Friday, January 25, 2008


There seem to be a lot of references to sharp objects in descriptions especially in entry 13, though such descriptions are prevalent throughout the book.

"Finished. I was already late for work. I hated her. But I had to prove to her...
At the corner, through the white fog, blood-a slit, as with a sharp knife -- her lips."
"I silently stared at her lips. All women are lips, nothing but lips. Some pink, firmly round -- a ring, a tender protection against the whole world. But these: a second ago they did not exist, and now -- a knife slit -- and sweet blood will drip down."

"And a tiny man, the thinnest I had ever seen. All of him seemed cut out of paper, and no matter which way he turned, there was nothing but a profile, sharply honed: the nose a sharp blade, lips like scissors."

"We broke from the earth and floated away. And everything followed us: the rosy-golden fog, the sun, the finest blade of the doctor's profile, suddenly so dear. Formerly, everything had turned around the sun; now I knew -- everything was turning around me -- slowly, blissfully, with tightly closed eyes...."

There's a lot more but there's no point in listing them all. I was wondering what everyone thought the point of so many "sharp" references is? Surely, with so many references there must be a point. I was thinking that it represented the cutting away of D503's final defenses against the new world I330 is trying to open him up to because the end of this chapter is when they finally have sex in the ancient house. Also, earlier in the entry when they are walking to get a doctor's note, D503 writes " The entire world was a single unencompassable woman, and we were in its very womb, unborn, ripening joyfully. And it was clear to me-ineluctably clear-that the sun, the fog, the rose, and the gold were all for me..."


emma said...

i noticed these sharp references as well. while i read them, i didn't really think too much of them, but looking back now, i think that the sharpness is brought up when D is speaking about a situation or a person that doesn't follow the rules of the One State. especially when he speaks about I or the doctor. what are these sharp edges for? to cut away at the tightly woven rules of the One State? then i wonder about the glass houses the numbers live in. if a glass house were to break, everything left would be sharp-edged pieces of glass, so if the sharp edges represent the rise against the State and can actually contribute to its destruction, wouldn't if destroy itself from within if the glass houses were to break into millions of pieces of sharp glass? did that even make sense...just thinking out loud here.

Miguel said...

I think these references to sharp could be one of two things, or a combination of both. On one hand, sharpness is generally associated with crisp, clean, defined edges, much like everything in the One State. Everything has a clear defined purpose and efficiency is of the essence. So the sharpness is very present in the One State as it is relevant to the way it is run. Also, anytime D-503 speaks of this X that is unknown, it is almost as if it is a sharp pain within him, so the sharpness could be referring to the extreme to which he is bothered by this unknown. That's just my take.