Anwar’s Code

Anwar’s sections — specifically “Square One” — seem to remediate code through their formatting. The use of <>, {}, [], and <> to contain asides, words and phrases in other languages, commentary on the narrative, and Anwar’s (or someone/-thing else’s?) thoughts makes keeping up with the narrative of the section challenging and even confusing at times. It also brings to mind questions about the differences between “operative” and “non-operative” language, between words or phrases that do something (as in code) and words or phrases that mean something. Anwar’s section seems continually to blur that line.

The “commented out” sections on pages 84, 89, and 98 are also interesting (those sections of narrative that are marked with //). Comments work in code to help readers of that code understand what a particular part of the code is supposed to do, or at least what the programmer wants a particular part of the code to do. Comments, usually set off by //, are non-operative, meaning they are meant only to be read by other programmers and not read by the machine’s compiler. Yet this is not what the commented out sections of “Square One” seem to do. Instead, the commented out sections on pages 84 and 89 are examples of calculations or what we might call “code.” They are, in some sense, operative.

But then this seems to change on page 98. Are these comments “operative?” If so, how? How are the comments on page 98 different from those on pages 84 and 89? What might these differences mean?

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2 responses to “Anwar’s Code”

  1. logan72015 says :

    The comments on page 98 are no different then the comments on any other page. In C++, the computer does not see spaces or tabs. To a compiler,
    //This
    is the same as
    //This.
    Code can be written entirely on one line. Indenting, spaces, tabs, and (sometimes) returns are done just to make the code more readable for the programmer, as you stated. In that same way, page 98 is formatted just for the reader. The tabs and spaces do not effect him or the “program” of his mind. Page 84 would be read no differently the 98 to the machine. They would both be completely dropped by the compiler and are uniformly indifferent to the machine.

    Page 89 brings about a few questions. Aside from the comments (// ), this would almost be executable code. The only thing missing is the “#include ” line. This line would have to be present in order to use the “std::cout <<” object. However, the majority of the code is commented out. There for none of it would be used by the compiler. The only line that is not properly commented out is “return 0;”. I would have no idea why return 0; is not commented out properly. If compiled, it would produce an error that there is no main function since the main function is commented out. This could be resolved by surrounding the entire program with /* and */.

    What is page 89 trying to say? It would seem that Anwar wants to exclaim with an “!” the inner dialogue that fills his mind. However he chose to not act, or compile that exclamation by including the forward slashes at the front of each line (excluding return 0). Each of this lines are Anwar's internal monologue, formatted to his own preference.

    Another possible use of code logic is page 90. He rolls through and statements which if coded could be put into an “if” statement.

    Thinking in code is about choosing how to organize your thoughts into a train of logic. Thought becomes about steps, moving from one to another without skipping a single one.

  2. klhinto says :

    I don’t know anything about coding or computers at all for that matter, but I think the fact that Anwar communicates his thoughts in code shows a lot about his character. It illustrates his exact thought process that we as readers would not get if this book were traditionally written. I also wonder if there is any connection to the way that Astaire’s thoughts are communicated with all of her parentheses, it is not the same as coding, but there is a certain similarity to how their thought patterns occur.

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