Disposable, renewable, impermanent.

In his initial dedication, Salvador Plascencia writes “to Liz, who taught me that we are all of paper.” He later cuts out this dedication, emphasizing his point.

We jump into the story with a little boy buying back his three pounds of feline and reconstructing his slaughtered cat Figgaro. The prologue sets us up for themes of destruction, loss, and subsequent rebirth or renewal. It also places us in a magical realism situation, where we must accept that people can be made of paper.

Plascencia takes us into a world of impermanency, one where people are constantly shedding skins or changing. In the most physical sense, there’s Merced de Papel, who “never allowed history to accumulate, her skin changing with the news of the world.” (164) Other characters are changing themselves physically (burning, cutting, patching, covering up in lead); fleeing their own lives and leaving dust; or altering their identities in some other way. People become non-people, or at least not themselves. Rita Hayworth, for example: “Margarita Carmen Cansino shed syllables from her name and velvet curtains from her stage, rising, leaving a tail of draperies and scraps of paper cut from her birth certificate, to emerge as a star” (56) Hollywood’s presence, in the form of carried winds and background music, is a constant reminder of temporality.

Salvador Plascencia becomes a non-person too. He forgets about his characters (poor Smiley…) and then shuts them out to the point where they are able to censor their thoughts from him and the readers.

But I think The People of Paper also ironically confirms the existence of some kind of permanency. His one paper character is the last of a dying breed. And this novel is Plascencia’s way of physically documenting history. Incriminating himself for casting Liz in a bad light, he leaves everything he’s already told us where it is and writes on without her, or rather, with just her presence hanging over him much like Saturn hovers over de la Fe. He hasn’t actually deleted anything or pushed her out of his mind (or ours). She just becomes the girl who can’t be named. Paper allows his version of history to live on and be consumed by voyeurs like us who, like he says, don’t even know these people.

He also makes us aware of the book and its physicality, its history and process, even its price. He goes so far as to imply some readers would lick it to simulate licking Merced de Papel. I found Plascencia’s author/book/reader relationship more thought-provocative than, say, Joanna Russ’s abrasive/defensive approach in The Female Man, even when Plascencia denies us access to the text by blocking it out or relating to us the inner thoughts of the mechanical tortoise in binary code.

In fact, I like the complementary nature of form and function (combined with imaginative, often heartbreaking writing) so much that is my favorite book we’ve read so far. Plascencia manages to insert himself as a character halfway through without making me want to throw the book into a door. And just when I start getting annoyed with his despondency, he goes ahead and starts over right in the middle. He is repairing his history with paper, like Merced de Papel repairs her skin, like Antonio repairs his butchered cat.

Broad spectrum, closed system

I can somewhat understand Adams’s argument about the differences between The Crying of Lot 49 as a closed paranoid space and The Tropic of Orange as an open space.  Still, as much as Tropic of Orange honors diversity and expresses a multi-national vision, there were a couple of images that struck me as Pychon-esqe and drew attention to the restraints of society that could lead to paranoia and anxiety like that of the Cold War era.  

First and most obviously, the contaminated orange scare, while not as devastating as a nuclear attack, is still far reaching in its impact.  Global markets are a wonderful innovation because they allow people to have fresh produce almost everywhere even when something is out of season.  On the other hand though, the different standards of health inspection in different countries and the difficulty of tracing where some imports come from can make a food scare as random and potentially as harmful and frightening as a terrorist attack.

The highways so prominently featured in Crying Lot and Tropic of Orange connect nations and people are a fantastic invention because they allow for greater freedom to movc about and provide for greater transparency and acceptance between cultures.  At the same time though, these paths often become blocked with congestion and accidents, which, far from liberating, can be confining, frustrating, and dangerous.  The character of Manzanar Murakami, the homeless music of the traffic conductor, reminds me of Pynchon and his novel V., which deals with the ideas of closed systems and entropy, the inevitable breakdown of order in any given closed system.  The highways in Tropic become closed, toxic, destructive systems when accidents occur and yet Murakami seems to accept this.  Personally, I hate traffic and traveling, even when I’m speeding along uninterrupted so the idea of someone watching traffic and watching traffic disasters and somehow integrating it into something beautiful, a work of art, is astonishing to me.  Murakami seems to voice Pynchon’s belief that the breakdown of order cannot be avoided so one might as well celebrate.  In the novel V., Pynchon creates a metaphor for the contemporary person, writing that we are all sailors on sinking ships, but we can still paint the ship as it goes down, a sentiment that seems reflected in Murakami.

