Reading Response #1 (due Sep 1)

Please read until page 35 of Motherless Brooklyn, and respond to the prompt below. Your response should be a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 300 words. Please cite at least one passage in your response.

  • What effect do Lionel’s tics serve in this chapter? What do they add to either the tone of the story, his character, his relationship with the other characters, the story, etc. How would you describe his verbal tics? Do they remind you of anything (a character from a movie, a song, a poem, a book, etc.)?

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While I encourage you to read and be inspired by each other’s responses, each response must be completed individually. Feel free to quote each other, if you like. If you do, just make sure you give credit to the original author.

The responses are always due before class on the due date. You must attend class in order to be eligible for a grade on your response.

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71 thoughts on “Reading Response #1 (due Sep 1)

  1. In the first chapter of the book, Lionel’s verbal tics serve multiple purposes. Firstly, they immediately serve as an introduction to his character, as Lionel uses strange verbal tics and metaphors within his thoughts, providing an early idea of the story’s style. However, these tics also serve the purpose of humanizing Lionel towards the reader. Between his job as a detective and life as a member of an organized crime syndicate, Lionel would normally appear as an unsympathetic and callous character but, the inclusion of his verbal tics subverts this and also adds a rather humorous dimension to his character. In addition, the tics serve as an indication of his various character traits through his interactions with both Coney and Minna. Seeing how Frank trusts Lionel with his life and how Gilbert seems to respect him provides a different perspective of his character, showing that despite his shortcomings, Lionel remains a loyal and hard-working individual. While his verbal tics do often appear unnecessary and confusing, they serve an indispensable role at conveying the continuous changes in mood that occur in the story. When Lionel narrates ““I’mafrayedknot.” I felt myself nearly choke, not on unspoken words for once but on rising gorge, White Castle–flavored bile” (Lethem, 32), it helps spur the drastic change in mood that follows upon the reveal of Frank’s death. Lionel’s need to convince himself that he is not afraid serves as an indicator of how serious the situation has become and suggests that a much darker mood is to follow. Personally, I find Lionel’s tics reminiscent of an episode of South Park, where Cartman pretends to have Tourette’s in order to get away with swearing and eventually nobody seems to care, much like how everyone around Lionel has grown accustomed to his occasional tics.

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  2. Lionel’s tics play a prominent role in this chapter and help not only set a tone for the chapter, but they also give us an idea of the kind of friendship and closeness he shares with Coney and Minna.
    The Tics develop a tone of anxiousness and fear throughout the chapter. When Lionel became very anxious during the car chase his tics were happening very frequently and that gave a sense of urgency to that scene. The entire time they are in traffic trying to catch up to and not lose the K-Car Lionel was having a lot of tic episodes. He even thinks to himself at one point “This was a chase Coney could handle so far, I was another story” (pg.15). It then came to a time in the chase where there was true fear that they may lose the K-car and that is when Lionel’s tics stopped and he thinks to himself ” Now my tics were quieted-stress one thing, animal fear another…My Tourettes was overwhelmed”(pg.17). This sets a mood for the chapter because these tics show us how the situation has developed into something more and more dangerous and that Lionel is so fearful at what may happen next that his symptoms are not able to manifest.
    The tics play another role in this chapter which are to display the affection that both Coney and Minna have for Lionel. When setting the plans with Coney and Lionel, Minna wants to make sure that they understand it and Lionel repeats the plan to him. As a reaction to this Minna says “Genius, Freakshow” and proceeds to pinch his cheek (pg.8). That small scene shows the affection that he has towards Lionel. Freakshow and Pinching his cheek show a fondness towards Lionel that Minna has for him.

    Natacha Colimon

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  3. Within the first chapter of Motherless Brooklyn, by Jonathan Lethem, we get to explore how Lionel’s tics affect him and the story. Lionel’s tics gives us a glimpse of just how frustrating and uncontrollable they are for him. We get to see his struggle to choke on his own words in order to not say anything during an inappropriate time. His tics makes his story more difficult and sad knowing that he is unable to formulate a proper sentence most of the time. We also learn how his tics influence his work and hinder him from reporting back to people, apart from Minna. It also set him apart from the other characters because he is considered to be different. The guys on the force often get annoyed of his outbursts or make fun of his inability to control the tics. All of this builds the character in to someone we do not envy and instead feel bad for because his daily struggles to fit in. Lionel’s verbal tics can be described as painful, irritating, uncontrollable, crippling and embarrassing. As he has described previously in the chapter, Lionel says “I modified the words int o a growling sound, along the lines of ‘whrywhroffsinko’ but the effort resulted in a side tic: rapid eye blinks. Some stared, others looked away, bored.” This passage is just a small example of the difficulty in trying to stop a tic and winding up embarrassed just the same. Although I do not know any other characters with Tourettes, I can relate Lionel to many other characters who struggle with disability and are looked at differently and not accepted. For example, Forrest Gump is someone who suffers from a mental disability and is never accepted fully by others and can be embarrassing at times.

    Citation:
    Lethem, Jonathan. Motherless Brooklyn.Vintage Books, 1999.

    Natalie Brethour

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  4. In the first chapter of the book, Lionel’s verbal tics serve multiple purposes. Firstly, they immediately serve as an introduction to his character, as Lionel uses strange verbal tics and metaphors within his thoughts, providing an early idea of the story’s style. However, these tics also serve the purpose of humanizing Lionel towards the reader. Between his job as a detective and life as a member of an organized crime syndicate, Lionel would normally appear as an unsympathetic and callous character but, the inclusion of his verbal tics subverts this and also adds a rather humorous dimension to his character. In addition, the tics serve as an indication of his various character traits through his interactions with both Coney and Minna. Seeing how Frank trusts Lionel with his life and how Gilbert seems to respect him provides a different perspective of his character, showing that despite his shortcomings, Lionel remains a loyal and hard-working individual. While his verbal tics do often appear unnecessary and confusing, they serve an indispensable role at conveying the continuous changes in mood that occur in the story. When Lionel narrates ““I’mafrayedknot.” I felt myself nearly choke, not on unspoken words for once but on rising gorge, White Castle–flavored bile” (Lethem, 33), it helps spur the drastic change in mood that follows upon the reveal of Frank’s death. Lionel’s need to convince himself that he is not afraid serves as an indicator of how serious the situation has become and suggests that a much darker mood is to follow. Personally, I find Lionel’s tics reminiscent of an episode of South Park, where Cartman pretends to have Tourette’s in order to get away with swearing and eventually nobody seems to care, much like how everyone around Lionel has grown accustomed to his occasional tics.

