Filmmaker David Lynch's work is viewed here as patriotic and Puritanical. This Lynch is an idealistic conservative on a reformer's mission. Lynch promotes a return to the values inherent in a mythological America, but he indulges in a voyeuristic pleasure which he simultaneously condemns. Like Jeffrey peeking through the slats of Dorothy's closet in Blue Velvet
, the viewer of Lynch's work is a rationalist plagued by his dreams; intrigued and repulsed, fascinated and judgmental, he both craves and resists cultural assimilation. Works presented include all features from Eraserhead
to Mulholland Drive
, shorts such as The Amputee
and The Grandmother
, and contributions to television such as "Hotel Room" and, of course, "Twin Peaks."
This study develops an idea of Lynch's politics, analyzes his work, and explores Lynch's paradox of condemning an immoral world through disturbing images and concepts, and touches on such points as the identifiable figure of evil in his works as well as the archetypes of the nymphet, well-meaning traditionalist, and struggling ethicist. Also included are a history of moralistic criticism in American literature and a review of existing Lynch criticism within this context.