Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"Can a Man Die? Ay, As the Sun Doth Set."

From classfellow I.K., this literary analysis of Hey Nostradaus! vid. Beddoes' apothegm.
In response to the "Can a man die?" question, I thought mostly of written legacy. 

 Aside from the Earth/Body pulling away from the Sun/Soul, I also considered the emphasis on written document in Hey Nostradamus!.
 Coupland makes constant references to the medium of writing:
 Cheryl "scribbles what becomes her last will and testament on a school binder shortly before a rampaging trio of misfit classmates gun her down in a high school cafeteria..." (back of the book). This "God is nowhere/God is now here" phrase lingers throughout the entire book and her act of writing it down is an additional element which makes her the immortal yearbook picture on the news.
 Jason's story/perspective is told almost entirely via the pink slips of paper, as he madly writes in his work car or on-the-go (at the beach, etc). These slips of paper are enforced as crucially important, both as the sole truth which is to be passed on to his sons, and as the treasured (and ziploc-sealed) manner in which he continues to live for, and give peace to, Heather: "I drove home and put Jason's list of instructions inside a jumbo freezer-size zip-top bag in order to protect his pencilings from rubbing away completely. I removed my shoes and belt and fell into bed, holding an edge of the bag up to my face, and sleep came easily" (228).
 Speaking of Heather, her release comes from the writing she sneakily starts to do while at work (as a court stenographer). Her story is written in this borderline-forbidden manner, and by writing it all out, she immortalizes it for whoever comes across it one day.
Finally, regardless of the mistakes that Reg has made in his life (through his blind and unquestioning faith), he finds hope and solace through the letters that he disperses for Jason. Even if Reg's old age takes the better of his body, or if death defeats him, his changed and bettered self is also immortalized for Jason/whoever else to see one day. His written document of truth and hope will most likely outlive him and therefore assist him on his road to redemption.
 Also notable: Cheryl's parents' and brother's letters to Jason. Did these help them? Were they really that changed? Or did they purposely send these out as a last effort in communication to clear their consciences?
As always, do send these along by e-mail: don't hide your light under a bushel....

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