Posts Tagged ‘Michael Chabon’

Hello there!

I’m going to go ahead and assume that you’re familiar with our blogging-routine (or our not blogging routine, really) once college reopens, so I’m not going to whip out all the old excuses*. But you should know, we don’t actually ever forget the blog entirely for weeks together. All of us have admitted to thinking up posts for the blog in the past. And sometimes, I go one step further and make a list of bullet points on things I want to write about. Sometimes, I expand on them (as in this post) , but most of the time, I just have a bunch of incomplete notes :

From my desktop

(Side-note: Does anyone else use Notepad? Anyone? Anyone? No? Ok.)

(1) Paper towns metaphor:

Before I go ahead and post my notes, here’s a brief outline of Paper Towns:

The lead characters of this novel are Quentin Jacobsen and his neighbour, Margo Roth Spiegelman, who grow up together as kids but eventually go their separate ways. Margo appears at Quentin’s window one night and whisks him along on a mad, vengeful one-night scheme. Not long after, she disappears, leaving Quentin a trail of clues that leads him to make a cross-country trip with his best friends, in the belief that finding her will restore their former friendship. Along the way he begins to question his conception of Margo and their future.

Now, for the metaphor:

John Green’s Author’s Note says: ” Agloe began as a paper town created to protect against copyright infringement. But then people with those old Esso maps kept looking for it, and so someone built a store, making Agloe real….The store that was Agloe no longer stands. But I believe that if we were to put it back on our maps, someone would eventually rebuild it. “

Thought:  So long as people go looking for a manic pixie dreamgirl/ other fantasy-figure (as in Margo), there will be people to provide it (again, as in Margo)? And also people who will be complicit in the lie through blind longing for something that doesn’t exist.

(2) Kavalier and Clay (From the book The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay):


Josef ‘Joe’ Kavalier enters his cousin, Samuel Klayman (‘Clay’)’s life one night after having escaped from Nazi-infested Prague, leaving his immediate family behind. Upon discovering Joe’s skill with the pencil, Sam convinces his boss to give them jobs as comic book creators. Here, Joe’s training as an escape artist and his violent desire to inflict some damage against Nazi Germany, along with Sam’s repressed polio-stricken son-of-a-strongman self gain life in the superhero of their creation, The Escapist. Joe and Sam both grow and discover their true leanings in life even as their stories pander to the growing feeling against Germans and to their male demographic through objectifying women . The story follows through to the  end of the golden age of comic books with the Kefauver Senate hearings and the decisions the two cousins are faced with.


 Joe / The Golem/The Escapist–parallel figures: 

The golem is a creature encountered in Jewish lore, that was created by a rabbi from Prague using clay. Although initially created to protect the Jews, the story goes that it eventually went on a rampage as it grew in power. The rabbi alone could ‘deactivate’ the golem, which was then held safe to protect the community from future enemies.

At the start of  the novel, Joe escapes from Prague with this very golem in order that it not fall into the hands of the Nazis. And from then on it seems to be present in the tale in the form of The Escapist and also through Joe kavalier. Much like the golem, The Escapist is a symbol of hope for Jews everywhere, and as Joe’s personal anti-Nazi weapon, he is indestructible. Joe himself also comes across as being rather disproportionately gifted– his skill as an escape artist and general infallibility require real suspension of disbelief. Further, Joe has a little brother back home, and it is vital to him that he find a way to ship his brother to safety alongside himself. When his attempts to do so are in vain, he goes into a downward spiral (much like the golem! And the increasingly violent Escapist!), turning his back on everything he holds dear, and enlists actively in the war against Germany. In the course of his service, Joe is sent to Antarctica, where he attempts to kill a peaceful German scientist. He regrets this almost immediately, recognizes that his hatred has been blind and futile , and eventually returns home. Soon after he reaches home, the golem is shipped to him and he finds that it has reverted to dust. This is in keeping with the legend of the golem, which cannot serve another master and becomes powerless when taken off the soil of its homeland. Similarly, Joe’s anger is somewhat quieted. Interestingly, this also coincides with the end of The Escapist and the decline of the comic book industry, making The Escapist seem like yet another incarnation of the golem.

Bottomline:  The juxtaposition of clad-in-tights sidekicks and World War-II is unique and fantastically well done. You should definitley read this book if you can lay hands on a copy.

(3) hp72.txt contains a bunch of incoherent points at the moment. Also, I want to post reviews of a couple of other movies I’ve watched since. So, that’ll be another post for another time.

Or maybe not.

For having got through the rest of this post, I will leave you with this fun fact:

BWC trivia, folks.

        That’s right. I named my ipod. And what’s more, I named him Augustus Pod. On a related note, I am also co-author of a sort of event-log (of  amusing college-related events) named Jeff.

   If you like naming inanimate objects too, leave me a comment and gain one cookie!

*For anyone who doesn’t know, our big excuse goes something like this: College sucks. This makes us miserable and not want to blog. When we don’t have to go to college, we’re too happy to blog etc.

P.S.: I seem to have published this post privately before it was done. So, er, yeah. That too. :/

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