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  5. Though I’ve only just begun reading “Motherless Brooklyn”, it’s already unlike any book I’ve ever read. Lionel’s tics are one of the most unique characteristics of this novel and they influence many aspects of the story.

    The tics are a part of him, however they seem to have a will of their own. Lionel himself often refers to his “Tourette’s brain” as though it were a separate entity bent on interrupting his train of thought at every chance. “The world (or his brain-same thing) appoints him it, again and again. So he tags back.” This inner turmoil makes him both a strange and three-dimensional character. Indeed, Lionel, the “freak show”, is much more human-like than most detective characters. His imperfections make him the perfect underdog to root for. His relationships with other characters are non-conventional because his tics prevent him from fully expressing himself. His condition makes him somewhat of a loner in general and a freak to strangers.

    Since the story is narrated in first person, the readers themselves are interrupted by the verbal tics while they’re reading. This unusual format allows them to empathize easily with the main character. The tics add a lot to the standard mysterious and dark tone of the book. They make it hectic, animated and sometimes vulgar. Lionel’s verbal tics aren’t subtle, they are abrupt, distracting but strangely comical and sometimes quite rude and embarrassing. They are what makes this story so entertaining. His tics do remind me of the movie “As good as it gets” where the main character also suffers from a mental illness that limits him socially and gets him labeled as a freak.
    Neta Fudim

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  6. Despite the fact that Lionel has Tourette’s, his relationship with those who are close to him is just as strong as any ordinary relationship. His partners have nicknames for him like “Freakshow” but it doesn’t seem to bother him or make him feel like an outsider. I also find that Lionel is great at his job as a detective because his Tourette’s causes him to pay close attention to detail and this is also a method of quieting down the nervous speech tics he does. He’s able to remember certain names, places, or tasks by repeating them in his head and then altering the words several times to make them sound like other words. For example, after reading a sign that his partner Coney asked him to read he says, “Of course after any talk my brain was busy with at least some low-level version of echolalia salad:”. (Lethem, 4) He came up with words that included the word on the sign but altered its meaning completely. To conclude, as the chapter progressed I felt more and more tense about what was going to happen in the end. The fact that Lionel’s tics were getting worse made me feel like something really bad was going to happen since the tics do worsen in stressful situations.

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    1. Nice reading of the chapter. Interesting to note how is Tourette’s can be a strength. Also nice tie-in to dramatic tension.

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  7. In this chapter, we become aware of Lionel’s tics by the third sentence and it prepares the reader for what is to come. I believe the effect of Lionel’s tics in this chapter serves as an indication for the reader to distinguish his normal brain from his Tourette’s brain. Lionel’s tics bring humor to the story and the other characters in the story kind of embrace his tic’s and try to make a joke out of it. For example when Lionel and Coney were driving Minna to the hospital, Minna asks Lionel to tell him a joke knowing that his Tourettes would spoil the punch line even before he finished the joke “Minna and I had been in a joke-telling contest since I was thirteen years old, primarily because he liked to see me try to get through without ticcing. It was rare that I could” (25). Lionel’s verbal tics aren’t consistent when he is eating food he seems to be calm and able to hold a conversation without ticcing but as soon as he starts to get nervous the ticcing starts to intensify. I wouldn’t be able to relate Lionel’s tics with anything in particular but if we consider a detective has a profession I can relate it to Tim Howard who is a professional soccer player who also suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. I can relate the two because in their respected professions your are required to stay sharp at all times and I find it interesting that these two are given an opportunity to be what they want knowing they have a condition that can alter their brain at times.

    Anthony Sciola

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    1. Good response. Try to think a bit more about how his tics affect the world around him, rather than stating facts about his condition.

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  8. Despite the fact that Lionel has Tourette’s, his relationship with those who are close to him is just as strong as any ordinary relationship. His partners have nicknames for him like “Freakshow” but it doesn’t seem to bother him or make him feel like an outsider. I also find that Lionel is great at his job as a detective because his Tourette’s causes him to pay close attention to detail and this is also a method of quieting down the nervous speech tics he does. He’s able to remember certain names, places, or tasks by repeating them in his head and then altering the words several times to make them sound like other words. For example, after reading a sign that his partner Coney asked him to read he says, “Of course after any talk my brain was busy with at least some low-level version of echolalia salad:”. (Lethem 4) He came up with words that included the word on the sign but altered its meaning completely. To conclude, as the chapter progressed I felt more and more tense about what was going to happen in the end. The fact that Lionel’s tics were getting worse made me feel like something really bad was going to happen since the tics do worsen in stressful situations.
    Konstantina Vanikiotis

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  9. In the first chapter of the book, Lionel’s verbal tics serve multiple purposes. Firstly, they immediately serve as an introduction to his character, as Lionel uses strange verbal tics and metaphors within his thoughts, providing an early idea of the story’s style. However, these tics also serve the purpose of humanizing Lionel towards the reader. Between his job as a detective and life as a member of an organized crime syndicate, Lionel would normally appear as an unsympathetic and callous character but, the inclusion of his verbal tics subverts this and also adds a rather humorous dimension to his character. In addition, the tics serve as an indication of his various character traits through his interactions with both Coney and Minna. Seeing how Frank trusts Lionel with his life and how Gilbert seems to respect him provides a different perspective of his character, showing that despite his shortcomings, Lionel remains a loyal and hard-working individual. While his verbal tics do often appear unnecessary and confusing, they serve an indispensable role at conveying the continuous changes in mood that occur in the story. When Lionel narrates ““I’mafrayedknot.” I felt myself nearly choke, not on unspoken words for once but on rising gorge, White Castle–flavored bile” (Lethem, 32), it helps spur the drastic change in mood that follows upon the reveal of Frank’s death. Lionel’s need to convince himself that he is not afraid serves as an indicator of how serious the situation has become and suggests that a much darker mood is to follow. Personally, I find Lionel’s tics reminiscent of an episode of South Park, where Cartman pretends to have Tourette’s in order to get away with swearing and eventually nobody seems to care, much like how everyone around Lionel has grown accustomed to his occasional tics.

