of water shows that even the tower building, a symbol of modernity, no

longer functions, and thus the community must leave behind the skeleton of the

metropolis. As they leave the building in Frank's black cab, another iconic image of

London, Frank turns on the meter and jokingly says, "Just so you know, I don't take

checks or credit cards." Despite the horrors around, they find solace in their freedom

from labor and money. This solace continues as they stop for a "supermarket sweep."7

The supermarket looks serene in comparison to the chaos outside. All four take immense

pleasure in their free shopping. Copying the comparison of bread loaves by Stephen and

Peter in Romero's film, Jim and Frank look for the best scotch. Whereas Romero's men

allude to phallic imagery, Jim and Frank's decision to take the quality scotch shows that

they have embraced the destruction of their working class status. They now have the

freedom to acquire products that previously would have been unavailable. The

characters' choices in consumption emphasize that they still have their consciousness and

thus responsibility. In a symbolic leaving behind of capitalism, Frank places his credit

card on the check out counter.

Now that the community has left behind the alienation of capitalism, they can

construct a community based on equality. Just as class categories no longer matter, race

never factors into the narrative of the film. Instead of basing respect for difference on

historically or genetically based markers, respect for difference should lead to respect for

everyone's difference from each other. As their communal bonds strengthen, Selena

realizes that love for another is a reason to live, and Jim realizes that the infected must be

violently destroyed to preserve the love that remains.

17 This event is almost directly repeated from Romero's Dawn of the Dead. The repetition of this scene
more firmly connects 28 Days Later to the zombie genre.









However, the members of the military community attempt to preserve the system of

patriarchy and capitalism crumbling around them. They have occupied a mansion,

collected stockpiles of electronic equipment, and cannot contain their sexual urges.

Thinking they have killed Jim, the military men make Hannah and Selena dress in ball

gowns, constricting costumes of patriarchy.18 In anger, Jim returns, unleashes the

chained infected held on the grounds, and kills the remaining military men. Jim's release

of the infected into the corrupt, or infected, house reaffirms that rage has always been a

part of patriarchy. The most aggressive sexual predator, Corporal Mitchell, dies by Jim's

hands. Jim has become so enraged by the attack on his community that he proves that

rage can also be a productive human emotion. He has become covered in blood, looking

like an infected, but his goal is always to reunite with Hannah and Selena.

When he pokes out the eyes of Corporal Mitchell, he proves that oppressive

patriarchy has always been a form of blindness and unconscionable societal organization.

This image evokes the Surrealism of Luis Bunel's and Salvador Dali's famous image

from Un Chien Andalou of an eyeball being cut open by a razor. The use of Surrealist

techniques parallels Ballard. As Colin Greenwood explains, "The Surrealist techniques

that Ballard has used involve deliberate dissociations and mystifications. The object is

taken from its usual context and dismantled, or put in a new context, or confused with

other objects. But the result of the process is not mere nonsense, but a revaluation"

(104). In the image of the eyes from 28 Days Later takes on such a variety of meanings

and connections: from the blindness of The Day of the Triffids, to the Surrealist desires of



18 The connection between femininity and costuming likewise occurs in Ballard's High Rise. By adorning
these dresses in moments of crisis, both texts reveal the ridiculousness of the ornamental and non-
functional female attire.









Un Chien Andalou, to violent retribution for the sins of patriarchy. On one level this

destruction of the eyes instead of the cutting of the Surrealist image is a violent refusal of

modernity, and the end of the movie then asks what visibility means for postmodernity.

What results in 28 Days Later is a revaluation of the meaning of vision, envisioning, and

premonitions of the future and its potential.

To confirm a new notion of equality within the community of the remaining

survivors, the women must now save Jim's life just as he has saved them. Selena's

transformation from an aggressive malcontent to a protector proves that this film

imagines a form of family that integrates traditional gender roles while still allowing for

the transformative events of apocalypse. Selena can sew, but her sewing is an effort to

include the family into the process of recivilization and not an effort to care for the family

in the more traditional sense of clothing and feeding. Even the alternate ending projects

the women as the new watchdogs of society-ending with the final image of them

leaving behind Jim's body, a sign of the death of patriarchy, and walking forward into a

new world where they will protect themselves and be just fine. The camera angle of this

final shot of the alternate ending indicates the film's position as the remnants of

patriarchy, but as they woman walk away they progress into a future beyond the gaze or

imagination of the viewer.

