In Regards to Chapter 9 through Chapter 13 of
Walter Mosley's Blue Light
28 January 1999
Before I go forward, I shall go backwards to discuss the matters my classmate introduced. First, there was the state Grey Man left Phyllis. I didn't really see any parallels between Grey Man's state in his cave and the state Grey Man left Phyllis in. True, Grey Man was in a rather awkward and dysfunctional state, but he was still in one piece, physically anyway. To try to ascribe anything to this seems to be pushing things... if Mosley wanted to create a parallel he should have used similar descriptions to make that intent obvious. Phyllis, though also dysfunctional seemed very different in that her body was almost completely obliterated. I don't know why the bottoms of her feet might have been left intact, but this didn't really impress me as meaning much either.
On the other hand, I thought our classmate did bring up a good point in regards to Regie and his reaction to the light. Regie seemed to take everything as it was very casual because he was still young yet, so he did not have the memories of a lifetime of something different to compare it to.
Perhaps, if we wish to insist that this book is attempting to deal with racism issues (which seems possible enough, though that it may be intended, though the message seems weak and foolishly hidden - if it is there], we can relate this to the way that racism is taught to people and people may ignore race if they are not taught to make an issue of it. But I'm not very convinced that Mosely was trying to make any such statement and I only see this since we talk so much about race in relation to this book; without such discussions, I would never have seen this.
In regard to "imagined blackness", I totally didn't see that and am not convinced that it is there. To me, it was just showing that he found a new way of looking at the world... an instant path to nirvana of sorts. It is arguments of the sort that this innocent passage had anything to do with racism that assures me that literary criticism is the fine art of bullshit. Worse, it is the fine art of a coward's bullshit. A brave person would stand up and say "This is what I believe". It is a coward who looks around for pathetic excuses to say "This is what I believe X is saying" so they can spread their own message without taking much credit for it.
More talk about blood. I'm not going to talk about it. It bores me. I don't buy the reading blood. I don't buy the race issues of blood.
Re: Stifling children's imaginations. Yeah, many parents are probably guilty of that... but it just didn't seem so big a deal when I read it...
Infidelity... his point of view might have interested me, if only it wasn't old hat. William S. Burroughs walks in on his wife in Naked Lunch with the same casual attitude. And free love, swingers, and libertines have been around long before Blue Light, so this isn't really as if the Blue Light gave him a new concept or a new reality.
Truth - Prisoners die, power prevails. Old news. Next topic?
Butterflies.... Somehow I thought the scene was more ridiculous than horrific... maybe if I was actually ever attacked and bitten by a butterfly rather than simply admired their beauty, I might be a bit more impressed.
I think there was also a problem in this passage because it is so abrupt, shows no reaction from Ester and has no epilog: She stands there. She is cover in butterflies. Nothing. No mention if she panics, lives, dies. Nothing.