Who is who in City of Glass?

Hello everyone!

Last book, last essay last blog post- we’re coming to a bittersweet end.

Anyways, I have some thoughts. Not a lot, but some. On Wednesday, Zach and I were kind of talking about why Auster put himself in his book as a character. I (somewhat jokingly) asked “is he really that narcissistic?”, and Zach said something along the lines of (sorry bud, I don’t remember exactly) Auster’s in there to make you think. So I did think. A lot. Aaand the best that I could come up with is that Auster is in the book so that he can detach the narrator from himself. By interacting with the narrator, it confirms that the narrator must be someone else.

Like I said in seminar today, I think that the narrator is Quinn himself. I know that Christina already thinks this/ has a blog post about it, and I did talk about it in seminar today, so I don’t have anything new to contribute. But here are some things that I’ll try to convince you with

  • The narrator knows stuff that came before Quinn bought the notebook
  • Maybe he ‘later forgot’ the dreams because he is no longer Quinn- (this is a bit of a stretch, but) because Quinn doesn’t exist anymore he can’t remember his dreams, but the new Quinn, being the narrator, knows about them because he does remember them, but because he’s not Quinn he doesn’t realize why he knows about them??????? (I’ve just confused myself, really)
  • It would explain why he cares so much at the end, and is super mad at Auster for not doing anything to help him
  • Quinn’s body is never found, so it’s not like he died- he just became someone else

We also mentioned the Stillman Sr. dopplegängers today, and how in lecture it was suggested that both of them could have been Stillman. I don’t have any textual evidence to back this up, so it’s more of a personal fantasy. While I was reading the book for the first time last weekend, I also thought that both could be Stillman. There’s a part in the novel (I’ll put the actual quote and page number in when I get home, as I am currently writing this without the book on me), where the narrator says something about Daniel imagining Mrs. Stillman naked is not the only mistake he made? I thought that maybe he picked the wrong Stillman, so he went down the wrong timeline. If he had picked the other one, because he’s all shiny and clean, maybe he would have lived a proper detective story.

Fun Home- essay rejects


I’m sorry that I’m only just doing this now but better late than never?

These are just a couple of things that I had wanted to include in my essay but didn’t make the cut, because I wasn’t too sure what exactly to do with them.

The first thing is a sequence on pages 10-11, where the television is sort of mirroring what’s going on in the house. You can’t always see the television screen, but what’s happening to Alison’s brother matches the dialogue. You have Bruce yelling at the brother for not being able to hold the Christmas tree up, and a dad on TV yelling at his son to stop playing a tune over and over again. In the narration, Alison does talk about the movie that’s playing, saying that “it could have been …like It’s a Wonderful Life” “…but in the movie when Jimmy Stewart comes home one night and starts yelling at everyone… it’s out of the ordinary”, implying that it was not so unusual when her own father yelled. Honestly, I don’t really have much to say about this other than describe it (hence why it got cut from the essay). I’m not sure why, but this scene really stuck out to me and I found it to be especially effective.
I also have a part in my essay where I talk about her use of artifacts, and was going to include newspapers, but I decided to stick to handwritten things for the sake of time and actually being able to pretend to know what I’m talking about. Newspapers come up a few times, like p. 27, before we see the funeral, we see the headline “LOCAL MAN DIES AFTER BEING HIT BY A TRUCK”, which allows for a brief and effective explanation as to why we’re at a funeral, which the book later elaborates on. The other newspaper that comes to mind is the one on p. 195 about HPA-23 while she’s imagining what her dad’s life might have been like. And again, I am not really sure what to do with these. The HPA one does suggest that Alison imagines that he could have had AIDS if he didn’t get killed, but the narrative says that explicitly as well.


Trail of Tears Presentation Questions!

Presentation questions!!

I have a few questions, but I’m really not sure how much discussion they’ll generate- you guys can pick and choose what you want to talk about. I’ll fill in this blog post after seminar on Friday, with sort of a summary of what you said, and also my own thoughts.


  1. Did any of you watch the Time Traveller series of videos? Did it affect your understanding of the text?


  1. I was wondering if anyone knows anything about the significance of the infinity sign to Aboriginal Americans/ Canadians. I was looking at the symbol on the front of the book, and initially figured that it was representative of the ‘loop’ which is a recurring theme throughout- but then I remembered that there is actually an infinity symbol on my status card. This isn’t really discussion-y, I was just wondering if anyone knew.


  1. Do you think there’s any significance in the fact that there are two pairs of twins? They don’t really seem to have any connection/parallels, but I just feel like two pairs of twins is spooky.


  1. Do you think that something like TREPP would be an effective learning tool (if everything worked the way it was supposed to), you do you think it would be more like “a continuation/amplification of colonial violence” (Gaertner)?


