Passage Two Examination

On pages twelve and thirteen of “The Girl Who Was Plugged In”, Delphi has quickly risen to fame. She has caught the interest of fans, and in turn, she has caught the interest of companies who wish to use her for advertising. This makes her supervisor very happy, who sees it as an opportunity to get better gigs.

This passage seems relatively tame compared to certain sections in the rest of the story. There is no grotesque imagery; no one is being openly hurt or manipulated. Out of context, this could all be seen as positive: Delphi is advancing in her career, hooray, hooray! However, a deeper look at the text reveals that it is not all as it seems.

The first sentence is filled with words that, if not read over again, could have been missed or ignored. “Here come the tests…” it begins. “Test” as if this were some kind of trial period for Delphi, as to see what she could really accomplish with her potential stardom. But what would happen if she were to fail this test? Delphi’s “button-nose” is described, a popular phrase to describe a cute nose – looking up “button” I discovered a definition that was “something of small value”. A button-nose, a term associated with appealing physical features, along with another definition, signalling that her appearance means little. What does it matter if Delphi is appealing if the mind who controls her is wasting away in a physical form that is far from the standard of beauty? And finally the “torrent of news and entertainment”, a torrent being a strong, often overwhelming and violent, stream of water heading in a certain direction. This is perhaps the start of the unstoppable swirl of circumstances that whisk her away.

When Delphi is given a suncar, it is said that she is a “tiger” trying them out. The first association I made with this was one of confidence and strength. You often hear the phrase, “go get ’em, tiger!”, and it corresponds with actively getting what you want. But this positive spin is stripped of its meaning in this circumstance. Delphi is not the wild thing she is perceived to be. She is the circus animal, trained and domesticated to perform tricks. While she still has the illusion of strength, the tamer is behind the curtain, holding the whip.

– Sydney

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2 responses to “Passage Two Examination

  1. Incorporating the association between “button” and “small value” was absolutely enlightening, and you explained the connection to P. Burke very well. I thought that your points here were articulated splendidly and had very deep meaning.
    The only area I spotted that could use some build-up was your fleeting comments about the connotation of “torrent.” Rather than just mentioning the “swirl of circumstances that whisk her away,” go a bit more in depth in these circumstances. Are you referring to the world of celebrity life as a whole, which consumes her in the rush of buy, buy, buy, or are you speaking of the emergence of Paul in the story? Besides this small hitch though, I thoroughly enjoyed your analysis.

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  2. I agree with lyount2014 (sorry I don’t know who you are by the user name) about the button-nose interpretation. While I initially took it as something that referred to youth and superficiality, I didn’t think about the low value of a button or how that relates to the devaluation of women in comparison to men in our society, so that’s a really neat and insightful way to look at it. I also like how you found tiger to represent a prop for amusement being controlled by a master or a ringleader, which was similar but slightly different to how I interpreted it. I would have liked to see a little more depth to the analysis though (why are these things important rather than just what they mean), but it is otherwise a very good interpretation.

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