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These Are My Arms

Tyrone Jaeger, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


These Are My Arms depicts a media-saturated culture where air quality alerts and terror threats color-code the day. In the Denver foothills, a misfit teacher, his activist wife, and her estranged sister find their destinies interlocked and chained to a former nuclear bomb plant that a private security group opens as a "wildlife refuge and detention camp." Jeremy and Darla Von Minor live in an America where fear is the new patriotism. Wanting to "live above the fray," like a lazy man's Whitman, Jeremy finds catharsis in opinion polls. Darla sees Jeremy as an accident waiting to happen, "a natural disaster, a mountain crumbling, an earthquake, or a flood." Darla's past is one of resistance and struggle, and she counts Anarchist and eco-saboteurs among her friends. Jeremy teaches "at-risk" students in Denver at Nat Mota High—a former mental asylum—where students scribe their own mythology of American madness. Raised by her adoptive parents, two punk rock musicians turned organic farmers, Darla lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent revolutionary presumed dead after an accidental bomb blast in 1970. Having exchanged activism for family life, Darla is now a stay-at-home mom. In a world where their four-year-old daughter learned her colors from threat scales, the Von Minors manage to live a life of blissful domestic boredom. When the Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge & Safe America Holding Facility—a detention camp run by a private security group—breaks ground near her parents' farm, Darla vows to fight, enlisting her activist friends and Jeremy's students. Into this struggle drifts Isa Pehnec, a member of a Traveler culture, who holds the secrets to Darla's past. A story of resistance and surrender, love and lust, honesty and deception, These Are My Arms is a haunting and humorous novel that poses vital questions in these times of cultural uncertainty. ^

Subject Area

Literature, American

Recommended Citation

Jaeger, Tyrone, "These Are My Arms" (2008). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3297465.