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\oIumc 1, NumIcr doi 1o.

1:1/1oog1-:oo6-oog
:oo6 Iy Brovn InIvcrsIIy nnd d f f e r e n c e s : A IournaI of feminist CuIturaI 5tudies
lauren berlant
Crue! OpImsm
Op|imism und I|s Ohjcc|s
Hhcn vc InIk nIouI nn oIjccI oI dcsIrc, vc nrc rcnIIy InIk-
In nIouI n cIusIcr oI romIscs vc vnnI somconc or somcIhIn Io mnkc
Io us nnd mnkc ossIIIc Ior us. ThIs cIusIcr oI romIscs couId Ic cmIcd-
dcd In n crson, n IhIn, nn InsIIIuIIon, n IcxI, n norm, n Iunch oI ccIIs,
smcIIs, n ood IdcnvhnIcvcr. To hrnsc Ihc oIjccI oI dcsIrc ns n cIusIcr
oI romIscs Is Io nIIov us Io cncounIcr vhnI Is IncohcrcnI or cnImnIIc
In our nIInchmcnIs, noI ns conhrmnIIon oI our IrrnIIonnIIIy, IuI ns nn
cxInnnIIon Ior our scnsc oI out cndutuncc in lhc ohjccl, InsoInr ns rox-
ImIIy Io Ihc oIjccI mcnns roxImIIy Io Ihc cIusIcr oI IhIns IhnI Ihc oIjccI
romIscs, somc oI vhIch mny Ic cIcnr Io us vhIIc oIhcrs noI so much. !n
oIhcr vords, nII nIInchmcnIs nrc oIImIsIIc. ThnI docs noI mcnn IhnI Ihcy
nII fccI oIImIsIIc: onc mIhI drcnd, Ior cxnmIc, rcIurnIn Io n sccnc oI
huncr or IonIn or Ihc sInsIIck rcIIcrnIIon oI n Iovcr or nrcnI`s IyI-
cnI mIsrcconIIIon. BuI Ihc surrcndcr Io Ihc rcIurn Io Ihc sccnc vhcrc
Ihc oIjccI hovcrs In IIs oIcnIInIIIIcs Is Ihc ocrnIIon oI oIImIsm ns nn
nIIccIIvc Iorm (scc ChcnI).
d f f e r e n c e s z
CrucI oIImIsm nnmcs n rcInIIon oI nIInchmcnI Io comro-
mIscd condIIIons oI ossIIIIIIy. WhnI Is crucI nIouI Ihcsc nIInchmcnIs,
nnd noI mcrcIy InconvcnIcnI or IrnIc, Is IhnI Ihc suIjccIs vho hnvc : In
IhcIr IIvcs mIhI noI vcII cndurc Ihc Ioss oI IhcIr oIjccI or sccnc oI dcsIrc,
cvcn Ihouh IIs rcscncc IhrcnIcns IhcIr vcII-IcIn, Iccnusc vhnIcvcr
Ihc conlcnl oI Ihc nIInchmcnI, Ihc conIInuIIy oI Ihc Iorm oI II rovIdcs
somcIhIn oI Ihc conIInuIIy oI Ihc suIjccI`s scnsc oI vhnI II mcnns Io kcc
on IIvIn on nnd Io Iook Iorvnrd Io IcIn In Ihc vorId. ThIs hrnsc oInIs
Io n condIIIon dIIIcrcnI Ihnn IhnI oI mcInnchoIIn, vhIch Is cnncIcd In Ihc
suIjccI`s dcsIrc Io IcmorIzc nn cxcrIcncc oI Ihc Ioss oI nn oIjccI/sccnc
vIIh vhIch shc hns IdcnIIhcd hcr co conIInuIIy. CrucI oIImIsm Is Ihc
condIIIon oI mnInInInIn nn nIInchmcnI Io n roIIcmnIIc oIjccI in udiuncc
oI IIs Ioss.
Onc mIhI oInI ouI IhnI nII oIjccIs/sccncs oI dcsIrc nrc roI-
IcmnIIc, In IhnI InvcsImcnIs In Ihcm nnd rojccIIons onIo Ihcm nrc Icss
nIouI Ihcm Ihnn nIouI Ihc cIusIcr oI dcsIrcs nnd nIIccIs vc mnnnc Io
kcc mnncIIzcd Io Ihcm. ! hnvc Indccd vondcrcd vhcIhcr nII oIImIsm Is
crucI, Iccnusc Ihc cxcrIcncc oI Ioss oI Ihc condIIIons oI IIs rcroducIIon
cnn Ic so IrcnIhInkInIy Ind. BuI somc sccncs oI oIImIsm nrc crucIcr
Ihnn oIhcrs: vhcrc crucI oIImIsm ocrnIcs, Ihc vcry vIInIIzIn or nnI-
mnIIn oIcncy oI nn oIjccI/sccnc oI dcsIrc conIrIIuIcs Io Ihc nIIrIIIon
oI Ihc vcry IhrIvIn IhnI Is suoscd Io Ic mndc ossIIIc In Ihc vork oI
nIInchmcnI In Ihc hrsI Incc. ThIs mIhI oInI Io somcIhIn ns InnnI ns
n scourIn Iovc, IuI II nIso ocns ouI Io oIscssIvc ncIIIcs, nIrIoIIsm, n
cnrccr, nII kInds oI IhIns. Onc mnkcs nIIccIIvc InrnIns nIouI Ihc cosIII-
ncss oI onc`s nIInchmcnIs, usunIIy unconscIous oncs, mosI oI vhIch kcc
onc In roxImIIy Io Ihc sccnc oI dcsIrc/nIIrIIIon.
To undcrsInnd crucI oIImIsm ns nn ncsIhcIIc oI nIInchmcnI
rcguIrcs cmInrkIn on nn nnnIysIs oI Ihc modcs oI rhcIorIcnI IndIrccIIon
IhnI mnnnc Ihc sIrnnc ncIIvIIy oI rojccIIon InIo nn cnnIIIn oIjccI IhnI
Is nIso dIsnIIIn. ! Icnrncd hov Io do IhIs Irom rcndIn BnrInrn !ohnson`s
vork on nosIrohc nnd Ircc IndIrccI dIscoursc. !n hcr ocIIcs oI IndI-
rccIIon, cnch oI Ihcsc rhcIorIcnI modcs Is shncd Iy Ihc vnys n vrIIIn
suIjccIIvIIy conjurcs oIhcr oncs so IhnI, In n crIormnncc oI hnnInsmnIIc
InIcrsuIjccIIvIIy, Ihc vrIIcr nIns sucrhumnn oIscrvnIIonnI nuIhorIIy,
cnnIIIn n crIormnncc oI IcIn mndc ossIIIc Iy Ihc roxImIIy oI Ihc
oIjccI. Bccnusc Ihc dynnmIcs oI IhIs sccnc nrc somcIhIn IIkc vhnI ! nm
dcscrIIIn In Ihc oIImIsm oI nIInchmcnI, ! vIII dcscrIIc Ihc shnc oI my
IrnnsIcrcncc vIIh hcr IhouhI.
zz CrueI Dptimism
!n AosIrohc, AnImnIIon, nnd AIorIIon, my kcy rcIcrcnI
hcrc, !ohnson Irncks Ihc oIIIIcnI conscgucnccs oI nosIrohIc nddrcss
Ior vhnI hns Iccomc IcInI crsonhood. !n IhIs sccnc, n sIIcnI, nIIccIIvcIy
rcscnI IuI hysIcnIIy dIsInccd InIcrIocuIor (n Iovcr, n IcIus) Is nnImnIcd
In sccch ns dIsInnI cnouh Ior n convcrsnIIon IuI cIosc cnouh Io Ic
ImnInnIIc Iy Ihc scnkcr In vhosc hcnd Ihc cnIIrc sccnc Is hncnIn.
BuI Ihc condIIIon oI rojccIcd ossIIIIIIy, oI n hcnrIn IhnI cnnnoI Inkc
Incc In Ihc Icrms oI IIs cnuncInIIon (you nrc noI hcrc, you nrc cIcr-
nnIIy IcInIcd Io Ihc convcrsnIIon vIIh you IhnI ! nm ImnInIn) crcnIcs
n Inkc momcnI oI InIcrsuIjccIIvIIy In vhIch, noncIhcIcss, n crIormnncc
oI nddrcss cnn Inkc Incc. Thc momcnI Is mndc ossIIIc Iy Ihc InnInsy oI
you, Indcn vIIh Ihc : gunIIIIcs ! cnn rojccI onIo you, Ivcn your convc-
nIcnI nIscncc. AosIrohc IhcrcIorc ncnrs Io Ic n rcnchIn ouI Io n you,
n dIrccI movcmcnI Irom Incc : Io ), IuI II Is ncIunIIy n IurnIn Inck, nn
nnImnIIn oI n rcccIvcr on IchnII oI Ihc dcsIrc Io mnkc somcIhIn hncn
nou IhnI rcnIIzcs somcIhIn in lhc spcu/ct, mnkcs Ihc scnkcr ossIIIc,
Iccnusc shc hns ndmIIIcd, In n scnsc, n nccd Io scnk Ior, ns, nnd Io Ivo:
IuI onIy undcr Ihc condIIIon, nnd IIIusIon, IhnI Ihc Ivo Is rcnIIy (In) onc.
