Don DeLillo by Harold Bloom

By Harold Bloom

Bloom's serious perspectives

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Herein lies the age-old dilemma of studying religion and/or any sort of cultural signifying system. One needs to be inside to appreciate the experience and yet outside to escape the seductive power of the text or image. Frank Kermode’s observation in The Genesis of Secrecy is appropriate here. We are all both insiders and outsiders, and being inside an event or text is simply a more elaborate way of being outside2. As cultural critics and interpreters, we centre our work on the nothingness of the sacred that lies just on the other side of language.

We’re not here to capture an image,’ he notes, ‘we’re here to maintain one’ (12). The search for origins, Derrida has taught us, is ultimately fruitless in terms of finding an original presence. The result of that search, however, is a deconstructive process that opens up the ‘text’ and invades our individual interpretive space by challenging us to view our own creations born of hermeneutic naiveté. The religious reader of culture asks why we fall for the illusion of capturing something when it can be shown that we are creating and 36 GREGORY SALYER maintaining it in the process.

Tayo is not physically abducted but does feel powerfully drawn to her. She feeds him corn the night before he rises to meet a dawn ‘spreading across the sky like yellow wings’ (189). Like Yellow Woman, Ts’eh is both lover and mother, and is mother earth as well. When Tayo dreams of making love with Ts’eh, the description indicates that he is being absorbed into the earth: ‘He felt the warm sand on his toes and knees; he felt her body, and it was warm as the sand, and he couldn’t feel where her body ended and the sand began’ (232).

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