    Jerry Huang

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  10. Lionel’s tics are significant throughout this chapter. Due to the fact that the story is told through Lionel himself, we get an insight of his thoughts and perceptions and how they largely differ from our own. He states that “Tourette’s is just one big lifetime of tag, really. The world (or [his] brain-same thing) appoints [him] it, again and again. So [he tags] back” (p.6). This explains the war like feeling that is going on back and forth within his mind. While those around him might not understand what is going on, he uses vivid explanations and diction which makes the reader feel for him on a different level. Although we can’t literally feel the pain, pressure or urge he experiences to let the words out, we do get to somewhat experience the struggle with him. Lionel has a close relationship with both Gilbert Coney and Frank Minna. As Lionel compulsively touches Frank’s left shoulder, both Frank and Coney have become accustomed to his tics and they don’t react in a negative way, but rather make an effort to make jokes out of it and accept it. Lionel’s verbal tics often occur when he gets excited, and become worse when nervous. “Get, get, get, GOT! Said [his] brain. Duck, duck, duck, GOOSE!”(p.8) demonstrates how there are several ideas and “irrelevant” thoughts flooding Lionel’s brain (which works at an imaginable pace at all times) and he must simply let them out. Most of these thoughts are “embedded” (p.10) as they are inevitably there to stay. Lionel’s tics remind me of a movie called “Rain Man” (1988) . Dustin Huffman plays Raymond, a character who has autism. Raymond is mathematically inclined and memorizing things comes naturally to him. Similarly to Lionel, his reactions are heightened most when he is put in a stressful or nervous situation, and they are both obsessive in their daily routines. Regardless of Lionel and Raymond’s differences, it is important to make them feel accepted and no different than the rest of us.

    Sara Vetere

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  11. After reading the first chapter of Motherless Brooklyn, I see how Lionel’s tics are of great importance. While he is communicating with his colleagues and has the urge for a verbal tic, his colleagues will make it humorous. Lionel explains how his tourettes affects his brain and how he interacts with others, but yet he still seems to portray this positive attitude.I feel like he is trying to show the readers that he is not only his syndrome but that he is also a
    person who is very smart and just wants to be heard. Near the beginning of the novel when Lionel screams “Eat me”(2). It is not the response we are expecting. I expected something a lot more dark and heartbreaking but, it quickly turns to humor. I would describe his verbal tics as mild because he can control himself at times. I would also say that they are clearly brought out more by stress.When I think of the movie Forest Gump. I feel like these two connect on some level. While the main character in this movie does not suffer from tourettes he suffers from the same mental battle that anyone , who has a mental disorder , would go through. Both of these characters show that even while suffering from a syndrome or a disorder that you are still capable of following your dreams and reaching the goals you set for yourself.

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  12. From the first page of the novel we are introduced to Lionel and his tics. His tics add a light humor to the story and make his character a lot more complex then is first shown to the reader. At any moment when one of Lionel ticks goes off the reader experiences what it is for a man with Tourette’s. “Its an itch at first. Inconsequential. But that itch is soon a torrent behind a staining dam. Noah’s flood. That itch is my whole life.” (2). We the reader are shown what Lionel is with and without his Tourette’s, when he is talking to him self he sounds more calm however when he speaks aloud we experience him with Tourette’s. I had a classmate in the past that had a form of Tourette’s and he reminds me of Lionel. My classmate was a very nice boy who everyone liked however at times during class he would become extremely disruptive, he would slam his hand on his desk or make funny noises. Knowing that this wasn’t his fault no one would make fun of him. Lionel describes what it is like when he gets a Tourette’s and I believe that he puts in a way that makes it very clear what he is feeling. Lionel seems like he is going to be a very enjoyable character to follow in this novel.

    Nadav Sarid

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  13. Lionel Essrog is the narrator and the main character of Jonathan Lethem’s novel
    ”Motherless Brooklyn”. From the first paragraph of the novel we, readers, can visualize what kind of character Lionel is. Moreover, from the beginning the narrator notifies us that he suffers from a neuropsychiatric disorder: “I’ve got Tourette’s” (p. 1), fact that prevents us from being judgmental towards his personality. In addition, this chapter makes us realize that Lionel’s tics worsen or better in certain situations. For example, when he eats they better: “Food really mellows me down.” (p. 2), and they worsen when Lionel is involved in stressful situations, as in the hospital scene.
    Also, from this chapter we can feel the struggle Lionel is having in controlling his tics: “Here is comes now, Cover your years. Build an ark. ” (p.2). His disorder prevents him from communicating with people because every person he meets does not take him seriously. I remember that when I started reading the book, and got to the scene in the hospital when he meets the doctor for the first time, I was impressed by the doctor’s reaction, mainly because till that point he was the only character that reacted normally to Lionel’s tics.
    As for Lionel’s verbal tics, to me, they sound poetically, meaning that once he hears a word he tries to find a word or more that rhyme with that word. When reading his combinations it might sound like rap or hip-hop music. This fact gives a funny tone to the novel; it is a way to distract our attention from the violence and murder on which the book is based.

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  14. In the Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem, the main character, Lionel, has the Tourette’s syndrome as for this reason he compulsively tics anytime and anywhere. In my opinion, his tics serve for two reasons which are finding clues or hints which saves troubles for his coworkers to swivel their necks and also his tics can be served as a sense of humor in the book. First, Lionel usually tics about everything he reads, and it helps his friends such as Gilbert or Minna Agency operatives on a stakeout to puzzle a case out really quickly. “Coney and the other Minna Agency operatives loved doing stakeouts with me, since my compulsiveness forced me to eyeball the site or mark in question every thirty seconds or so…” Secondly, his tics are also sometimes both vulgar and immature that gives out humor in the story, as an example, in the beginning of the story Lionel kept saying “Eat me”(2) or maybe when Lionel and Gilbert were interrupted by the Jamaican security he said “Dick!Weed!”(29), “Half a fag”(33), and many more. Therefore, it is enough to say that these tics are somewhat childish and funny in a way. For those reasons mentioned above, Lionel’s tics adds humor to the story. He also represents both as a clown and an asset in solving cases because he is used to tell jokes to Minna and he cries hints every time in a stakeout which helps to further investigate a case. Lionel’s tics are really original in a sense that I don’t usually hear or read words that he tics about, but still they are funny in my opinion.