AosIrohc Is Ihus nn IndIrccI, unsInIIc, hysIcnIIy ImossIIIc
IuI vIInIIzIn movcmcnI oI rhcIorIcnI nnImnIIon IhnI crmIIs suIjccIs Io
suscnd IhcmscIvcs In Ihc oIImIsm oI n oIcnIInI occunIIon oI Ihc snmc
sychIc sncc oI oIhcrs, Ihc oIjccIs oI dcsIrc vho mnkc you ossIIIc (Iy
hnvIn somc romIsIn gunIIIIcs, IuI nIso Iy noI IcIn Ihcrc). OI coursc
sychonnnIyIIcnIIy scnkIn, nII InIcrsuIjccIIvIIy Is ImossIIIc. BuI II Isn`I
ImossIIIc rhcIorIcnIIy. !or !ohnson, Ircc IndIrccI dIscoursc oIIcrs n co-
nnIc kInd oI suscnsIon IuI vIIh Icss crnIcIous ouIcomcs, nI IcnsI vhcn
shc rcnds Zorn NcnIc HursIon`s rncIIcc oI II. !n n nnrrnIor`s nrI-mcrIn
vIIh n chnrncIcr`s conscIousncss, Ircc IndIrccI dIscoursc crIorms Ihc
ImossIIIIIIy oI IocnIIn nn oIscrvnIIonnI InIcIIIcncc In onc or nny Iody
nnd IhcrcIorc Iorccs Ihc rcndcr Io IrnnsncI n dIIIcrcnI, morc ocn rcInIIon
oI unIoIdIn Io vhnI shc Is rcndIn, IhInkIn shc undcrsInnds, judIn,
nnd IcIn (BrInIn 8). !n sum, !ohnsonInn rojccIIon Is nIouI Ihc oIIcn
ruIhIcss oIImIsm In nIInchmcnI nnd Is oIIcn IIscII oIImIsIIc nIouI Ihc
IrnnsIcrcnIInI ocnncss IhnI rhcIorIcnI Iorms oI suscndcd InIcrsuIjccIIv-
IIy dcmnnd Irom Ihc rcndcr.
WhnI IoIIovs Is noI so IuoynnI: IhIs cssny oIIIIcIzcs !rcud`s
oIscrvnIIon IhnI coIc ncvcr vIIIInIy nInndon n IIIIdInnI osIIIon, noI
cvcn, Indccd, vhcn n suIsIIIuIc Is nIrcndy IcckonIn Io Ihcm (:). !I
d f f e r e n c e s zj
comcs Irom n Ioncr rojccI nIouI Ihc oIIIIcs, ncsIhcIIcs, nnd rojccIIons
oI oIIIIcnI dcrcssIon.
1
!or IhIs cssny`s uroscs, Ihc oIIIIcnIIy dcrcsscd
osIIIon Is mnnIIcsIcd In Ihc dIIIIcuIIy oI dcInchIn Irom IIIc-IuIIdIn
modnIIIIcs IhnI cnn no Ioncr Ic snId Io Ic doIn IhcIr vork nnd IhnI Indccd
Iccomc oIsIncIcs Io Ihc BourIshIn oI Ihc suIjccIs vhosc oIImIsm nnI-
mnIcs Ihcm (ScdvIck). My nssumIIon Is IhnI Ihc condIIIons oI ordInnry
IIIc In Ihc conIcmornry vorId, cvcn oI rcInIIvc vcnIIh ns In Ihc u.s., nrc
condIIIons oI Ihc nIIrIIIon or Ihc vcnrIn ouI oI Ihc suIjccI nnd IhnI Ihc
IronyIhnI Ihc InIor oI rcroducIn IIIc In Ihc conIcmornry vorId Is nIso
Ihc ncIIvIIy oI IcIn vorn ouI Iy IIhns sccIhc ImIIcnIIons Ior IhInk-
In nIouI Ihc ordInnrIncss oI suIIcrIn, Ihc vIoIcncc oI normnIIvIIy, nnd
Ihc IcchnoIoIcs oI nIIcncc or In IhnI kcc Ihcsc roccsscs In Incc
(BcrInnI, Quccn :::). CrucI oIImIsm nIouI ImmIncncc Ihus rovs Irom
n crccIIon nIouI Ihc rcnsons coIc nrc noI BnrIIcIy, do noI rcIcr Io
InIcrIcrc vIIh vnrIcIIcs oI ImmIscrnIIon, IuI choosc Io rIdc Ihc vnvc oI
Ihc sysIcm oI nIInchmcnI IhnI Ihcy nrc uscd Io. Or crhns Ihcy movc Io
normnIIvc Iorm Io cI numI vIIh Ihc conscnsunI romIsc nnd Io mIsrcc-
onIzc IhnI romIsc ns nn nchIcvcmcnI. !rom vorks Iy !ohn AshIcry,
ChnrIcs !ohnson, nnd CcoII Bymnn, IhIs cssny dcrIvcs Ihrcc cIsodcs oI
Ihc suscnsIon oI Ihc rcroducIIon oI hnIIIunIcd or normnIIvc IIIc. Thcsc
suscnsIons ocn u Ihc Imnssc ns n nnmc Ior Ihc IrnnsIIIonnI momcnI
IcIvccn n hnIIIunIcd IIIc nnd nII oI IIs oIhcrs. WhnI hncns In IhIs sncc
oI IImc hcIs Io cxInIn vhy cxuIcrnnI nIInchmcnIs kcc IIckIn, noI IIkc
Ihc IImc IomI Ihcy mIhI Ic IuI IIkc n vhIIc noIsc mnchInc IhnI rovIdcs
nssurnncc IhnI vhnI sccms IIkc IhrcnI or sInIIc rcnIIy Is, nIIcr nII, n rhyIhm
coIc cnn cnIcr InIo vhIIc Ihcy`rc dIIhcrIn, IoIIcrIn, InrnInIn, IcsI-
In, or oIhcrvIsc IcIn vorn ouI Iy Ihc romIscs IhnI Ihcy hnvc nIInchcd
Io In IhIs vorId.
Thc Promisc o/ |hc Ohjcc|
A rcccnI, unIIIIcd !ohn AshIcry ocm sIncs Ihc mosI romIs-
In vcrsIon oI IhIs sccnc oI romIscs Ior us (scc Mnc!nrguhnr). !I hrnscs
In Icrms oI snIInI In Ihc oIIIIcnI cconomy oI dIsnvovnI II Is cnsy Io drn
nround IIkc n shndov, nnd Ihcn rovIdcs nn cxcrIcncc oI IIvcncss In Ihc
oIjccI IhnI Is noI onIy IIvnIIc IuI nI oncc simpIif)in und tcioIulionut)
IhnI IourcoIs drcnm couIcI:
zq CrueI Dptimism
Hc uctc uutncd uhoul spidcts, und lhc
occusionuI fuminc.
Hc dtoic dounloun lo scc out
ncihhots. ^onc of lhcm uctc homc.
Hc ncslIcd in )utds lhc municipuIil) hud
ctculcd,
tcminisccd uhoul olhct, diffctcnl pIuccs
hul uctc lhc)? Hudn`l uc /noun il uII
hcfotc?
In iinc)utds uhctc lhc hcc`s h)mn
dtouns lhc monolon),
uc sIcpl fot pcucc, joinin in lhc tcul
tun.
Hc cumc up lo mc.
Il uus uII us il hud hccn,
c:ccpl fot lhc ucihl of lhc ptcscnl,
lhul scullIcd lhc pucl uc mudc uilh
hcuicn.
In ltulh lhctc uus no cuusc fot tcjoicin,
not nccd lo lutn utound, cilhct.
Hc uctc Iosl jusl h) slundin,
Iislcnin lo lhc hum of lhc uitcs oicthcud.
Thc ocnIn Irnmc Is Ihc sccnc oI Ihc AmcrIcnn drcnm noI rcnIIzcd, IuI
nImosI. !n IhIs ocm, homc nnd hymn uImosl rhymc; IuI vc nrc rcsI-
Icss, no onc Is homc, nnIurc IhrcnIcns our scnsc oI IcnIIudc; nnd Ihcn
Ihcrc Is vhnI Ihc scnkcr cnIIs Ihc vcIhI oI Ihc rcscnI IhnI mnkcs our
oIIIIcs guIcIIsI, InvoIvIn sIccIn Ior cncc, dcBnIIn Ihc symIoIIc InIo
Ihc somnIIc. Hov Ion hnvc coIc IhouhI nIouI Ihc rcscnI ns hnvIn
vcIhI, IcIn n IhIn dIsconnccIcd Irom oIhcr IhIns, nn oIsIncIc Io IIv-
In? !vcryIhIn In IhIs ocm Is vcry cncrnI, nnd ycI, vc cnn dcrIvc somc
conIcxIs Irom vIIhIn II.
