Amy's Second Paper Draft

Amy Salce

Ever since 9/11, a particularly traumatic day for Cayce Pollard, she has watched her life change increasingly by the day. In fact, her world has become a fiction, and she has caught herself living the life of a character in a thriller movie or novel. In order to cope with her traumatic experiences on 9/11, she resorts to feeding her soul with art, and leaving any expectations of a normal life behind. Similarly, Nora has undergone physical trauma and copes with it by feeding her soul with the creation of art. Bigend, however, is convinced that souls do not exist. He believes the function of the brain and the center of life should be focused around the body, which one subconsciously feeds through advertisements. The footage that Cayce seeks, however, is much deeper than these advertisements that feed the body and Bigend’s typical commodified work. It is what Cayce and Nora use to heal their souls. In general, Cayce has more profound beliefs about living, while Bigend carries more depthless beliefs.

In the novel, one of the major themes is the interpretation of history. The characters in the novel, particularly Cayce and Bigend, have opposing ideas of history and what will happen in the future. Cayce has a very abstract view of history. She believes that “[the past] simply won’t seem very relevant. (pg.59)” In other words, history can become obsolete. Our past does not need to continue with us into our future and there will be no connection between the two. Cayce experiences an immense amount of trauma on 9/11. However, this day marks the end of history and her traumatic past. Following this day, Cayce gradually erases her past and moves on into the unknown future. As she does this, she notices that not only her own unique life changes, but that “nothing [in the world] is really the same now [since 9/11.] (pg. 203)” Cayce realizes that she should have no expectations for her life to go back to normal, as the world has changed greatly. She’s never imagined herself as “a person to be burgled, followed, [or] assaulted with intent to rob, (pg.203)” and as “out of line” this is, it is what our world has become, and there shouldn’t be any expectations different from this new life. These out of line occurrences should be expected in the future as well, and the past should not be looked upon.

In contrast to Cayce’s abstract view, Bigend has a very concrete view of history. Bigend believes that “we only have risk management. The spinning of the given moment’s scenarios. Pattern recognition. (pg. 59)” In other words, all we have to predict the future is the moment we are currently living in. We have to recognize and decode patterns in our current world, as these patterns and trends will continue in our future. His opinion of history competes with Cayce’s, as it simply skims the surface and is one of the more superficial views of the matter.

Bigend has a very strong opinion about how advertising works. When Cayce tells Bigend that a certain aspect about the footage (that the segments are parts of a whole) is something she “knows in her heart (pg.71),” he does not think this is possible, as the heart is solely a muscle. In his opinion, it is her brain, only, that knows this certain aspect about the footage. Likewise, Bigend believes the brain plays a big part in advertising. He thinks that advertisements, such as logos, are released to the public and over time they subconsciously become familiar to the brain. In addition, people see these logos and they “make us buy things (pg.71)” For an example, a clothing company may advertise on a billboard. Individual brains subconsciously take note of the advertisement and some, eventually, buy the clothes from this company. Essentially, these advertisements feed their bodies by clothing them. Correspondingly, Bigend seeks the footage, as he thinks it is “a work of proven genius (pg. 69),” and has the potential to please or “feed” the public. Bigend knows that if the footage becomes public, he will, of course, make an exorbitant amount of money. Little does he know, the footage is actually a special tool used by Cayce and her friends from FFF. Furthermore, they do not use it to feed their bodies.

At the beginning of the novel, Cayce lived a somewhat normal life that was full of “scouting cool for the commodifiers. (pg. 203)” and using FFF and the footage on a regular basis as a side hobby. Who would have thought that her job would turn into scouting the footage for the commodifiers? Cayce knows that FFF is therapy for her, as it is the solution to erasing her traumatic past. Being hired to find the creator of the footage so it can be released to the public is not something she ever imagined doing. She questions Bigend’s motives, because, if the creator is found, the process of footage creation may be interrupted. Not only would Cayce be left with no solution to erasing the historic trauma that exists in her soul, but she would also ruin the FFF experience for her friends. Cayce agrees to search for the creator, as she has always been personally interested in detecting the mystery of the footage. However, she hopes to prove Bigend wrong in the end by showing him that the footage was created to seek a soul, and not for commodification or corporate use.