    Hersi Nur

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  15. In some ways Lionel’s tics create humor within the story. In the first chapter the tone is very serious, from the stakeout scene to the death of Frank Minna the intensity is ever increasing, Lionel’s verbal tics provide some distraction from the actual horror that happens in this first chapter. Lionel’s physical tics also show his care for Frank, such as when he touches Frank’s shoulder repeatedly. His tics also serve to get the readers sympathy, the manner in which the book is written illustrates the helplessness of Lionel in regard to his tics and because of this the reader regardless of their knowledge of Tourette’s is captivated by the condition. Lionel’s relationships that are seen in the first chapter are very intimate. He trusts both Frank and Coney and is not worried about his tics with them. It is said that Lionel’s “tics and obsessions kept the other Minna Men amused, but also wore them out” (5). Both Frank and Coney are used to Lionel’s tics and are not bothered by them like most others.
    Lionel reminds me of a character named Oberon from a series called “The Iron Druid Chronicles” by Kevin Hearne, Oberon an Irish Wolfhound who is able to communicate with the last druid on the planet is very childish and centered on one thing at a time. Just like Lionel with his tics Oberon hears specific things and then gets stuck on them and they mutate into funny jokes and other comic situations.

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  16. In the first chapter, Lionel shows us how well he can think even though he has Tourette’s. His tics help us see what little phrases stick to him throughout the day. He also tends to mess up words and combine some to make up words. I think that all the little phrases he repeats all the time and words he creates is an indication of immaturity; considering that Coney and Minna don’t take him very seriously. They seem to just think that everything he says is either a joke or just really stupid. His tics make him seem a little crazy and unstable rather than the normal person he is. His tics don’t set a very serious tone to the story because of all the random phrases and words being spit out in the middle of a serious time period. These random outbursts of phrases make the story a little confusing. His verbal tics seem to come out more when he is stressed or panicked in the situation he is in. the less stressed the less verbal tics get blurted out. For example, while he was eating, he was very calm and rarely had any outbursts compared to when he was chasing Minna in the car his outbursts were very frequent. Lionel reminds me off Lennie from ‘Of Mice and Men’ because they both seem to have childlike features. They both aren’t taken seriously because of their conditions but they always mean well.

    Kayla Di Staulo

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  17. In this first chapter, we can see how Lionel’s tics makes the readers more involve in the novel. As we know, Lionel suffers from Tourette, but his illness makes the novel more insteresting or again it brings humor. He is always looking strangely because of his illness but he himself knows what to expect. I find a perfect quote where we can see how Lionel knows how people see him ”Some stared, others looked away, bored. I’d been identified by the crowd as some sort of patient: spirit or animal possession, verbal epileptic seizure, whatever. I would presumably be given drugs and sent home.”(31) I would describe Lionel’s verbal tics as a tic not always constant because at some point it seems that his not suffers of Tourette’s syndrome. That makes Lionel’s more has a ‘normal ‘ person. I don’t really know a person who has the same tics as Lionel but I can relate it to David Beckham a professional soccer player who also suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. It’s two persons that lives with this syndrome so every day meet people who are disrespectful towards them as if they know this syndrome.

    Alex Mukwende

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    1. Try to contextualize your citations more in future assignments. You’re not talking specifically enough about any of the scenes in the novel.

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  18. Giuseppe Gallo
    1534249
    Mr. Jeff Gandell
    Underdogs, Outcasts and Loners
    September 1st, 2015

    Reading Response #1
    Lionel’s tics serve an important role in this chapter. We get to learn a bit more about Lionel through his tics. His usual tic is “eat me”. We learn how Lionel and his coworkers use his tics to their advantage. Another tic that Lionel has is that he rhymes words that he has to remember. An example of this can be when Frank Minna, his boss, told orders to him. To lock it in his brain, Lionel said, “Get, get, get, GOT! … Duck, duck, duck, GOOSE!” (8). His tics give him the advantage to remember easier. Another thing about his relations with the other characters is that the other characters sort of have fun at the expense of his Tourette’s. The first time that Lionel had his tic Gilbert replied to him with “Maufishful” (2), which I felt was him kind of making fun of him. Lionel put together “Mouth is full” (2) which is Gilbert replying to eat me. Mean but funny.
    Lionel Essrog reminds me a bit of Jim Parsons’ character in the show The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper. Although Sheldon doesn’t have tourrettes syndrome like Lionel, they both share a trait that made me think of each other as soon I read it. Sheldon Cooper knocks on his neighbors’ door three times and repeats her name every time. He has a particular way to do everything. When Lionel was obsessed with the number six in one scene it reminded me of him, “Six was a lucky number tonight, six burgers, six forty five. So six slaps” (5). I felt like I was reading something about Sheldon in that very moment.

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    1. Good. Try to look more in depth at a couple of specific moments from assigned readings. You don’t need all that stuff in upper left hand corner. Your name is sufficient.

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  19. In this chapter, we notice that Lionel’s tics can be quite innapropriate and in some way amusing for some. This contributes to the tone of the books, his character as well as with his relationship with others. First of all, the book has a dark tone to the story, however his tics adds humour and lightens up the mood. For example, when Lionel and his partner were following the K-car, he felt nervous making him shout “Eat me Mister Dick-Weed”. Even in serious situations, his tics finds a way to make the story less dark by adding a bit of comedy. Also, his tics are part of his character because they usually go off when he is feeling anxious or in other particular situations such as telling a punch line of a joke. Without his tics, Lionel would just seem like a serious and intimidating person that works for a detective agency. It adds colour to his personnality and reminds me of children at times which makes his character less serious then he ought to be. His condition also creates a special bond between his partner and Minna, because no one else understands him like they do. In a way, they are used to it, therefore they do not see it as anything else but normal. They even make some harmless jokes out of it as well. We can see that Gilbert is very patient and understanding with his tics which creates a good relationship between them. For instance, Gilbert defended Lionel by telling the guard to “lay off” when Lionel was pressured to stop his tics. To conclude, his tics removes some of the darkness in the violence and crime of the story by adding a comedic tone as well as allowing him to buildstrong relationships with his partners.

    Jemirille Bajala-Tuazon

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  20. From the beginning of the chapter , the reader’s attention is immediately dragged into Lionel’s special features that characterize him , his tics . The detective’s Tourette’s syndrome seems to add even more depth, dimension and complexity to the story and to his character . Indeed , the involuntary tics that he has makes him feel like he’s different and unique in his own way despite other’s opinion or misguided thoughts about him. But on the contrary , his peculiar uncontrolled actions make the reader empathizes and feels the emotions of the protagonist. Which help us to not only understand his mental state but also to feel like we are in his “boots’’. Even though his tics are unintentional, it allows the reader to be guided by the sea of his ideas , and carried away by the wave’s movement of his thoughts through the eyes and perspective of an overly perfectionist detective. Hence , the reader is plunged into the dark world of crimes and gives a glimpse of his daily life and a broad view of his instantaneous actions and way of thinking. Also , his tics allow to create an idiosyncratic atmosphere and a humoristic touch to the tone of the story and has forge a special relationship with his coworkers .For instance , we can feel the complicity between Codey , Gilbert and Lionel Essrog when they were eating in the parking lot .

