Friday, September 20, 2013

Comments on Edgerton/DADES, week 2

Post your questions/thoughts as comments to this post. Again: a paragraph is fine, or a couple if you feel so moved. You are posting on a question, problem or topic of your choice. Citing a particular passage is recommended but not required.

15 comments:

Adam Lewis said...

Did anyone else think the book took a series of quick swings after the death of Luba Luft? It seemed to me that the first half of the book was slower and more calculated in setting things up and telling the story then it just took off after the museum. Rick goes very quickly from wanting to destroy androids to loving an android. That whole scene with Rachael Rosen in the hotel room took me completely by surprise, it seems like a leap to develop empathy for androids and then almost immediately make the comment "I would marry you if I could."

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised; Afterall, the book does take place in a single day so what's a few more swings in a 24 hour period?

I also found the interaction with Mercer to be interesting. He seems almost an anti-religous figure. Do evil because you have to and don't worry about it. Your deity drinks whiskey and his struggle is completely typecasted. And then Rick is Mercer, he's permanently fused with Mercer, he's not Mercer. What?

I found the ending to be a bit unsatisfying too, it didn't quite seem to wrap things up for me.

So I guess overall I liked the book, but that second half seemed a bit cluttered and disorienting at times.

Ronald Rollins said...

I think, if anything, Mercer is meant to be a genuine person but a cult of personality builds around him that suggests he's absolutely divine. It's similar to real religious figures. Many like to think Gautama Buddha was a flawless individual who can lead them to divine post-existence of no suffering and taught us to reject life entirely, yet he abandoned his wife and kids and advised followers to find a middle ground on everything, not utter rejection. Moses sinned and wasn't allowed into Israel. Jesus flipped over tables and drove people out of the temple.

Mercer, in a way, seems to be a more Hindu figure. Never fully dying, never fully ascending, and doomed to be reborn forever. Another similarity is in the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna advises his followers to do the duty they were born to do whether or not they like it. In that situation, the duty was fighting a war against their own people. As much as Deckard hates killing androids/constructed humans, that's his job and nobody can do it as well as him. The parallel there is pretty strong. Considering the 60s was a time of psychedelics and "new age"/eastern philosophy, it doesn't seem unlikely that PKD was doing this intentionally.

Joseph Hastings said...

I have to say, I went into the second half of the book with very high hopes because I found the first half so interesting. The second half of the book went in every which direction with very bizarre events happening. After finishing the book however, I am very disappointed with the ending. I found it a little confusing and the ending was not what I expected at all.

Carl Santavicca said...

I too was disappointed with DADES. I thought although his writing style, while not difficult to read like Shelly's, was a little like having a five year old tell you how their day went. It was basically a series of events rattled off in the third person which makes it more difficult for the reader to relate to the characters. I was also disappointed with the ending and quite honestly a little confused with the whole Rick becoming Mercer incident. The ending also left me hanging with no real sense of resolution to the story; this is not an author that I would read again unless required.

Brianna R. Pinckney said...

The second half of DADES left me frustrated and at times confused. The first half the characters' actions and thoughts seemed calculated and thought out whereas in the second half it resembled a run on sentence that never ended. Since the narration wasn't in first person, following the character's story line was difficult.

I'm also confused about the "fusion" of Rick and Mercer. However I was not surprised when Mercer revealed his true self.

Tolu Dayo said...

I think that the first half of DADES left me expecting that the second half would be just as good, but I just found the story line loosing direction, like everything was just happening too fast, and also that he didn't allow some of the story lines to build out fully

Caleb Radomile said...

As others has said, I really don't know what to think about the second half of the book. Whereas I actually enjoyed and understood the first half for the most part, the second half just left me asking questions. Was Rick literally going crazy? Cheating on his wife, believing himself to be Mercer and hallucinating seeing him, going to the middle of no where to, as far as I can tell, kill himself. I can't connect the dots as to how this fits into the story. Also, what would compel Rachael to kill Ricks goat? I know androids can't feel empathy, but I thought her and Rick were getting along well enough. I'm really looking forward to discussion this week to clear everything up.

Jason Wald said...

I guess reading through this a second time in an academic setting gave me an advantage when dealing with the ridiculous ending of this book. I want to focus however on the spider scene. Without a doubt it is one of the more 'philosophical' scenes (PKD sending his message/main point) in the book. I think there's a lot to say about the total and complete lack of empathy shown by the androids. since so much of the novel's ideas focus on the definition of humanity. it is refreshing to see a relatively strong example of what humanity is *not*.

