Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Black Rainbow

Catlin Castan
Dr. Ellis
EN 384 D: Travel Literature
11 September 2013
Black Rainbow
When I first began reading Wendt’s text, I immediately thought of George Orwell’s novel 1984. The most obvious similarity shared between the two novels being their settings: a futuristic dystopia. However, I think Wendt separates Black Rainbow from other texts in its genre by adding the element of thrill. Wendt’s protagonist himself even states, “My life was imitating film thrillers”(55).  By the use of thrill in his text, Wendt is able to closely engage his audience: we feel as if we are a part of his storyline. In chapter seven, Wendt includes a subtle quotation that perhaps may be commenting on his intended structure, it reads: “Life is a labyrinth that unweaves eternally”(80).  I feel that this quotation speaks to Wendt’s text as a whole—the world that which Wendt creates for his characters is a labyrinth: a never-ending maze. Similarly, it is this constricting and confusing maze-like structure that allows his story to read as such a compelling thriller; Wendt works to limit his audience’s ability to predict his next sequence of events by only providing short amounts of information at a time—the audience discovers each twist and turn as Wendt’s characters do. It is also important to discuss Wendt’s protagonists’ existence in an artificial realm. Aside from (more obviously) being referred to as a “real deviant,”(91) by his peers, Wendt’s protagonist also shows deviance in less visible (and obvious) ways. In the opening of chapter three, Wendt’s protagonist explains that while on his morning walk—a routine him and his wife took several times a week—he experiences her presence, despite her absence.  He states: “I sensed my wife beside me...She was beside me”(30-31). In this moment, Wendt suggests that his protagonist is experiencing his wife through recalled memories; however, “[memories] were illegal”(35). The physical journey that he takes through the tangible world inspires an internal journey of self-travel—a journey through self-selected memories.  In the action of recalling memories, he is participating in what is deemed by authority as illegal and therefore proving himself to be societally deviant. More specifically, he constantly mentally deviates from what is enforced, perhaps suggesting that the individual will always remain sole controller of their own mind. Interestingly, Wendt also suggests the idea of travel through time—something that aids in the interconnectedness and unity of humanity. Despite his environment’s restrictions, Wendt’s character chooses to remember his history and his memories; through this choice, he is able to keep the ones he loves close to his heart and eternal. 

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