Sunday, October 9, 2011

innocence of age

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The Innocence of Age

General Response

When reading “The Innocence of Age”, I found the author, Neil Bissoondath, had a very unique writing style. He incorporated many flashbacks into his writing and had a unique method of character development. For instance, when a new character was brought into the storyline there was no immediate descriptions or background information provided about that character. As the story progressed and the character continued to appear, information was then revealed about the character’s past and I was then able to visualize how this character fits into the plot. I found this interesting because at first I had no idea how the character tied into the novel but as the novel progressed I was able to put it all together. For instance, from the start of the novel Pasco always thought about a girl named Edna. At the beginning I had no idea who Edna was and how she tied in with the storyline. I eventually found out that she was his wife, and later on I found out that she died from a stroke. After finding out all this information Bissoondath provides flashbacks of Pasco’s and Edna’s life together. Sometimes it seemed as though this novel was going backwards. Personally, I do not like this writing style because it can be awkward and confusing to read. When reading this book I often had the feeling of being lost because I was not always one hundred percent sure who exactly each character was. However, I feel it is an effective technique because it forced me to want to read on and find out.

One thing I liked about this book was Bissoondath’s vivid imagery. I liked how he was able to paint a clear picture in my mind of what was happening. Instead of just reading the words off the page, I was able to visualize what was being described. He seemed to make the book come alive with his details and descriptions. For instance, when Bissoondath used the words, “ He was perspiring, his undershirt, white and growing ratty at the seams, cool where it clung damp to his skin,”(page 18) to describe Pasco waking up from a disturbed sleep, I had a distinct picture in my head of what he was describing. I feel that imagery is a very important part of a good book and I found Bissoondath’s imagery to be very effective. I like it when the author’s words come together to show me what is going on, without simply just telling me.

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I was disappointed with the ending of this novel. The book just seemed to stop and there was no real resolution. It felt as though the book needed to be longer because its storyline did not come to a close. I found that this novel had a broken storyline. It was comprised of numerous subplots, which had no relation to one another. I did not like how a conflict would rise, and then one of the other subplots was discussed without resolving the conflict in the first subplot. For instance a skinhead named Emile commonly threatened Pasco, tension was developed between the two characters but the tension was never resolved. Emile threatened Pasco and started causing mischief in Pasco’s restaurant but then a different plot took place and the situation was never resolved. Emile was never spoken of again in the novel, which did not make sense to me. I felt as though I was left hanging. What disappointed me the most about the ending of this book was that it ended with one of the very insignificant subplots of the story. I found that the main theme, Pasco and his son Daniel growing distant of each other, was not concluded. It felt as though I read the book for no reason, the ending was meaningless.

Passage Response

This passage from “The Innocence of Age” illustrates a key moment in the development of the main theme of the story. The story is about a father and son, Pasco and Daniel, whose lives grow apart and proceed down different pathways. During the story, Daniel and Pasco drift farther apart from each other as they find themselves living in two separate worlds. This is an important theme in the story and I use the word distance to describe this theme. Daniel and Pasco have opposite views and strategies in which they live their lives. As they peruse their lifestyles, they grow distant from each other. Their different views of ideal reality cause conflict to erupt between them and therefore their relationship becomes more and more distant as the story progresses.

Pasco is the owner of a restaurant, Pasco’s that is also known as the Greasy Spoon, and Daniel is an inspired businessman. Daniel is enthusiastic about change and he peruses an improved lifestyle. He is money hungry and the thought of increasing the size of his wallet makes him tick. He is driven by the thoughts of expansion. Being in

real-estate, he inspires to increase the value of any building he has connections with. Making money is his number one priority in life.

Pasco is threatened by change. He is an old fashioned man who is trapped in a world that is changing around him. This scares him. He lives in the past and dwells on his previous life when his wife Edna was still alive. Unlike his son, he has no concern for wealth and prosperity. He seeks independence and hides himself from the world of expansion. Pasco and Daniel have variations of reality, which contributes to their distance from one another.

Since Daniel’s world evolves around money, he constantly attempts to increase the value of his father’s possessions. He aspires to turn Pasco’s (his father’s restaurant) into a first class diner and immensely increase profits. He presents many ideas of expansion to Pasco, which he impassively disregards. Daniel feels that his father is not living his life to its highest potential. He does not understand why his father would turn down the opportunity to make more money and live a high-class lifestyle. He did however manage to convince his father to renovate his house to increase the value, but this took a lot of convincing and bribery on Daniel’s part. I don’t think Daniel understands his father’s views of life. Daniel feels he is practical while his father is shallow.

Pasco is not inspired by the thought of increasing profits; he desires independence. He previously gave up a higher paying job as an insurance agent to work in the restaurant. He wanted to possess the feeling of being in control and to be his own boss. The different views between Pasco and Daniel caused many disputes between them. They commonly fought with each other while attempting to make the other see their ways. Neither of them were willing to change their views of reality to suit the others needs, which lead them to becoming distant of each other.

This passage presents a clear message that Pasco and Danny are very different; they possess opposite values and ways of thinking. Through out the story the theme of distance is developed between them. Daniel lives a straightforward life in the real world, while Pasco creates his own world of illusion; a world without change. For example, when his friend Montgomery passed away, he resisted the truth by not attending his funeral. Daniel, a realist, views his father as someone who lives in a world of lies. Because the difference between Pasco and Daniel grew so large, unfortunately they became very distant as they perused their separate lives.

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