Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mirrors, mirrors everywhere

So I went through some City of Glass stuff in my last post, and this graphic novel is...well, frothing at the pages with stuff to look at and dissect.

This time I want to go over a specific transformative moment I caught for Quinn, our sad little main man.

In this one Quinn has just spent goodness knows how long watching the apartment of the man he was trying to protect from him dad (remember? The dude who was locked in a room without language for a long time?) and he has finally wandered away from his watch guard post, and sees himself in some mirrors (found on page 115).

Now let us pause right here, because I must tell you: I am an English Major, and English Majors love mirrors. No, not because we preen in front of them, but because of something called the Mirror Stage.

Mirror Stage is concept thought up by Jacques Lacan, a famous psychoanalyst and psychiatrist that people said was just as controversial as Freud. So, pretty controversial.

The idea is that the Mirror Stage is when infants first recognize themselves in a mirror, which then results in them viewing themselves as a series of "objects (nose, hair, feet, tongue, tummy, etc...). This was said to be this fractured self, whereas before the infant saw themselves as a whole, and so they spend the rest of their lives longing a little for that feeling of "wholeness" again. I dare you to look at your entire body at one time in the mirror, dead on, and not have to section yourself out to do it. Not so possible.

Auster et all, 2004


So, when I see all of these mirrors that Quinn is gazing into, I notice how each one of them carries a different piece of him. In the second panel is says that Quinn is seeing "himself" for the first time in...well, we have no idea how long exactly. However, this "self" is being divvied up into fragments by these mirrors, so we, the readers, are seeing him how he sees himself: broken, fragmented, and a little bit switched around.

I think of this as a re-birthing for him, and given that his behavior and attitude change after this section in the book, it seems that he really may have. The text in the third panel says that is was as if Quinn had "become someone else", and so he had. Perhaps this is just because of him appearance, but I think his sense of self had become whole while he was keeping watch outside the apartment. Time melted together a little bit for him then, and so he had "forgotten" himself, so to speak. Now he sees himself, and does not quite remeber, but sees this "new" man, this new Quinn. Even then, the pieces he sees are not in the order we as people have grown accustomed to seeing them. A portion of his head is in the middle, and on top, and his arm is below his entire chest, and it's like he iis a mash of puzzle pieces mixed together.

Given some of the religious tones in this graphic novel (remember all that Edenic fun?) I cannot help but think of him as a Jesus-type character, as if he has come out from this cave after sacrificing himself for the man he had decided to protect, and is now re-birthed. Then again, I can also see him as Adam, as I stated last time, and a little bit of Moses, which I will get to in another post.

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