Look at Me by Jennifer Egan: The Conception of Self

Turns out, Look at Me by Jennifer Egan may just be the most true book ever written; the endless construction of self in the modern world, fulfilling expectations.

Truly ironic that one character happens to be a disillusioned terrorist, the book itself published just before 9/11.
There is a section where Charlotte (protag.) questions whether Irene, her ghost writer, is clairvoyant, being that her initial lie become true. The whole book, being about cyclical events like this and almost self-fulfilling prophecies, accidentally has the world comply with it’s view, making the book and world accomplices in an event that happens to make the book, Egan, seem clairvoyant too.

“an imaginative artifact of a more innocent time,” as she calls it. I disagree, in a way, but again; this fulfills the books proposition of historys’ importance, it’s assertion over the present at certain times, the evolving base it laid for the now.

Realisation 1; All Americans are outsiders to the world they live in, always.
Realisation 2; I am probably never going to get out of the habit of writing in the style of the last book that I’ve read, or last movie that I’ve seen; I’m just not.
Realisation 3; Due to the books I have read on this (American Lit 1910-now) module, it seems Americans are always writing the exact same story, always. Just in different ways, with different themes (beats) stressed (like Ragtime/ragtime).
Realisation 4; I don’t know if it’s always happened, or is just a 1970sish onwards occurrence, but humans seem to construct self out of other people. This isn’t just based on this book but tumblr; a epigram I made a little while back (We are but Fractals/ Repeating the Same Patterns/ Over and Over.); a seminar today on comedy where it came up in discussion that we laugh at our past selves [which was great caz I realised other people termed their experience in this way too] which led me to question this way of saying “past me” v “present me” v “future me” because, of course, we aren’t static pictures in time- we are an ever evolving self. Thereby, to make a distinction between the past and present self makes no sense because to arrest your ‘self’ at a moment in time/your development and compare it with another point on an evolving spectrum, if you like, is nonsensical; time should have no relation to our perception of self in this way. The only reason it does is memory, but even in our memories we cannot pinpoint a static moment where we happened to be ‘this particular thing’, partly because we obviously construct parts of our memory or rememberance of our ‘self’. So basically it doesn’t make sense, our terminology and method of fragmenting our evolving self is nonsensical.

[Faceless Waterfall]
[Soundtrack; technically just the weird buzzing of staying up too late (sidenote; wordpress has no f’ing clue what to do with italicised vowels) Judy Blume, Runs in the Family, Amanda Palmer]


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