Another detail in Tropic of Orange that seemed to change the setting into a closed system was the brief exchange at the end of chapter 20.  A woman in the restaurant says ‘”I happen to adore Japanese culture.  What can I say?  I adore different cultures.  I’ve traveled all over the world.  I love living in L.A. because I can find anything in the world to eat, right here'” (129).  The odd thing about this statement is that is takes ethnic diversity and reduces it to a commodity to be consumed, literally.  L.A. becomes a microcosm of the world, a concentrated mass of multi-culturalism.  If one believes that L.A. contains everything one could want from another culture, then hasn’t that other culture been simplified and restricted?

Postmodernism and Place

Sarah briefly mentioned place in her blog post and that got me thinkin’. Since many folks out there have already weighed in on the Adams article, I decided I would go elsewhere with this post and try to make sense of place in some of the novels we have read.

The notion of place seems to be pretty flexible in postmodern texts. In gothic literature, for example, place is often easily described as antiquated. In genres like fantasy and sci-fi, place also fluctuates but tends to follow some basic rules (outer space, past feudal realms). Many people have posted about how difficult it is to place postmodernism within any strict walls or interpretive confines. I agree that this is tricky and as I’ve read books from The Crying of Lot 49 to House of Leaves to Tropic of Orange, I’ve noticed that there don’t seem to be any conventions that strictly define place in postmodernist writing.

As I looked closer I found that there is little overlap in location: Beloved occupies a small space in the rural South; The Crying of Lot 49 takes place in bustling, crowded cities across California. The size of the places also changes: there are the small confines of a house that can also grow to enormous proportions in House of Leaves; the small (but ever-changing) office where much of Lathe of Heaven occurs; Tropic of Orange sprawls all over LA and in Mexico too, across landscapes both vast (the urban ghetto, the highway systems) and localized (the house near Mazatlan). Places can occupy just about any form in postmodern texts, from rural to urban, small to large.

It’s how place feels to the reader and how it is handled by the characters in the stories that I think give many of the places we’ve read about a common characteristic: they are unreliable, sometimes to the point of becoming untrustworthy. Why do I see some of the places in this semesters novels as unreliable? How does this relate to postmodernism?

I don’t think anyone will disagree that the space in House of Leaves is unreliable. The house shifts, it changes, at times it attempts to trap people inside. However, the novel also takes place in the world of Johnny Truant. Johnny begins the novel with some forays into the city, but by the end, he is as shut-in as Zampano, with drapes over the windows and cardboard blocking the vents. Not only does he not trust his own space, he doesn’t trust the space outside.

In Crying of Lot 49, everything seems to be untrustworthy. Oedipa travels around to different cities, and as she does this, I never feel a strong sense of the location. Each city seems the same. What makes them important is that they conceal the hidden clues she so desperately seeks. Each place sends her to a new location, all another stopping point on a journey that leads pretty much nowhere. Those are some unreliable locales.

In Tropic of Orange place seems to be more reliable than these other two, but is it? Crabs in Mazatlan, located hours’ walk from the sea, signify that something isn’t right. Gun shots on the east side may be an every day part of life, but for Buzzworm, it can all be avoided, the space can be reclaimed–from the beuracrats, from the gangsters who do their best to claim it, from the vicious cycles that occupy that space and keep revolving and threatining to never let anyone out. Gabriel’s unreliable space takes the form of a two-headed monster: the quiet Mexico or the bustling LA where he can continue working as a journalist. These spaces all bring with them a strong sense of unreliability. This is not the house you grew up in or the bustling city that represents opportunity. No, these spaces, even when they’re at their best, are ever-changing, sometimes alien landscapes.

Manzanar seems to be one character who finds the space he occupies–highway corridors–to be reliable. However, upon closer expection, we see that they are only reliable as far as his music goes, but not reliable as a whole. Crashes occupy this wide-lane space and Manzanar also summons images of maps. Maps can be reliable, but for anyone who has used one knows they are subject to change. Unexpected, sudden change that leaves you at the end of a dead-end road, just miles from your ultimate destination in the middle of the night, wondering, “what do I do now?” The maps in this book also have layers–“for Manzanar they began with the very geology of the land…” (57). These multi-layered maps become so thick in their complexity and construction as to render them too numerous and too specific to serve much use at all. In chapter 13 Buzzworm thinks about maps and how little they really do to help. He sums this up with the early line, “if someone could put down all the layers of the real map, maybe he could get the real picture” (81). Only if all the layers are assembled can the maps provide a clear picture–and as the tone suggests, this will never happen. So even maps become unreliable in Tropic of Orange.

