“Travels in the scriptorium” by Paul Auster Essay

“Travels in the scriptorium” by Paul Auster


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            The novel of Paul Auster resides in very alluring statements wherein the writing strategies, organizations of events, the sequence and appearance of the characters and the whole plot of storyline provide somewhat a diverse storyline - “Travels in the scriptorium” by Paul Auster Essay introduction. The concept of the book, Travels in the Scriptorium, is more like a metaphorical title that connotes the events and the story line of the novel. The simplicity of the literature is indeed present but the complexities of the meaning are far more evident and required to better comprehend the conditions of the novel. In the story, the primary character involves the main who had his amnesia. He forgot everything about his life, his pasts, his relationship and, more importantly, his identity. From the his name, Mr. Blanks relatively woke up in a small room, named as scriptorium, which is more like a modified writer’s room combined with hospital admission facility.

            As with the discussion, the prime importance is to link the concepts embedded within the novel and relate the deep angles present in correspondent to the topic of amnesia. Evidently, aside from the curiously built identity of Mr. Blanks, one of the primary symbols of the storyline is his condition, amnesia. As far as the medical science is concerned, amnesia is the state wherein one’s memory is severed; hence, the individual cannot recall the events storage in his or her brain, but rather always end up with blank information or thought. In the story, the concept of amnesia is more than just the case of medical condition but a symbolism to a deeper sense of interpretation. In the course of the discussion, the primary topic involves the case of Mr. Blanks and the deeper sense of meaning as interpreted by his condition.


            As noted from the very start of the novel, Mr. Blanks woke up in the room without full coherence about which he is and what is he doing in that particular period of time. He woke barely his own self, without no direct or exposed identity, and confused about his history, being and the reasons for his being there. The waking of Mr. Blanks seemingly connoted the blank ideas of a writer’s consciousness in spite of too many orientations and too many things to put into, his mind started out on a blank slate through the condition of amnesia. As far as the novelist is concerned, Paul Auster must have placed the identity of Mr. Blanks as someone who really does not have much of the identity in his own literary form. As his name connotes, the term “blank” and his condition, the blank memory or amnesia are very much intertwined in symbolism.

            Auster’s literary strategy and primary theme exposed in the novel through the condition of amnesia and Mr. Blanks is to start of a character that progress in the storyline towards his own identity. In this context, it is of sense to tell that Mr. Blank really does not have any identity or being at all at the start of the novel. From there on, he noticed detailed parts in his room. He first notices the table and the manuscript in it. The manuscript somewhat symbolizes his detached memory or concept that contains the clues to his identity, and for some perspective, also demonstrate the contrary of representing the blank slate of Mr. Blank’s memory. In the story line, the incidence of amnesia presently manifesting in Mr. Blank’s case have triggered as a block for him to know his own self, and the people around him. Moreover, the case of amnesia has provided Mr. Blank the symbolism of a writer’s mind, wherein the literature starts out as something that is blank and relatively unknown.

            From then on, Mr. Blank began to recognize other identities presented one by one. From the ex-police, nurse, physician, and the other persona that were known to him prior to his amnesia. Little by little, Mr. Banks began to realize the presence of his memory and his identity. The manuscript in his table began to be filled with the different persons that he met not outside the sanitorium, but more inside the four cornered room. He writes down every person that comes in his room, and further exemplifies their existence to his own memory as depicted by manuscript. The author of the book must have utilized this as a symbolism of how novels and how a writer would have created a literary piece. From a blank slate, different scenarios occur, different encounters, and different introduction of experiences occurs. From that point, memories of the past suddenly comes out to intertwine the events of the present; hence, aiding to formulate the concepts of what the writer would have conceived. The state of amnesia in this novel would have an effect on how the characters reveal themselves little by little.

            From the author’s point of view, the symbolism of the events and the characters are very much suited to the manifesting condition of amnesia. The condition is not there to demonstrate impairments of the main character but rather to clothe or hide the actual events and theme of the story. As little memories pop out little by little, the storyline progress, and considering that the characters being placed in the novel are those from other books of Paul Auster. This scenario somewhat demonstrate that the case of amnesia in Mr. Blank’s identity is the interlinking point from various persona of the author’s previous novel. The creativity of the author stands out at this point since he have managed to interlink different characters from different episodes of his novel in one identity, wherein the consistency of the novel is still present.


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            Moreover, the considerations of the artists have provided Mr. Blanks the idea of a symbol of a man’s instinctive indulgence. This type of perspective somehow interrelates to the outside concepts of man’s instinct and behavioral pattern. The main links of this type of symbolism utilizes the sanitorium in its very form, the persona of the novel, Mr. Blanks as the symbol of a man, and the different events that occurred in his life inside. It is more important to exemplify that the governing situation inside the sanitorium is rather pleasure oriented rather than conflict oriented. All the needs of Mr. Blanks are being provided, such as food, clothing, companionship at some point, and even sexual service by the nurse; however, the interaction of Mr. Blanks towards these figures exemplify and symbolizes how the instinct of man play part in the novel. On the other hand, the sanitorium institute as the cage or somewhat a containment of man’s own ideologies and thoughts on how we would rather be kept inside with the pleasures of life.


            In the novel, the primary symbol of amnesia and its main participation is the fact that it hides the events, the characters and the possible transitions in the storyline. As evidently, the storyline progresses in correspondence to Mr. Blank’s memory; hence, as his memory obtains the piece of recall, the story line progresses. In addition, the state of amnesia of the character also portrays the blank slate on how the author writes the novel starting out in a simple very blank state and little by little obtaining information out of the events in life.


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