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Postmodernism in PiecesMaterializing the Social in U.S. Fiction$
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Matthew Mullins

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190459505

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190459505.001.0001

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Collapsing Otherness

Collapsing Otherness

(p.137) Chapter 4 Collapsing Otherness
Postmodernism in Pieces

Matthew Mullins

Oxford University Press

This chapter tracks material objects forward and backward through time in Don DeLillo’s Underworld and Julia Alvarez’s How the García Girls Lost Their Accents to rethink otherness as a foundational orthodoxy of postmodernism. Constructing social networks necessarily produces otherness. Postmodern fiction, as many have argued, interrogates this otherness, often elevating it as a primary element of cultural identity. But the postmodern aesthetic also valorizes the being-in-common, or the state of inclination in which actors exist in the construction process. If inclination is just as important as otherness, then postmodernism is not only interested in the negative space of difference but also in the fundamental similarity of all actors as actors. Otherness has been misunderstood as primary, when it is actually only definable in the context of the inclination of actors toward one another.

Keywords:   otherness, difference, Don DeLillo, Julia Alvarez, postmodernism, fiction

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