Home > Uncategorized > Questions

Questions

It turns out that I don’t have time for a big long well-thought-out post on this week’s milestone. So I’m just going to lob some questions out there and let the comments write the post for me.

Why are hamburgers referred to as “hamburgs” (and as “hamburg-sauce spaghetti”)? Does anybody say that really? Is this maybe one of those little things designed to yank us out of the narrative?

How, on page 470, can Steeply have his hands “clasped before his back”? The voice here is possibly that pseudo-Marathe/Quebecer voice, but this just doesn’t seem like the kind of error somebody would really make.

Did you notice that Steeply talks about rats being used to experiment with the p-terminal thing? And how he previously (429) brought up rats in the context of basically behaviorism and teaching people not to get addicted to things? And how Gately feels like a rat as he contemplates the whole higher power thing (443)?

As Gately contemplates the baggy sky (478) through the big windshield of the Aventura after contemplating talking to the ceiling, did you find yourself thinking back to a weird little reference to Herman the Ceiling that Breathed from one of Gately’s childhood homes (447)?

When you read about the “curved and planar mirrors at studied angles whereby each part of the room is reflected in every other part” (482), did you find yourself feeling like maybe this was sort of a little metaphor for the novel itself? If so, do you make anything of the fact that once Lucien is scrambling away from the AFR agents, this setup, designed originally to disorient those who come into the store, proves disorienting for him and ultimately helpful for the sort of people it would seem to have been designed to disorient? Ahem.

What’s with the weird masks the AFR agents are wearing? I’m not under the impression that this is SOP for them. Maybe it has to do with the silly pranks the Antitoi brothers pulled and is a sort of mockery.

Why does the narrator go on and on about the thread caught on the sight of Lucien’s gun?

Is there a good reason to associate Lucien with Mario by describing the broom he’s impaled on as “puncturing tile and floor at a police-lock’s canted angle” (488)? I think there may be more ore to mine here. Both characters are sort of innocent and simple and damaged, for example. And both wind up having something sort of almost messianic about them — or are reborn in a way, at least.

On 483 and 495, we have more instances of wobbling, which Infinite Detox has already addressed in some depth. Will he have more to say? (Sorry, I know that was a cheap way to sneak in a question.) There’s lots of rotation and even some concavity and convexity in this section featuring a young JOI.

Do you know anything about Powell’s Peeping Tom, posters of which JOI has on his boyhood bedroom walls? If not, you should read up.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. G C
    August 7, 2009 at 12:07 am

    I keyed into the rat thing too.

    Loved that the AFR are described as Terminators: they can’t be bargained with or reasoned with, they don’t feel pity, remorse, or fear.

  2. Jerry Lesniak
    August 7, 2009 at 5:14 am

    Re: “hamburgs” vs. hamburgers
    My first 18 years (b. 1941) where spent in Ohio. I recall from that time the common utterance was “hamburg” for what you would call a “hamburger.” In spite of the fact that I’m a former college English major, I’m still apt to call that sandwich a “hamburg.”

  3. August 7, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Wow, Jerry. I had no idea. Thanks for this anecdote.

  4. steven
    August 7, 2009 at 9:50 am

    I lived in Boston for 16 years and yes, people there really do call hamburgers “hamburgs, just like they call sub(marine) sandwiches “grinders,” milkshakes “frappes,” etc.

    I, too, get the feeling too that some of the geometric tangents (for example, when the mattress they’re moving is propped up at a certain angle, the narrator states: “the dihedral triangle I’d imagined…had not in fact even been a closed figure” [501]) is some kind of an “in” joke for math freaks.

  5. August 7, 2009 at 11:10 am

    They do the “hamburg” thing here in Maine, as well, which I find deeply off-putting every time I hear it.

  6. Michael Namikas
    August 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    I saw a double bill at LACMA about 6 years ago of Peeping Tom and Rear Window. Peeping Tom is quite shocking, especially when considering it was released in 1960.

  7. August 7, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Peeping Tom is available to watch instantly on Netflix!

    I’m interested in the Mario/Lucien connection.. someone made a great post about the broom and Wittgenstein on the IS forums (http://infinitesummer.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=394&sid=5c8676cef207e34194586a5bb83895fb) but I don’t know if it sheds any light on the Mario thing.

  8. steven
    August 7, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    “As Gately contemplates the baggy sky (478) through the big windshield of the Aventura after contemplating talking to the ceiling, did you find yourself thinking back to a weird little reference to Herman the Ceiling that Breathed from one of Gately’s childhood homes (447)?”

    No, I actually thought of James Baldwin’s last novel “Just Above My Head” (1979) which begins with the death of a famous gospel singer in the men’s room of an English pub. After suffering a heart attack he’s described lying prone while with the last remnants of consciousness he imagines the ceiling descending ominously upon him. The ceiling is a recurring image or motif I guess you’d call it, throughout the novel (which takes its title from the old gospel song). The ceiling can be a euphemism for prostitution (“looking at ceilings”), the claustrophobic nature of the “closet,” and I suppose societal barriers of various types.

    Oh, in New England, “tonic” is soda or soft drinks.

  9. August 10, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    “When you read about the “curved and planar mirrors at studied angles whereby each part of the room is reflected in every other part” (482), did you find yourself feeling like maybe this was sort of a little metaphor for the novel itself?”

    Yes, the whole Serpinski Gasket thing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierpinski_triangle

    “Why does the narrator go on and on about the thread caught on the sight of Lucien’s gun?”

    I think it has to do with the idea of creating a web, in which Lucien became trapped. Brings to mind spiders, among other things.

  1. August 8, 2009 at 4:14 pm
  2. January 7, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: