Saturday, February 9, 2008

Stream of Consciousness Opera

I'm obviously the worst student of all time because I posted comments and STILL forgot to write a blog yesterday. I figure I might as well do it now.

As I was reading Vas I was thinking about the word 'opera' in the title. I was thinking it might refer to all the different aspects of production that went into the book. What's somewhat unique about opera as an art form is the way it incorporates many arts and crafts into its production. It takes the base art form of singing, and uses drama, acting, the orchestra and even set design to enhance it. It seems like the book is doing the same thing by taking the base art of writing and enhancing it with the drawings, diagrams, typefaces and different page layouts. In that way it's taken the idea of an opera, in the sense of many art forms coming together, and put it on a two dimensional piece of paper. This kind of gives a double meaning to the subtitle, "An Opera in Flatland", where flatland also refers to the pages of the book.

In other news, I really like the stream of consciousness aspect to the book that comes across through square's side thoughts. I thought it was intriguing when we brought up James Joyce in class and I looked up Finnegan's Wake on Wikipedia. Here's an a quote from that article:

John Bishop opened his introduction to Finnegans Wake in 1999 with these less-than-encouraging words: "There is no agreement as to what Finnegans Wake is about, whether or not it is 'about' anything, or even whether it is, in any ordinary sense of the word, 'readable'.
I haven't tried to read it, but I would imagine it's like we talked about in class, where you imagine everything that's packed into Vas just written down on a page (except maybe even worse). The way Vas does it though I think maybe more accurately reflects how different levels of thoughts are always in our minds. Even as I write this I have other things in the back of my mind that I'm not focusing on, like what time I'm going to have dinner and whether I should go ahead and call my friend about it in a few minutes, and I could imagine that line of thought sort of printed out alongside this paragraph in a different font, sort of reflecting how it's occurring simultaneously but on a different level of focus.


Brian M said...

Someone touched on this concept when we covered We, but I think the way the text forms are interweaved suggest the emotions and thoughts that arise from Square's id, ego and super-ego. I could be totally wrong but it could be an explanation.

Sterbenz said...

first off, your not the worst student ever. at least you did the assignment. next, i love the way you changed fonts as you went through the entry. that opera thing is a very cool thought. just wondered if you have ever seen a bollywood movie. it is like an opera exept with even more awesomeness. like all the colors have meaning, there is more dancing, and all the secret meanings in al the songs. just thought you would like to know.

emma said...

the word opera in the title of the book caught my attention too. especially when mother was trying to convince square and circle to go to the opera again (even though they never went in the first place). and the whole time, square is creating his own opera of thoughts and such. i haven't read far enough into the book to find out if they take mother up on her offer, but we'll see.

Ana said...

I thought it was funny how when I went to buy the book at the store they actually told me to look in the music section. I agree that there's a theme of opera going on. The book seems to have a chorus too. You know how in certain operas there's the voice of consciousness that talks to the main character through a chorus sometimes? Well that's kind of how those comments on the side feel. So... operas are tragic... I wonder if maybe at the end square gets cubed or something.