The People of Paper

 

In The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia includes surrealistic factors, such as people physically made of paper.  In one part, where Little Merced, who is sitting on a bus, watching a woman, made of paper cry, she notices the ink physically runs off of the woman, because she was made of newspaper.  This shows a difference between Little Merced and the woman of paper, separating them in some way.  They could be seen as separate in terms of class, without Plascencia directly stating it.  “Paper” may represent money or physical paper, which defines people in terms of each other.  Plascencia gives the people who are made of paper a physical difference, but in real life, there no physical or tangible differences between people’s social classes, just differences in paper.

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Focalization

Here, I’m showing a clip from Hangover Square, we see different levels of focalization.  First, we are introduced to historical context around the movie, and we see a town square, buzzing to people.  Then, when we switch to inside the antiques shop, where we all of a sudden see a hand stab a man in front of us.  Here, we are switching point of view, acting as the man stabbing the older man.  But then, we suddenly switch to exterior the situation and see both men.  This shows the different points of focalization, where we see a new point of view, we see a new point to focalize through.

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Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot”

Here, I’m presenting a clip from “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett, which is the play referenced by Flaquita, Maruquita’s mother, frequently throughout the novel.  She often compares her son, SBS, to Samuel Beckett, thus she endowed him with the first and middle name Samuel Beckett.  The obscurity of not only SBS’s play mirrors Samuel Beckett’s and offers a certain social critique, which Flaquita points out for us later in the novel.  The fact that Edgardo Vega connects SBS to Samuel Beckett shows us how distant he is from Maruquita, who lives just in her own reality, while SBS chooses to write plays and lives up to his mother’s ideals.

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Harry Potter as “Pop Art”

 

Throughout Omaha Bigelow, Edgardo Vega takes many stabs at “pop art.”  He describes pop art as “[…] the tyranny of mediocrity and in many respects attempts to emulate pop art in all its hydran manifestations of music, graphics, TV, film, and writing.” (Vega 167) He connects his manifesto to “[…] poor, defenseless Harry Potter,” of whom he accredits the author, J.K. Rowling as soon to be the “first billionaire author.”  Vega says that books like Harry Potter appeals to the masses because they’re not “linguistically difficult [… and no not] challenge the reader to look at his soul.”

He often has Maruquita, who is often looked down upon by mother not only because of her accent when she speaks, but the fact that she barely reads.  But when Maruquita does read, she chooses to read Harry Potter, which shows how someone can “mindlessly” read material and internalize almost nothing from it.

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Maruquita as JLO

 

In Omaha Bigelow we are often encountering many stereotypes.  One of which is Maruquita as Jennifer Lopez.  Jennifer Lopez is Puerto Rico’s stereotypical female in what Vega calls “pop art,” including film and literature.  We see the comparison of Maruquita to Jennifer Lopez when she calls Vega during the bohango enlargement ceremony.  Maruquita says her name is “Jennifer Gomez,” very close to Jennifer Lopez- then Vega responds and says “Never mind all that J-Go Hype nonsense.  Don’t try to get me out of character.”  This shows the author as not only a character, but Maruquita as an actress, simply playing a part.

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I know this may be a bit vulgar, but it connects to Severo Sarduy’s Cobra.  This is what I imagine when I read the book for the first time.  Upon watching the first few second of this clip, (it’s not necessary to watch the whole thing for the idea) I instantly thought of the torture Cobra went through to become a woman.  Her sex change almost seemed easy, because of the transference of pain then the ritual of “feet binding.”  Her “manly” feet served as her final indicator of her sex, thus, she tried endlessly to “fix” them.

 

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Meat Packing Plant

 

This is an actual photo from Google Images of an old school Meat Packing plant.  This is where I imagine our Zenzontli working; killing pigs and chopping them up.  This would have existed in Foster’s second universe, where he thinks the modern day Aztec’s are, if they remained conquered.

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Static Characters

In Sesshu Foster’s novel Atomik Aztex we see violent scenes in both of the main characters universes.  Not only do we see bloody Aztec rituals, we are also introduced to gory scenes from within the meat packing plant itself.  This may convey to the reader that no matter where the main character goes, he will still experience violence.  But, the scenes of violence are not the only things that seem to carry over, we also are see characters being carried over into the other universes, becoming “static characters.” Here is 3Turkey in the second universe,

 3Turkey behind me, hosing it off the grating.  (Foster 51)

Now, 3Turkey being mentioned in Foster’s first universe,

Weasel and 3Turkey stepped forward and I stopped them with a glance.  (Foster 56)

This demonstrates Manfred Jahn’s idea of “static characters,” which hold over to different stories.  We see the differences in the universes not through the spelling this time, but through the italicized writing style.

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Augmented Spellings

In the book Atomik Aztex by Sesshu Foster, we are introduced to a variety of spelling, often changing its “form.”  For example we see the radical changes within the page,

My daughter called and left a message […] I could tell neither of ‘em got the message.  (Foster 9)

In the paragraph immediately preceding we are introduced with,

Way it started, I was walking along the kanal outside Xochimilko, down along a sort of empty lot reeking of human excrement and tropikal vegetation exhaling humidity in the heat.  (Foster 9-10)

These two different types of spelling show a transition between the universes.  The first universe is where Zenzontli is “Keeper of the House of Darkness of the Aztex […]” (Foster 1) and where he is working in a meat packing plant.  This may be done for the reader, so they have a perception of where they are in the author’s story, because the transitions between the universes occur quickly.

 

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This picture found of Google Images shows Cortes’ troops invading the Aztec civilization and conquering it.  But, in the first universe of Sesshu Foster’s book Atomik Aztex displays what may have happened if this never happened.

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