S-Space Researcher Institutes (연구소) American Studies Institute (미국학연구소) 미국학 미국학 Volume 33 Number 1/2 (2010)
필립 로스의 『미국을 향한 음모』: 역사에 대한 '정당한 공포'와 '책임'
Philip Roth's the Plot Against America: 'the Legitimate Fear' of History and Responsibility
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 미국학연구소
- 미국학, Vol.33 No.1, pp. 197-231
- Fear(공포); Paranoia(망상); History(역사); Democracy(민주주의); Myth(신화); Common Sense(상식); Responsibility(책임); Anti‐semitism(반유태주의); Holocaust(홀로코스트); Fascism(파시즘)
- Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America is based on the assumption of ‘What if the Holocaust had happened in America?’ With the terrible experience of a Jewish American family facing the unbelievable possibility of the eminent American Holocaust, Roth depicts the unpredictable history. In this novel, Americans rely on the myths which can offer them a comfortable refuge from reality to dispel the fear of the unforeseen. The myth of History turns the disaster of the incomprehensible ongoing events into an epic which chronicles everything unexpected as inevitable, and thus provides “the pleasure of comprehension.” At the same time, the myth of American democracy which is epitomized as the claim “It can’t happen here” enables people to deny the extant possibility of violence in America. As Hannah Arendt asserts, however, with their hypnotic effect, these myths only benumb our common sense with which we can perceive and understand reality. Dismissing the legitimate fear as paranoia, the myths make people throw themselves into voluntary numbness and forgetfulness. Through the unfolding of the imaginative history from the approaching threat of the American Holocaust to the suturing of the crisis at the end, Roth tries to awake the oblivious state of Americans and asserts the necessity of the individual’s responsible act, which is the commonsensical reaction to other’s suffering. In doing so, Roth asks for the responsibility to history without which the history of violence, such as the Holocaust, could always happen again.
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