Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Animalistic Behavior

Humans in our generation are extremely concerned with individualism and “being their own person.” In Black Rainbow, the citizens act as pawns for the Tribunal. Everywhere the Tribunal infiltrates their life: musical lyrics and messages on buildings. The searcher, or main character is told that he is playing “The Game of Life” which has been set up by the Tribunal as a test. With the Tribunal in place no one possesses any secrets because they not only know everything you do, say or dream, they also control all your moves. This type of control is one that you have over your pets or animals. Although you don’t know their thoughts, you control when they eat, go for walks, play, go to the bathroom, and sleep. When they “misbehave” they are punished accordingly, just as the “deviant” citizens in Black Rainbow. This animalistic imagery of citizens is apparent in one scene where Aeto recalls a couple he met on a park bench that took him in as their son and just fed him.

The couple first brings Aeto into their house. They are seemingly good people when the reader first encounters them but you soon infer that there is something terribly wrong with the situation. They constantly feed him until he almost bursts. Their house is an altar to food with paintings of food, numerous cookbooks and a computer programmed to give the user whatever food he or she could ever desire. During dinner they pray to God, who to them is the “Chef” and constantly tell Aeto that soon he will know “the truth of their love.” This constant obsession over food reminded me of the constant desire animals have for their next meal. The line is not firmly established in this country of what is acceptable to eat and how much is acceptable to eat. The couple eats a pigeon and is obviously fattening Aeto up to eat him. Wendt clearly illustrates how disgusting this cannibalism is but at the same time paints a picture where for this couple a human is just another meal. This relates back to the fact that the searcher is a vegetarian and doesn’t participate in this meat-eating lifestyle. His vegetarianism illustrates his utilization of free thought that those in his community aren’t permitted to use.

Later in that same story Aeto tells the searcher about how he found the couple, who were always sleeping, having sex in his bedroom when he was gone. The way he describes the encounter was one of animalistic behavior; grunting and panting. He describes that they were using “his space, his presence, his smells, to fuck in” (175.) They were not attracted to one another but rather attracted to his lingering presence, To the reader this is a red flag that something is horribly wrong, but to these mindless humans, fully controlled by food, this was seemingly normal. The control of food over this couple made them act irrationally, unconscious of their actions, just as the Tribunal and President holds control over the citizens.