The space that nurtures the alternative family is the country, a common theme of

postwar apocalyptic narratives. The film does not insinuate that the natural will provide a

utopian space. The military country-home proves that capitalist alienation extends to the

spaces of the country. Eventually, the community's retreat to the modest cottage in the

Lake District proves that a self-sufficient space can still provide, as Raymond Williams









explains, "an affirmation of vitality and of the possibility of rest in conscious contrast

with the mechanical order, the artificial routines, of the cities" (252). As the last infected

lays emaciated on the ground and the community is rescued, it becomes clear that the

epidemic has been contained within Great Britain. This has been, as Boyle explained, a

particularly British epidemic created by the violent need to uphold the iconic history of

Britain. Discussing this view of history in terms of his most recent film, Millions, Boyle

explains, "It's about saying goodbye, how important that can be particularly for the

British. We love hanging on to the past here" (qtd. in Lim 50). 28 Days Later proves

that it is dangerous to hang on to the past with too strong of a grip, especially when that

past is an epic fallacy that creates an unproductive nostalgia and propagates a violent

patriarchy. Instead, the film imagines a feminist idea of family based on mutual

protection and sufficiency.

Conclusions: The Nature of the Family in the Twenty-First Century

Throughout the postwar period, apocalyptic narratives continue to evoke disaster as

a means to critique the political organizations of community and imagine new formations

of community. In many of these cases, the new formations present revised visions of the

family. From the female caregiver collective in High Rise, to London Field's nurturing of

youth and innocence, through 28 Days Later 's rural feminist family, each vision unites

different generations, classes, and races by freeing them from the oppressive politics of

their moments. In extending this dialogue into the future, I am drawn to Ian McEwan's

Saturday (2005) as an indication of the direction of the apocalyptic narrative. McEwan

posits that the twenty-first century does not need to imagine disaster because the violent

political climate of global politics in the Blair/Bush era makes everyday life open to

disaster. He explains in an interview with Zadie Smith, "well, to go back to where we









started this conversation, to 9/11, and the sense of invasion, one can only do it on a

private scale. If you say the airliner hit the side of the building, a thousand people died,

nothing happens to your scalp. So I, in a sense, tried to find the private scale of that

feeling" (61). Following in the tradition of Virginia Woolf s Mrs. Dalloway, McEwan's

narrative follows Dr. Henry Perowne through a day that begins in the early morning by

witnessing a fire plane landing in the distance, proceeds to a street meeting with Baxter, a

violent thug, and ends by his upper-middle class family life being burst apart by the

intrusions of the criminality and the violence of the underclass that his privileged life and

family have ignored. Baxter's disruption forces Perowne to realize that "London, his

small part of it, lies wide open, impossible to defend, waiting for its bomb, like a hundred

other cities" (286). Perowne's assessment that London "wait[s] for its bomb" is not a

passive acceptance of inevitable destruction; his words indicate a shift in perspective

from isolated privilege to collective concern. He realizes, "He lives in different times-

because the newspapers say so doesn't mean it isn't true. But from the top of his day, this

is a future that's harder to read, a horizon indistinct with possibilities" (286). Saturday

concludes that ignoring the consequences of violence indicative of both the treatment of

the underclass in New Britain and the coalition war against Iraq will foreclose the utopian

imagination of collectivity by the disaster narrative. McEwan makes us understand

violence as the real material effects of life in the twenty-first century. Only through this

realization can Perowne return to his loving wife and family, and only through this

realization will all the bombs waiting for their cities be defused.














CHAPTER 3
GANGSTER COMMUNITIES: IMAGINING THE UNDERWORLD AND
UNDERSTANDING MASCULINITY

The underworld fantasy enables the professional criminal in times of crisis to conjure
some order from the imaginary community and inject it into a life-world that is prone to
chaotic, seemingly incoherent interludes. It is from the combination of these
archaeological excursions and regular engagements in ith the enacted environments of
contemporary serious criminality that professional criminal appropriate their identities.


