Tuesday, December 23, 2014
December 23, 2014: AmericanWishing: Melville’s “Paradise”
[As I’ve done each of the last few years, I wanted to spend this holiday week sharing some wishes for the AmericanStudies Elves. For this year’s, I’ll be sharing five texts I wish all Americans had the chance to read. I’d love to hear about your wishlists as well!]
I’ve written before about Herman Melville’s two-part short story “The Paradise of Bachelors and the Tartarus of Maids.” But in this time of ever-increasing economic and social stratification and inequality, when the holidays and the wishes—like the worlds and lives—of those at the top and the bottom of our society’s structure seem to exist in different universes, I can think of few works more worth our attention than this story of two such contrasting communities, seemingly as far apart figuratively as they are literally, but perhaps more linked than we care to imagine.
Next wish tomorrow,
PS. What would you wish for?