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Validity and Coffins

There are several sections in the book that seem a bit racy and disingenuous as it pertains to the sections of Lupita’s and Power Draws a Crowd. The depictions of violence in the book show up primarily in these two sections. Danielewski portrays the Hispanic characters as violent toward one another and their community. This is also the first section of swear words that we see in the text. In Power Draws a Crowd the criminal of this section is referred to as “The Boot” which can be perceived as an offensive term for someone of a darker complexion. The “bad guys” of the book seem to me to be of other ethnic background aside from white. There is nothing ethically wrong with this I just thought it was worth noting. My next point is the constant mention of the term coffin. Astair mentions an incident that happened with the coffin at Dov’s funeral, she also mentions being “trapped in the coffins of too many dead ideation” (p.115). The coffin then appears in the cemetery, on page 90, mentioned by Xanther “Why is the coffin locked?” The mention of the coffin by Astair and Xanther can infer that it is Dov’s coffin that is being talked about. As I was reading it I almost felt that the constant mention of the coffin would give us Dov’s cause of death. Until the mention of a coffin in Lupita’ even though this was merely a metaphor.

“The Familiar” Podcast!

This post more resembles a discussion “audio blog,” than a podcast. It was recorded by four students from Weber State University. Dylan Davis, Ben Bigelow, Chelsea Maki, and Trevor Byington each bring a topic to discuss with the group. The discussion covers the re-mediation of television, hetero-normatives in “The Familiar,” the “Signiconic,” and the “aesthetic conundrum” the novel has created.

It was recorded on 1/24/2015.

Keep in mind, this was not done in a studio so the audio can be a little spotty. Regardless, we hope you enjoy it!


After reading the “Is Little Irrelevant” chapter, I realized something I hadn’t  stopped to think about before about race. Most of the characters are immigrants. I hadn’t really noticed it before because not all of the characters are foreign, so I didn’t think it would necessarily matter, and only the ones in Los Angeles are immigrants.

And though it’s kind of a cheesy thing, I think it might have something to do with a failed “American Dream” scenario. On page 416, Shnorhk’s friend Mnatsagan says “Pity instead those who labor so hard to uphold a lie. It is such work that robs them of fruitful work the future would bless.” And before that on page 401 Shnorhk thinks to himself that a “judge would believe Mnatsagan. Officer believe Mnatsagan.” You get the strong connotation that foreigners are not treated as well in the United States. I know it probably has nothing to do with the bigger picture, but you can see little bits of this in Anwar’s life, as well as Oezguer’s and Luther’s. That passage just got me thinking about it.

It’s interesting how even through all these complex narratives, Danielewski is able to incorporate a sense of the class division that is meaningful without being to overbearing.