Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I believe that Anne Carson did an unbelievable job portraying emotion in her novel, "Autobiography of Red." Initially, we are introduced to Geryon as a shy, introspective child that yearned to find his place in the world. His brother proves to be depraved as he abuses Geryon, taking advantage of his innocence, and refusing to help him decipher the maze that was elementary school. Geryon's mother, although she loves him dearly, is removed from Geryon as she seems to be a lost soul, as smoke clouds her reality.
Geryon is troubled and alone. His idiosyncrasies prevent him from assimilating into society. The pain his brother inflicted upon him both mentally and physically, prevents Geryon from maintaining the natural urge to socialize. "He lay very straight in the fantastic temperatures of the red pulse as it sank away and he thought about the difference between inside and outside. Inside is mine, he thought."(page29)
Geryon seeks solace in a compassionate stranger that he meets at a bus stop to New Mexico, Herakles. Geryon falls in love with Herakles, as he proves to be different than any one Geryon had ever been exposed to. Yet, Herakles breaks his heart. Carson illustrates his state of unrest beautifully when he comes home from his stay with Herakles. Geryon laments that there has never been any fruit in his mother's fruit bowl. Consumed with emotion he begins to cry, which eventually ends in shared laughter with his mother. He is experiencing such conflicted emotion, and as a reader, I felt as though I was right there with him, sharing his pain.
I find it very interesting that the yellowbeard's topic for his dissertation was emotionlessness which parallels with Geryon's penchant for knowledge. Geryon is perpetually questioning the status quo, challenging time and space. He consistently asks, "What is time made of?" I found yellowbeard's answer both intelligent and thought-provoking. "Time isn't made of anything. It is an abstraction. Just a meaning that we impose upon motion." (page 90) I also think that Geryon was satisfied, but rather puzzled by this definitive answer.
When Geryon reunites with Herakles and Ancash, his relationship with Herakles is inevitably not the same, as it proves to be a little jaded. Geryon continues to take pictures that reveal the truth to him. He seems discouraged at times, and even notes to a passing llama that he will eventually amount to nothing. Yet, Geryon presses on for meaning. His depressive states do not hold him back from discovery. At the end of the novel we see that Ancash views Geryon as a person capable of great things, as he encourages Geryon to use his wings, to discover himself and the world around him.

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