The Dilemma of the Postmodern Writer as Seen Through Paul Auster's City of Glass

Topics: Paul Auster, Samuel Beckett, The New York Trilogy Pages: 4 (1413 words) Published: August 24, 2010
The Dilemma of the Postmodern Writer;
(In case all assumptions had not been thrown out)

The core idea of modern nothingness is best portrayed in Paul Auster’s City of Glass from The New York Trilogy. In the novel, the individual identity withdraws; the protagonist (shall he be called such) Daniel Quinn finds himself challenged by the inexplicable mysteries of his own analysis and identity. The main character divides, and here, New York is the acting catalyst in the progression. Characters, be they human or other chief elements to the story line (i.e. the city streets) begin to melt into one another. Eventually, the events taking place in the story are intermingled, actual importance is lost, and the meaning is completed by an untailored disposition. The story is incredibly experimental and perhaps the utmost example of Metafiction. City of Glass can be compared to Don Delillo’s White Noise in that both are considered postmodern fiction, and have some basic similarities (though not on the surface level.) While White Noise is more related to the interdependence of characters and institutions, and Auster’s story is related to the actual individual and his loss of importance, both portray an interpretation of society and culture, and both analyze the dilemma of the postmodern writer. White Noise consists of subversions of disaster stories, thrillers, and traditional American fiction. Auster’s story is a definitive archetype of the postmodern imagination, in that it evokes compulsions to reveal an order that may cause lack of resolve. The irony in both White Noise and City of Glass is the basic lack of omniscient perception. Both embellish the incompetence of innate orders of meaning through atypical postmodern recourse to a narrated unpredictability and existential possibility. One could say that the point of City of Glass is that there is no point. The point or lack thereof can be used to establish the degree to which assumptions in literature...
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