!n Ihcsc suIurIs, Wc hnvc choscn Io Ic dcndcncd cIIIzcns,
hny Io Ic Ihc coIor somconc hns Inccd InsIdc oI Ihc IIncs. Wc IIvc
vIIh n scnsc oI IookIn Iorvnrd Io somcIhIn, IuI noI Ioo much, comos-
In ourscIvcs nIIcnIIy Iovnrd IuIhIIIn Ihc romIsc oI IIvIn n vcrsIon
oI Ihc ood IIIc IhnI ZIzck mIhI cnII dccnIIcInnIcd (PnssIon). Thcrc Is
noIhIn csccInIIy orIInnI or roIound In AshIcry`s scnd-u oI suIurInn
d f f e r e n c e s zy
monoIony. Thc comIorIIn nnd sIIhIIy duII rhyIhm oI cIIchc crIorms
cxncIIy hov much IIIc onc cnn Icnr Io hnvc Ihcrc nnd vhnI II mcnns Io
hnvc Ihc mcnns Io drIvc IrccIy vIIhIn Ihc munIcInIIIy In n vnucIy
InIcrnI vny, Ihrcc-gunrIcrs dcInchcd Irom n mnnIcurcd zonc oI vhnI hnd
Iccn n InnInsy. Wc do noI IhInk nIouI IhIns IIkc Ihc vorkcrs noIsIIy
mnnIcurIn our csInIcs nnd kccIn Ihc ronds cIcnr: vc do noI cvcn vnnI
our ncIhIor Io Ic much morc Ihnn n IrIcndIy nIsIrncIIon.
DcsIIc Ihc rcscnIIn Incc oI II, ns n ocm voIccd Irom vIIhIn
Ihc communIIy oI InccIcss unIvcrsnI suIjccIs oI scII-rcIcrcnIInIIIy, Ihc
ncIIon oI Ihc ocm Is noI Iound u vhoIIy In Ihc vnuc nIInchmcnI Io nn
AmcrIcnn drcnm IhnI Is ncIunIIy IIvcd ns n scrIcs oI mIsscd cncounIcrs vIIh
dIsnsIcr nnd humnn conIncI, cuI Io sIzc In InrcIy cxcrIcnccd cIsodcs.
Thc ncIIon oI Ihc ocm Is chnrIcd In Ihc smnII movcmcnI IcIvccn homc,
hymn, nnd hum. MosI ImorInnIIy, II IuIIds Io nn cvcnI IhnI Ircnks u Ihc
undrnmnIIc IormnIIsm oI our IIIc.
Thc cvcnI mIhI Ic ChrIsIInn, vIIh nII oI AshIcry`s snnrky cIIn-
IIons oI !IIoI nnd MIIIon mnrkIn n Ircnk Irom rcIIIous IyrIc.
2
BuI vhnI
mnkcs IhnI Ircnk hncn Is IhIs ocm`s ChIoc IIkcd OIIvIn momcnI:
Hc cnmc u Io mc (WooII). Hc cnmc u Io mc nnd Irokc my ncI vIIh
hcnvcn noI Io Ic ny. ! nm noI Ihc suIjccI oI n hymn IuI oI n hum, Ihc
IhIn IhnI rcsonnIcs nround mc, vhIch mIhI Ic hcnvcn or Iccs or dcsIrc
or cIccIrIc vIrcs, IuI vhnIcvcr II Is II InvoIvcs IcIn In roxImIIy Io somc-
onc nnd In IccomIn IosI Ihcrc, In n hum noI vhcrc vc sIood IuI nII
nround, noI In Ihc mncd sncc oI drIvcs nnd drIvIn, IuI n sncc IhnI Is
IosI. uccrncss suIsIIIuIcs IIscII Ior rcIIIous nIIccI`s sncc oI rcvcrcncc:
In Ihc cnd, IIIc Is nI Ihc IcsI ImnInnIIc oI Imnsscs. WhnI InIcrsuIjccIIvIIy
Ihcrc Is hns no conIcnI IuI Is mndc In Ihc sImuIInncIIy oI IIsIcnIn. ThcIr
InIImncy Is rndIcnIIy rIvnIc nnd rcIIy uncodcd. !IIc IcIvccn homc nnd
hymn Iccomcs InIcrruIcd Iy nn um, nn InIcrruIIon, vhcrc Ihc coIc
nrc nov IosI IuI nIIvc nnd unvnnguIshcd In IhcIr dIsInccmcnI. !IIc hns
Iccn scIzcd, ns BndIou vouId sny, Iy nn cvcnI IhnI dcmnnds hdcIIIy.
ThIs cvcnI, hovcvcr, nIso hns ImncI dcspilc Ihc nuIoIIornhI-
cnI. Thc ocm cIoscs IocusIn on vhnI hncns vhcn somconc nIIovs
hImscII Io Ic chnncd Iy nn cvcnI oI IcIn-vIIh Ihc oIjccI, noI In Ihc
scmInnonymous rojccIcd roxImIIy oI nosIrohc or Ihc vc-dId-IhIs- nnd
vc-dId-IhnI socInIIIy oI Ihc hrsI sInnzn, nnd noI In Icrms oI n drnmnIIcs oI
nn uncIoscIcd scxunI IdcnIIIyIndccd noI In Icrms oI IIornhy nI nII. Thc
ocm snys IhnI |I]n IruIh Ihcrc vns no cnusc Ior rcjoIcIn: Ihcrc vns no
cnusc Ior rcjoIcIn In IruIh, or oIjccIIvIIy. !nsIcnd, Ihcrc Is Ihc cxccInIIon
z6 CrueI Dptimism
oI InIImncy nnd n ncv sorI oI ocIry. Thc scIsmIc shIII InIo Ihc Imnssc
Inkcs Incc In yIcIdIn Io Ihc roxImIIy oI nn InIImncy undchncd Iy InIk-
In, mndc Iy n csIurc oI nronch IhnI hoIds ocn n sncc IcIvccn Ivo
coIc jusI sInndIn Ihcrc IInkcd ncvIy.
!I mIhI Ic IhrIIIIn Io IhInk nIouI IhIs ocm ns dcIIncnIIn
n mcnns oI roducIIon oI nn Imnssc In Ihc rcscnI IhnI hns noI ycI Iccn
nIsorIcd In Ihc IourcoIs scnscs IuI Inkcs onc ouI Io n sncc oI socInIIIy
IhnI IIsIcns, Is rcccIIvc, nnd cnIIs Ior Ihcory. Bc ocn Io hc vho comcs
u Io you. Bc chnncd Iy nn cncounIcr. Bccomc n ocI oI Ihc cIsodc, Ihc
cIIsIon, Ihc cIIIsIs . . .
AI Ihc snmc IImc, onc mIhI noIc IhnI II mnIIcrs vho vroIc IhIs
ocm: n conhdcnI crson. Hc hnds ossIIIIIIy In n momcnI oI suscnsIon
nnd rcguIrcs ncIIhcr Ihc IoIc oI Ihc mnrkcI Io sccurc hIs vnIuc nor Ihc
InIImnIc rcconIIIon oI nnyIhIn munIcInIIy normnI or domcsIIc Io nssurc
IhnI hc hns IoundnrIcs. Hc cnn hoId n nonsncc vIIhouI IcIn mcnnInIuI.
ThIs docs noI sccm Io IhrcnIcn hIm. YcI, IhIs InsInncc oI oIImIsm mIhI
or mIhI noI Ic n nrI oI crucI oIImIsm: vc don`I knov. Thc romIsc Is
cvcryvhcrc, nnd Ihc dIssoIuIIon oI Ihc Iorm oI IcIn IhnI cxIsIcd IcIorc
Ihc cvcnI Is noI cnusc Ior mournIn or rcjoIcIn: II Is jusI n IncI. Docs Ihc
cIsodIc nnIurc oI Ihc InIcrruIIon cnnIIc hIm, nIIcr Ihc momcnI, Io rcIurn
Io Ihc dIurnnI rhyIhms rcIrcshcd? WIII Ihcy o cI n coIIcc, or cI oIhcr-
vIsc sIImuInIcd? WIII Ihcy Iccomc dIIIcrcnI In n vny IhnI Ihcy cnn IuIId n
vorId on? !s Ihc couIc n sInnd-In Ior Ihc coIIccIIvc IhnI cnn nov Ic nvnkc
Ior cncc rnIhcr Ihnn somnnmIuInnI? Or docs Ihc ncsIhcIIc momcnI oI Ihc
dIIIcrcnI nuIonomy Ihcy cI vhcn Ihcy cxIsI IocIhcr In rcvcrIc Iccomc n
condIIIon noI Ior dcluchin Irom Ihc mnrkcI, IuI Ior IIvIn In II? HnIcrmns
vouId crhns noIc IhnI Ihc InnInsy oI Ihc Iovcrs` noIhcosIs cnnIIcs MnrkcI
Mnn Io drovn ouI Ihc ncvs IhnI hc Is nIso Ihc cxIoIIcr oI nrdcncrs, nn
InsIrumcnInI nnd InsIrumcnInIIzIn ncnI. !ohn BIcco mIhI nruc IhnI
Ihc mcn`s ouIsIdcncss nnd ouIsIdcrncss dcmonsIrnIc Ihc oIcnIInI rcsourcc
oI nII nyncss Io mnkc n guccr nnIInormnIIvIIy IhnI docs noI Iook Inck Io
domcsIIcIIy vIshIuIIy. !I Is ImossIIIc Io sny hov dcc Ihc Ircnk Is.
