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Lecture

JPOD.docx


Department
English
Course Code
ENG252Y1
Professor
Robert Mc Gill

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ENG252 JPOD March 6th 2011
- A novel of ideas rather than of psychological relationships
- Particularly, on change, prompted by technological innovation
- Change in terms of personal identity as well
- How this novel is diagnosing contemporary society
Personal Identity and Consumption
- Ramen noodles page
o He has taken something that was once part of a specific cultural tradition and
reproduced it to fill the entire page to show how mass production has spread
Personal Identity and Bricolage
- The act of assemblage using materials at hand
- Mark: someone who has made their mark or a mark on the page?
- So Mark, even as he’s offering up the idea of depth, still remains in this book a series of marks
on the page
- Right after we get his story about the storage container we’re given another spam email that is
promoting penis enlargement
- Structurally there’s something interesting going on here, undermining Mark’s claim that he has a
soul, psychological depth
- What Mark’s story does give us, though, is a metaphor for consumption
o Objects of literal and figurative consumption
- Suggestion, in contrast with Mark, is that character is less about what’s inside than what we
surround ourselves with
- One way to read it is that this kind of bricolage is a sad thing
- Or, we could read it in a more radical way, that identity was always a fabrication, that identity
has become more important in contemporary society because it is marketed to people
- Suggestion that people don’t have an individual identity as much as they assemble together a
conception of identity through corporate products
o Audi commercial
- We’re not original, this novel keeps reminding us
- Kaitlin makes this exact same point regarding Cowboy, telling him he has no individual character
and is instead an assemblage of pop culture
- When they’re talking about the turtle that will be in the BoardX game
- Ethan’s mom suggests spray painting information onto the turtle’s shell that he can’t see so he
has to find mirrors to read it
- We can read the mirrors as a symbol for the novel itself, reflecting us
- We may also see the mirror more broadly as the way people are using pop culture
- It’s through the reflections of pop culture that they’re able to understand themselves
The Autism Spectrum
- Some associated traits
o Difficulty recognizing emotions in another
o Restricted interests
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