Task One: Bio-Poem warm up exercise
Transient, eccentric, foreigner, joke-machine
Friend of obsession
Lover of compulsion
Who feels nothing, something, everything
Who needs silence, screams, passion
Who fears docility
Who would like to just. stop. thinking.
Resident of his own solitude
Task Two: Close reading of a scene
I will most likely explore theme in my project (but I may also want to explore how the rich metaphors can be conveyed in film).
p 43-44 Scene: Lionel is on the bus. There is another man with Tourette’s on the bus, whose verbal tics annoy the other passengers at first. Lionel observes the passengers’ reactions. Within seconds, they make a conscious attempt at ignoring the source of annoyance, and eventually settle back into their own bubble, forgetting the events as they step off the bus.
This scene is interesting because Lionel gets to see how others react to Tourette’s, when he is not the source of it. He is merely a quiet spectator. All the same, he does identify with the man. He describes the resulting emotion as a sense of “invisibility”. In this sense, it is ironic that a loud outbursts can lead other people to turn a deaf ear. Lionel simultaneously feels like he gathers public interest and public disdain, avoidance. This fits in with the theme of isolation as an individual attempts to assert their place in the world. Lionel is in a position of social purgatory. I think this is worse that out-rightly not fitting in. Neither side of society will accept him. I believe Lionel has forged his identity based on this.
“Consensual reality is both fragile and elastic, and it heals like the skin of a bubble.The belching man ruptured it so quickly and completely that I could watch the wound instantly heal” (44). Ordinary people cannot be fazed by occurrences such as these because the bustle of daily life is already difficult as it stands. Lionel, instead, lives out his reality in a state of constant rupture, as his OCD rarely allows for tranquility.
Task Three: Making connections (contrast)
p. 222 Scene: Lionel being intimate with Kimmery in her apartment. Kimmery reassures Lionel that she does not mind his tics, and appreciates that he expresses himself. She encourages him not to be silent, but to be himself.
p. 293 & 300 Scene: Lionel is standing by the ocean in Maine, with Julia. During this encounter, he has difficulty controlling his tics. Julia, unlike Kimmery, overtly expresses disgust. Instead of accepting him for who he is, she takes advantage of his vulnerability, belittles him, tells him that “the reason [he] was useful to [Frank] was because [he] was so crazy everyone thought [he] was stupid” (300). (Horribly inserted quote, sorry). This serves as a backhanded compliment. She acknowledges that he is much more intelligent than others give him credit for. These two scenes also allow us to see the differences in interactions that Lionel has with the only two women in the novel.