    “ We’d purchased a bag of twelve, and not only did Coney know I had to have my six. also knew he was pleasing me, tickling my Touretter’s obsessive compulsive instincts, by matching my number with his own. Gilbert Coney was a big lug with a heart of gold, guess. Or maybe he was just trainable. My tics and obsessions kept the other Minna Men amused, but also wore them out, made them weirdly compliant and complicit. “(Motherless Brooklyn ,Jonathan Lethem , p 4-5)

    Thus , it proves that his uncontrolled verbal outburst isn’t an “ handicap“ to him , he can still perform well and elucidate countless of mysterious crimes . It’s quite the opposite , his inability to control himself to emit similar sounds or to scrutinize his surroundings and environment to seek for perfection actually help to reduce tensions which sometimes can change the overall atmosphere or mood .
    After reading the first chapter , Lionel reminded me of Sam in “ Jerk , California by Jonathan Friesen “.Similarly , despite the protagonist’s Tourette syndrome he tried as best as he could to live with a burden that he carries , his tics .Both characters try to surpass their differences and go forward in life .

    Leila Bencherif

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  21. In the following novel, I believe that Lionel’s tics is created to add a humoristic tone to the story. It creates a large contrast between the plot and the tone of the story. The effect of his Tourette syndrome makes his relationship with others somewhat more cheerful and pleasant. He is known to be a jokester since he was a young child. This is shown when Lionel explains that ” Minna and I had been in a joke-telling contest since I was thirteen years old, primarily because he liked to see me try to get through without ticking” (25). Due to his verbal handicap, the main character can be perceived from the outside as an incoherent and foolish man. Therefore, in this chapter, it can be seen in multiple scenes that he is able to express his inner thoughts very clearly. I would describe Essrog’s tic as amusing because it always appears at the moment when the reader least expect it. In my opinion, his verbal tics reminds me of the little minions in the movie Despicable me when they would shout the word “Banana” out of the blue during the entire movie.

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  22. In the novel of Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn, Lionel Essrog’s, the narrator, tics play a major role in the plot of the story. First of all, Lionel Essrog suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. Individuals affected by this disease resent an urge to utter something over and over again or to repeat involuntary movement. In the case of Lionel, he has an unusual urge to sputter “Eat me” in the middle of some sentences. Also, Lionel expresses other sort of redundant behaviours. For instance, in the middle of the chapter, we see that Lionel is obsessed with the number six. Perhaps, this may consist of an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This reminds me of the famous actor Howie Mandel who suffers from the same syndrome, but he expresses in a different way. Another tic that Lionel suffers from involves patting the shoulder of Frank at a frequent rate. Personally, as a reader, I feel pity for Lionel. However, I feel that his tics give the story a little touch of humour. I laughed often while I was reading the first chapter of this novel. Some scenes are meant to be sad and serious, but with the uncontrollable tics that Lionel utters it makes the situation more humoristic. This is what makes this book interesting. Previous detective books that I read had a dark and serious tone. I think that a bit of humour makes detective books more pleasant. Also, because he suffers of Tourette’s, the other character such as Frank Minna and Gilbert Coney make a joke out of him. It seems like Frank Minna has a sarcastic tone when he is talking with Lionel. Nevertheless, Lionel serves a major role in this case. Due to his disability, Lionel has the ability “eyeball the site or mark in question every thirty seconds or so, thereby saving them the trouble of swiveling their necks” (p.4). Also, he has a talent of being attentive to certain key words, which is useful for Minna’s case.

    Ilyas Mohamed

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    1. Good response. Nice to highlight the advantage Tourette’s gives Lionel. Would have been nice to see an example of humour. In future assignments, always try to use an example.

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  23. In the first chapter of Motherless Brooklyn Lionel’s tics serve multiple purposes. They are used not only to add a slight comedic feeling to the book but also used as a way to express the emotions of the situation. His tics add certain emotions to the reader that if not present in the novel, the reader would not be able to fully understand what Lionel is feeling at the moment. For example, in the first chapter when Lionel was confronted by the doorman who was telling him his friend wanted to see him, he tried to ignore him and said ““I think you’ve got the wrong guy,” I said to the doorman. “Dickweed!” I winced, waved him off, tried to focus on the voices coming over the headphones.” (Lethen 12). Lionel’s verbal tics are caused mostly due to stress and being nervous. Therefore, they are used as a way for him to empty out this uncomfortable feeling building up inside him. If he is in a situation that brings upon these emotions, he tries to concentrate on something to help reduce his tics. This is demonstrated when he is at the hospital waiting room with his partner. “My tourette’s brain had shackled itself to the string joke… looking for the escape hatch I begin counting ceiling tiles and beating a rhythm on my knees as I counted.” (Lethen 32). Lionel’s tics remind me of several different characters like Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye or Lennie from of Mice and Men. I do however believe that Lionel resembles Forrest Gump more than the other characters. Just as Forrest Gump, Lionel is put through difficult tasks throughout his life but just accepts them and moves on. For example, Forrest Gump had a very low IQ as well as problems with his spine causing him to be “different” from others but he never gets discouraged and always keeps his chin up. Lionel’s tics have been with him for a large portion of his life and he has learned to accept them and live with it. In my opinion, the tics actually help him be a better detective.

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    1. Great response. I especially like how you say his tics reveals his inner thoughts that he has trouble expressing. Very interesting.

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  24. Throughout this chapter we see Lionel’s tics and the situations he is in when they come out and what he says. Lionel’s tics were served to show how his turrets syndrome can cause conflicts in dangerous situations or in bad timings. His tics also showed that they can happen at any time and catch on to any word on phrase. The tics that Lionel suffers from adds laughter but also confusion into the tone of the story because at random periods he says random words over and over and can make me forget what was he talking about before. As a character the tics showed that he gets annoyed of the tics and wishes he didn’t have them because they can come and go anytime. His verbal tics are words that someone said or something he heard nearby and just started to repeat them or create a song or phrase with it. The tics remind me of the movie Forrest Gump and how had problems to. Forrest was mentally ill and therefore couldn’t do what he liked most and also people would laugh at him and make fun of him. His tics also remind me of rap songs because in one part of the chapter he starts saying all kinds of phrases that sounded like a song. “Eyes open, eyes one the road, ears glued to the radio—“(Lethem 14).

