Buzzworm Education

As I have progressed throughout the novel, I have witnessed the different perspectives of a few people who are all connected to each other. Of all of them, Buzzworm seems to be the most aware of people’s perspectives, not necessarily the main characters of the book, but of the poor and neglected people in his community.

In chapter 16, we see a focus on Buzzworm and what kinds of music and radio stations he listens to over his Walkman. While this seemed to me like a quirk within the first few chapters of the book, I have come to recognize the greater significance of his “background noise”. He explains why it is important for him, and for other people, to listen to other types of music than just Hip hop and rap, and to expand to other genres like jazz. He says that it is important for people to “get behind another man’s perspective”, and hear other “sound zones” and rhythms. He relates this with learning as much as you can about other people and their culture, or essentially other people’s perspectives. This is important to the book, and to the whole exploration of impoverished persons in the novel, because Buzzworm seems to be one of the only people who sees the poor as people, because he knows them personally and how their lifestyles and the place they grew up has affected them.

From Buzzworm’s perspective, everyone who lives in the area is a person, and a good person, even if they have made mistakes time and again. He tries to help a certain kid, who he calls little homey, who is in a gang and gets shot at, and tries to turn him on to the idea that he should try to live and be alive to Buzzworm’s age, and to not just throw his life away. The kid does try to take Buzzworm’s advice, and get out of his gang, but gets beat up for it, and goes to the hospital with the doctors saying it was a drug overdose. The same day, Buzzworm’s friend Margarita dies of a supposed overdose, while Buzzworm can not understand this because Margarita was never a user, as far as he was concerned. This significantly represents, in Buzzworm’s world and society today, how these people from the streets are almost in a way written off, whether it be because of using drugs or something else, because of where they are from and what people think they know about the area. It’s messed up to think about, but Buzzworm’s point about “getting yourself an education” and learning other people’s perspectives seems like it would do a world of good in the world, because then people could see the other side of things and lead to better understandings.

2 Responses to Buzzworm Education

  1. burkekm February 10, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    Throughout the novel and especially with Buzzworm’s character we see metaphorical representations of human life, from Buzzworm’s radio stations to Manazanar’s monologues on traffic to the Chinamex Mexican-Chinese fusion restaurant. One of my favorite things thus far in the novel is how Yamashita basically shoves her ideas about people and human life right on our faces without actually needing to make the story about it. Buzzworm’s opinions about the need to listen to different types of music also reflects his character’s openness to other types of people. One thing that has raised my suspicions, as someone has pointed out previously on this blog, is cemented in the mental state of Buzzworm’s compared to Bobby’s and the other characters’ and the idea of possible drug usage in a similar case like Bobby.

  2. Prof VZ March 13, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    Great post on Buzz. I keep thinking of the point later in the novel when he discards this background noise and plugs into something–else? more real? It’s unclear what that moment is supposed to mean. I also think of his engagement with music as significant and symbolic of his sense of perspective taking and vision–his ability not just to walk in another person’s shoes, but listen to the world from their perspective. I don’t think Yamashita really resolves this question when Buzz puts down the walk-man. What’s your take on that now that you’ve read the novel?

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes