Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Moses through Telephone Booths

So I said in an earlier thingamajig that I would back to this City of Glass "Quinn is Moses" deal.

Well, here's why I think he's a little bit of Moses:

Fire is representative of many things. Heat, Hell, purification, life, phoenix-like rebirth, and, oh yeah, that whole burning bush thing.

Auster et. all, 2004
Now this panel comes after Quinn starts to wonder whether or not he should continue working on the case for the guy who asked for his protection (the "locked in a room by hi daddy guy") and we see suddenly this phone booth, the one he had just been at earlier when he got a busy signal after calling the home of the guy he was trying to protect.

Now I have no idea if he actually sees this phone booth on fire, but when I see this all I can think is "Holy commandments, Batman! This boy is probably Moses." Now, I'm not saying that he is really meant to be seen as Moses, but the use of fire in this situation is pretty darn telling, I think.

He sees this arbitrary sign, this busy signal, and decides that it is a meaningful sign (that he should continue to work the case) all of a sudden. This is a direct link to the conversations on language that can be had about this entire graphic novel. Language = arbitrary signals (signifiers) that we assign meaning by choosing something for them to represents (signifieds) and suddenly combine into something (signs.)

If he thinks that this busy signal has meaning it is different than saying that it is meaning, which would be living that linguistically Edenic life.

Just as Moses saw this burning bush in a cave and got meaning from his God, Quinn "sees" this burning phone booth and determines that it is a sign. If it is a sign, then it must have been assigned its sign, as we live in a world where language is assigned to things, so there must have been someone (maybe God in his head?) who assigned it in the first place, especially if he thinks that it is not arbitrary.

I wonder now if the sign itself is what he thinks is not arbitrary (the busy signal representing that he should continue on with the case) or if he thinks that it was intentionally put there by some higher being.

I have no idea.

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