Monday, May 21, 2007

"Perhaps, unlike the Institute's gamma lasers, the glove did change who you were. He certainly did not feel like the same person he'd been... three minutes ago? Years and monsters and ages and cultures and kilometers and feelings ago? 'I read Sand and The Sands and Lyrikz...' and when he'd recited a dosen titles, she stopped him with a laugh." (Delany, 44)

In this part of the novel, Rat Korga is educated through the technology of the glove, which allows him to read whole books in a few seconds. I personally found this section of the novel to be one of the most touching and engaging parts of the whole novel. It seems to me that this few pages are Delany's way of expressing his love for literature, and his feelings about his own education. Rat Korga's eyes are opened by the literature. In a few minutes he learns history and philosophy and a love for his own planet, things he was never able to think about before. Not only does the glove seem to make up for the RAT process, it actually compensates for Rat's mental weaknesses, which was what made him unhappy in the first place.

The glove changes Rat, and when it is taken away, he is left dissatisfied, an emotion he is not supposed to feel. Later in the novel it says that Rat begins wearing one work glove, as if in his diminished state he is trying to reach again for the knowledge. It is the knowledge that makes Rat human, and able to function and understand the world around him. I think that this part of the novel is also Delany's commentary on the importance of knowledge, especially to black americans. It seems that Delany is playing off of WEB Dubois' argument that blacks need to seek out a higher education, so that they will be able to challenge whites on every issue.This part of the novel also reminds me of the traditional slave narrative, in which a slave is somehow taught to read and write, and how that only awakes feelings of dissatisfaction and a need to challenge authority. It seems that by keeping the RATs uneducated and in essence stupid (although we are led to believe that Rat Korga is one of the stupidest) they are also being kept under control.

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