Reading “Stars of the New Curfew” was hard at times. The scenes of the countless victims of Arthur’s “miracle cures” were so vivid that I often cringed. Reading about the women and children whose skin and bodies were deformed from ringworm, malnourishment and another of other ailments was often just kind of gross. Which makes me think, how could Arthur have done it? It is clear that he is not thrilled with his job, or even the state of his life at the beginning of the story. But he still is able to carry on and even gets a certain thrill of the sale. Later, the bus accident caused by POWER-DRUG haunts him, yet the daily grotesque aspects of his life do not bother him as much as I would have though.

 

I think that this plays into the story’s theme of disillusionment. The nightmares Arthur experiences parallel his life in a number of ways. His nightmares seem to get worse as he becomes more aware of the corruption he is playing into. The nightmares are also sometimes directly about the health of his customers. He has dreams were he is being sold as a slave for a very low price, symbolizing that he is maybe questioning his self worth. At the end, he admits that while his bad dreams at night have stop, he feels his life is a nightmare. Just the way in which Okri writes the dream sequences feel very much like the scenes in which Arthur is making a sale, or recounting his past. For example, the event that takes place on the bus is written like a fast paced swirl of activity, with choppy and direct sentences, much like his description of the nightmare on page 92. All of his hazes of drugs, sex, persuasion, memory and overall corruption feel like dream scenes, yet they are events in his life. This confusion/parallel between nightmares and real life maybe a coping method for Arthur, who disconnects from the reality around him and on some unconscious level, thinks of it all as just a dream.

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About kwhudkins

I am a Junior at American University studying Literature and Multi-Ethnic Studies.

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