Real Reality is a Bore

The way that the Tropic of Orange is constructed is through personal accounts that mend together through narrative and action, but each chapter is obviously told from the perspective of a list of characters. This insinuates that Yamashita places great importance on the relational value of life, and also how we view ourselves in a relational setting. Most of the characters are of different cultural backgrounds or of semi-American decent. To intertwine their relations is to examine the dynamics between different ethnic groups living in the “melting pot” of America, but also to examine human relationship as a whole…  Part of me wants to suggest that the book insinuates that each experience of life is vastly different from the next, while it also portrays that life is a series of relational events and are all too similar beyond the label of what we are. For example, the way that certain characters, such as Emi, are obsessive over film editing and media, while characters like Buzzword cannot live life without the static of AM or FM reeling through his headphones. One way or another, we all have our oddities and quirks that separate us but beyond the physicality and uniqueness of those things, they are all quirks. At once, they are unique and whole.

I enjoyed the way that Yamashita told this story through a relational tone and through a series of different individual perspectives and characters because it imitates real life. To tell the same occurrence five times over, and to switch from mind to mind portrays the reality that we live it- there truly is none. There is no one truth, and thats what happens in a life based in relationship. Unfortunate or not, we are social creatures stuck on this planet together– that is reality. To write a novel in this form and to call is magical realism brings beauty of the confusion and chaos. Understanding would be a bore.

Furthermore, I think relational aspects of life is where spirituality and connectedness comes in. Perhaps because, we cut ourselves the spiritual ‘slack’ of being human, and of misunderstanding reality. This then inhibits us to relate to people on the fact that they are human and also misunderstand reality in their faltered human condition. Weather we can understand their point of view or not, we understand their humanity is as much as our humanity. Often, in hardened societal interactions we do not see outside of ourselves, or that we are a singular entity with the power of connecting much more than we do in everyday life.

To live life vulnerably is to cross those boundaries that dehumanize. One of my favorite modern poets, Janne Robinson, writes of this phenomenon constantly and her soul mission is to encourage people to live transparently. Just as Tropic of Orange exemplifies, American culture is very hard. It’s very skin to skin rather than tear to tear and she sort of combats that in a beautiful way… that’s why we love art so much, anyway, isn’t it? Crossing the boundary of relational hardness.

She wrote this beautiful thing of a poem the other day:

Let us not censor today, or any day for that matter. Let us tell when we are wronged, cry when we are hurt, shout when we are loving. Let our tears fall like rain onto the red hot tundra of this earth unapologetically. Truth needs to make it through all the cracks we build in a world that is afraid to be vulnerable.

Scream the makings of your blood to the moon and the yellow sun and do not ever stop to ask, “Can they handle it?” Can the world handle you with your red heart beating open? 
If it cannot, they may stick their heads like ants into the ground by their own will.

You are here to shout the juicy joy that falls from your lips–rid the walls, and let your truth roam the streets hungry and feverish and chase away all who have not tasted the vulnerability of their own hearts.


One Response to Real Reality is a Bore

  1. Prof VZ February 22, 2016 at 12:27 am #

    Your reflection on relationality and vulnerability here–those things that cross boundaries that divide us–is a great way to think of that lovely embrace between Rafaela and Bobby as all that separates them melts away, if only for a a moment. I also like what you say about the importance of perspective here, which is reflected in the very act of multi-focalized narration as we get this story through so many different eyes. That, in turn, expands our vision as readers and helps us see truth as provisional and embodied rather than as absolute. Great post!

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