10:04 and Change

Throughout the novel, Lerner’s narrator has a complicated relationship with change and the future. He recognizes that our lives have multiple futures, but that possibility and uncertainty of which future his life will take makes him uncomfortable. One of the earliest examples of this is when the narrator and Alex are at the museum looking at the Joan of Arc painting. The narrator says, “It’s as if the tension between the metaphysical and physical worlds, between two orders of temporality, produces a glitch in the pictorial matrix” (Lerner 9). These two examples, the painting and the narrator’s thought of Back to the Future, show that these futures that both works are unsure of still affect the characters. They are being drawn to this future that doesn’t exist yet, just like the narrator is with Alex and their potential baby. The thought of this baby and what the future with a baby holds for the narrator give him this feeling that he is connected to his future, though it is not concrete. Another example of this is the ending of the novel. Here the narrator is explaining things happening in the future. He says, “I am looking back at the totaled city in the second person plural. I know it’s hard to understand / I am with you, and I know how it is” (Lerner 240). The narrator’s point of view of the city has changed by the end of the book and he recognizes that it will change in the future. He also is recognizing here that this change is a difficult thing to comprehend for people, because it was for him but the important thing is that people recognize that you can’t prevent change. Change is always happening because the future will never will be the present and no person can treat it as such.

-Brianna Washington

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