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...¦"