The Hybrid Life (aka the perpetual existential crisis)

I’m not sure if this counts as a blog post, because it’s not really relevant to the book (but I have to do another one for my presentation anyways so I figured may as well). I was looking at essay topic number four “In what ways does the novel address hybridity? For example, you could discuss the significance of having a protagonist for this novel be partly Cherokee, a “hybrid” like her car”, and it made me think about the significance of being a “hybrid” in my own life. I’m half Filipino, part Métis, and part ‘white conglomeration’. I’ve never actually met anyone with my exact mix other than my sister. Being such an unusual mix causes me to think a lot about race and culture, and how they define a person.

I feel like I can’t fully embrace any of my backgrounds because while I did have some Filipino influence from my relatives, and we learned a lot about indigenous people in school, I was raised in a totally ‘westernized’ environment. I never learned to speak Tagalog or cook Filipino foods. I wouldn’t even know where to go to learn anything (other than the Philippines), because it’s pretty irrelevant to the grander Asian history, and isn’t really considered in the department of Asian studies.

I know next to nothing about my Métis side. I mean, I know a little bit of history, and I’ve got a family tree to tell me how I’m related to Louis Riel, but I don’t know anything about their culture or way of life. Having grown up in Squamish, I was very involved in the aboriginal community, but I was only ever able to learn about the Coast Salish people, which is amazing and interesting, but not my history.

Like I mentioned before, I was raised in a very ‘western’ way, and just by looking at me I’m totally “white-passing” even though I’m less than half. This always gets me wondering about white privilege (which I know is a totally different issue) but whenever it comes up I’m confused about whether I benefit from it or not. I still have experienced racism, but only really if I’ve told them that I’m not actually white. But like Tallulah says, “What the hell is whiteness anyway?” (147)

You know, I guess I can connect this to Tallulah after all. When she was a child, her father pretended that she didn’t even have any Cherokee grandparents- so she was probably raised as a ‘white’ kid too. But (even though it’s through TREPP which is a li’l messed up) she does manage to find a connection to that part of her culture- maybe I’ll eventually find the same with all aspects of mine.

The Narrator is Confusing!

Hello folks,

It appears I have ruined my own blog post by actually speaking up in class for once- I was going to write about the audiobook, and it was going to be interesting (but was it though?). Anyways, I suppose I can still talk about it, though it may be marginally less exciting.

As I was saying in seminar on Wednesday, because I left my book in my dorm room when I went home for break (oops), and my local public library didn’t have it either, I ended up purchasing the audio book on iBooks, and listening to that instead. Like we were talking about earlier today, the chapters aren’t numbered, and the parts of the story are kind of here and there and not at all chronological. This made it feel like I was sitting down with the narrator, and we were just chatting. The structure of this book feels like a natural way of oral storytelling rather than a conventional carefully ordered and edited book. Obviously I know that this too was carefully ordered and edited, but in such a way that it can to an extent disguise itself as natural conversation– but that was only until I thought about the narrator.

There were moments when I found myself questioning who exactly the narrator is. Initially, I thought that I had been missing clear changes of point of view, just from not listening carefully enough, but after having actually looked at the book, there isn’t any explicit reasoning for the shifts in voice. Having the book would have helped, because despite the chapters not being numbered, there is at the very least a clear separation. In the audio book, the shifts in chapters were hardly acknowledged at all. Maybe there was a bit of a pause in between, but not significant enough that I noticed it to be a change in chapter.

Anyways, what I’m trying to say through all my rambling is that I thought there were multiple narrators. Sometimes I thought that Dorcas was speaking- especially at the end. But there are times where it seems like Violet. For example, on page 97(?) the narrator’s “I” is referring to Violet- so is it Violet speaking, or just the narrator giving voice to her? It’s very strange because it changes voices without saying “Violet said/ thought”. I’m pretty sure this happens again, in Joe’s chapter, where the “I” refers to Joe, but I can’t be sure (having not read the physical book, I don’t really have context as to what happens where unless we’ve talked about it). It’s sort of like a collection of bits and pieces of the same story being told by different people.

Additionally, in the audiobook, jazz music played gently in the background, but only in certain parts. I was going to go back and see if there was a theme as to when the music would start to play, but I realized I wouldn’t be able to do that in this blog post’s appropriate time frame- I might still do it later just for fun?

