Obama As The Postmodern John Cheever Of Honolulu
March 28, 2007, 05:46 PM
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In one of the more memorable passages in Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, Obama more or less admits that his book's portrait of Hawaii is a fictionalized projection of his own self-pity and resentment.

On p. 340, he is in his late 20s, visiting Kenya, and on his way to meet his father's third wife (and second white American wife Ruth) and her son Mark, Obama's disturbing doppelganger, his half-brother who is home on vacation from Stanford, where he is a physics student.

"Ruth lived in Westlands [in Nairobi], an enclave of expensive homes set off by wide lawns and well-tended hedges, each one with a sentry post manned by brown-uniformed guards. ... The coolness reminded me of the streets around Punahou [Obama's Honolulu prep school], Manoa, Tantalus, the streets where some of my wealthier classmates had lived back in Hawaii. Staring out Auma's car window, I though back to the envy I'd felt toward those classmates whenever they invited me over to play in their big backyards or swim in their swimming pools. And along with that envy, a different impression — the sense of quiet desperation those big, pretty houses seemed to contain. The sound of someone's sister crying softly behind the door. The sight of a mother sneaking a tumbler of gin in midafternoon. The expression of a father's face as he sat alone in his den, his features clenched as he flicked between college football games on TV. An impression of loneliness that perhaps wasn't true, perhaps was just a projection of my own heart, but, that, either way, had made me want to run...¦"