Some of the other novels we’ve covered also deal with unreliable places, but I felt that these were some of the shining examples. Places change, but their unreliability in postmodern texts seems to be relatively constant.

In postmodernism many aspects of life (language, morals, truth, etc.) are shown as constructs of society that we all end up buying into. In a postmodern novel, the author may investigate these constructs, and in so doing, help shed some light on their existence (the constructs’), which is usually enough to get people thinking. I can’t help but want to channel Saussure when thinking of place, who wrote about the signifier and signified in linguistics. I believe that while he mainly focuses on words, the same can be said for place. The signifier “home” or “city” will mean many different things to any number of different people (the signified). New York is the symbol of American freedom, LA of opportunity and fame, DC of power. However, to the people who visit and occupy these spaces year round, the cities become many different things. This may be part of the reason spaces seem so hard to trust in the works we’ve read. After all, when a space means something different to everyone occupying it, and seems ever-changing, there isn’t a lot to rely on. Just below the surface the labels we apply to certain locales (the peaceful setting of the South, the emblematic American cities) suddenly vanish. Each person takes something different away from their place. Each one views their place differently as well. I believe this root of unreliability is essentially postmodern becauyse it’s not only the observed that’s important, but who’s doing the observing, how they observe, and what that says about the unique spaces we all occupy and how they shape our unique perspectives.


I’d first like to just say that I think Yamashita’s use of music in her novel is beautiful. The book is written sort of like a song – with different characters working their way in and out of the text like instruments. I know it sounds really cheesy, but that’s the first thing that struck me. Small themes brought up in the beginning of the novel lead to great catastrophes or large events later on. Then, of course, there is the conductor who directs traffic. This, in and of itself, is a lovely image that lends itself to the text’s lyricism.

The movement of traffic is one thing that I think Adams explained nicely in her article. I like how she compared the freeway vein and impossible circuit of Pynchon’s California to Yamashita’s more musical and, in strange ways, hopeful freeway. I also like how she emphasized that Yamashita’s novel suggests the freeway is less crucial to the vital functions of a city. One infrastructure stalling doesn’t guarantee apocalypse. In the same way, the characters that survive are historically connected rather than flailing, and if they fail, that failure won’t necessarily destroy them. Adams makes some great points comparing the texts. I don’t think she’s disparaging Pynchon either – she’s more just calling attention to thematic and stylistic differences. In some ways I think the differences are just that (thematic and stylistic), and not necessarily bookends for an entire literary period. I feel like there’s a point where constantly arguing back and forth about whether something is postmodern just bogs it down and detracts from what we can get from the writing.

One thing I find strange was the emphasis placed on California, as if it’s this entirely different world and the center of everything. Maybe it is. At one point Yamashita mentions Joan Didion, and I kept thinking of her California freeway essay (and other CA essays) as I read the Adams article – how she made a game of the freeway, how she studied the freeway system, and felt completely connected to it. If California is this big a deal in the grand scheme of whatever postmodernism is, I sort of feel less connected to it than to Pynchon’s random red herrings and Cold War references.

There were a few other things I was wondering about. One was dialect – how did this strike other people? Adams mentions it in her article. At first I was wary of it because there are so many different conversational things happening, and for some reason I kept getting pulled from the story and thinking about screenplay dialogue. I’m not really sure why. But I see Adams’ point – that the use of dialect emphasizes a convergence of “underrepresented” people – I just wonder how accurate a representation it is.

The magical realism is also pretty stunning. In a weird way, it reminds me of Beloved – I guess just because it’s there, in this otherwise realistic piece. Perhaps the unreal elements sweeping into daily life emphasize the unreality or strangeness of real daily life.

Freeways, Highways, & Underpasses

As I read Tropic of Orange, I was immediately draw to the highway images.  Thanks to twenty-four hour news stations, I have seen many high-speed chases down 805, 1, or some other highway in LA.   While there are a few chase scenes in the novel–Gabriel and Emi after the woman and child in a taxi; the Jaguar and the bus–this wasn’t what attracted me to the highways . Rather, I was draw to the apparent use of the highway as map in the novel, albeit not one that is easy to trace.   

