Ever since Emerson--since long before Emerson actually, but I have to start somewhere, so I start with an open-and-shut case--American writers have struggled to liberate themselves from their Puritan heritage; from the doctrine of predestination, which says that the present and the future are irrevocably determined by the absolute past; and from the doctrine of total depravity, which says that no matter what you do you are sure to do it wrong. As against predestination, the American wants to believe that the present is a time of origination; as against total depravity, that actions proceed from an innocent mind and will. The American dream is a dream of innocence and originality.
How to Cite: Mackey, L . (1984) “Thomas Pynchon and the American Dream”, Pynchon Notes.(14). doi: 10.16995/pn.398