Cayce, and Nora, the creator of the footage, have a lot in common in that they have both experienced an immense amount of trauma in their recent pasts. Opposed to Cayce, who has undergone mental trauma, Nora, has undergone physical trauma. Nora’s trauma has caused her body to change greatly. In fact, Nora is a representative of only a soul, without a body. Just like Cayce, trauma has left Nora in a position in which her soul has been weakened, as “the explosion of a ruthlessly simple device has been flung into the very center of Nora’s brain. [Her wounds] are now emerged, accompanied by the patient and regular clicking of her mouse, the footage. (pg. 316)” In other words, in order to cope with the trauma that still exists within, she uses the creation of the footage to discard it. Nora continues to make the footage over an extended period of time so her past becomes fully erased from her mind and soul. It is quite a coincidence that the footage Nora creates to heal her soul is being watched by Cayce, who uses it to heal her soul as well.

Although Bigend has conflicting views with Cayce, he is eventually proven wrong. This occurs after Cayce has accomplished her personal goal of meeting Stella and Nora. Her own goal was much different from Bigend’s or Blue Ant’s, as she did not want to meet the creator for corporate purposes. After Cayce meets the creator and witnesses and watches her produce the footage, the feeling that she receives is one that she can hardly explain. I believe that this feeling is Cayce being one step closer, if not being finished, with the process of abolishing the trauma that lived with her from her past. Cayce feels “she lives now in that story, her life left somewhere behind, like a room she’s stepped out of. Not far away at all but she is no longer in. (pg. 303)” Once Bigend comes to Russia and realizes this, he no longer pursues the footage, as it is clearly not an advertising tool. He now knows the immeasurable effect that it has made on people’s lives, especially Cayce, one who he respects and admires greatly by the end of the novel.

At the beginning of the novel, Bigend was very involved in the new commodified world. Bigend also rejects the heart and soul several times throughout the novel, as his job and goal is to advertise items in order to supply the physical body. Cayce, on the other hand, strays away from the commodified world. Throughout the novel, she stands by her belief that one can heal the past in the future with something they are passionate about. She proves this is possible by utilizing her passion, the footage, to cope with the trauma that still exists in her soul from 9/11 and her father’s disappearance. In addition, Nora creates the footage to deal with the physical trauma and damage to her body. Moreover, she represents a soul without a body, and is still quite successful. In Russia, Bigend recognizes the deep impact the footage has made on Cayce and Nora’s lives, and agrees it does not deserve to be touched. As a result of his experience in Russia, he abandons his old, depthless beliefs.

Peer Review (Will)
First off I would like to say that I think this paper would get a very good grade as it is. The intro did a great job giving a mild overview of the rest of the paper, and it really kept me interested. The only thing I might suggest is on the thesis possibly making it a little more specific. The "In general" seems to not fit but just a suggestion. The quotes were well placed and the numerous amount of them showed you really knew your topic, and the evidence necesarry to support it. I like how you compared/contrasted Bigend and Cayce and then tied it all in at the end. Talking about Nora, I felt like, definitely proved your point about Cayce. The only other thing I might say is maybe to give some points to Bigend abandoning the depthless beliefs. If you do this, I feel like your paper should be complete in terms of presenting everything. Great work!

Peer Revieq (Regan)
This is a very well written paper with all of the proper elements that are required. The quotes you chose from the novel tie in well with the rest of your paper, and I like how you go on to talk about them. You were one the few people who wrote about the history topic and you do a great job by talking about the different views that Bigend and Cayce have on this. I think that you give a perfect example of this when you mention that Cayce believe that the past and the future have no connection and the two don't relate.

This paper seems to flow well but one of the few things that I would suggest is to talk a little bit more about how Bigend believes that history can be made up and that powerful people are the ones who make history up. I think that the part about Nora helps show Cayce's view but you could also expand on the fact that she believes history is absolute and her believes about how footage is a trend. You do seem to talk a lot about their view on the footage and what it means, but you might want to focus in a little more on tying this into how they perceive history. Once again, I feel that this is a very good start and with a little revising, it will be a great paper

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