Identity of the Sketchy Face


So, as Jenna had pointed out in our Monday lecture, there are pictures of a strange, sketchy, screaming face dispersed throughout the City of Glass graphic novel. It is actually on the cover page too, though broken right down the middle just like Quinn’s face on the other side of the cover (I have no idea what this means or if it means anything at all but after hearing Mr. Karasik explain his planning process I really doubt anything is unintentional).

The first time you see this face is on page 7, when Quinn talks about what attracts him to mysteries. He mentions that it is because everything is significant and purposeful, and therefore, “the center of the book… is everywhere”. Just like a center, this face really is everywhere in the book, leading readers to think that perhaps, it is a clue to figuring out this mystery of a novel.
The next time you see it, it is on page 33, just under the quote: “it did not help that his son’s name had also been Peter”. With the assumption that the face is a lighthouse for clues, it highlights Peter’s connection to his son (though I suppose even without the face it’s pretty obvious) and after the first time through the novel, you think, “oh, a loss of identity as Quinn the family man the first time his son is gone, then the loss of identity as detective Work the next time Jr. is gone.” Okay, private I and i removed, now only the eye of a writer remains, which even then is passed onto our mysterious narrator by the finale.

But the faces on 50 and 52 are absolute mysteries of their own. They are not even the same faces as the other ones. They are completely different, where the one on page 50 has a nose and eyebrows and 52 has an expression. What could it mean? What is it trying to highlight? Perhaps the more human-like p.50, where it stands alongside actual characters, is to show how the sound of the train changes to the “language of God” only Stillman Jr. understands. Maybe the language of God being made by something inhumane yet still filled and surrounded by humans mean something to the novel. But what about 52? An expression to show Quinn’s quiet and detached resentment for Stillman Sr.?

The next, 104, is under the quote: “wherever I am not is the place where I am myself.” It sums up Quinn, the man who’s identity is built on layers and layers of fake, fictional characters.

The but not least is page 119, where the face is shown to be flipped when Auster announces Stillman Sr.’s death. It is a literal shift of the center of the book as it was mentioned at the start. Quinn can no longer play the part of the detective and the book is no longer about protecting Stillman Jr. With that, the question is asked again: what is the face? If not a clue to the solving the novel as its own mystery, is it actually a part of said mystery? Perhaps a part of its identity?

Who knows. Maybe all of this is to point back at its introduction: that everything is significant, and even when it isn’t, it has potential–therefore, it has purpose.

This post itself is pretty all over the place. Let me know if you can figure this mystery out, or make something out of it.

Thoughts On Uses of Graphic Vs. Written Memoirs


Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home is a memoir that has been written/drawn as a graphic novel (apparently it is also described as a graphic memoir because to call it a graphic “novel” would be technically wrong, what with it being a totally different genre but I digress). I’ve read my fair share of graphic novels and a couple of memoirs before, and graphic memoirs weren’t too hard to imagine for me even before reading this book.

In a way, I do think that it makes sense for it to become a popular format for memoirs, with how different the subject content will touch the readers between the more traditional written text and the visually aided graphics. Memoirs, no matter how you write them, are obviously very personal and (most of the time) completely subjective. This here is the reason why I believe choosing to make a graphic memoir is much more effective and better suited for certain aspects compared to the written.

As an all-word written memoir, the readers are made to visualize the author’s experience themselves, whereas graphic novels simply show, and more (the little details that might seem out of the loop with the story that is currently being told may be added for, in a way, better understanding of specific characters like the example of the grease stain on page 39 which humanizes them and makes them that much more real unlike the fictional characters of any other novels). No matter how beautifully descriptive the author may have written out their memories, we as readers will each imagine our own versions of it, tweaked here and there with our own experiences. How engaging each version is depends on what kind of a reader you are really, and which you’d enjoy more is not anyone’s call. However for a memoir, I believe that knowing this story is exclusively, completely the author’s experience with the transferring and understanding of the memories as an outsider is important, though (once again) it may vary on what the author wants to accomplish. Thoughts?

Wanted: An Explanation of the Nunnerator


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!