Eyeglass theory… 

OKAY SO THIS WAS IN MY ESSAY, AND I JUST CUT IT RIGHT OUT. It was turning into too much of an unsupported conspiracy, which probably came out of bits and pieces from seminar, but I spent time on it so I’m putting it here

Perhaps not quite within “inner vision”, but when Nathanael looks through the spyglass that he bought from Coppola the glassmaker, he sees thing that may be questionable to reality.Though spyglass are usually associated with the ability to see more clearly, it seems that this particular spyglass serves the opposite function. When looking through the glass, Nathanael sees a distortion of reality, and perhaps even what Coppelius/Coppola wants him to see. The first time he uses it is when he looks at Olimpia, and falls in love with her. Perhaps it was Coppola’s intention to have Nathanael become attached to the automaton, as he is involved in the aforementioned situation in which Olimpia loses her eyes. The next time we see this glass, Nathanael has awoken from his supposed madness, until he notices the glass in his pocket. As soon as he takes a look at Clara through it, he is spewing madness, and accusing her of being an automaton and trying to kill her. Before his death, he sees Coppola’s figure, laughing. If we assume that everything Nathanael sees is actually real, it is plausible that Coppola is intentionally creating these situations for the sake of scaring him.

Freud & Hoffman Presentation Questions

Presentation Questions:

Both of my questions for today’s presentation are related to understanding ‘the uncanny’ as a word/ as a concept.

First of all, what is the relationship between ‘uncanny’ and ‘fear’?  During my first reading I failed to see the difference, but based on the the way that Jason explained it in his lecture, I think of it more as ‘uncanny’ is a type of fear? I don’t know how much a discussion question this is- it’s probably more of an issue of clarification.

As for my second question, which I now realize is basically essay topic #10, I wanted to know what you guys think about how using words from other languages affects our understanding. In Freud’s “The Uncanny”, and otherwise.

Freud uses the German words ‘heimlich’ and ‘unheimlich’ to explain the feeling that is ‘uncanny’. Again, while I was reading, I was pretty confused- but I confused even after lecture! The cyclical nature of the words makes it difficult (for me, anyways) to grasp what exactly Freud was talking about.

In general, I find it interesting to use words from different languages to describe concepts, because some languages have words that are unique to them/ that don’t translate well. However, if it is a word that is hard to explain, it can add a layer of confusion!

Can Darwinism be considered optimistic or pessimistic?

Can Darwinism be considered optimistic or pessimistic?

Oh man, I wrote this a while ago and never posted it! :O

In Wednesday’s seminar, we discussed this question in small groups, and in my group (which I think consisted of Yun and Karen? Maybe?) we found it to be a really difficult question to answer. We eventually decided that it’s both… or neither…? If we look at what Darwin says on page 209, we can see both sides : “[optimistic] Natural selection tends only to make each organic being as perfect as, or slightly more perfect than the other inhabitants of the same country [pessimistic]  with which it has to struggle for existence.”

Initially we were leaning more towards pessimism. The “struggle for existence” though realistic, is rather sad. It’s this idea that all of nature is a competition. Every organism in an ecosystem has to fight to have the resources to live, which means that some will lose. It’s sort of depressing to think that pretty much no matter what, there are going to be some organisms that are just not good enough to survive.

But then we realized that while the weaker organisms die off, the weak traits die with them. The sacrifices made during the course of natural selection are for the benefit of the species as a whole. With every generation of a species, that species improves itself to better survive in its environment. It’s almost inspirational, like ‘bad things will happen, but it’s ultimately for the better’.

But then you keep reading, and Darwin says “Natural selection will not produce absolute perfection” (209). You may, like me,  ask yourself  is it really worth it then?’. Well, probably. But still.

And now, a brief message to future Arts One students:
Don’t be like me, kids. Write your blog posts earlier on in the semester, so you don’t have to do three in a row.

Very Late Introduction


I am terribly sorry that I haven’t done this yet- but better late than never?

So, I guess I’m supposed to tell you about myself.

I’m Asia, and I’m from Squamish BC (aka the self-proclaimed outdoor recreation capital of Canada) so if you want to know about like hiking trails I can probably help you out. I’ve been dancing ballet for 14 years, and I also enjoy singing, acting, and playing my various musical instruments.

I joined Arts One because writing has always been my biggest academic weakness, and I figured that since I can’t avoid essays in university, I may as well try to get better at writing them. I am really appreciative of the small class, and of the tutorial group, and how we get to be closer with our prof than in other classes. So far, I’m finding the biggest struggle is actually trying to do some work for my other classes, since I’m always so focus on this one.

For now, I’m thinking of potentially majoring in either linguistics or Asian studies (i’m Asia the half-Asian, so I may as well make my whole life a pun), but I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up changing my mind like a million times.

I speak French aaaaaalmost fluently (?), and I’m sort of the fangirl type, so if you want to speak French or talk about geeky stuff, come talk to me! Also, I realize that I look sad/angry all the time, but I’m not- it’s just my face.

Soon yeah, thanks. See you Wednesday!