Bright Lights Big City Analysis

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What defines who we are? Andre Breton narrator and writer of the book Nadja explores the notion of how the city depicts identity. Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney similarly considers the aspects of the city that converges to the development of identity. This paper will argue and compare how Paris and New York City shape and challenge the identity of the narrators through ghostliness, and the uncanny. Breton writes about his experiences in Paris, what he values about the city, the artists, writers and the woman who he briefly had a relationship with, Nadja. Specifically Breton, tries to fathom who he is and why he exists, equally interested with whom he haunts. He believes that if he understands whom he haunts he would determine who he is. Breton continues to write the novel with ghostly undertones and illustrates Paris with ghostly imagery and a nostalgic mood. The…show more content…
Bright Lights, Big City being “also hauntological and as such it is both uncanny and spectral” (Belville, 2). Belville suggests that if a work presents a haunting and ghostly aspects it is equally portrayed as the uncanny, that Breton applies in his work. In McInerney the mannequin conveys an important aspect of the identity, the narrator found this haunting comforting when he became familiar with it. Moreover the challenges arises when the mannequin is removed the narrator describes that, “ You cross the street to the to the third window down from the uptown corner. The mannequin is gone. You count windows again...yet you are unsettled now that it is gone.” The uncanny of the once familiar becomes unfamiliar and creates an unsettling feeling and creates a question of why did the mannequin become a place of comfort? Why are we in search for symbolism in the city to make us feel a certain

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