Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Lost in A Maze of Death
Chapters 5 - 10 [minor spoilers ahead]
Something's rotten in the state of Delmak-0! Colonists are dropping like flies, inscriptions on buildings are changing, tiny model buildings (made on Earth) are shooting at people! It's crazy. What can I say? I have some theories about what's happening, but they're not very good.
Here are some things I'm paying attention to:
Numerous references to the egocentricity of the group. This is borne out not just by the doctor's psychological profiling before Ted and Morely arrive, but by the anguished inner dialog of the characters:
""I don't agree," Frazer said. "My preliminary testing indicates that by and large this is an inherently ego-oriented group. As a whole, Morley, they show what appears to be an innate tendency to avoid responsibility. It's hard for me to see why some of them were chosen.""
"Why aren't I in there? [Morely] asked himself. Functioning as part of the group. But the group didn't function as a group anyhow; it was always a finite number of self-oriented individuals squalling with one another. With such a bunch he felt as if he had no roots, no common source."
I think this repeated theme is significant -- especially in light of the building's inscription which seems to each person to indicate that they alone should enter. Anyone else entering the building would be killed, defeated, etc.
Please note, that although it has nothing to do with the story (so far at least) the cover of this DAW edition is awesome!
As I would say to my class, "Let's explore some of the imagery." In the comments, talk about what images are jumping out at you, what interpretations you've developed, details you think are relevant etc.. I'll get you started: How about Betty Jo Berm's suicide/murder by malaise?:
"The water will help, she said to herself. Because in water you no longer have to support your heavy body; you are not lifted into greater _mekkis_ but you do not care; the water erases everything. You are not heavy; you are not light. You are not even there.
I can't go on dragging my heavy body everywhere, she said to herself. The weight is too much. I cannot endure being pulled down any longer; I have to be free."
Reminds me of Ludwig Binswanger. Read this, then you'll know:
“Loneliness is an unhappy compound of having lost one's point of reference, of suffering the fate of individual and collective discontinuity and of living through or dying from a crisis of identity to the point of alienation of one's self.”
REMEMBER NO SPOILERS! (I've read through chapter 10)