March 8, 2013
ENGL 222 – Canadian Literature
The Beggar’s Garden
o Bearing signs of absence
Where in Vancouver do we feel bears signs of absence
o Secret places and why we keep them secret and what they have to do with the way cities
How do they affect the experience of cities
o Fraud department: fraudulent vs. authentic
Vancouver’s advertisements as fraud
P. 231, 232: Bank transactions
o Formula through which each transaction
Is there a formula for Vancouver?
o Idea of computer mediated interaction with place
The computer now finds the fraudster; used to be more like “detective work”, more
o Sam enjoys “the puzzle of [fraud]
Mode of inquiry
If we treat cities like puzzles – must be solved
Cannot make assumptions with puzzles
P. 233: Sam breaks down in the alleyway
o Overly intimate (to talk to someone relieving himself)
Is there a problem with being overly intimate with a place?
o Idea of being besieged: war, idea of class war (social class) – Sam is a banker, Isaac is a
o Commuter space – a route to go through but not stop
o West coast had been Anna’s place to escape
What happens when you turn a place into an escape?
What happens when you think of Vancouver as an escape? Another mode of inquiry
of this place?
How do we escape in Vancouver?
o “At first, the city had been thrilling”
o Vancouver as “golden fringe”
o Obscene beauty?
o “glimmering city of glass” – Douglas Copeland - buildings and high rises
o Doomed neighbourhood? o The city as body? Producing the zit of downtown eastside?
o “A living monument to all unwanted things… and some part of Sam hoped it would live
o Packed metaphors
Warzone under siege
What are the implications of place in that description?
o Sam and Isaac’s relationship begins in an inversion of the conventional relationship between
the banker and the beggar
Sam is rough around the edges, Sam needs help; not Isaac
o Story of person who freezes to death on container ship inspires Sam to start living his life
differently, shifts focus to Isaac, reclaiming him somehow, helping him out
Revisits the veracity of the story
Belief systems – not about veracity but about what they motivate us to do
Focus on behaviours, not validity of what inspires behaviours
o But if you change the story, you can