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Lecture 20

ENG 208 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Don Delillo, The Body Artist, Kotka

Course Code
ENG 208
Thomas Phillips

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Lecture 20: 3/30/2017
The Body Artist by Don DeLillo (pages 45-90)
Real things are an anchor for her—simple observations anchor her:
o“She burned her hand on the skillet and went right to the fridge and there was no
ice in the fucking. She hadn’t filled the fucking ice thing. People pick up ringing
phones or don’t. She listened to it ring. It sounded through the house, all the
handsets jingling in their cradles. How completely strange it suddenly seemed that
major corporations mass-produced bread crumbs and packaged and sold them
everywhere in the world and she looked at the bread-crumb carton for the first
true time, really seeing it and understanding what was in it, and it was bread
crumbs” (DeLillo 36-37)
Limitations of language
o“In the first days back she ate a clam from hell and spent a number of subsequent
hours scuttling to the toilet. But at least she had her body back. There’s nothing
like a raging crap…to make mind and body one” (37)
o“There were just too many things to understand and finally just one” (37)
Even before discovering Mr. Tuttle, Lauren needs to understand what to do next in her
oHer identity, her future—both are completely different now
oHer perception is different
“Things she saw seemed doubtful—not doubtful but ever changing,
plunged into metamorphosis, something that is also something else, but
what, and what” (38)
“She woke early every morning and this was the worst time, the first
murderous instant of lying in bed and remembering something and
knowing in the flow of the same breath what it was” (38)
o“The plan was to organize time until she could live again” (39)
Can refer to the fact that the novel may not be told in an entirely linear
fashion—her perceptions aren’t necessarily linear
The events in this novel are not necessarily happening in the order
that they are written in.
We can interpret them differently, in a different order.
DeLillo does this because we all do this—our thinking is fluid,
does not necessarily follow a specific order
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