November 21 , 2012
Ethics and Creative Imagination
“I asked him why he was getting rid of the furniture and he said he liked empty spaces
because you can imagine what might go in them someday” (193).
A Complicated Kindness was an immensely depressing book, but also one of the best
novels I’ve ever read, maybe the two go hand in hand. The theme of emptiness was
disturbing, but truthful. So much of life is spent trying to fill the acute emptiness that
grows inside us if we become too idle or lonely. We study and work to be happy, to fill
the void of boredom and to achieve pleasure. We attempt to acquire an identity
distinguishable from others so that we can be our very own person. So that we can be
unique. So that perhaps we can stave off loneliness and not be doomed by the existential
anxiety that creeps up on us when we think too much or have nothing to do. We try so
hard to do all these things so that we can live meaningful lives, but Nomi can only dream,
which makes her more unique and distinguishable than most of the people who are trying
so hard to achieve this. To me, Nomi dreams of filling these voids, of being somebody, of
quenching her boredom and loneliness, but cannot. She is trapped in the doomed cycle of
hopelessness, almost like Estragon and Vladimir from Waiting for Godot but fortunately
not as extreme.
Nomi Nickel reminds me of Holden Caulfield. But fortunately, I don’t want to
strangle her. Holden was annoyingly angsty, bored, and boring, but Nomi is everything Holden wishes he could be, only he’s too apathetic to achieve her greatness. I was in
between fits of laughter and tears, only because her story was believable. Despite the fact
that she lives in a small town, with a missing and broken family, and is under the choke
of a fundamentalist regime (specifically uncle), she’s very much like many people I
know. She dreams of escaping, but is too bored and confused to do anything about it. She
reminded me of myself, even though we are worlds apart. She lives in a small town, and
wants to escape and experience, I live in a relatively big town and want to escape and
calm down. I want to live in the country and be away from the noise, chatter, and endless
stream of advertisements and fakery. Nomi wants to see the big city, the lights, and
endless chatter and experience anything at all. She wants to see something. We both want
to escape, and do so by dreaming.
I imagined Nomi speaking with a monotonous voice, with a glazed look cast over
her eyes and a half smirk/half grin. Nomi represents hopelessness and desperation to me.
It is as if all the life has been sucked out of her and she is left with nothing but “drugs and
imagination.” With a broken family, I’m not surprised she does not dote on the future.
She constantly lives in the past, Tash and Trudie being her sources of inspiration, but also
prohibiting her from living in the present. Living in the present would be fruitless
anyway, considering there is nothing to be excited about. She and Travis don’t share the
same dreams, school is pointless and stupid, Ray is passive, her best friend is dying, and