Drop City


T.C. Boyle

Central Theme
Whether facing nature or human folly, the fittest will survive and the others will meet their demise.

TC Boyle has been described as America’s most imaginative contemporary novelists Drop City is an entertaining but sobering look at human nature through the lens of a two sets of 1970’s “back to nature” types. The first group is a drugged-out Northern California hippy commune supporting themselves through an inheritance and food stamps and the other is an Alaskan trapper and his wife, who have genuinely learned what it takes to survive off the land.

Boyle reveals an inescapable moral compass at work in the lives of his characters. Though a self-professed atheist, this work is under-girded with religious images: a communion metaphor, loaves and fishes, Jonah, the Apostle Paul’s teaching about married couples holding power over each other’s body, Brahma, Lord Vishnu and late night discussions about God. Boyle attributes their inclusion to the residue of our Judeo Christian mythology, but also interestingly admits to writing as a spiritual experience.

Beliefs num
–All humans are flawed, some more than others.
–Dreams of communal living are usually shattered by pervasive selfishness.
–The hippy mind-set was largely delusional.
–Beneath the carefree surface of free-sex, drugs and rock-n-roll was a nagging moral compass and awareness of angst.
–Roughing it is hard work and most people won’t work that hard.
–When man enters nature, only the fittest survive.

Questions Worth Discussing num
–Why did the 60’s hippy idealism and back-to-nature movement dissipate?
–How did the failure of 60’s idealism affect boomers and their attitudes today?
–What is the source of human morality if there is no God?
–Is it truly the fittest who survive?
–What is the nature of ‘fitness’ that survives today?

Provocative Quotes byline
–C’mon people, now, smile on your brother, everybody get together try to love one another right now.
==Chet Powers.
–Let me tell you about heartache and the loss of god, Wandering, wandering in hopeless night. Out here in the perimeter there are no stars, Out here we is stoned Immaculate.
==Jim Morrison (Texas Radio and the Big Beat).
–Think of our life as nature daily to be shown matter, to come in contact with it, –rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks. The solid earth! The actual world! The common sense! Contact! Contact! Who are we? Where are we?
==Henry David Thoreau (Ktaadn).
–The sun was in the sky and the earth was a good place, a groovy place, a place designed by some higher power-higher power-for the sensory awakening and spiritual uplift of every one of his brothers and sisters.
==Ronnie at commune.
–All they talked about was going back to the land, living simple, dropping out, and yet if there wasn’t a supermarket within ten miles they’d have starved to death by now, every one of them.
==Reality of the commune.
–One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small. And the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all.
==Grace Slick, (White Rabbit).
–Life is here equally sunlight and frost, in the thriving blood and sap of things, in their decay and sudden death.
==John Haines (The Stars, The Snow the Fire).
–Is that what you’re trying to accomplish kill off your ego?
==Norm to Star.
–Sess could appreciate that, the natural order let it stir, let it settle again. The wind was in his face. The northern lights were out, driving down the clouds. The snow whispered at his feet, talked to him, sang out with the rhythm of the night. He was heading home, riding the runners, breathing east, a man clothed in fur at the head of a team of dogs in a hard wild place, going home to his wife.
==Last sentence

Posted in Books, Staublog in February 24, 2003 by | No Comments »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

4 + = 8

More from Staublog