Yamashita is able to have her characters situate themselves in connection to the roads.  Sig traffic accidents happen, the “NewsNow” van arrives on the scene, cars pile up for miles.  Many homeless men and women, such as Manzanar, are described as living under it or compose music by it.  Goods such as oranges and body parts are transported along its veins.  Each character could be placed on or around the highway, thus creating a map of sorts.  However, I don’t think the map would lead the reader anywhere, but would be constricting in some points and expanding in others.  It was this idea that made me think of the staircase in House of Leaves that continually alters and changes on itself.   The highway, like the staircase, traps and confines characters to enclosed spaces.  Such as when Emi gets caught in traffic on page 58,  “Doing the Joan Didion freeway thang.  You know, slouching around L.A.  Sorry, babe, but it’s hard to feel exhilarated going five miles an hour.”  Other characters are situated and sometimes confined in cars–Buzzworm sets up a semipermanent headquarters in a gold Mercedes (186), Mara Sadat does a live TV broadcast from “the open hood of a rusting Cadillac” which is filled with dirt and to grow herbs and vegetables (191).  At other times, the highway seems to stretch in unusual ways, “Harbor Freeway.  It’s growing.  Stretched this way and that.  In fact, this whole business from Pico-Union on one side to East L.A. this side and South Central over here, its pushing out. Damn if it’s not growing into everything!” (189-190). These images seems to link with Foucault’s “Of Other Spaces” essay that we read many weeks ago.  He could bring to the table a discussion of the highway as a public or private space.  (I think a case could be made for its functioning as both.) On page 23, Foucault says, “We do not live inside a void that could be colored with diverse shades of light, we live inside  a set of relations that delineates sites, which are irreducible to one another and absolutely not superimposable on one another.” Couldn’t these “delineate[d] sites” be transfered to the way we view highways in the novel–a way in which to organize our lives?

Another way to look at the highways could be to see them as another character in the novel.  Adams briefly touches on Yamashita’s humanization of the highway, “The great flow of humanity [runs] below and beyond his feet in every direction, pumping and pulsating, that blood connection, the great heartbeat of a great city” (35).  Adams contrasts Yamashita’s anthropomorphizing of the highway to Pychon’s passive description.  As I was reading Tropic of Orange, I found that not only was the highway given human qualities, but in some cases it served as another character making an appearance in almost every chapter.

Quintessentially Postmodern, in Form and Function

The first thing I did when received this book from Amazon is flip through it. I was immediately struck by the drastically diverse layouts—some pages were dense with “typewriter style” text, some pages were extremely sparse with only three or four words, some had music notes, comic book illustrations, poetry, or letters. The text itself also eventually develops into a copy editor’s nightmare as the novel progresses: multiple fonts, strikethroughs, upside down, sideways—it’s one of the most exaggerated examples of spatial disorientation I’ve seen in a text. Something looked consistent, though: the word “house” was always blue. But this is my point: if that’s not a quintessentially postmodern text, what is?! If we’ve been unsure about classifying the previous novels we’ve read for this class as postmodern texts, we cannot be unsure about this one. Though I am unsure about many things regarding the meaning/theme(s) of House of Leaves at this point, I can say with certainty that this text is a postmodern one!

In addition to this, the postmodern concept of “layering,” as has been brought up by many fellow bloggers, is what seems to hold House of Leaves together. Danielewski interweaves multiple narratives within the book dexterously, and each tale is told with a distinctive style and unique purpose. For example, in terms of style, Truant’s text has the rambling intonation similar to Pynchon’s Lot 49, while the Zampano narrative sounds like a profound yet satirical account of academic writing. Finally, Navidson’s account has the style and tone that sounds the most like a traditional story. Intertwined in this way, the novel is relayed to the reader in rambling fragments, separated by footnotes and halting subject shifts. As I read through the pages, I found myself trying hard to resist the urge to follow a linear path, and as I adopted this mentality, the once-intimidating text slowly began to slowly reveal itself, little by little, very much like the ‘character’ of the house in the novel.

This is an aside: Did anyone else notice this right before page xi of the “Introduction”? –> “This is not for you.” It made me laugh.. :-)

But seriously, it brings up a whole slew of interesting questions: Why is this not for me? For whom is this written? If it’s not for me, why does Mark Danielewski dedicate an entire page at the start of his novel to reveal this to me and to everyone else who picks up his novel? Who is the “you”/”me” in this statement, anyway? Whatever it means, it definitely does the job of capturing the reader’s attention, and by working in the same way “reverse psychology” does, each reader immediately starts to believe that this work is significant for him/her (which is probably the effect that Danielewski had hoped it would have). I think the reader’s relationship with this text is meant to be dramatized, and Danielewski does this effectively by increasing the reader’s level of interaction with the text. What is the result of this increased level of interaction? Well, as opposed to any other genres of fiction, where you as the reader choose to escape into the story, the opposite happens with the postmodern genre: the text “escapes” into you, and changes the way you think about yourself—just as Johnny Truant assures the reader will happen: “For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You’ll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you’ll realize it’s always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won’t understand why or how.” Sounds creepy. And also very postmodern.

