Nov 14

Klarens Haxhi

Prof. Steven Alvarez

English 363

13 November 2011

Differing Realities: Zenzontli’s Challenge of Separating and Being Aware in Seshu Foster’s Atomik Aztex

Sesshu Foster’s piece of literature is one of the most controversial and difficult novel that I have ever encountered. There is a mix of different realities that the main character, Zenzontli, seems to have been engulfed by and can’t tell which is which. We can relate this challenge to Manfred Jahn’s guide about Narratology where he introduces the concept of “stream consciousness”. He writes, “Appropriated into literary criticism by May Sinclair in 1918, stream of consciousness is often used as a general term for the textual rendering of mental processes, especially any attempt to capture the random, irregular, disjointed, associative and incoherent character of these processes (N8.8). Zenzontli fits perfectly the type of character that Jahn describes above where his “mental processes” are often very confusing and switch him back and forth between realities. Foster attributes Zenzontli a very fragmented level of awareness that allows the latter to portray his memories and dreams in an unstable and irregular manner. Consequently, he makes himself believe that the stories and memories shared with the reader are true but in fact they belong to the reality perceived only by his mind.

Zenzontli offers us very descriptive scenes of bloodshed in his present job as a slaughterer in Farmer John Meat Packing factory. Foster writes, “… I give it the last firm goodbye hug, pressing the knife into its throat at the same time, drawing it diagonally down, slicing the carotid with one motion, then on out the other side”(7). Zenzontli can’t endure the boredom at his job having a lowly-paid and unimportant position in the factory and not being able to live the life he wants. At this point, he transfers his mind and body to the parallel reality that makes him Keeper of the House of Darkness; here he really appreciates his world and everything goes the way he wants.

Oct 18

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World Literature