Wanted: An Explanation of the Nunnerator

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In our first seminar, it’s been established that basically no one actually knows who our narrator, or should I say Nunnerator, really is. It describes itself to us, calling its species the “Little Little People” on page 3 and the “real Nunnehi” on page 5. They seem to have their own culture as well, what with the Nunnerator’s friends teasing him for being “asexual” when he wasn’t particularly interested in Tallulah’s genitalia (our narrator refers himself as a “he” on the same page, page 21 as well) and the drummers being the most curious of the bunch. They’re also somehow the cause of some of the biggest problems in the novel, like putting Irma with the Misfits (though it’s never explicitly stated what exactly they did and why they did it).

Their origins are pretty confusing too, with their universe being made barely 6 years ago yet their history preceding the 1400’s. I suppose it could be easily explained with them being sentient digital beings and their backstory made from an exceptionally creative history buff/techie but honestly, it’s would be a boring let down and still won’t explain how literally no one knows of their existence. The idea people came up with in the seminar was that they were like digital fairies floating through TREPP. It can explain a lot of stuff, especially why exactly they are called “Nunnehi”, and get away from the rest of the questions with the simply answer being “magic”.

However, my biggest confusion still cannot be answered. If they are digital, how did the Nunnerator plug into Tallulah, a human being? If she was actually an android all along (maybe like a host #WestWorld) the implication in this novel about the Misfits may actually work with her as well (I mean she’s been stuck in this tour guide job for ages and she clearly wanted to get away for a long time but the money or should I say CAPITALISM held her trapped riding the Trail of Tears #ConspiracyTheory). Unfortunately, as fun as that idea may be, it can’t explain how the Nunnerator was able to unplug from her brain and get out onto her hair. It implies it has a physical body, even though it escaped from the TREPP in the first place digitally from the suit. How was he able to materialize a body for himself? From a human brain no less? As a character it’s got so much potential and questions to be answered yet it is barely recognized and remembered at all throughout the whole novel. Perhaps my brain just isn’t creative enough to imagine its physical transformation, or maybe there is something missing that I must figure out from the subtexts that are given about the Little Little People within the text. Either way, there must always be a reason for why an author put so much effort in creating such a character. Let me know your theories and answers!

One thought on “Wanted: An Explanation of the Nunnerator

  1. Yes, good question: how can we understand a digital thing that went into a physical thing and that moved beyond the brain onto the scalp and “fell off” in the shower? That does suggest a physical entity of some kind. I don’t have a clear answer.

    I read your blog post on Friday and was thinking about it after class and while I was listening to a talk in the Philosophy department that was partly about the mind/body problem: how can something physical (the body) be connected to and affect something nonphysical (the mind)? This issue is very complicated because you have to think of thoughts as non-material things that somehow are caused by material things and yet are very different from neurons and chemicals. But the issue here is kind of similar: how can a digital entity interact with a physical entity or also have a material body of some kind itself?

    And as I was thinking about this I wondered whether there is something about how we conceive of mind, matter, digital-ness that is keeping us from understanding how these things might interact. The fact is that we know neurons in the brain affect thoughts and feelings, and we know that digital things are based in some kind of matter. So the interaction happens. But something about how we’re conceptualizing each kind of thing keeps us from seeing how they could interact. So maybe we’re conceptualizing them incorrectly.

    That’s a huge question and honestly I am sure this has been considered by philosophers before and people just haven’t been able to come up with a good answer. But it’s what I started thinking about after reading your blog post!

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