Part 6 - Arrangement in Grey and Black

Time period: Fall 1951 - Summer 1952

The title refers to the famous 1871 painting by James McNeill Whistler (better known as "Whistler's Mother"). Klara has "a small print of a Whistler, the famous Mother..." (748).
Thanks to Sean McVeigh for the tip.


DeLillo on a playground on East 182nd Street in the Bronx. Photo by Nigel Parry, from Vanity Fair, Sept. 1997.

From the Hungry Mind Review interview with Gerald Howard:

...the Bronx episodes in Part Six particularly were written out of a sense of intimate knowledge. Something I discovered after I finished writing the book, as I was reading the proofs, is that much of the book is nearly saturated with compound words, hyphenated words, many of them which I invented or grafted together. In Part Six, suddenly the language is a bit different. It's a bit simpler. It's more visceral. And it occurs to me that this is what a writer does to transcend the limitations of his background. He does it through language, obviously. He writes himself into the larger world. He opens himself to the entire culture.

DeLillo makes a point of mentioning the row house at number 607 (756) - I feel some connection to the Libra dedication:
"To the boys at 607 - Tony, Dick and Ron"
There's another quick gesture to an early DeLillo story.

Someone was evicted, put out on the street, chairs, tables, bed, right around the corner -- the bed, John said, the super. Frame, spring, mattress, pillows, out on the sidewalk. (768)

Sounds just like the 1965 story "Spaghetti and Meatballs."

To the Epilogue.
Back to DeLillo's Underworld.

Last updated: 03-OCT-97