I found a very interesting little quote on page 242, and I am going to expand upon this quote for my blog right now. "If you know you're worth nothing, only a gamble with death can gratify your vanity". This quote really seems to sum up some of the characters in the book and their actions thus far quite well. This quote kind of describes the crazy, reclusive Texas Highway murderer, who risks getting caught everyday simply to gain some control by killing someone else. This quote also pertains to Ismael, the AIDS stricken grafitti artist that Edgar deals with, and also, even, to Marian, Nick Shay's wife.
just stumbled across an interesting trash story in my daily podcast digest, it starts at what I presume to be the Fresh Kills landfill
As I read more and more, this book, even more so than GR layers itself. Each of the chapters and sections seem to be a certain delta-t taken out and individually examined (but not necessarily in order) reveal a history of individuals and ultimately of a society. In the same way, the landfill that Nick visits with Sims and Detwiler seems to represent layers of history put together that also give birth to a history and age. Conventional history has more often than not followed the aristocrats and the wars of those in power. The landfill, the accumulation of everyone's waste, seems to me a very plebeian but unified representation of society's history.
One reason I'm enjoying this book is that I feel more of a connection to my life than I did with Gravity's Rainbow. Although these books have some similar themes they have different settings. They both deal with the Cold War and paranoia, but Pynchon did it in a roundabout way.
It's also amazing that this book was written before 9/11. I don't think I would appreciate it the same way if I read it before 9/11. The parts that take place in the 50's portray Americans living in a very similar time: scared, haunted, and at the mercy of the government.
Then, in the parts about the 90's, DeLillo taps in to the world of 24 hour news. I'm from the DC area and a few years back we had a sniper shooting down random people in the area. So when the character's are watching the news, the same tapes over and over, I could relate. And it's a gunman shooting from a car, so that also felt real.
"'You need the leaders of both sides to keep the cold war going. It's the one constant thing. It's honest, it's dependable. Because when the tension and rivalry come to an end, that's when your worst nightmares begin. All the power and intimidation of the state will seep out of your personal bloodstream. You will no longer be the main. . . point of reference. Because other forces will come rushing in, demanding and challenging. The cold war is your friend. You need it to stay on top'" (170).
I found this conversation extremely striking for several reasons. First, I feel like, up until this point, the cold war hadn't actully been mentioned outright.
I was thinking again about the idea of people wanting to be a part of a historical event, and again, I came back to the cover's uncanny prophecy. I know the idea of throwing paper to touch the event might seem silly, but just think about 9/11 - when it happened, who didn't say to someone, "Oh, man, my boss's brother-in-law's sister died in the towers"? Even though it was a tragedy, it was an event of huge national importance, and shapes this century so far. People want to have some sort of link to it. I know, living in CT, people who drove over to the beach to see the smoke coming from the western horizon. And then, those people can say, "In a way, I was there".
On page 20, Cotter notices that thepeanut boy is black like him, and he starts to feel nervous. "The guy is making him visible, shaming him in his prowler's den. Isn't it strange how their common color jumps the space between them? Nobody saw Cotter until the vendor appeared, black rays phasing from his hands." I thought it was interesting that Cotter felt that his identity was linked to the other black boy's and that who he was in the eyes of the others was dependent on the peanut vendor. I think that when he says "their common color jumps the space between them," he is accurately descri
On page 32 Delillo describes one man's haphazard idea to tape Russ' account of the game, which turned out to be the only recording there was. It's interesting to think that these little impulses can take on huge significance. It reminded me of the two men who were doing a documentary on NY firefighters around the time of September 11 and consequently were able to tape footage of the firefighters going into the towers. I like this idea of individuals being in control of history, rather than historians just waiting to write down the next big event.
On page 71 Klara says, in regards to the desert, "So we use this place to test our weapons. It's only logical of course. And it enables us to show our mastery. The desert bears the visible signs of all the detonations we set off. All the craters and warning signs and no-go areas and burial markers, the sites where debris is buried." The technological society that she's speaking about reminds me a lot of Gravity's Rainbow and the intense power that people felt from the rocket. Even though the desert has a strong sense of nature about it, there is power in knowing that we can destroy and c
On page 51 DeLillo talks about how secrets and information "This is what he knows, that the genius of the bomb is printed not only in its physics of particles and rays, but in the occasion it creates for new secrets." The CW was really all about who could keep secrets better: everything was kept underground and information had to be hoarded because if the other side found out about anything then they had more power. This calls to mind Pychon's line "Is it any wonder the world's gone insane, with information come to be the only real medium of exchange?" Although the books may or may not relate to different wars (WWII vs.