Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City: You are the Coma Baby
The novel Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney relates the tale of a young man working for a prominent newspaper in Manhattan by day, while visiting many bars and nightclubs during the night. He manages to accomplish this through the help of his use of cocaine, to which he is powerfully addicted. Throughout the novel McInerney employs the use of the Coma Baby, a current story in the New York Post, a local tabloid, as a symbolic representation of the main character. The Coma Baby has been residing in its mother's womb after the mother suffered a car accident and entered a coma. The debate is to whether the Coma Baby will see the "light of the delivery room". In this passage the main character is experiencing a dream where he interacts with the Coma Baby in his workplace. This passage, through the words and phrases employed by McInerney as both dialogue and narration, is strong support for the concept that like the Coma Baby, the main character wants to avoid facing the harsh realities of life and continue living isolated in his world of narcotic-induced pleasure. The author uses the interaction of the main character and the Coma Baby as proof that the main character will not realize the fallacies of his ways until he has hit rock-bottom.
The Coma Baby is shown to be the symbolic representation of the main character through his actions and philosophy toward life, a philosophy wholly irresponsible and unmotivated. As the main character approaches he asks the Baby if he's going to come out. The Baby responds with "No way José. I like it in here. Everything I need is pumped in."(line 11) This remark illustrates the main character's attitude toward life. With the condition that the Baby gets what he needs, he has no motivation to improve his situation. This parallels with the main character, who , provided he has his cocaine, does little to improve his situation. For...
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