    Alex Vincelli

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    1. Be more specific in future responses. Talk about a couple of scenes in more precise detail in order to show that you’ve done the assigned reading.

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  25. Lionel’s verbal tics and Tourettic tangents play with the tone of the first chapter by contrasting humor and darkness. The series of events within the first chapter are fairly grim in nature, but having a first person view of them changes the overall tone. Not only does Lionel have to deal with chasing dangerous criminals, but he has to control his Tourette’s: “As when an airplane lands shakily, and all on board concentrate every gram of their will to stabilize the craft, the task of imagining I controlled things I didn’t (in this case wheel, traffic, Coney, gravity, friction, etc.), imagining it with every fiber of my being—that was engagement enough for me at the moment. My Tourette’s was overwhelmed” (Lethem 17). On the other hand, his uncontrollable verbal outbursts add a certain comedic sense to the situation regardless its dark nature. For instance, when character Frank Minna is being driven to the hospital after being stabbed several times, his only request was to hear Lionel tell a joke knowing that he could not without the verbal outbursts: “Minna and I had been in a joke-telling contest since I was thirteen years old, primarily because he liked to see me try to get through without ticcing. It was rare that I could” (25). This quotation shows the true darkness of the chapter and the book in general, displaying Tourette’s as something pleasant and amusing in a time of near fatality. Additionally, Lionel’s verbal tics are more on the improper side supporting the contrast between humor and darkness: “Eat shit, Bailey!” (11). Although laughing at Tourettic outbursts is wrong, one sometimes cannot stop themselves from doing so while reading the chapter. In conclusion, Lionel’s verbal tics have a very complex relationship with the chapter and the tone providing the reader a spot right between comedy and darkness.

    Lucas Tremblay-Moll

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  26. Lionel Essrog, the protagonist of the novel “Motherless Brooklyn” by Jonathan Lethem, is immediately set apart from the rest of the main characters. His Tourette’s sets the tone for the novel; they are a precursor into understanding Lionel’s personality and the challenges he must overcome. Firstly, Lionel’s colleagues view his antics as a source of amusement, and although they make not so subtle jabs (i.e., calling him a “fucking freakball”), he never seems to take offense (22). This passiveness toward his own condition indicates that he has come to terms with the illness and that he does not let it steer his emotions. Disengagement with emotions is characteristic of the hardboiled hero. Interestingly, his Tourette’s causes Lionel to become more alert, a definite investigative advantage. In many ways, his tics make his investigative style stand out from the others, framing his as the protagonist of the novel. In addition, his condition has taught him to fully devote his mental awareness to his senses. This is demonstrated when he hears the click of the glove compartment and immediately develops the compulsion to repeat the sound.

    Lionel’s indifference toward his own condition is also largely shaped by how he is viewed in the public eye. While in the hospital waiting room, he openly calls himself a “Free Human Freakshow” and states that “[he’d] been identified by the crowd as some sort of patient… [he] wasn’t damaged or ailing enough to be interesting here, only distracting, and slightly reprehensible in a way that made them feel [other patients] better about their own disorders…” (31). Lionel recognizes that his condition is so exceptional that others can use it to justify their own comfort. He has simply come to accept that his uncontrollable outbursts affect the way others perceive him. Lionel’s brutal honesty toward the situation illustrates how Tourette’s has shaped not only his personality, but his outlook on life.

    Vanessa Correia

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  27. In the first chapter of “Motherless Brooklyn”, Lionel’s tics serve to add some humor to the story. In fact, I would say that the tone of this chapter is humorous even though the events that are happening in it are rather serious. This makes the story seem less “dark” than it actually is. Lionel’s tics also make him seem as a comedic character even though his condition is considered to be serious. For that reason, I think the reader’s attention shifts towards him and his Tourette’s, rather than the crime scene itself. His verbal tics are distracting and vulgar at times (e.g. He constantly repeats words like “Eat me” and “Dickweed”). They can be compared to a sneeze that is just waiting to come out. I think his outbursts are ways of him releasing his stress and anxiety. They also reveal the kind of creative character he actually is. For example, when Minna said to him, “You get Gilbert, get back in the car, get ready to follow. You got it?”, in his mind, he thought, “Get, get, get, GOT!”, and then he thought of, “Duck, duck, duck, GOOSE!” (Lethem 8) Therefore, Lionel’s tics allow him to make quick links between words that are similar in sound, almost like a poet would. He thinks of things that a normal person would probably not. I would say that his relationship with the other characters such as Frank and Gilbert is similar to those of brothers’. For instance, when Albert, the security guard, told Lionel to get out because of his tics, Gilbert stepped up and said, “He’s gotta condition […] So lay off.” (Lethem 32) This shows that Gilbert cares for him and protects him like a big brother would. In this case, I think that Lionel’s tics make him seem like a vulnerable character that can be possibly bullied at times because of his condition. Lionel and his verbal tics remind me of Curly from “The Three Stooges”, mainly because I find that he’s a funny character just like Curly. He can’t help his tics as Curly can’t help himself from being foolish. They both have something about themselves that they can’t really take control of.

    Claudia Keurdjekian

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    1. This is a first-rate response. I love how you highlight Lionel’s artistic nature, as well as the comparison to Curly. There’s quite a bit of slapstick in this novel. Terrific work.

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  28. Lionel Esssrog’s illness, Tourette’s syndrome, and the tics that accompany it are a fundamental component of Jonathan Lethem’s “Motherless Brooklyn.” Right off the bat, our protagonist discloses that this is the condition he is in. He tries to describe how this looks and sounds like. He tells us that suffering from this syndrome makes him “a carnival barker, an auctioneer, a downtown performance artist, a speaker in tongues, a senator drunk on filibuster (1).” The fact that he communicates this just before he tells his story serves as a “signpost” that point to his character as an underdog.

    I believe that these tics highlight the orphan’s character as an outcast as well. His sudden and compulsive tics distinguish him from the other characters in the story. They almost, if they do not already, represent him. We see that Lionel is practically driven by the disorder wherever it wants to, and we see that these tics are determinants of the various states he is in. For instance, when he is on for a task, “the concentration [keeps him] tic-free (15).” On the other hand, when he is worried, his tics are more frequent. We see this as he attempts to tell Minna, a father figure to him, a joke to keep him from dying (26-27). We might even say then that “Tourette’s” is one of his main characteristics.

