Left with a Sense of... Something

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John Henry Days by Colson Whitehead is certainly... interesting. At least it has a plot... to some extent. The jumping around to different characters was a bit annoying at first, but neccesary. And I have to say that the characters are actually tolerable.

"J. experiences an involuntary physical response to the red light and begins to salivate" (69).

I really have nothing to say about the rest of the book, so I'm just going with this quote. Why? Because what J. experiences in this quote deals with psychology. Now, I realize that J. is only "a representation of a real person" but you know what? What he's experiencing is a real psychological fact. In psych terms, J. is having an uncontrolled response to salivate because of the red light, which would be the controlled stimulus. This would only happen to him if he was saw the red light along with the presence of food, which he does earlier in the book.

Actual literary responses...

 

2 Comments

Melissa Schwenk said:

I love Whitehead's style of writing. He really puts the reader into the character to the point where you really feel J.'s hunger. I thought the red light was a nice touch to show how hungry J. was. I could understand J. was cheap, but at that point even I was getting slightly annoyed that he just didn't decide to eat something else instead of watiting. However, I think that was also part of Whitehead's writing style, to convey that J. was extremely hungry and to show the reader how desperate he was for food. Plus, it helped foreshadow the choking incident.

Aja Hannah said:

Interesting that you pointed that out. I wonder how many other times in J.'s fictional life that a red light coincides with food. He's a lab rat in the rat race of the journalism world. I did wish he would eat something though or save more food like he did with the ham sandwich. Why doesn't he just get something with massive pockets like his friend Dave.

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