Pynchon’s Crying of Lot 49 and Entropy

The Crying of Lot 49 has a plethora of information that was just as confusing to me as it was to Oedpia. But I think this was intentional on Pynchon’s part. Oedpia pursues clues and information that appear to be connected, but when looked at from an objective viewpoint, these connections are arbitrary and only bring up more questions with indefinite answers.

Entropy is symbolic and used in a broader sense than just the explanation of Maxwell’s Demon. Oedpia is constantly getting clues to the mystery of the Trystero. There are loosely connected clues that Oedpia encounters throughout the story, but one that really grabbed me was what leads her to Nefastis’s perpetual motion machine and its relevance to Trystero. This is completely arbitrary. Koteks is merely sketching the muted post horn on a piece of paper when she walks by and he tells her the story of Maxwell’s Demon and Nefastis’s machine. Oedpia takes this to be some sort of clue and seeks Nefastis out. When she meets him, Nefastis says, “Entropy is a metaphor, It connects the world of thermodynamics to the world of information flow” (85). I vaguely know what entropy is from merely the text and Wikipedia, so I spoke with my roommate, who is majoring in physics, and he tried to explain it to me a little better. He said that entropy is an actual measurable quantity in physics. The idea is that in a closed system, things tend to degrade into chaos. Without any force or loss in a system, that system cannot function (He gave an example of a boiling pot of water with the lid on and how the tendency is for the energy in the pot to push the lid off and escape). I think this idea is a prevailing one in the text, and entropy is used in terms of information and culture. All the information that Oedpia encounters during her journey in California does not fit together like she hopes. One thing leads to another and so on, and Oedpia becomes obsessive in solving this apparent mystery. While Oedpia is experiencing culture in 1960s California, she is trying to make sense of the world around her, or should I say, the world that seems to be hidden from her, but draws no logical conclusion. When Oedpia tries to formulate a conclusion and, seeing that the further she goes the more confusing things become, she loses the aspects of her life that were orderly and she becomes detached and paranoid: “They are stripping from me – she said subvocally – feeling like a fluttering curtain in a very high window, moving up to then out over the abyss – they are stripping away, one by one, my men” (126). In chapter 6 we really see her lose it as she wonders back to The Scope and her hotel started and meets with Mike Fallopian and Genghis Cohen again. The world that Pynchon created has caused Oedpia to descend into chaos.

Crying of Lot 49 is obviously more than a commentary on the monopoly of the postal service. It’s clear that Pynchon is making a greater point. Crying of Lot 49 is considered one of the definitive postmodern novels, and I think I’ll take a stab at the reason why. COL49 is reflective of the 60s culture of the time – music, drugs, promiscuity, and rebellion of authority – all these things are inherent in the plot (and rather cleverly mocked at). Elements of mystery, pop culture, history, counterculture, and science are combined in COL49 to form a pastiche, which is a symptom of postmodernism. Culture is mirrored and satirized in the text while realism is ignored in order to exaggerate culture. That’s the most I can make out of it for now.

Overall I enjoyed the novel and thought it had some fantastic sentences, like this one: “I am the projector at the planetarium, all the closed little universe visible in the circle of that stage is coming from my mouth, eyes, sometimes other orifices also” (62). With such a dense novel in so few pages it is obvious that Pynchon is smart, but with outbursts like this he also has a sense of humor.

Response to first week’s reading

Foer’s narrative is probably the only one of the short stories that seemed relatively clear from the beginning.  It draws attention to the importance of listening to what is unspoken and untold and cleverly frames the story through the narrator’s instructions on the uses of the “silence marks”:: with each explanation, we are given a piece of information about him that ultimately narrates his story.  I’ve come across some writings in psychoanalytic criticism, such as Cathy Caruth’s “Unclaimed Experience,” that emphasizes the significance of reading into the silences that is particularly to be exercised with narratives that deal with trauma.  I wouldn’t know how to approach this story in terms of psychoanalysis, at least not for now, but I get the sense that we are left with an opportunity of exploring the narrator’s silences more deeply and examining not only what he doesn’t say in his conversations but what he doesn’t tell his audience. 