MovIn Irom homc Io hum, Io hommc Io um, nn InIcrruIIon: II
sounds ThorcnuvInn, IhIs mcIhod oI soundIn ouI Ihc sncc oI n momcnI Io
mcnsurc IIs conIours, Io nsk vhnI Is IcIn sIocd, vho cIs Io do II, nnd
vhnI II vouId mcnn Io Ic In IhIs momcnI nnd Ihcn Icyond II. !I Is nIvnys n
rIsk Io IcI somconc In, Io InsIsI on n ncIn dIIIcrcnI Ihnn Ihc roducIIvIsI
ncIn, sny, oI cnIInIIsI normnIIvIIy. Thcn nnIn, hc Is noI m) oIjccI, my
cIusIcr oI romIscs: hc cnmc u Io mc. !vcn II hcin Ihc oIjccI Is morc
d f f e r e n c e s z
sccurc Ihnn huiin onc nnd rIskIn dIsnoInImcnI, Ihc ocm sIos IcIorc
nnyonc cIs Ioo dcc InIo Ihc rojccIIn nnd cmIcddIn. WhnI hncns
ncxI Is Ihc unhnIshcd IusIncss oI Ihc ocm: rIhI nov, Ihc scnscs II sIncs
nrc ocn Io IccomIn vhnI Mnrx vouId cnII IhcorcIIcInns, cmnncInIcd
Irom Ihc sIuIdIIy oI rocrIIcd scnsunI hnIIIunIIon nnd nII IhnI IhIs hns
cnInIIcd (16:).
Thc Promisc o/ Eachungc IuIuc
WhnIcvcr II Is, soundIn Ihc ocm Ior Ihc mcnnIn oI Ihc
Imnssc II orIrnys In nn cvcnI IhnI dIsInccs nnd dIssoIvcs ordInnry IIIc
docs noI conhrm IhnI nII IyrIc or cIsodIc InIcrruIIons nrc cvcn oIcnIInIIy
n condIIIon oI ossIIIIIIy Ior ImnInIn n rndIcnIIy rcscnsunIIzcd suIjccI.
AshIcry`s scnkcr Is vcry Iucky IhnI hc cIs Io dIssoIvc nnd IhrIvc In Ihc
coIInIornIIvc unknovIn InIIInIcd Iy Ihc csIurc, Ihc cncounIcr, nnd
oIcnIInIIy Ihc cvcnI IhnI unIoIIIc vhnIcvcr II Is IhnI hc/mc cnn nov rcsI
In hcnrIn. !n ChnrIcs !ohnson`s !xchnnc \nIuc, n sIIunIIon IhnI mIhI
nIso hnvc Iurncd ouI IhnI vny docs noI, nnd Ihc sIory`s cnumcrnIIon oI vhnI
cIsc couId hncn Io coIc cnuhI u In n sccnc IcIvccn onc hnIIIunIcd
IIIc nnd nnoIhcr ycI Io Ic InvcnIcd snys somcIhIn nIouI vhy Ihc hrnsc
oIIIIcnI cconomy musI run nIonsIdc our nnnIysIs oI crucI nnd usunI
oIImIsm. Why do somc coIc hnvc Ihc chos Ior ImrovIsIn unknovIn
vhIIc oIhcrs run ouI oI IrcnIh, noI hummIn IuI honrdIn?
As vIIh AshIcry`s IyrIc, IhIs sIory IcIns vIIh n mcdIInIIon on
ncIhIors nnd ncIhIorhoods. !xchnnc \nIuc Inkcs Incc durIn Ihc
1gos on Ihc SouIh SIdc oI ChIcno. Thc roInonIsIs, cIhIccn-ycnr-oId
CooIcr nnd hIs oIdcr IroIhcr !oIIIs, nrc oor nnd AIrIcnn AmcrIcnn. Thcy
do noI drIvc dovnIovn or IrcgucnI oIhcr ncIhIorhoods Ior Iun: Ihcy do noI
hnvc cnrs. Homc nnd Ihc hood nrc snccs oI IocnIIzcd, crsonnIIzcd rnc-
IIccs oI cncounIcrIn, vnndcrIn, nnd scrounIn. BuI hcrc, Ihc InIImncy
oI roxImIIy hns noIhIn Io do vIIh IyrIc InIcrsuIjccIIvIIy, cvcn Ihouh Ihc
sIory Inkcs Incc In Ihc mcdIInIIvc rhyIhms oI CooIcr`s vny oI nrsIn n
ncv sIIunIIon. Thc suIjccIs oI !xchnnc \nIuc nrc cxrcssIvc nnd onguc
IuI vIIh guIIc dIIIcrcnI vnIcnccs Ihnn In our rcvIous cxnmIc.
Thc sIory ocns ns Ivo IroIhcrs consIrc Io roI IhcIr ossIIIy
dcnd ncIhIor, MIss BnIIcy. Who Is MIss BnIIcy? NoIody knovs: shc Is n
ncIhIor, so onc docs noI nccd Io knov hcr; hcr joI Is Io Ic nround, Io Ic
n chnrncIcr, vhIch Is vhnI you cnII somconc vho crIorms n InmIIInr
scI oI IconocInsIIc ncIIons nround you IuI Is noI InIImnIc vIIh you. MIss
z8 CrueI Dptimism
BnIIcy drcsscs In cnsI-oII mcn`s cIoIhcs; vhcn CooIcr Ivcs hcr ockcI
chnnc, shc docsn`I scnd II, shc cnIs II. ThIs Is vhnI CooIcr knovs nIouI
hcr, dcrIvIn noIhIn morc nIouI hcr Irom hcr ncIIons. Thc sIory Inkcs
Incc Iccnusc shc`s nIvnys nround nnd Ihcn shc Isn`I. CooIcr nnd !oIIIs
IhInk IhnI crhns shc hns dIcd nnd dcIcrmInc Io cI Ihc hrsI IckIns.
ThIs kInd oI scnvcnIn In oIhcr coIc`s sIuII Is noI chnrnc-
IcrIsIIc oI CooIcr, IuI II docsn`I vIoInIc hIs IundnmcnInI rcInIIon Io Ihc
vorId cIIhcr. Comnrcd Io hIs IroIhcr, hc hns nIvnys Iccn Irnndcd n Ioscr.
Mnmn uscd Io sny II vns !oIIIs, noI mc, vho`d o Inccs |. . . ]. !oIIIs, hc
rndunIcd hIIh nI DuSnIIc HIh SchooI, hnd Ivo Is nnd, IIkc Pnn, hc
Ic nIvnys vnnIIn Ihc IhIns vhIIc coIc hnd ouI In Hydc Pnrk, vhcrc
Mnmn dId dnyvork somcIImcs. Thc chIIdrcn`s nrcnIs nrc IoIh dcnd:
Pnn Irom ovcrvork nnd Mnmn Iccnusc shc vns ns II ns n !rIIdnIrc.
HnvIn vnIchcd IhIs, CooIcr rcIuscs Io rIdc Ihc vnvc oI Ihc AmcrIcnn
Drcnm. BcmcmIcrIn hIs nrcnIs kIIIIn IhcyscIvcs Ior chum chnnc,
hc cI Io IhInkIn IhnI cvcn II ! nIn`I hnd nII ! vnnIcd, mnyIc !`vc hnd, you
knov, nII !`m cvcr onnn cI nnd so ornnIzcs hIs IIIc Ihrouh Ihc InIcrnI
cnjoymcnIs oI InnInsy. ! cnn`I kcc no joI nnd sorIn sIny cIosc Io homc,
vnIchIn tv, or rcndIn HotId`s Fincsl comIc Iooks, or mnyIc jusI InyIn
dcnd, IIsIcnIn Io musIc, ImnInIn ! scc Inccs or IorcIn Inccs In vnIcr
sInIns on Ihc vnIIncr (:8:g).
!or CooIcr, InnInsy Isn`I n Inn. !I cnIIIrnIcs noIhIn nIouI hov
Io IIvc. !I Is Ihc uclion oI IIvIn Ior hIm, hIs vny oI nssIn IImc, noI IryIn
Io mnkc somcIhIn oI hImscII In n sysIcm oI cxIoIInIIon nnd cxchnnc
IhnI, In Ihc oIIIIcnI cconomy oI hIs vorId, docs noI roducc rcsI or vnsIc,
IuI sIov dcnIh, Ihc nIIrIIIon oI suIjccIs Iy Ihc cxchnnc vnIucs oI cnIInI,
vhIch Irndc Ihc vorkcr`s Iody Ior n dcIcrrcd cnjoymcnI IhnI Ihosc on Ihc
IoIIom oI Ihc cInss sIrucIurc von`I IIkcIy survIvc Ion cnouh Io cnjoy, ns
hIs nrcnIs` InIc dcmonsIrnIcs (BcrInnI, SIov).
!n conIrnsI, !oIIIs`s rcInIIon Io InnInsy Is rcnIIsI. Hc InhcrIIcd
hIs nrcnIs` oIImIsm Iovnrd hIs IIIc Iy IcIn nmIIIIous. BuI hIs sIrnIcIcs
nrc sIrIcIIy IormnI. Hc Inkcs cInsscs Irom BInck NnIIonnIIsIs nI Ihc BInck
PcoIc`s ToornhIcnI !IIrnry, rcnds Lsquitc nnd Thc Iuc/ SchoIut, nnd
scvs uscnIc InIcIs onIo hIs dovnscnIc cIoIhcs: Io hIm, cIIIn nhcnd Is
vhnI counIs, vhcIhcr II Is vIn ovcr, InIor, or Ihc husIIc (:g). HIs oInIon
oI CooIcr Is Iov, Iccnusc Ihc youncr IroIhcr Is drcnmy nnd hns no drIvc.
