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タイトル: America as a "Proper Receptacle" : Nathanael West's A Cool Million : or, The Dismantling of Lemuel Pikin
著者: Kubo, Naomi
発行日: 2008年3月
出版者: 東京大学大学院総合文化研究科附属アメリカ太平洋地域研究センター
掲載誌情報: アメリカ太平洋研究(創立40周年記念号). vol.8, March-2008, pp. 127-138
抄録: While Nathanael West’s novellas, such as Miss Lonely Hearts (1933) and The Day of Locust (1939), have been evaluated and discussed considerably, little attention has been paid to A Cool Million: or, the Dismantling of Lemuel Pitkin (1934). Because the novel is seen as too direct a parody of Horatio Alger’s novels, critics have largely ignored it. This paper re-examines A Cool Million in terms of its historical and cultural context, focusing on the thematic employment of commodifications of the image of America and the “dismantling” of the main character, “our American hero,” Lemuel Pitkin.//In the late consumer society through the 1920s to 1960s, as Baudrillard expounded, the sign-value, which is the implied value added to its use-value, became a hinge between the commodity and consumption. A Cool Million describes the production and consumption of sign-value in a surge of collective desires to seek and define the nature of America. Commodification of America in this novel culminates in the description of Wu Fong’s brothel, which is renovated as “an hundred per centum American place,” a brothel suggestive of Disneyland. The discussion of commodification also explains the incessant dismantling of an American boy’s body, which is eventually consumed as a proper receptacle of the American Fascist ideology. The process of making Lemuel, just a boy from Ottsville, into “the American boy” symbolizes the attempt to make America into “America” in the 1930s
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2261/23623
ISSN: 13462989


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