Prompt for RWJ, Prompt 306

As a literature major I’d read a novel and go, ah, there’s the metaphor of breaking in and getting out. Indeed the protagonist, it occurred to me, keeps doing that and it’s like I imagine the novelist, in this case Iris Murdoch, is staging it as a central trope. The trope of imprisonment. At the beginning he is being thrown out of an apartment (read, “forced to vacate”). Then he is being literally imprisoned in another apartment he agreed to house-sit. Later he tries to enter the apartment and ends up at the fire escape eavesdropping before making a dramatic getaway when the neighbors called the police. He tries and succeeds in entering the apartment of a man whom he says this novel is about. He also tries and succeeds in gaining entry to the man’s film set. And later had to escape it dramatically. Towards the end he tries and succeeds in gaining entry to a hospital at night, and succeeds in getting away with that man in tow. There is also a dream-like quality because he seems to summon up whoever he wishes to meet, or appears at a pub at the exact time a telegram is being delivered to him. I mean, coincidences. The object of his pursuit, a lady called Anna, is really in love in with the man he says the novel is about. That’s the final denouement. So you know, the theme of the novel is the illusions that we have, that imprison us. Think about it. All the great novels (and lesser known ones) have this theme. Great Expectations. Pride and Prejudice. The Catcher In The Rye. You name it. At the end the hero/heroine matures. When this happens the world feels unreal.

Here’s a quote from the novel I was talking about, Under The Net.

“All work and all love, the search for wealth and fame, the search for truth, life itself, are made up of moments which pass and become nothing. Yet through this shaft of nothings we drive onward with that miraculous vitality that creates our precarious habitations in the past and the future. So we live; a spirit that broods and hovers over the continual death of time, the lost meaning, the unrecaptured moment, the unremembered face, until the final chop chop that ends all our moments and plunges that spirit back into the void from which it came.”

Poignant right?

So yea, write about illusions. Or perhaps not even that way, but how the ordinary gets transmogrified when we become truly conscious.


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