NoncIhcIcss, Ihcy do Ihc joI IocIhcr.
MIss BnIIcy`s nnrImcnI Is IIch dnrk nnd rccks oI shII: n ncvs-
ncr cIIIn Irom Ihc Chicuo Dcfcndct nmon Ihc nrInc rcvcnIs IhnI
d f f e r e n c e s zg
hcr Iormcr cmIoycr, Hcnry Conncrs, hnd IcII hcr hIs cnIIrc csInIc nnd
IhnI hcr crIormnnccs oI scnvcnIn nnd vcIrdncss mnskcd hcr cnormous
vcnIIh. !I nII mnkcs scnsc In Ihc dnrk. BuI vhcn Ihc IIhI Iurns on, CooIcr
noIcs IhnI shncs comc Iorvnrd In Ihc IIhI nnd ! IhouhI Ior nn InsInnI
IIkc !`d sIIcd In sncc (o). !n IhIs momcnI, CooIcr cnIcrs nn Imnssc:
hIs InIcnI nI mnkIn ouI IorcIn shncs Iccomcs nIIcd Io hIs ovn IIIc,
vhIch hc cnn no Ioncr occuy.
[H[ct Iiiin toom, uchhcd in dusl, hc IIcd lo lhc mu: uilh doI
Iuts of uII dcnominulions, sluc/s of sloc/ in GcnctuI Molots, GuIf
OiI, und )M compun) in oId Hhilc OuI ciut ho:cs, hullctcd
putscs, ot hound in pin/ tuhhct hunds. |. . .] [L[ict)lhin, Ii/c u
uotId insidc lhc uotId, )ou lu/c il ftom mc, so Ii/c piclutchoo/
sccncs of pIcnlifuIncss )ou couId scuI )outscIf off in hctc und
scllIc fotcict. Loflis und mc holh dtcu htculh suddcnI). Thctc hc
unopcncd cuscs of Juc/ DunicI`s, lhtcc sufcs ccmcnlcd lo lhc oot,
hundtcds of mulchhoo/s, unuotn cIolhcs, u fucIhutnin sloic,
do:cns of ucddin tins, tuhhish, HotId Hut II muu:incs, u
cutlon of u hundtcd cunncd sutdincs, min/ sloIcs, oId tus, u
hitdcuc, u huc/cl of siIict doIIuts, lhousunds of hoo/s, puinl
ins, quutlcts in lohucco cuns, luo piunos, Iuss juts of pcnnics,
u scl of hupipcs, un uImosl compIclc ModcI A Fotd duppIcd uilh
tusl, und I sucut, lhtcc scclions of u dcud ltcc. ()c)1)
Hov do vc undcrsInnd IhIs coIIccIIon noI onIy oI IhIns IuI oI dcInIIs?
CooIcr`s rcsonsc Is noI Io Ic n hIsIorInn, IuI n mornIIsI: |A] ltcc nIn`I
normnI (1). BuI Io my cyc, Ihc sIory`s mnIn cvcnI Is somnIIc. Chnnc Is
nn ImncI IIvcd on Ihc Iody IcIorc nnyIhIn Is undcrsIood nnd Is sImuI-
InncousIy mcnnInIuI nnd IncIogucnI, nn ImncI IhnI Ihcy scnd Ihc rcsI
oI Ihc sIory nnd IhcIr IIvcs cnIchIn u Io. !I Is IIkc vInnIn Ihc IoIIcry,
cIIIn n vnsh oI moncy you hnvcn`I cnrncd; IcIn osscsscd Iy comIn
InIo osscssIon oI osscssIons, Ihcy nrc shockcd InIo somcIhIn ImnssIvc.
ThIs crnck In Ihc ncccssIIIcs oI hIsIory mnkcs CooIcr`s hcnd cI IIhIMy
knccs InIIcd; Ihcn ! dId n HoIIyvood InInI (:); !oIIIs nnI|s] n IIIIIc
nnd Ior Ihc hrsI IImc |. . .] Iookcd IIkc hc dIdn`I knov hIs ncxI movc (1).
ThcIr IodIcs Iccomc suscndcd.
BuI II rIchcs chnnc hIsIory, Ihcy nIso mnkc II ossIIIc Ior
hIsIory Io Ic somcIhIn oIhcr Ihnn n zonc oI InrcIy or IndIy ImnIncd
ossIIIIIIy. !oIIIs rcIurns Io crnzy rcnson nnd Iorccs CooIcr Io cnInIo
cvcryIhIn. !vcnIunIIy,
jo CrueI Dptimism
lhul ctun/) oId ninn)hummct`s houtd udds up lo $8;,,) in
cush, lhitl)luo hun/ hoo/s |. . .] I uusn`l sutc I uus dtcumin
ot uhul, hul I suddcnI) ushcd on lhis fccIin, oncc uc Icfl hct
ul, lhul uII lhc fcuts Loflis und mc hud uhoul lhc fulutc hc onc,
'cuusc Miss uiIc)`s ptopctl) uus lhc pusllhc pouct of lhul fcI
Iuh Hcnt) Conncts ltuppcd Ii/c u hollIc spitiluhich uc couId
Iiic off, so il uus lhc fulutc loo, putc polcnliuI: cun do. Loflis ol
lo luI/in on uhoul hou lhul piuno uc pushcd homc hc cquuI lo
u lhousund hiIIs, jim, uhich cquuIs, su), u hud teac a))c lupc
dcc/, ot u doun pu)mcnl on u dcuccunduquutlct. Ils iuIuc hc
(Loflis su)) lhul of u uniictsuI slundutd of mcusutc, tcIulionuI,
untcuI us numhct, so lhul lupc dcc/ couId lutn, muicuII), inlo
luo oId Iumc suils, u ltip lo Tijuunu, ot lucnl)iic hIou johs
ftom u houc hud $8;,,) uotlh of uishcs, if )ou cun dcuI
uilh lhul. c Ii/c Miss uiIc)`s sluff is tuu cnct), und Loflis
und mc, Ii/c ui:utds, couId ltunsfotm hct sluff inlo un)lhin
cIsc ul uiII. AII uc hud lo do, il sccmcd lo mc, uus dccidc c:uclI)
uhul lo c:chunc il fot. ()))
CooIcr`s scnscs, nvnkcncd Io Ihc romIscs cIusIcrcd nround IhIns, hnvc
IruIy Iccomc IhcorcIIcInns. !xchnnc vnIuc Is noI IdcnIIcnI Io Ihc rIcc oI
IhIns, IuI mnrks n dcIcrmInnIIon oI vhnI cIsc n IhIn cnn cI cxchnncd
fot, ns Ihouh moncy vcrc noI InvoIvcd, cxncIIy, In Ihc mcdInIIons. Your
conI Ior n Inno. Your moncy Ior your IIIc.
Thc sccnc oI shockIn vcnIIh chnncs Ihc Icrms oI Ihc mcnnIn
oI IIIc, oI Ihc rcroducIIon oI IIIc, nnd oI cxchnnc IIscII. !oIIIs cIs vcry
guIcI. CooIcr rnIs moncy nnd ocs dovnIovn. BuI Ihouh dovnIovn
ChIcno Is jusI n Icv mIIcs nvny, II Is IIkc n IorcIn counIry. Hc docsn`I
hnvc n cIuc hov Io scnd Ihc moncy hnIIy nnd rcnIIzcs sIckcnInIy IhnI
moncy cnnnoI mnkc you IccI IIkc you IcIon II you do noI nIrcndy IccI IhnI
vny. Hc Iuys uIy, IndIy mndc, cxcnsIvc cIoIhcs. Hc cnIs mcnI IIII hc cIs
sIck. Hc Inkcs cnIs cvcryvhcrc. Whcn hc cIs homc, hIs IroIhcr`s onc
sychoIIc. !oIIIs hns IuIII nn cInIornIc Irn, n vnuII Io roIccI Ihc moncy.
Hc ycIIs nI CooIcr Ior scndIn, Iccnusc Ihc onIy ovcr Is In honrdIn.
!oIIIs: As soon ns you Iuy somcIhIn you Iosc Ihc ovcr Io Iuy somcIhIn
(6). Hc cnnnoI roIccI hImscII Irom MIss BnIIcy`s InIc, suIIcrIn IhnI sc-
cInI Ncro Icnr oI usIn u vhnI IIIIIc vc cI In IhIs IIIc (); InhcrIInncc
uI hcr Ihrouh chnncs, shc Ic scIIIound, osscsscd Iy Ihc romIsc
oI IIIc, nnIcky nIouI dcIcIIon, nnd Iockcd nov In Ihc nsI Iccnusc cict)
urchnsc, you knov, hns Io Ic n oor Iuy: n Ioss oI IIIc (8).
d f f e r e n c e s j
NoIIcc hov IrcgucnIIy !ohnson rcvcrIs Io Ihc vord IIIc: cnn
n crson on Ihc IoIIom survIvc IIvIn IIIc sIrIcd oI Ihc IIIusIon oI
IndchnIIc cndurnncc vIn vhnIcvcr kInds oI hnnInsmnIIc rncIIccs hc hns
Iccn nIIc Io coIIIc IocIhcr? Hov guIckIy cnn onc dIscnsc vIIh Ihc oId
InrnIns IcIvccn dcIcnsc nnd dcsIrc, ndnIIn Io n rcImc vhosc ruIcs
rovIdc no IcII comIorI? !xchnnc \nIuc dcmonsIrnIcs Ihc roxImIIy oI
Ivo kInds oI crucI oIImIsm: vIIh IIIIIc cuIIurnI or cconomIc cnIInI, nnd
IcnrIn Ihc hIsIory oI n rncInI dIsInhcrIInncc Irom Ihc norms oI vhIIc
surcmncy, you vork yourscII Io dcnIh or consI Io noncxIsIcncc; or, vIIh
Ihc InIInsI oI cnIInI, you honrd nnInsI dcnIh, dcIcrrIn IIIc, unIII you dIc.