Don DeLillo’s  “The Uniform” reminds me a lot of Joseph Heller’s novels in terms of its use of elements of absurdity and irony.  It appears to me that this story follows the style of black comedy and I see the “cartoonishness” that Dr. Sample points to in the portrayals of the killing and raping that paradoxically makes the scenes all the more disturbing.  This narrative style serves the purpose of depicting a grotesque image without the descriptiveness expected and with simplicity and flatness that makes it more comical in a way.  But to understand the purpose of this use, I’m reminded of something Heller had said about Catch-22, that he had wanted his readers to laugh and then look back in horror at what the they were laughing at.  There’s also the recurrent attempt to articulate a traumatic experience (Harlow and her history of sexual abuse) and not being taken seriously and not being capable of comprehending it that we also see in Catch-22.  Is the excessive use of absurdity and hilarity a retreat from the futile attempts of expressing the horrific and the grotesque?  Does that suggest the inadequacy of language in these cases?

Link’s “Some Zombie Contingency Plan” I liked the most, despite its difficulty and ambiguity.  By taking the setting and the several references to horror films into consideration, the story seems like a mimicry of horror films of the 80’s and early 90’s that typically start with a group of unsuspecting teenagers gathering at a party where there’s music and beer, midway through the villain crashes and the slaughter begins.  But in this story the zombies never show up.  I’d hate to take this story back to psychoanalysis, too, but does that mean that the whole idea of zombies is just in the protagonist’s head? And why does he continuously slip into different identities as the narrator uses different names for him?

As to Hassan’s “POSTmodernISM” I was initially put off by its difficulty as I had trouble understanding what he was talking about, but reading more into it, I kind of get him.  I think his article is interesting and useful.  I especially appreciate the attempt he makes to compare Modernism and Postmodernism and show how they are different. It’s quite an interesting and ambitious attempt, and I mean ambitious in a good way, considering the time his article was published. 

On Lethem, DeLillo, Hassan, and Cage

I was excited to see that Jonathan Lethem was one of the included authors in the download. I had read Lethem before but only his non fiction, an essay entitled “The Ecstasy of Influence” which appeared in an issue of Harpers. The essay was so well written and convincing that I read it twice in one sitting, which is a rare occasion considering my short attention span. “Super Goat Man” was just as engaging. I thought the story had great blend of fantasy and reality, which I suppose is indicative of a postmodern story. Super Goat Man is not revered by the youth like the other grandiose superheroes; instead he is small time, which I think adds a bit of reality into the plot, making Super Goat Man more of a human. The narrator’s parent generation embraces Super Goat Man for his rejection of pedestrian life, as Everett says in the opening paragraphs, “It was our dads who cared.” This was a facet of the story that I found interesting. Everett disliked Small Goat Man, and also it seemed to me that he disliked his father for his interest in the minor hero. It bewildered Everett that his father and Super Goat Man had so much in common. His detest for this connection comes at the end, “I knew that my loathing had its origins in an even deeper place, in the mind of a child wondering at his father’s own susceptibility to the notion of a hero.” From the hippy parties to Jazz music, Super Goat Man is the hero of the past, a hero that is unrecognizable in Everett’s generation. Furthermore, I thought the element of Jazz was metaphorical for its association to Super Goat Man and Everett’s father. Everett has little interest in it, as if Jazz is passé for Everett’s generation.

Don DeLillo’s story was difficult to digest, not just for the grotesque killing scenes, but also the barely there plot. There story didn’t seem to be heading in any sort of direction, but only to show the depravity of the terrorists. Jean Claude describes the War uniforms shown in film, claiming that uniforms from the civil war are connected to success. Color and personality are encouraged. “We will shoot in color because color is the color of childhood fantasy.” The terrorists’ uniforms reflect Jean Claude’s argument; they are motley dressed with various styles that even exceed cultural boundaries. I could possibly infer from this that the consumerist culture, which is today’s culture, embraces personality and color, bears the new uniform and it is this uniform that cloaks the depravity of DeLillo’s terrorists. This sounds like total bs but it’s the only thing I managed to pull from the story.

I agree with Alana’s post that the typography and position of the text have an impact on the Cage and Hassan essays as well as the content, and that it influences the reader’s perception of the essays without even having read the words. From what I’ve seen, this tactic seems to be a reoccurring one in postmodern literature.