:The End:

In our class discussions, Professor Raley mentioned that the opening and closing characters that surround the Narcons’ speech are Braille. The first character means “the” and the other may be either “n” or “not.” Discarding the option of “not” for a second, I realized that if you were to say “the n” out loud, it would sound much like the words “the end.” Danielewski has explored the use of phonetically spelled words in the jingjing chapters, so I wonder, did he mean to surround the Narcons’ speech with the words “The end?”

Because the Narcons know more than we know about the characters or the individual plots, we can assume that they may know what the end of these stories will bring and when that will come. Narcon9 says,

“There is not space in the universe to tell the universe to the universe. Therein lies the peculiar beauty and the sadness of stories: to tell it all without all at all.”

The Narcon may be saying that stories should not tell everything, but be told entirely for the purpose of the act of telling them. That may be why at the end of the novel, we feel as though a bit dissatisfied and feel the need to continue. “The end” is not even close to the end, because this is merely Volume I, but the Narcons have been to it and speak to us with experience, leading us to it.

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2 responses to “:The End:”

  1. logan72015 says :

    This is an interesting take on the Narcons. I could not find the translations of the first character as I was trying to search for it directly. Inserting “⠮” into search engines returned no responses. However, if these are the characters for “the” and “n”, then “the n(arcons)” would be the first recognizable answer to me. However, your explanation could be fully valid as this book holds no punches when hiding its details in ciphers.

    I also took a different meaning from the quote in regards to space in the universe. The quote immediately follows a paragraph that is attempting to explain the enormous amount of data contained in each Narcon subset. He states that the subset “TF-Narcon^9(TOTAL) is too vast to represent.” The program further goes on to explain that the amount of data that is present can be understood or is “finite”, but the physical hardware that is required to store or present the data would be beyond comprehension. The quote you have selected seems to represent that same idea in a different tone. It does this by saying there is not enough space in all of the universe to house the memory that would hold a perfect description of the universe. That was my take away from that quote in its context.

    The actual timeline in the book is hard to locate because it depends on how you interpret the Narcon’s words. If they are saying that the entire book is a simulation, then the Narcons could exist at any time in any part of the universe. If they are collecting data on characters that would existed outside of their programming through observation, then something existed at the time of those events in order to collect the data. Then you could say the Narcons have always been around, hiding in animal forms. They could also exist far after mankind and until the end of the known universe by replicating data. This could go any way because this sort of information did not seem to be addressed in Volume 1.

  2. hfcaldw says :

    An idea of why the author left us dissatisfied: Because life is dissatisfying? The whole book brings us to “compassionate” stories, giving hints of God, and how the universe is just space. Is the author giving us a reading that is dissatisfying on purpose because life can be that way as well? Blending all thoughts and satisfactions/dissatisfaction of the lives in the different stories of TF?

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