This column features essays about films made in the twenty-first century that deal explicitly or implicitly with matters of American identity.
In the end, Jimmie cannot lay claim to the house as he wants to, cannot stabilize and contain his feelings about his family and himself. But the greater loss is that the city has no place for Mont’s theater, no shared spaces in which we might be other to ourselves.
The American Gothic, particularly as practiced by literary forebears Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving, who clearly shaped Eggers’s vision, tends to orbit around concepts of evil, madness, and the supernatural. But ultimately no monster ever compares to humans driven by fear.