Tuesday, March 10, 2009


See, I'm down with writing essays. I can totally do structure and stuff and whomp out a good page in like fifteen minutes. But sometimes that's all I can write without feeling like I'm repeating myself. Here is a prewrite (errors included) of a recent essay. Before quotes and whatnot are applied.

Packer’s intentions in The Ant Of The Self is to emphasize the isolation Spurgeon feels from the world around him. She does this through the character of Spurgeon in the way he approaches the situations with his father, the million man march and the small child he sees at the end of the novel.
Without fail, Spurgeon assumes the worst of his father, from his assumption that his father would never pay him back, to the assumption that he had mugged someone for money at the end of the novel. Though these assumptions are rarely contradicted, they serve to provide a picture of the way Spurgeon views his father. Indeed, he felt just as isolated from his mother, as it was “clear to him that the only man of this house was Jesus.” He spent a great deal of time focusing on the differences between himself and his father, looking to distance himself intentionally from the undesirable aspects of his father.
Later at the million man march Spurgeon typifies the black men at the march as somewhat menacing, constantly worried that one member of the crowd would hurt him or another. He again designates the whites outside the picket as simply being aloof, or interestingly enough, also scared of the blacks. This emphasizes the disconnect Spurgeon feels with his own race. As he so dramatically explained to members of the march, he’s not interested in the black nation or other issues beyond “debate purposes.”
At the end of the story, Spurgeon is dead tired, beat from his father and the trek to the train station. He witnesses a boy with his father at five in the morning, and immediately begins to construct a negative, depressing story about the boy and his father. When he’s proven wrong, finally, at the end he realizes his folly and how disconnected he really is. His isolation comes crashing down on him like a tidal wave. Despite this, he simply sits through the pain and lets it pass.
Packer worked hard to create a feeling of isolation. As the book jacket states, her characters are on the periphery of society, unable to move to the center for one reason or another. Spurgeon is clearly unable or unwilling to accept a place in one or another society that he belongs to. He refuses to be black, he refuses to be white, he refuses to be his father, he refuses to bend; choosing instead to remain in his tower of moral rectitude rather than meet the world at a level plain. The way he approaches the world around him makes this evident. But weep not for Spurgeon, for he shall not weep for himself.

No comments:

Post a Comment