Reality and Illusion

1812 Words Jan 31st, 2018 7 Pages
The boundaries between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ are no longer clear, because identity is socially constructed. In White Noise and Nights at the Circus, characters such as Sophie Fevvers and Jack Gladney have fabricated personas, and they exaggerate these roles so that their audiences cannot tell the difference between what the characters perform and their ‘true’ nature. There are many Matryoshka principles in Nights at the Circus, adding many layers of fiction to the story. This emphasizes the constructed identities of the characters by the authors and the characters themselves. This essay will examine how performance, mise-en-abyme, fabulation, and hyperreality all indicate how identity is constructed. In Nights at the Circus and White Noise, the audience is not supposed to be able to tell whether the characters are performing a certain role. Instead, they tend to step into a role, as if this is their ‘true’ nature, but they know what is adorned. In Nights at the Circus, when Walser meets Fevvers, he runs through diverse processes of belief and disbelief as he talks to and observes her. When he is watching her on the trapeze, he starts as quite rational, he “whimsically reasoned” with her status as a winged woman and analyzes her anatomy in a scientific manner comparable to Darwinism “by all the laws of evolution and human reason” . He represents the typical,…
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