    I would describe Lionel’s tics the way he does. “They mean no harm (1).” Although the tics can be loud and provocative to a first-time recipient, they do not harm anyone. In fact, it restores peace in his inner being. They relieve him from anxieties and fears and at the same time represent the intensity of his inner emotions.

    Mikaela Cuaycong

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  29. In the first chapter of “Motherless Brooklyn”, Lionel Essrog’s tics help us get to know him better. Whenever Lionel expresses a tic or develops a sense of getting one, he goes through his thought process with the reader, whether it is thinking about the situation at hand or experiencing emotions. He is a very mindful character. Lionel gives the readers a deeper understanding of how Tourette’s Syndrome can affect a person’s career and relationships. In the book, Lionel contrast’s how Coney and other Minna Men deal with his tics. He says: “We’d purchased a bag of twelve and not only did Coney know I had to have my six, he also knew he was pleasing me tickling my Touretter’s obsessive-compulsive instincts […]. Gilbert Coney was a big lug with a heart of gold […]. My tics and obsessions kept the other Minna Men amused, but also wore them out. (Lethem, 5) This demonstrates that Lionel is very much aware of the impact he has on others. He also notes that his tics (the obsessive-compulsive behaviors) are a strength during stake-outs because he is constantly on the lookout, which reduces his partners straining their necks (Lethem 4). Nonetheless, Lionel and his tics make the tone of the story more amusing. His verbal comebacks are a random and tad vulgar but that is what lightens the mood. Lionel is the first character with Tourette’s that I have encountered; therefore I do not have much to compare him to. It would be interesting to see how Lionel deals with his tics when faced with various situations.

    Melvin Buquerente

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  30. In this chapter of “Motherless Brooklyn,” Lionel’s tics create a humorous tone in a serious circumstance as being a detective. Lionel seems to accept his tourette syndrome by saying “food really mellows me out” and even relates himself to a cartoon character “Mumbles” (2, 1). The other Minna Men agents are amused by Lionel’s tic, but as, Lionel himself can’t control it, the humour wears out and can get tiresome. Lionel and Gilbert Coney have a unique relationship that is quite admirable. Gilbert would coordinate Lionel’s Tourrette’s compulsive instincts knowingly to please Lionel, as the narrator, Lionel, mentions “Gilbert Coney was a big lug with a heart of gold” (5). I would describe Lionel’s verbal tics as something you would hear an immature kid saying, not on purpose just by accident because the kid doesn’t know better. However, instead of seeing the mother smack her child’s mouth, you witness Lionel jaw moving and his heart racing from all the stress into another one of his tics. Lionel reminds me of Lennie in the book “Of Mice and Men,” he had a mental disability and George was always there to pick up the pieces and support him, same as Gilbert with Lionel.

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  31. After reading the first chapter of the book, we can see that Lionel is unusual person. Readers understand this after reading the fourth sentence: “I’ve got Tourette’s” (p.1). This makes him unusual and somewhat unique as only 1% of the population has it. The tics that are produce by the Tourette are a big part of this chapter. It shows the reader the type of language and form that the main character will be using on the story. Language like “eat shit, Bailey”(11) or “Eat me Mister Dicky-weed!”(15). This type of language gives us a good sense of how Lionel interacts with the other characters in a stress free environment and in a stress environment, as his job is always full of stress.
    Later on we see that he has a lot of tics and this makes the reader feel that he is also part of the story as the tone of the story become friendlier. The general tone of the story still is mysterious but his verbal tics add some feelings to the story. His friends trying to make fun of his tics but this add a friendlier mood to the story and make their relationship stronger. This tics that he have are a natural reaction to what is going on around him.

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  32. After reading the first chapter of the book, we can see that Lionel is unusual person. Readers understand this after reading the fourth sentence: “I’ve got Tourette’s” (p.1). This makes him unusual and somewhat unique as only 1% of the population has it. The tics that are produce by the Tourette are a big part of this chapter. It shows the reader the type of language and form that the main character will be using on the story. Language like “eat shit, Bailey”(11) or “Eat me Mister Dicky-weed!”(15). This type of language gives us a good sense of how Lionel interacts with the other characters in a stress free environment and in a stress environment, as his job is always full of stress.
    Later on we see that he has a lot of tics and this makes the reader feel that he is also part of the story as the tone of the story become friendlier. The general tone of the story still is mysterious but his verbal tics add some feelings to the story. His friends trying to make fun of his tics but this add a friendlier mood to the story and make their relationship stronger. This tics that he have are a natural reaction to what is going on around him.

    Karyna Statko

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  33. Lionel Essrog is the main character of the novel, Motherless Brooklyn. The story is narrated through the eyes and mind of Lionel who suffers from Tourette’s syndrome. Throughout the first chapter we start to understand the form of Tourette’s he is affected by. Lionel’s tics provide the reader with a better understanding of his attitude and personality. We can see that the tics are something he struggles with and can be uncontrollable at times. Lionel is a detective; he has to keep a professional image on the job. His colleagues seem to be understanding of the verbal tics because they usually transform it into humor. If Lionel were to have these tics with someone who did not understand what he was going through, they would think he’s is plain crazy. “Then an awesome tic wrenched its way out of my chest: Eat me Mister Dicky-weed!” (15). This passage was from when Lionel is on the job and his coworkers just play off his uncontrollably foul language. We also see in the chapter the repetition of the tic “Eat me!” which is ironically funny because we learn that Lionel is most sane and tic free when he is eating. Lionel Essrog reminds me of a character named Carrey from the TV series, Homeland. Carrey is a case officer who works for the US government but she is bipolar. She struggles at times to keep focused on her work and has verbal outbreaks similar to those Lionel faces when confronted with lots of stress. They both show positive attitudes towards not letting their disabilities have the better of them, which is quite inspiring.

