Always the same. The deliberate consciousness of Americans so fair and smooth-spoken, and the under-consciousness so devilish. Destroy! destroy! destroy! hums the under-consciousness. Love and produce! Love and produce! cackles the upper consciousness. And the world hears only the Love-and- produce cackle. Refuses to hear the hum of destruction under- neath. Until such time as it will have to hear.

The American has got to destroy. It is his destiny. It is his destiny to destroy the whole corpus of the white psyche, the white consciousness. And he's got to do it secretly. As the growing of a dragon-fly inside a chrysalis or cocoon destroys the larva grub, secretly.

Though many a dragon-fly never gets out of the chrysalis case: dies inside. As America might.
--From D.H. Lawrence's Studies in Classic American Literature (1923)


Mark said...

Well, that's a mighty grand narrative he's got there.

While I like the idea of destroying the white psyche (by which I assume he means the notion of a hereditary, ultra-privileged caste), "destiny" puts a mystical spin on what might be the very practical work of dismantling and reorganizing institutional privileges. I want to read the rest of this, though, before I make say anything definite.

Have you ever read his story "Sun?" It's my favorite of his.

Casey said...

I'll read it. I actually agree with your reading about the mystical irony destiny stuff. Interesting.

It's a good book re: American Literature... in a very high-modernist way, y'know.