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dc.contributor.advisorHowell, Amanda
dc.contributor.advisorBaker, David
dc.contributor.advisorBarrett, Christine
dc.contributor.authorTedde, Adriano Antonio
dc.date.accessioned2019-11-07T06:06:53Z
dc.date.available2019-11-07T06:06:53Z
dc.date.issued2019-10-23
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10072/388986
dc.description.abstractThis thesis employs popular culture texts (works of literature, film, and popular music) as companions to the understanding of contemporary America. It is about artworks that form a cultural resistance that enables the appreciation of social issues and cultural decline in the United States. The authors of these artworks are novelist Paul Auster, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, and musician Tom Waits. Born between the late 1940s and the early 1950s, in different parts of the United States, Auster, Jarmusch, and Waits have produced a series of works that share strong similarities. In their novels, films, and songs, they portray an imagined “Other America” that is in stark contrast with the idyllic vision of the American Dream. Their America does not coincide with conventional middle-class values and goals of success, money and social upward mobility. It is an open, tolerant, and egalitarian country inhabited by marginalized “other Americans” who never escape from poverty and failure. On one side, their works appear to be the backbone of a 1980s counterculture, formed against the age of consumerism and hedonism, and critical of everything American. On the other side, they constantly evoke symbols of traditional American culture like the road, the frontier, the lone anti-hero, the adventure and hope for a better future. Therefore, quintessentially American narrative symbols survive in the alternative chronicle of a problematic America. Commonalities in the works of Auster, Jarmusch and Waits, are closely observed in this study; for instance the essential aesthetics, the recurring themes of decay and poverty, and the urban settings. The thesis also focuses on the affinity that these works have with a traditional American progressive thought. I argue that Auster, Jarmusch and Waits are heirs of a longestablished lineage of American artists and thinkers. Like Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and many others after them, they have both criticized their country and embraced its original ideals of social justice and equality. Embedded in this tradition of American resistance, the texts examined in this thesis are ideal guides to the recent history of the United States. Although these works were not created with an overt political intention, their authors assume an accidental role of social commentators, by challenging the values of the dominant U.S. culture. Electing simplicity over wealth, and failure over success, their stories praise the universal needs and a Whitmanesque “absolute soul” that all humans share. The works of the Other America recuperate a culture of the people that defies current tendencies of isolationism, greed and selfishness that are typical of consumerism. Against the dominant culture, these artists propose a return to an ideal human brotherhood that is the main principle of a long tradition of Americans who, throughout the decades, formed a resistance against the surrounding culture. The Other America of Auster, Jarmusch and Waits might be fictional, but it is a reminder of life as it is, mirroring a harsh American reality of injustice, decay and sorrow. While so doing, it never abandons a utopian impulse for life as it should be, namely the realization of a society in which love is the only law.en_US
dc.languageEnglish
dc.language.isoen
dc.publisherGriffith University
dc.publisher.placeBrisbane
dc.subject.keywordsPaul Austeren_US
dc.subject.keywordsJim Jarmuschen_US
dc.subject.keywordsTom Waitsen_US
dc.subject.keywordsContemporary Americaen_US
dc.subject.keywordsCultural resistanceen_US
dc.titleThe Other America of Paul Auster, Jim Jarmusch and Tom Waitsen_US
dc.typeGriffith thesisen_US
gro.facultyArts, Education and Lawen_US
gro.rights.copyrightThe author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
gro.hasfulltextFull Text
gro.thesis.degreelevelThesis (PhD Doctorate)en_US
gro.thesis.degreeprogramDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)en_US
gro.departmentSchool of Hum, Lang & Soc Scen_US
gro.griffith.authorTedde, Adriano A.


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