Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Who Is Enoch Root I

Root goes around with a clawhammer, driving in sixteen-penny nails with sure, powerful, Carpenter-of-Nazareth-like strokes.


Blogger Bret said...

Given that he seems to be dead at one point and alive again at a later point (though past the assigned reading so far), and seems awfully mystical, I was seeing him as a Jesus like figure at points. But I really don't see why it fits the rest of the story.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

There are other clues that point that way (which I confess didn't really click with me until the end--the book does demand a re-read). When we meet him he tells Shaftoe he lives on the mountain with "the good people" he may introduce him to some day and that he "sends messages". Towards the end he says his difficulties with the Church are "a long story".

Assuming we are right, what is interesting is how he is portrayed. He seems to me to be 50% Dostoevskian (too respectful of everybody's freedom to actually tell them what to do)and 50% California/new age cool (he's lost in some spiritual miasma he never tries to explain, but he urges in the end that the gold be used for hospitals and schools). However, surely his ambiguous involvement with the story of the fair Julia is a problem for this whole thesis.

Bret, one answer may be that I see a major theme of this book being how narrow the mental space of all these genius' is and how spiritually crippled they are--almost to the point of dysfunction. Root plays the Lone Ranger.

3:53 AM  
Blogger David said...

We shouldn't be too literal. Root is clearly a godlike character, but the world of the book is not our world. He isn't necessarily Jesus. (Although he does go from jail to Golgotha.)

8:26 PM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

Gee, David, have you ever considered a new career as a postmodern theatre director? We have this godlike character whose life and words bear a repeated, uncanny resemblance to Christ's, but this our special world so we're going to make him call square dances or play middle linebacker too, just to keep everybody thoughtful.

6:23 AM  
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