Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mother Night, by Kurt Vonnegut

In Kurt Vonnegut's Mother Night, Jones' meeting with his "blue fairy Godmother" was akin to Alice's meeting with the waist-coated white rabbit—both dragged into a supposed Wonderland that greatly affected their lives. In many ways, this was how I felt when I had turned the first few pages of the book. To say that I've comprehended all his intentions upon my first reading would be a serious misstatement. Rather, I enjoy pondering his ideas. Like a deep, rich stew—the longer it cooks in your brain, the more the flavors meld and intertwine into a distinct, delectable aroma.

If I had to characterize my first encounter with Vonnegut's writing, I would say that I feel as though one of my baby teeth just came out—one I didn't even know had not yet matured. Growing up, you lose your baby teeth gradually, to be replaced by permanent ("adult") teeth. Each permanent tooth is a different philosophy and/or experience in our lives that have come to affect the way we think and are. Just as we initially believe in the tooth fairy—the innocence of being a child, we eventually grow into our more practical and mature selves—in some ways, the loss of that innocence. Some may call it becoming jaded, but I prefer to refer to them as growing pains. Some wisdom teeth can be left in, some must be taken out to keep us healthy. On the road of life, we may gather different wisdom—some good, some not so good (in hindsight). Hopefully we don't lose our permanent teeth once we've grown into them, but if we do, they are likely the result of a jarring incident or old age. Constant brushing, flossing, and trips to the dentist are required to maintain the health, feeling, and appearance of our teeth—just as we need to constantly probe, reflect upon, and maintain our own selves.

Rating: 5/5

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