CooIcr sccs IhnI Ihcrc Is no vny ouI nov, no IIvIn ns II noI In n rcInIIon Io
dcnIh, vhIch Is hurcd In nII oI Ihc oIcnIInI Ioss IhnI rcccdcs II.
Thc Promisc o/ cing Tuugh|
!I Is sIrIkIn IhnI Ihcsc momcnIs oI oIImIsm, vhIch mnrk n
ossIIIIIIy IhnI Ihc hnIIIs oI n hIsIory mIhI nol Ic rcroduccd, rcIcnsc
nn ovcrvhcImInIy ncnIIvc Iorcc: onc rcdIcIs such cIIccIs In IrnumnIIc
sccncs, IuI II Is noI usunI Io IhInk nIouI nn oIImIsIIc cvcnI ns hnvIn Ihc
snmc oIcnIInI conscgucnccs. Thc convcnIIonnI InnInsy IhnI n rcvoIu-
IIonnry IIIIIn oI IcIn mIhI hncn In roxImIIy Io n ncv oIjccI/sccnc
vouId rcdIcI oIhcrvIsc Ihnn IhnI n crson or n rou mIhI rcIcr,
nIIcr nII, Io surI Irom cIsodc Io cIsodc vhIIc IcnnIn Iovnrd n cIusIcr
oI vnucIy hrnscd rosccIs. And ycI: nI n ccrInIn dcrcc oI nIsIrncIIon
IoIh Irom Irnumn nnd oIImIsm, Ihc cxcrIcncc oI scII-dIssoIuIIon, rndI-
cnIIy rcshncd conscIousncss, ncv scnsorIn, nnd nnrrnIIvc ruIurc cnn
Iook sImIInr; Ihc cmoIIonnI BoodIn In roxImIIy Io n ncv oIjccI cnn nIso
roducc n sImIInr rnsIn Iovnrd sInIIIIzIn Iorm, n rcnnchorIn In Ihc
symIom`s rcdIcInIIIIIy.
! hnvc sucsIcd IhnI Ihc nrIIcuInr vnys In vhIch IdcnIIIy
nnd dcsIrc nrc nrIIcuInIcd nnd IIvcd scnsunIIy vIIhIn cnIInIIsI cuIIurc
roducc such counIcrInIuIIIvc ovcrIns. BuI II vouId Ic rcducIIvc Io rcnd
Ihc rcccdIn ns n cInIm IhnI nnyonc`s suIjccIIvc IrnnsncIIon vIIh Ihc
oIImIsIIc sIrucIurc oI vnIuc In cnIInI ptoduccs Ihc knoIIy cnInIImcnIs
oI crucI oIImIsm ns such. ThIs cssny Iocuscs on nrIvorks IhnI cxIIcIIIy
rcmcdInIc sInuInrIIIcs InIo cnscs oI nonunIvcrsnI IuI cncrnI nIsIrncIIon,
rovIdIn nnrrnIIvc sccnnrIos oI hov coIc Icnrn Io IdcnIIIy, mnnnc, nnd
mnInInIn Ihc hnzy IumInosIIy oI IhcIr nIInchmcnI Io IcIn : nnd hnvIn
:, Ivcn IhnI IhcIr nIInchmcnIs vcrc romIscs nnd noI osscssIons nIIcr
jz CrueI Dptimism
nII. CcoII Bymnn`s hIsIorIcnI novcI Hus rovIdcs n dIIIcrcnI kInd oI IImII
cnsc oI crucI oIImIsm. !InkIn nrnrInn InIor, Ihc cuIIurc IndusIrIcs,
nnd Ihcrny cuIIurc Ihrouh Iour cncounIcrs vIIh Thc Hi:utd of O:, IIs
ursuII oI Ihc nIIccIIvc conIInuIIy oI Irnumn nnd oIImIsm In scII-unIoId-
In cxcIIcmcnI Is ncIIhcr comIc, IrnIc, nor mcIodrnmnIIc, IuI mcInIormnI:
II nIsorIs nII oI Ihcsc InIo n IIIcrnry modc IhnI vnIIdnIcs InnInsy (Irom
nIsorIIon In rcIIy IhIns Io crnzy dcIusIon) ns n IIIc-nIIIrmIn dcIcnsc
nnInsI Ihc nIIrIIIons oI ordInnry hIsIory.
Hus consIrucIs n osI-IrnumnIIc drnmn IhnI Is hcId IocIhcr
Iy Ihc ovcrnIn conscIousncss oI BIII DnvIson, n mcnInI hcnIIh vorkcr,
n vhIIc hcIcroscxunI MIdvcsIcrncr vhosc onIy InIImnIc crsonnI Irush
vIIh Irnumn hns Iccn nmIIvnIcncc Iovnrd hIs hnnccc IuI vhosc roIcs-
sIonnI cnncIIy Io cnIcr InIo Ihc Imnssc vIIh hIs nIIcnIs, nnd Io IcI IhcIr
Imnsscs InIo hIm, mnkcs hIm Ihc novcI`s oIImIsIIc rcmnIndcr, n rIch
vIIncss. Thc hrsI IrnumnIIc sIory IoId Is nIouI Ihc rcnI DoroIhy CnIc,
scIIcd CncI, nrIIy, ! ImnInc, Io IInk u Ihc IrI vho`s IrnnsorIcd Io Oz
on n sIron Ircczc Io somconc In rIson, nnd nIso Io IInk hcr Io Ihc CncIIc
nrI oI ScoIInnd, homc oI Ihc hIsIorIcnI novcI, Ihc cnrc vhosc nIIccIIvc
nnd oIIIIcnI convcnIIons shnc cxIIcIIIy Bymnn`s gunsI-documcnInry
IncIusIon oI cxcrIcnccs nnd mcmorIcs vhosc Irnccs nrc In nrchIvcs, Innd-
scncs, nnd IodIcs scnIIcrcd IhrouhouI Knnsns, Cnnndn, nnd Ihc InIIcd
SInIcs. !Ikc CooIcr, IhIs DoroIhy CncI uscs vhnIcvcr InnInsy shc cnn scrn
IocIhcr Io survIvc hcr sccnc oI hocIcss hIsIorIcnI cmIcddcdncss. BuI hcr
roccss Is noI Io drIII vnucIy, IuI InIcnscIy, Iy vny oI muIIIcncrIc Invcn-
IIon: drcnms, InnInsIcs, rIvnIc Inys, sychoIIc rojccIIon, nrcssIvc
guIcI, IyIn, IcIn n Ioud IuIIy nnd n Irnnk IruIh IcIIcr. DoroIhy`s crcnIIvIIy
mnkcs n vnII oI osI-IrnumnIIc noIsc, ns shc hns Iccn nInndoncd Iy hcr
nrcnIs, rncd nnd shnmcd Iy hcr IncIc Hcnry CuIch, nnd shunncd Iy
oIhcr chIIdrcn Ior IcIn II, InI, nnd IncIogucnI.
PnrI : oI Hus IcIIs Ihc sIory oI !udy CnrInnd ns Ihc chIId !rnnccs
Cumm. On Ihc Hi:utd of O: scI shc Inys DoroIhy CnIc ns dcscxunIIzcd
svccIhcnrI, hcr IrcnsIs IIhIIy Iound so IhnI shc cnn rcmnIn n chIId nnd
IhcrcIorc hnvc hct chIIdhood sIoIcn Irom hcr. !I Is noI sIoIcn Ihrouh rnc,
IuI Iy nrcnIs Iound u In IhcIr ovn InnInsIcs oI IIvIn Ihrouh chIIdrcn In
Icrms oI moncy nnd Inmc (Cumm`s moIhcr) or scx (Cumm`s InIhcr, vhosc
oIjccI choIcc vns youn Ioys). Thc IhIrd sIory In Hus Is nIouI n hcIIonnI
ny mnn, n mInor HoIIyvood ncIor nnmcd !onnIhnn, vhosc Inmc comcs
Irom IcIn Ihc monsIcr In scrInI kIIIcr movIcs IIIIcd Thc ChiId Mindct
nnd vho, ns Ihc Iook IcIns, Is oIIcrcd n nrI In n IourIn Hi:utd of O:
d f f e r e n c e s jj
comnny vhIIc hc Is cnIcrIn aids dcmcnIIn. AII oI Ihcsc sIorIcs nrc nIouI
Ihc crucIIy oI oIImIsm Ior coIc vIIhouI conIroI ovcr Ihc mnIcrInI condI-
IIons oI IhcIr IIvcs nnd vhosc rcInIIon Io InnInsy Is nII IhnI roIccIs Ihcm
Irom IcIn dcsIroycd Iy oIhcr coIc nnd Ihc nnIIon. ! cnnnoI do jusIIcc
hcrc Io Ihc sInuInrIIIcs oI vhnI oIImIsm mnkcs ossIIIc nnd ImossIIIc
In IhIs cnIIrc Iook IuI vnnI Io Iocus on n sccnc IhnI mnkcs Ihc vhoIc Iook
ossIIIc. !n IhIs sccnc, DoroIhy CncI cncounIcrs n suIsIIIuIc Icnchcr, !rnnk
Bnum, In hcr rurnI Knnsns cIcmcnInry schooI.
