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Breach as a Motif in China Mieville's The City and The City - Essay Example

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Breach as a motif in China Mieville’s The City and the City Professor number Breach as a motif in China Mieville’s The City and the City China Mieville’s novel, The City and the City talks of the existential crises that are undergone by a detective who is a part of a city, Beszel…
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Breach as a Motif in China Mieville's The City and The City

Download file to see previous pages... Mieville invokes that breach at various points in the novel as a motif that represents the all-pervasive state of the East European states of the Soviet era. These breaches are investigated by a body that itself seems to be a motif that combines in itself the effects of all the motifs of breaches that govern the lives of the people in the novel’s fictional cities of Beszel and Ul Qoma. The journey of Tayodu Borlu, the protagonist of the novel and the detective who seeks to solve the mystery of a murder that serves to frame the story and provide it its thrust, is one that reveals many aspects of modern day life. These range from the lack of freedom that is experienced by people in nation states to the place of man in a universe that may or may not offer explanations. This universe, however, continues to punish its inhabitants for offences the causes of which they may not even know. The lack of knowledge that is shared by the people of Beszel and Ul Qoma is what unites them and gives them a common destiny. The notion of breach refers to an understanding of this unity in ignorance. In this sense, it seems as though the novel points to ignorance as the greatest weapon that is employed by the modern state to express its power and exercise its control over its people. To place them in a state of complete ignorance as to their own condition, accompanied by a fear of the breach makes Mieville’s work closer to a work like V for Vendetta rather than something like The Matrix. Like both these works, the people in the two cities suffer from the fact that their existence is a complex web of lies that is spun by an overarching network of authority. This authority is embodied by the Breach that is able to make a person vanish from the sight of other people. In the context of people who choose to overlook several aspects of life, the notion of a vanished person may refer to somebody who is merely overlooked, much in the same way that Ralph Ellison’s protagonist is, in the book, The Invisible Man. The reasons for the marginality of both are equally absurd and difficult to understand. This is one of the greatest strengths of Mieville’s novel- the fact that it is able to draw allusions to many other major works of fiction that talk of oppressive regimes. His ability to connect his subaltern perspective to other versions of it makes The City and the City a very complex work of fiction. The breach represents a lack of unity. While critiquing the authoritarian regimes that were a part of East European nation states during the Cold War Era, Mieville strikes at the very heart of the philosophy of these nations- the unity of their people in a classless society. He points to the disunity that states sought to perpetrate during this era and the effects that it had on people who had hitherto lived in communities that exchanged ideas and beliefs in a freer society. The lack of freedom that Borlu has in investigating the case owes itself to the lack of unity between the people of the two cities. This can be seen in the attitudes that are expressed initially by his counterpart in Ul Qom, who is cold and condescending towards him. There are, thus, many structures that the state creates for the purpose of perpetuating its own ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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