Monday, April 28, 2014

Edenic Language Fatality: SPOILER ALERT!!


This book, City of Glass by Paul Auster, is nothing short of mind blowing. In class last week we talked about the first page in such great detail, particularly the drawings of Quinn entering this world as if through the pages of a phone book. It appears as if he's stepping out of the pages of the phone book in the bottom three frames. This is already interesting because throughout the entire graphic novel we are question who is real and if Quinn, especially, is real. This very first page seems to suggest that perhaps he is not, that he is an embodiment of his name written on the page of the phone book. He is an example of Edenic language, when the signifier and the signified literally are the same thing (i.e. the word "cat" actually is the physical animal instead of just a representation - cool, huh?!).




The ending makes this even more interesting because Quinn appear to die when the pages of his notebook in which he has been writing run out:

           p. 34 & p35

 ("What will happen when there are no more pages in the notebook" - in case you can't see the words)

Similar to the beginning when Quinn walks out of the phone book and embodies the signifier of his name, he no longer exists when the words he writes cease to continue. He's been writing in this notebook since the beginning of the novel. If he can no longer write then he no longer has a real purpose to exist. Plus, he's confuddled himself so much with all the identity changes over the course of the story, literally becoming other people at times. By the end, Quinn as an individual person no longer exists anyway. These two pages at the end of his story would seem to suggest in an almost backwards Edenic way, that he stops existing because what has made him real (his writing) stops. Plus, the following pages are all about how the character Paul Auster has no idea what happened to Quinn, as if he just vanished into thin air. Perhaps, he literally has.

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