    Andrew Augoustis

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  34. The novel begins with a self-portrait of its’ protagonist, Lionel Essrog. “Context is everything. [..] a speaker in tongues, a senator drunk on filibuster” (Lethem 1). Lionel reveals he has Tourette’s. Then, throughout the chapter we are able to read the actual thoughts Lionel forms in his head, but he is unable to get those exact sentences out of his mouth. Instead, his tics creep in his sentences. Whenever his tics manifest, it seems that they are either here to tone down the tense situation; they are comical because they are usually swear words or a joke. “WEDONTSERVESTRING!” I was in trouble now. […] If I didn’t find a way out I might download the whole joke one grunted or shrieked syllables after another.” (Lethem 32)

    Lionel seems to be calm most of the time, but whenever he gets nervous, the frequency of his tics increase. His tics make his character seem helpless at times. We can also see the contrast of reaction from different characters. While Minna and Conney seem to be used and fine with his tics, the strangers at the hospital judge him as if he were a “Free Human Freakshow” (Lethem 32). If Lionel’s verbal tics were to be described, they would be indecent. Nonetheless, overall, I find Lionel and his tics helpless yet humorous.

    Lissom Huang

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  35. From the very first page the reader knows he or she is about to get very deep into Lionel Essrog’s world. At first, the tone of the chapter is set as a dark and quite serious one. Lionel describes his uncontrollable words as ‘’ghosts’’ (Lethem, 1) and as ‘’noise’’ (1), but peaceful noises. When Lionel introduces himself he describes his own name as the “original verbal taffy” which left me feeling sad especially since my great-grandmother suffered from a less several form of Tourette’s. She lives in Europe, but I could still hear frustration from her voice on the phone to this day. Although Tourette’s is no joke to me, it seems that Frank and Lionel share a close and comical relationship. Lionel seems accepting of his syndrome and comfortable joking with Frank about it. Coney even calls him a ‘’fucking freakball’’ (22), they must share a close relationship. This lightens the mood of the novel. Nonetheless, I am expecting some more dark and deep thoughts from Lionel’s disorder itself. Not only does Lionel state that his tics are worsened when he is under stress, but he proves it as well when he screams ‘’Eat shit, Bailey!” (11) as he was overhearing a conversation. I realized that a lot of his tics are curses and shouting, which could portray Lionel as an aggressive character if one was not aware of his disorder. This character reminds me of the main character in the movie Rain Man, who is actually autistic. This character did not have Tourette’s but there were certain words he would constantly repeat to himself with no control.

    Alexa Nunziato

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    1. Good response. Always be sure to explain yourself as clearly as possible. For example, it’s not clear why “original verbal taffy,” specifically, reminded you of your grandmother.

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  36. Early on in the first chapter of the novel, the author informs us of the condition from which the main character suffers. The many tics and uncontrollable speech of Lionel are quite apparent within the first few pages of the book, which really sets the novel. It allows us to understand that the story of this character will be greatly influenced by his circumstance. Although Tourette’s is no laughing matter, I felt amused while reading Lionel’s replies and actions, which tells us a lot about the tone of this novel: “”Afrayedknot!” I repeated obligingly, then added, “Eatmestringjoke!” Albert glared, unsure what he’d been called, or how badly to be insulted” (33). In this case, I would say that the first chapter significantly influences our outtake on the novel in just a few pages; telling us that the story is dark in essence, but told in a possibly amusing and enjoyable approach. Secondly, I found that his tics and different methods of acting strongly influence his relations with his coworkers. He seems to have found people that accept his ways and seems also to have accepted it himself. We feel that his coworkers, even his boss, seem to have just gotten used to Lionel’s tics. Another important thing shown through this chapter is the fact that there seems to be a correlation between Lionel’s eating habits and his tics; they seem to be controlled only when consuming food. Lionel does not remind me of any character in either book or movie. I find that he is a very unique character and that in his oddness he is not as misunderstood as I would have expected.

    Savana Di Quinzio (we spoke in class, you said it was fine for me to post it later today)

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  37. In the first chapter of Motherless Brooklyn Lionel’s tics serve multiple purposes. They are used not only to add a slight comedic feeling to the book but also used as a way to express the emotions of the situation. His tics add certain emotions to the reader that if not present in the novel, the reader would not be able to fully understand what Lionel is feeling at the moment. For example, in the first chapter when Lionel was confronted by the doorman who was telling him his friend wanted to see him, he tried to ignore him and said ““I think you’ve got the wrong guy,” I said to the doorman. “Dickweed!” I winced, waved him off, tried to focus on the voices coming over the headphones.” (Lethen 12). Lionel’s verbal tics are caused mostly due to stress and being nervous. Therefore, they are used as a way for him to empty out this uncomfortable feeling building up inside him. If he is in a situation that brings upon these emotions, he tries to concentrate on something to help reduce his tics. This is demonstrated when he is at the hospital waiting room with his partner. “My Tourette’s brain had shackled itself to the string joke… looking for the escape hatch I begin counting ceiling tiles and beating a rhythm on my knees as I counted.” (Lethen 32). Lionel’s tics remind me of several different characters like Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye or Lennie from of Mice and Men. I do however believe that Lionel resembles Forrest Gump more than the other characters. Just as Forrest Gump, Lionel is put through difficult tasks throughout his life but just accepts them and moves on. For example, Forrest Gump had a very low IQ as well as problems with his spine causing him to be “different” from others but he never gets discouraged and always looks forward in life. Lionel’s tics have been with him for a large portion of his life and he has learned to accept them and live with it. In my opinion, the tics actually help him be a better detective.

    Bibliography
    Lethem, Jonathan. “Walks Into.” Motherless Brooklyn. New York: Doubleday, 1999. 1-35. Print.

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  38. Lionel’s verbal tics add an interesting and unique tone to the detective story. Besides his tics often being vulgar and somewhat humerus, they vary in intensity as the character becomes stressed or nervous. These quirks mixed with events that transpire breaks a barrier in the detective genre. The common hardboiled protagonist is painted as a cool, smooth talker, something that Lionel can’t help no being in his speech. His fellow partners react to his condition differently. The doctor for example seems to understand the characters compulsions and lets Lionel express them freely. In contrast to that, Coney reacts to this tics as nusences and likes to poke at his tourettes when insulting him. Whilst Lionel accepts the facts that he has his compulsions and he cannot fully control them, he shows signs of an internal stuggle especially when being confronted or when his tics would be very inconvenient to the situation. He is often resisting the urge to burst for example when they are in the hospital waiting for Minna and they are attempting to intimidate Albert, he explains his feeling when trying not to burst; “My Tourette’s brain had shackled itself to the string joke like an ecological terrorist to s tree-crushing bulldozer… [While] looking for the escape hatch I begin counting ceiling tiles and beating a rhythm on my knees as I counted.” (Lethem, pg.32)

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