Quinn's Character in Paul Auster's City of Glass

Topics: Paul Auster, Novel, The New York Trilogy Pages: 3 (1255 words) Published: November 18, 2012
English 1 Simon Drury
Group P 9/27/2012
Tuesday 3:10 Kathleen Samson Paul Auster has said that The New York Trilogy is centrally concerned with “the question of who is who and whether or not we are who we think we are.” Use this remark as a point of departure for a discussion of the character Quinn –his presentation in the novel and his experience – in City of Glass. In the City of Glass, Auster creates a sense of uncertainty around the identities of the different characters in the book. One does not really grasp who is who in the novel because of the complex and multiple layers of the story Austen creates. The City of Glass asks questions about identity and in this essay I will look at the protagonist (Quinn) and his search to understand himself and to discover his true identity which ultimately leads to his identity being changed with each new character role he takes on to forget his past self. Daniel Quinn is a complicated character and our knowledge of him is limited because the narrator does not reveal much about him. Where he came from and who he was seem of little importance in the novel we are only told his age, that he was once married but his son and daughter are dead (a past which he seems to be running away from). He is writer of detective stories under the pseudonym of William Wilson (a name Quinn takes on to forget his past). William Wilson’s character mirrors Auster ‘s , the author, own life. Quinn creates his own character Max Work, a private eye narrator. In his stories the protagonist Max becomes very real and moves away from merely being a fictitious character, subsequently causing Quinn himself to take on some of the characteristics of Max, thinking and behaving in a similar manner to him. Eventually Quinn “stopped thinking on himself as real.”(Auster 10) So already Auster creates this sense of...
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