High Fidelity and Music Essay

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High Fidelity and Music

In High Fidelity, Rob, the protagonist and narrator, says “I find myself worrying away at that stuff about pop music again, whether I like it because I’m unhappy, or whether I’m unhappy because I like it” (168). It is obvious to the reader that Rob has a very strong relationship to pop music but also that this relationship is not as simple as the either-or dichotomy he describes it as. At first, it is an obsession that is almost pathological; by the end, it is an aid to his relationships and his idea of who he is. Rob’s relationship to music helps us understand Rob as a character through the different ways he uses it to interact in his environment – either as a crutch inhibiting his growth or as a way to aid
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It is as if he is saying “here, this is me; this is who I am” so if the woman likes the tape, that means she likes him, which would mean she is condoning who he is, which in turn would cause him to weave the music that got this approval even more closely into his sense of self. Thus Rob is defined by music and women he dates rather than through his own eyes. One gets a better idea of this when Rob and Laura are arguing and Laura says she doesn’t like music as much as she used to. Rob says, “But you see... That’s all there is of me. There isn’t anything else. If you’ve lost interest in that, you’ve lost interest in everything. What’s the point of us?” (265). Here Rob is basically admitting that he is using Laura to condone a definition of himself that has been created by, that entirely consists of, music. If she can’t do that anymore, there is no point of the relationship.

Another example of this is when Rob wants to sleep with Marie. The pathological aspect of this is that part of the reason he is attracted to her is that he has always wanted to sleep with a musician. This would be like circumventing the process of defining himself with music and then getting a woman to condone this definition and just getting a definition and an approval from the same source. The reader can see how Rob mingles music with Marie’s personality when he says, “She describes the set-up and her knock-back with wisdom and honesty and a dry,
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