Value, loss, and identity apocalypse

I realize I’m terribly late on posting…I apologize, but I briefly lost my ability to manage my time, and didn’t finish reading the Albertine Notes until today…I hope some of you still have a chance to read this before class tomorrow!

When I started reading this story I was anticipating a run of the mill attempt to make an idea overly complex, and therefore presumably interesting. It was funny that Kaitlyn mentioned Inception in her post because I found that movie an prime example of just that. As I continued reading, though, I came to really enjoy the way the story was written and the way Moody is able to balance really complex and far-fetched concepts with relatable emotional reactions to the state of an all but obliterated world.

As I read, I recalled one of my earliest posts for this class. We were still reading Kirsch and I was frustrated by the quest for value in literature and in spoken word. It seems impossible to know where to look, or if where one does look is actually the best place to seek out value or meaning. I felt that Kevin’s repeated references to “forgetters” related in an interesting way to this quest for meaning. Especially in a post-apocalyptic world, when everything has been turned on it’s head, the need for meaning and value must be incredibly urgent. One of the most interesting lines in the story, I thought, was when Kevin says “A forgetter had abscesses in his arms, or a forgetter had sold off the last of his posessions and was trying to sell them a second time ecause he had forgotten that the apartment was already empty. The highest respect, the most admiration, was accorded to those with perfect recall“(Moody 186). This brings up an intersting notion of the fear of emptiness and meaningless that pervades society. There seems to always be a desperate need to assign meaning to things, to harbor some attachment to every detail of life, but it’s never entirely clear why. The Albertine Notes made me consider this need for attachment and meaning that permeates the post-apocalyptic and present world. Emptiness seems the most threatening possibility. I don’t think I can easily answer the question of why the quest for meaning has remained a key aspect of much of the human condition, but I do think it’s relevant from a literary perspective in terms of how an author is able to convey the post-apocalyptic world.

The removal of meaning and of memory, the deconstruction of clarity and rationality, are not as grandiose and melodramatic as brain eating monsters, large-scale natural disasters and many of the other apocalyptic tropes, but they are, I think, elements of a much more real and far more terrifying portrayal of what follows “the end.” I was surprised that what I thought would be an overdone work of literature was able to remain so emotional and true to what I feel is a very difficult mood to convey. Moody’s successful use of emotional and psychological elements was a breath of fresh air in light of my frustration at the seeming inability for an author or filmmaker to really capture the essence of an apocalyptic or post apocalyptic world.

The personal or internal apocalypse that follows disaster is far more interesting to me than the “special effects” that act on the outside apocalyptic world, and The Albertine Notes successfully examine internal trauma and fear in a gripping and truly fascinating way. I’m eager to discuss the ways that the psyche is affected by the trauma of apocalypse, and how drug use functions as an escape and catalyst to further self destruction (self/identity apocalypse). in this story.

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