Get clean, Buzzworm

I’m starting to think of the voice in each characters’ section as a reflection of their mental state. And if this is the case, I think Bobby and Buzzworm are both portrayed as some sort of under the influence. More concretely we know some of Bobby’s vices: cigarettes, pornos, and most significantly, his daughter who is at threat of being trafficked. So maybe Bobby is intoxicated by stress, overwhelming exhausting stress, well more than maybe. This, I feel like is directly reflected in the stream of consciousness, almost image reporting structure we get in Bobby’s Wednesday section. This brings us back to the realism that we’ve dubbed this novel with off the bat. The text is written so you can feel how Bobby feels: fast-paced observations, paranoia, needs, and no room for emotional flourishment. Not to mention all his sections are usually titled with some sort of monetary obligation, i.e. car payment or second mortgage.

With Buzzworm The fast lacedness, the forced intellectualism, yet natural and impressive curiosity, makes me wonder if he is taking some of the drugs he is reporting about. this is just a speculation.. actually no a suspicion, “Buzzworm was not about to be behind this eight ball.” (p 102) hmm. This colliding narrative structure with issues in race, drugs and law enforcement, magical realism and set in and around L.A. is starting to strongly remind me of Crash, a film with┬ácolliding narrative structure with issues in race, drugs and law enforcement, magical realism and set in L.A.

(**spoiler alert if you want to see the movie**)Pardon the melodrama.. I promise its a pretty good/ relevant movie. In my opinion this scene has some magic realism at work.

4 Responses to Get clean, Buzzworm

  1. Andrew H. February 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    I completely agree with you on this one and I think that Yamashita has implemented these characters to show that what we think of as “drugs” that are affecting Bobby and Buzzworm aren’t necessarily narcotics or anything like that, but what the human race has collectively implemented into our everyday lives. Bobby’s drugs are most certainly cigarettes, pornos, money, and, in a sense, stress. Perhaps Buzzworm’s choice of drug is his walkman, a never ending stream of electric morphine that has kept him sane and hopefully clean after stints of rehab. Also, i have seen Crash and I totally agree with you, there are a lot of parallels to be made between that film and Tropic of Orange.

  2. ainsley February 10, 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    I completely agree with the need to question Buzzworm and Bobby’s mental state–the way their chapters are written are so different from the others that I definitely think Yamashita wanted us to wonder what they are up to. Particularly the pronounced difference of Bobby’s chapter from the others. The writing style consists of short and choppy sentences–written in the third person, but in a way that makes you feel like you’re with Bobby as he goes from place to place. There’s also dialogue without tags so that you really have to put yourself into the conversation. She also skips words that you usually wouldn’t to make the sentences even shorter and to the point; for example, “Bobby looking at the photo plan” (97) and “Bobby given up smoking” (98) almost resemble speech. You can hear a voice in your head saying these things and foregoing the use of “is” or “has.” I like the way her writing techniques change from character to character. And I definitely think you’re right–Bobby’s chapters give off a feel of paranoia and a kind of fervor that seems a little too heightened, like he’s either jonesing for drugs or has taken something already.

  3. CailinBoegel February 10, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    I really like how you’ve created an abstract concept of stress used as a drug in Bobby’s character. I came to a realization while reading your blog post that one can compare and relate this idea of a metaphysical addiction to Buzzworm’s hunger for information. In a sense, we can agree that Buzzworm’s metaphysical drug is knowledge. His over awareness of perspective, and his need to be educated on all types of music and sounds lead me to think he’s an info-junkie- a powerhouse of common and cultural knowledge. Part of me thinks he has this addiction to knowledge in hopes to justify every emotion or feeling he has or sees in others- no thought or action can go unexplained. We see that Buzzworm’s addiction is beneficial to him, where as, on the flip side, Bobby’s addiction to stress only seems to create more and more paranoia for him. Which definitely says something to your observation of the two characters voices and their reflections of their mental states.

  4. Prof VZ March 13, 2016 at 10:42 am #

    Great attention to the way narrative / voice really illuminates and reflects each character. This is extremely noticeable in Bobby. Also in Gabriel’s chapter, which sort of mimics the hard-boiled detective fiction thing. There’s a certain voice to Buzz as well, and then we have Arcangel breaking into poetry. Really fascinating way in which form follows character here. Great conversation!

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