Thc chIIdrcn, vrIIcs Bymnn, kncv Ihc SuIsIIIuIc vns noI n
rcnI Icnchcr Iccnusc hc vns so soII (168). SuIsIIIuIc dcrIvcs Irom Ihc
vord succccd, nnd Ihc scnsc oI ossIIIIIIy nround Ihc chnncovcr Is
dccIy cmIcddcd In Ihc vord. A suIsIIIuIc IrIns oIImIsm II hc hnsn`I ycI
Iccn dcIcnIcdIy IIIc or Iy Ihc sIudcnIs. Hc cnIcrs IhcIr IIvcs ns n ncv sIIc
Ior nIInchmcnI, n dcdrnmnIIzcd ossIIIIIIy. Hc Is Iy dchnIIIon n IncchoIdcr,
n sncc oI nIcynncc, nn nIcnIory cvcnI. HIs comIn Is noI crsonnIhc Is
noI Ihcrc Ior nnyonc In nrIIcuInr. Thc nmounI oI nIIccI rcIcnscd nround
hIm snys somcIhIn nIouI Ihc InIcnsIIy oI Ihc chIIdrcn`s nvnIInIIc drIvc Io
Ic Icss dcnd, numI, ncuIrnIIzcd, or crnzy vIIh hnIII; IuI II snys noIhIn
nIouI vhnI II vouId IccI IIkc Io Ic In IrnnsII IcIvccn Ihc sInIc IIIc nnd nII
IIs oIhcrs, or vhcIhcr IhnI IccIIn vouId Icnd Io somcIhIn ood.
OI coursc, oIIcn sIudcnIs nrc crucI Io suIsIIIuIcs, ouI oI cxcIIc-
mcnI nI Ihc unrcdIcInIIc nnd ouI oI noI hnvIn Icnr or IrnnsIcrcncc Io
mnkc Ihcm docIIc or cvcn dcsIrIn oI n rcconIIIon IhnI hns no IImc Io
Ic IuIII. BuI IhIs suIsIIIuIc Is sccInI Io DoroIhy: hc Is nn ncIor, IIkc hcr
nrcnIs; hc Icnchcs Ihcm TurkIsh, nnd IcIIs Ihcm nIouI nIIcrnnIIvc hIsIo-
rIcs IIvcd rIhI nov nnd In Ihc nsI (11). DoroIhy InnInsIzcs nIouI !rnnk
Bnum noI In n nnrrnIIvc vny, IuI vIIh n mIxIurc oI shccr Icnsurc nnd
dcIcnsc: !rnnk, !rnnk, ns hcr uncIc uI hIs hnnds on hcr (16g); Ihcn shc
IcrnIcs hcrscII Ior hcr ovn unvorIhIncss (16g) Iccnusc shc knovs hov
IcnuIIIuI you nrc nnd ! knov hov uIy ! nm nnd hov you couId ncvcr hnvc
nnyIhIn Io do vIIh mc (1). Shc snys hIs nnmc, !rnnk, ovcr nnd ovcr:
II sccmcd Io sum u cvcryIhIn IhnI vns mIssIn Irom hcr IIIc (16g).
YcI, Incc Io Incc shc cnnnoI Icnr Ihc IccIIn oI rcIIcI Irom hcr IIIc IhnI Ihc
suIsIIIuIc`s IcIn ncnr rovIdcs Ior hcr. Shc nIIcrnnIcIy IrIsIIcs nnd mcIIs
nI hIs dcIcrcncc, hIs undcmnndIn kIndncss. Shc mocks hIm nnd dIsruIs
cInss Io drovn ouI hcr Icndcrncss, IuI oIcys hIm vhcn hc nsks hcr Io Icnvc
Ihc room Io jusI vrIIc somcIhIn, nnyIhIn.
WhnI shc comcs Inck vIIh Is n IIc, n vIsh. Hcr do, ToIo, hnd
Iccn murdcrcd Iy hcr nunI nnd uncIc, vho hnIcd hIm nnd vho hnd no Iood
jq CrueI Dptimism
Io snrc Ior hIm. BuI Ihc sIory shc hnnds In Io Ihc suIsIIIuIc Is n suIsIIIuIc:
II Is nIouI hov hny shc nnd ToIo nrc. !I IncIudcs scnIcnccs nIouI hov
Ihcy Iny IocIhcr nnd hov cxuIcrnnI hc Is, runnIn nround ycIIn IIkc
hc Is snyIn hcIIo Io cvcryIhIn (1). !mnInnry ToIo sIIs on hcr In, IIcks
hcr hnnd, hns n coId nosc, sIccs on hcr In, nnd cnIs Iood IhnI AunIIc !m
Ivcs hcr Io Ivc hIm. Thc cssny sucsIs n succcssIuI IIIc, n IIIc vhcrc
Iovc cIrcuInIcs nnd cxIcnds IIs symnIhIcs, rnIhcr Ihnn Ihc IIIc shc ncIunIIy
IIvcs, vhcrc |I]I vns ns II Ihcy hnd nII sIood Inck-Io-Inck, shouIIn 'Iovc` nI
Ihc Ios oI IhcIr Iuns, IuI In Ihc vron dIrccIIon, nvny Irom cnch oIhcr
(::1). !I cnrrIcs Irnccs oI nII oI Ihc ood cxcrIcncc DoroIhy hns cvcr hnd.
Thc cssny cIoscs IhIs vny: ! dId noI cnII hIm ToIo. ThnI Is Ihc nnmc my
moIhcr nvc hIm vhcn shc vns nIIvc. !I Is Ihc snmc ns mInc (1).
ToIo, Dodo, DoroIhy: Ihc Icnchcr sccs IhnI Ihc chIId hns ocncd
u somcIhIn In hcrscII, IcI dovn n dcIcnsc, nnd hc Is movcd Iy Ihc Irnv-
cry oI hcr ndmIssIon oI IdcnIIhcnIIon nnd nIInchmcnI. BuI hc mnkcs Ihc
mIsInkc oI IcIn mImcIIc In rcsonsc, ncIIn soII Iovnrd hcr In n vny hc
mIhI ImnInc IhnI shc sccks Io Ic: !`m vcry Ind, hc murmurcd, IhnI
you hnvc somcIhIn Io Iovc ns much ns IhnI IIIIIc nnImnI. DoroIhy ocs
InIIIsIIc nI IhIs rcsonsc nnd InsuIIs Bnum, IuI ocs on Io IIurI ouI nII oI
Ihc IruIhs oI hcr IIIc, In uIIIc, In IronI oI Ihc oIhcr sIudcnIs. Shc InIks
nonsIo nIouI IcIn rncd nnd hunry nII Ihc IImc, nIouI Ihc murdcr oI
hcr do, nnd nIouI hcr IncIogucncc: ! cnn`I sny nnyIhIn, shc cIoscs (16).
ThnI hrnsc mcnns shc cnn`I do nnyIhIn Io chnnc nnyIhIn. !rom hcrc
shc rcrcsscs Io ycIIn nnd IrIcs Io dI n hoIc In Ihc round, Io Iccomc
Ihc sIzc shc IccIs, nnd nIso Io Iccomc, In n scnsc, nn cmIodImcnI oI Ihc
InsI IhIn shc Iovcd. AIIcr IhnI, DoroIhy ocs crnzy, IIvcs In n InnInsy vorId
oI hcr ovn, vnndcrIn homcIcss nnd Ircc, csccInIIy, oI Ihc cnncIIy Io
rcBccI on Ioss In Ihc modnIIIIcs oI rcnIIsm, Irncdy, or mcIodrnmn. To
roIccI hcr InsI IoIn oI oIImIsm, shc ocs crnzy.
!n Hus, Bnum ocs on Io vrIIc Thc Hi:utd of O: ns n III oI
nIIcrnnIIvIIy Io Ihc crson vho cnn`I sny or do nnyIhIn Io chnnc hcr IIIc
mnIcrInIIy nnd vho hns Inkcn In so much IhnI onc momcnI oI rcIIcI Irom
hcrscII roduccs n crmnncnI crnck In Ihc nvnIInIIc cnrcs oI hcr survIvnI.
!n WhnI !s n MInor !IIcrnIurc? DcIcuzc nnd CunIInrI cxhorI coIc Io
Iccomc mInor In cxncIIy IhnI vny, Io dcIcrrIIorInIIzc Irom Ihc normnI
Iy dIIn n hoIc In scnsc, IIkc n do or n moIc. CrcnIIn nn Imnssc, n
sncc oI InIcrnnI dIsInccmcnI, In IhIs vIcv, shnIIcrs Ihc normnI hIcrnr-
chIcs, cInrIIIcs, IyrnnnIcs, nnd conIusIons oI comIInncc vIIh nuIonomous
IndIvIdunIIIy. ThIs sIrnIcy Iooks romIsIn In Ihc AshIcry ocm. BuI In
d f f e r e n c e s jy
!xchnnc \nIuc, n momcnI oI rcIIcI roduccs n sychoIIc dcIcnsc nnInsI
Ihc rIsk oI Ioss In oIImIsm. !or DoroIhy CncI, In Hus, Ihc oIImIsm oI
nIInchmcnI Io nnoIhcr IIvIn IcIn Is IIscII Ihc crucIcsI sIn oI nII.
!rom IhIs cIusIcr vc cnn undcrsInnd n III morc oI Ihc mnncIIc
nIIrncIIon Io crucI oIImIsm, vIIh IIs surcssIon oI Ihc rIsks oI nIInch-
mcnI. A chnnc oI hcnrI, n scnsorInI shIII, InIcrsuIjccIIvIIy, or IrnnsIcrcncc
vIIh n romIsIn oIjccI cnnnoI cncrnIc on IIs ovn Ihc IcIIcr ood IIIc:
nor cnn Ihc coIInIornIIon oI n couIc, IroIhcrs, or cdnoy. Thc vnuc
IuIurIIIcs oI normnIIvc oIImIsm roducc smnII scII-InIcrruIIons ns Ihc
uIoIns oI sIrucIurnI IncgunIIIy. Thc IcxIs vc hnvc Iookcd nI hcrc sInc
momcnIs vhcn II couId Iccomc oIhcrvIsc, IuI shIIIs In nIIccIIvc nImo-
shcrc nrc noI cgunI Io chnnIn Ihc vorId. Thcy nrc, hcrc, onIy Icccs oI
nn nrumcnI nIouI Ihc ccnIrnIIIy oI oIImIsIIc InnInsy Io rcroducIn nnd
survIvIn In zoncs oI comromIscd ordInnrIncss. And IhnI Is onc vny Io
Inkc Ihc mcnsurc oI Ihc Imnssc oI IIvIn In Ihc ovcrvhcImInIy rcscnI
momcnI.
lauren berlant Icnchcs !nIIsh nI Ihc InIvcrsIIy oI ChIcno. Hcr mosI rcccnI Iooks
nrc Thc Quccn of Amcticu Gocs lo Hushinlon Cil): Lssu)s on Sc: und Cili:cnship (Dukc
InIvcrsIIy Prcss, 1gg) nnd, ns cdIIor, Compussion: Thc CuIlutc und PoIilics of un Lmolion
(BouIIcdc, :oo). Shc Is currcnIIy hnIshIn Thc FcmuIc CompIuinl: Thc Innishcd usi
ncss of ScnlimcnluIil) in Amcticun CuIlutc, cdIIIn n Iook on Ihc cnsc sIudy, nnd vorkIn
Iovnrd cIIIn Io CtucI Oplimism.
1 Thc hrnsc oIIIIcnI dcrcssIon
cmcrcs Irom dIscussIons In n
vorkIn rou on PuIIIc !ccIIns.
SccInI nrccInIIon ocs Io Ann
CvcIkovIch, KnIIc SIcvnrI, DcIIIc
CouId, BcIcccn Zornch, nnd Mnry
PnIIcn.
: BrndIn Cormnck hns sucsIcd Io
mc IhnI, In IrcnkIn vIIh hcnvcn,
AshIcry Ircnks vIIh MIIIon ns
vcII: scc MIIIon`s ocm On HIs
BIIndncss, vhIch cIoscs vIIh
Thcy nIso scrvc vho onIy sInnd
nnd vnII. AshIcry Is IrcnkIn
vIIh MIIIon`s nccounI oI sInndIn:
II Is no Ioncr Cod`s vnIch, IuI IhnI
oI hc vho nronchcs. Thc vnII-
In hcrc, Ioo, Is nov IuscIous nnd
scnsunI, ocn nnd unhIddcn, hnv-
In noIhIn Io do vIIh scrvIIudc.
BuI In nIInmcnI vIIh MIIIon,
AshIcry docs noI rIvIIcc sIhI,
IuI Ihc hcnrIn IhnI Iccomcs morc
InIcnsIhcd vhcn onc Is noI, ns II
vcrc, consInnIIy scnrchIn nnd
drIvIn. As Ior !IIoI, Ihc Inmous
IIncs Irom Ash Hcdncsdu) scnk
hcrc: Bccnusc ! do noI hoc Io
Iurn nnIn / Bccnusc ! do noI hoc
/ Bccnusc ! do noI hoc Io Iurn /
DcsIrIn IhIs mnn`s III nnd IhnI
mnn`s scoc / ! no Ioncr sIrIvc Io
sIrIvc Iovnrds such IhIns |. . .]
Bccnusc ! do noI hoc Io knov
nnIn |. . .]. Onc mIhI nIso noIc
Ihc ocm`s roxImIIy Io Thcodorc
BocIhkc`s ! Kncv n Womnn:
Hov vcII hcr vIshcs vcnI! Shc
sIrokcd my chIn / Shc InuhI mc
Turn, nnd CounIcr-Iurn, nnd sInnd
|. . .]. AII oI AshIcry`s cmcndnIIons
Icnd Iovnrd n rndIcnI rcvIsIon oI
vhnI IorIous ImnssIvIIy mIhI
mcnn Io somconc noI ns nn oo-
sIIc Io ncIIon, IuI ns mosI nosIIc.
^oIes
j6 CrueI Dptimism
AshIcry, !ohn. InIIIIcd. ^cu Jot/ct Nov. :oo: 88.
BndIou, AInIn. Llhics: An Lssu) on lhc Indctslundin of LiiI. Trnns. PcIcr HnIIIvnrd. !nIro.
SInvoj ZIzck. 1gg8. !ondon: \crso, :oo1.
BcrInnI, !nurcn. SIov DcnIh (OIcsIIy, SovcrcInIy, !nIcrnI Acncy). CtilicuI Inquit).
!orIhcomIn, summcr :oo.
. Thc Quccn of Amcticu Gocs lo Hushinlon Cil): Lssu)s on Sc: und Cili:cn
ship. Durhnm, nc: Dukc up, 1gg.
DcIcuzc, CIIIcs, nnd !cIIx CunIInrI. WhnI !s n MInor !IIcrnIurc? Trnns. Dnnn PoInn. Oul
Thctc: MutinuIi:ulion und Conlcmpotut) CuIlutcs. !d. BusscII !cruson, MnrIhn Ccvcr,
TrInh T. MIn-hn, nnd CorncI WcsI. CnmIrIdc, ma: mit p, 1ggo. g6g.
!rcud, SImund. MournIn nnd McInnchoIIn. 1g1. |1g1]. Thc Slundutd Ldilion of lhc
CompIclc Ps)choIoicuI Hot/s of Simund Ftcud. Trnns. nnd cd. !nmcs SIrnchcy. \oI. 1.
!ondon: HonrIh, 1g. :8.
ChcnI, !mmnnucI. MnsochIsm, SuImIssIon, Surrcndcr: MnsochIsm ns n PcrvcrsIon oI
Surrcndcr. Conlcmpotut) Ps)chounuI)sis :6 (1ggo): 1o86.
HnIcrmns, !urcn. Thc SltuclutuI Ttunsfotmulion of lhc PuhIic Sphctc: An Inquit) inlo u
Culcot) of outcois Socicl). Trnns. Thomns Burcr. CnmIrIdc, ma: mit p, 1g8g.
!ohnson, BnrInrn. AosIrohc, AnImnIIon, nnd AIorIIon. Diuctilics 16.1 (1g86): :8.
. BrInIn OuI D. A. MIIIcr. ^uttuliic 1o.1 (:oo:): 8.
!ohnson, ChnrIcs. !xchnnc \nIuc. Thc Sotcctct`s Apptcnlicc: TuIcs und Conjutulions.
1g86. Ncv York: PIumc, 1gg. :o.
Mnrx, KnrI. Lconomic und PhiIosophicuI Munusctipls. Trnns. Crcor BcnIon, 1g. hII://
vvv.sozInIIsIIschc-kInssIkcr.or/Mnrx/mnrxco:.dI.
Mnc!nrguhnr, !nrIssn. PrcscnI WnkIn !IIc: BccomIn !ohn AshIcry. ^cu Jot/ct Nov.
:oo: 86g.
MIIIon, !ohn. On HIs BIIndncss. John MiIlon: Thc CompIclc Pocms. !d. !ohn !connrd.
!ondon: PcnuIn: 1gg8. 8.
BIcco, !ohn PnuI. Thc Loic of lhc Lutc. ChIcno: u oI ChIcno p, :oo:.
Bymnn, CcoII. Hus. Ncv York: PcnuIn, 1gg:.
ScdvIck, !vc. TcnchIn/DcrcssIon. Thc SchoIut und lhc Fcminisl OnIinc .: (:oo6).
hII://vvv.Inrnnrd.coIumIIn.cdu/sIonIInc/hcIIIrun/scdvIck_o1.hIm.
WooII, \IrInIn. A oom of Onc`s Oun. 1g:g. Ncv York: HnrcourI, Brncc, nnd !ovnnovIch,
1g.
ZIzck, SInvoj. PnssIonBcuInr or DccnI? In Thcsc Timcs : !cI. :oo. hII://vvv
.InIhcscIImcs.com/commcnIs.h?Id=6:_o__o_C.
Vorhs CIed