Dick Hobbs, Bad Business: Professional Crime in Modern Britain


Indeed, for those who were concerned to define such differences, what underlay the
ae,'/theti/ difference between America and British cinema was an ideological one. While
Hollywood was essentially individualist, British cinema was essentially communitarian.


Alistair Davies, "A cinema in between: Postwar British cinema"

In his sociological study of criminality in Britain, Dick Hobbs uses evidence and

anecdotes gleaned by interviewing criminals to explain how the professional criminal fits

into the imaginary, the economics, and the history of Britain. Unlike the hierarchical

Sicilian-American organized crime, Hobbs contends that British organized crime

generates its own organizational structures, and these "coalitions" can "adapt to the

exigencies of the contemporary market" (11). Continuing the theme of flexible

collectivity instead of hierarchy, Hobbs points out that British organized crime does not

have as clear an origin as American prohibition, and thus tend to be more entrepreneurial.

This spirit of invention extends to the idea of the British gangster. Hobbs does not spend

any time on narratives that depict British organized crime, but his analysis of the

underworld, quoted above, does provide an interesting entry point for an analysis of the









gangster narrative. As Hobbs explains, the underworld is "[o]ne of the most powerful of

these inductive inferences" (108). He labels the "inductive inference" as a way to

describe the idea that emerges from past trends or experiences that helps individuals deal

with the present. The idea of the underworld is part of "the codification of professional

criminal culture" (108). The underworld is an imaginary that provides protection and

commonality to the criminal by enabling access to a collective idea. In other words, the

imaginary community of the underworld is essential for the identity of the British

gangster.

When applied to the many and varied filmic representations of British criminality

in the postwar period, the underworld is the metonymic substitution for the collectivity

that defines British cinema generally and the gangster genre specifically. As Alistair

Davies concludes that the main ideological difference between American and British

cinema is that the former is individualistic and the later communitarian, this is especially

telling for a gangster genre that has such deep roots and influences in American culture

yet preoccupies British filmmakers. In presenting the underworld to a wide audience, the

British gangster film is preoccupied with explaining how the political ideologies of their

different moments influence the ideas of community, masculinity, and Englishness. In

the immediate postwar years economic scarcity and end-of-empire anxiety made the

gangster genre, comedies and realistic melodramas alike, particularly interested in

upholding the gentleman gangster who protected his gang with rigor. As the feminist

movement rapidly changed gender roles from 1960s and into the 1980s, the idea of

masculinity became of central concern for the gangster genre. During this period,

intensely individual and hypermasculine gangsters attempt to protect the fantasy of the









underworld from destruction. In the 1990s as gender issues become less polarized, a new

version of the gangster emerges. By providing a genealogy that explains how the

gangster genre adapts to political discourse and then comparing the individualist gangster

of the late 1970s to the return to collectivity and a new version of masculinity in the

1990s, I will argue that these more recent films image the underworld as an alternative

community that can contain dissidence while still allowing each individual member of the

community to uphold the morality essential for national identity.

Reading the Underworld: A Genealogy of the Postwar Period

When discussing the postwar gangster film, a logical starting place is St. John Legh

Clowes's 1948 adaptation of James Hadley Chases's novel No Orchids for Miss Blandish

because this film created such a scandal that it influenced the censorship and content of

films to follow. This film's depiction of violence and female sexuality was met with

hostility primarily because it was seen as a Hollywood film. Presupposing this hostility,

in 1944 George Orwell examined the developing cultural production of gangster

literature in his essay "Raffles and Miss Blandish" (Critical Essays 161-178). Orwell

compares the iconic existence of Raffles, a gentleman criminal exceedingly popular

during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, to James Hadley Chase's 1939

novel No Orchids for Miss Blandish, which, due to widespread appeal, was turned into

first a play and then a film. Orwell describes Raffles as an innocuous public-school man,

cricketer, and charmer-the essence of Englishness. Despite Raffles' criminality, Orwell

shows that the figure embodies the ethics of a gentleman because he refuses to abuse the

hospitality of the host by robbing him, and he will only participate in the murders of the

"deserving"-foreigners and criminals more violent than himself. Orwell sees an

engagement with ethics and morals as the definitive feature in the development of the