Abby Peters said...

I, too, found the second half of DADES to be a bit of a letdown. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, once I got past the initial confusion of the technological terms, and was looking forward to the second half. The second half I found confusing in a different way. I found myself wondering about the motivation of the characters and often felt as though I missed something.
Also, why did the Rosen Association want to create undetectable androids? Earlier in the book they were almost forced to stop making them because no test could distinguish them and then they send Rachel out to discover the minor differences. It makes no sense to me.

Sarah Ayre said...

I almost wish I had read this book before so that I would have had some idea of what to expect from the book. All of my classmates comments seem to mirror the frustration and confusion I felt at the ending of the book. After being so into the first part of the book and really looking forward to the upcoming reading, I was shocked and disappointed. The plot changes were confusing and have me wondering exactly what Philip K Dick was trying to say when he wrote this novel. Although knowing now his past problem with drugs, maybe that clarifies why the ending was as surprising as it was? I just am left feeling pretty unsatisfied overall.

Carmen Condeluci said...

The fusion of Rick and Mercer left me with an uneasy feeling as well. From the point which Mercer appears to him, alerting him of Pris coming up the stairs behind him, he continually claims that he actually is Mercer. This, combined with Buster Friendly's denouncement of Mercerism, make the ending incredibly confusing. All the characters are questioning their faith, yet Rick believes that he is one with their deity, so much so that he feels compelled to wander around in a radioactive wasteland.

Somehow, within just the last few chapters, PKD seems to try to shift the entire focus of the novel from Rick's experience and the androids to purely Mercerism. It's a bit jarring, to say the least, and the appearance of Mercer out of thin air just adds to it. I had to read that page twice just to understand that Mercer was just "there" rather than the construct of the empathy box. The first half of the book was very enjoyable, but I found the second half to be cluttered, confusing, and rushed "wrap-up" of all the novel's themes.

ajq5623 said...

Like many of my others I'm having a hard time with the ending of DADES. Besides the fact that it seems rather discontinuous and confusing, I really couldn't help thinking at many points that the narrative just wasn't working. I was constantly asking questions like pertaining to the motivations behind different characters' actions or thoughts. There was a lot of high level talk that seemed to be grasping at meaning but the narrative didn't support it. Particularly I am very confused why Rick would sleep with Rachel Rosen or why he chose to drive to Oregon. I think some of this misunderstanding comes from not carefully reading into certain sections but I also believe that at the very least the general narrative should support the characters thought process. I'm hoping to clear some of this up in class.

Matthew Schroeder said...

A lot of people are talking about how confusing the second half of the book was, and I agree to an extent. The bits about Mercer appearing kind of threw me off guard, seeing as he is a dead guy. But in the end, I like the way everything was wrapped up. Isidore's comment about Mercer and Buster Friendly warring over humanity's "psychic souls" turned out to be completely true. It's interesting because the whole novel we are following Deckard and his story, which is really just an anecdote exemplifying the larger struggle between Friendly and Mercer for the minds of all of humanity. Even Deckard's internal struggle reflects this overarching conflict. Throughout the novel he fluctuates between believing androids should be treated differently than humans, like Mercer's teachings imply, and believing that they could be treated as essentially human, like Buster Friendly wants the world to believe. I just thought it was cool that we are presented this conflict through Deckard, but by the end of the novel we realize that the very same struggle is happening on a much larger scale.

Luv Purohit said...

The second half of the book left me feeling uneasy. The author really puts you into a place of confusion towards the end of the book which may have been his goal. Particularly when Mercer warned Rick of Pris's approach, I did not understand how this would have happened if Mercer was in fact not real. The spider scene left me the most uneasy due to its sheer vividness as well as the mental pain JR was going through. It made me throw out the idea that androids were empathetic even moreso than humans. The wickedness in Pris's words and actions really made me and probably most reader's uncomfortable

Adam Lewis said...

In reference to the spider I had two things come to mind. I don't place much on the lack of empathy for a spider as I know spiders. I dislike spiders, they're creepy and there are millions/billions/trillions of them so I don't hesitate to step on them. However, I had to immediately rethink that in terms of the world of the novel.