Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mental Travel

Caroline Muirhead

Mental Travel in Black Rainbow

While the narrator in Black Rainbow does do significant amounts of physical travel throughout the novel, the mental travel is what is truly intriguing. The narrator appears to be almost brainwashed by the Tribunal, believing that all they say is true without question, even calling them his family though he has one already. The most disturbing and fascinating facet of the society described, however, is the ability to erase history. Not only erase it but put something pleasurable in its place. 

Perhaps the most graphic and powerful example of the narrator's mental travel is from 56-61 when the "sisters" torture the narrator sexually in order to extricate information from him, which he gives up eventually. The next day however, all of this is erased. On page 65 he states, "I'd missed a whole day. The hunters had that start on me. Histories can be erased, I remembered the Tribunal telling me. Erased and replaced with histories that please us." It was almost as if the narrator traveled through time, and for all intents and purposes he did. None of the places he physically visited are there anymore. He travels back to them physically but there are in reality not there and it is as though they never were. This allows him to live a life without consequences. He betrayed everyone he cared about but somehow no one gets hurt. 

This kind of mental travel is interesting to analyze as mental travel can have such deep and interesting impacts. If the government was able to simply erase history, people would continue to repeat the same mistakes, as there would be no consequences. Without consequences, if everything can be erased, people would be able to do everything and anything. The President in the novel claims this kind of lifestyle generates peace, however it would seem it could also generate the total opposite.

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