Tuesday, January 23, 2007

I just finished the first chapter of Ishmael.

I can’t quite put all of my impressions into a coherent thought right now (and I’m fairly certain that was some of the point), but I’m intrigued by the use of labels.

The part that was the most interesting to me was that Ishmael thought he didn’t exist anymore when his label of “Goliath” was pronounced false. Unaware what the name “Goliath” even entailed, he still managed to put his entire identity into it.

The story the narrator told about his philosophy paper where the Nazis have taken over the world ended on the note that humanity had managed to craft a label so pervasive that anything it didn’t encompass ceased to exist. There were no words for how Kurt had been lied to. That was the point.

Even the way Ishmael first learned language at the circus, through parents who were teaching children the words for things before the child knew the thing itself, fit into that theme.

I don’t know what any of that means, or if it even has a meaning, but I’m excited to find out. Thanks again for making this study, Scott!

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