Jay Mcinerney's Bright Lights, Big City: You Are the Coma Baby

817 Words Oct 15th, 1999 4 Pages
Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City: You are the Coma Baby

The novel Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney relates the tale of a young man working for a prominent newspaper in Manhattan by day, while visiting many bars and nightclubs during the night. He manages to accomplish this through the help of his use of cocaine, to which he is powerfully addicted.
Throughout the novel McInerney employs the use of the Coma Baby, a current story in the New York Post, a local tabloid, as a symbolic representation of the main character. The Coma Baby has been residing in its mother's womb after the mother suffered a car accident and entered a coma. The debate is to whether the
Coma Baby will see the "light of the delivery room". In
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The drugs have completely stolen his motivation towards life. After this, when the main character tries to reason with the Coma Baby about improving his situation, the
Coma Baby plays a deaf-and -dumb routine(line14), highly symbolic of the main character's actions toward those that have been trying to help him. For example, the main character continues to avoid Clara Tillinghast, his boss, in her attempts to bring him to work on time. Suggestions from Wade and Megan about his lifestyle fall on the main character's deaf ears. The main character's attitude toward Clara is shown in the passage when the doctor knocks at the door on line 16 and her voice is that of Clara's saying:"Open up. It's the doctor."
To this the Baby responds with "They'll never take me alive", a clear representation of the avoidance and rebelliousness the main character demonstrates toward Clara. The use of certain language references related to the main character work to further the notion that the Coma Baby is representative of the main character. At the opening of the passage, the main character enters the "Department of
Factual Verification" with the plaque of "L'Enfant Coma" written upon the door.
Inside, two of his colleagues, Elaine and Amanda, are doing lines of cocaine upon a desk while swearing in French. Near the end of the passage the main character answers the phone with "Allô?", the French way of greeting. The usage of the French language associates this entire dream

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