The Cover Page

As you look at the title page of the book Zero History, you can visualize what seems to be train tracts. The train tracts symbolize the history and paths that led to the character’s eventual present. 

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On the cover of the book, the train tracts start off rough relatable to the lives of Hollis, Milgrim and even Heidi. For Hollis, she wasn’t making any money and had to result to working for her ex boss and someone she did not like at all. She also finds out that her old boyfriend almost died in a building jump. Clearly her life was going through a major rough patch. As for Milgrim, he is a recovering drug addict All his problems are behind him. His past life was nothing but rough, which led to a rough start to his rejuvenated life. Heidi also begins in a dark place as she is recently separated. But as their journeys continue the road begins to smooth, as shown in the cover. Heidi gets over her ex and finds Ajay, Milgrim reinvents himself while finding Fiona and Hollis finally rids herself of Bigend and rekindles her love with Garreth. And they all lived happily ever after, because they fought through those hard times.

For a cover that doesn’t truly represent one simple aspect of the book, but of many different ideas based on your point of view. I saw the cover as the paths the characters took, from rough to smooth, showing what a little perseverance can do in the long run.

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Beating The Drums

     While reading Zero History through a feminist lens, I really focussed on the characters of Heidi and Hollis. Their characteristics are quite different and it is shown repeatedly throughout the novel.  An interesting aspect is their past band role and how it reflects and represents their character extremely well. In this post we look take a closer look at drummer Heidi.

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     The character Heidi is introduced in the story as Hollis’ ex drummer and friend in the band Curfew. When she appears in novel for the first time she is an absolute wreck. She flew over to see Hollis and is jet lagged. To make matters worse she is coming out of a relationship with her husband, whom she only refers to as “f**ksticks”.  That, along with the multiple use of the “F” word to vent her frustration demonstrates her immaturity and inability to cope with situations. As the novel continues, it is revealed that Heidi is a gym nut, who spars and trains with strong men. These characteristics contribute to her aggressive and masculine nature. This explains why the drums are the perfect instrument for her. If you consider which instrument an aggressive person would enjoy most in a band; being able to smash some anger out on the drums makes sense.

     The drummer role that Heidi’s past contains gives evidence of her aggressive behaviour. The author chose this role for her, because it relates to her character. It may be a small part of the story, but for rock enthusiast like us here at Reading Rocks, it truly can help us relate and increase our understanding of Heidi the drummer.

Judging Insanity

As the character Milgrim begins to develop, a very interesting and important aspect is revealed about him. He is a recovering addict. This factor about his past seems to shape him. It controls his past and will determine his future. Today we will discuss the possibly insane Milgrim.

 

Similar to Hamlet, Milgrim is viewed by others as bizarre or possibly crazy in the beginning of the novel. As he should be, he is awkward, strange and recovering from drug addiction. Even the reader is faced with the question of his sanity, which is quite comparable to Hamlet. Throughout the play, Hamlet’s sanity is continually questioned through his choice of actions. As Zero History continues, Milgrim’s decisions and thoughts create that sense of “is this guy for real”, quite like Hamlet’s. When Milgrim begins to get nervous and feels like he’s being watched, Hollis believes that his past is coming back to haunt him causing him to lose it. Based on Milgrim’s zero history past as described in the novel, this thought seems quite accurate. Of course an ex drug addict is going to react differently and strangely. Although he takes these extra precautions and acts weird, he is right. He was right about the officer taking his picture and the person following them. Also the mysterious floating penguin turned out to be one of Bigend’s devices. Therefore how can one accuse Milgrim of being insane? Weird and a bit awkward, yes, but classifying him as insane would be quite a hard argument to prove.

 

I believe that these events and sequences are created to test Milgrim’s sanity and the views of other characters on him. It is a sub plot that will battle with him as the story continues and as it grows bigger it will shape his choices. They are tests to see if he can cope with the world after his history and create a future that can help him overcome his past.

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Usually on Reading Rocks my posts are related to rock and roll songs, but today we’re changing things up. Instead of relating the possibility of Milgrim’s quest for self to a song, we’ll relate it to Carl Hauser’s (Douglas Quaid) quest for self in the movie “Total Recall”. Enjoy!

The Introduction of Milgrim

For my 4U English summative, our class must read a book and blog about it. The novel that I chose is called Zero History, by William Gibson.  

When I began reading this novel a certain moment in Chapter 4 made me stop and think.  Although this is relatively still part of the introduction, it caused me to believe that what was said will foreshadow greater meaning as the story continues. In the forth chapter the character Milgrim flashes back to a scene where he is talking to his therapist. As of now you know very little of Milgrim, but during even (numbered) chapters the story is told through his perspective. Near the end of the flashback his therapist concludes her thoughts and these thoughts lead me to believe in possible foreshadowing.

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 “You were incomplete when they brought you here. You are somewhat less incomplete now, but your recovery is necessarily a complexly organic process   If you are very fortunate, it will continue for the rest of your life.  ‘Recovery’ is perhaps a deceptive word for this.  You are recovering some aspects of yourself, certainly, but the more important things are things you’ve never previously possessed.  Primary aspects of development.  You have been stunted, in certain ways.  Now you have been given an opportunity to grow.” (38)

 

When I read this passage, all I could think about was Gogol’s quest for self. Could Milgrim follow in Gogol’s footsteps and spend the entirety of the story searching for self? In the novel The Namesake the main character Gogol spends his life trying to find his true identity and after reading his experiences it made me wonder if Milgrim would follow the same in his footsteps.

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Although I could be wrong, I find the quest for self quite intriguing and if this foreshadows Milgrim’s future in the novel then ill be anxious to see if he can do what Gogol could not and find his true self.    

Comedic Relief

The play Hamlet can be described as dramatic, violent and romantic. It is not a comedy, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t comedy involved in the play. Although the play is designed to be a tragedy, the creation of the characters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, help brighten the mood in the play.

 

I am a huge fan of comedy. Don’t get me wrong action and horror movies are great as well, but they also always seem to have some comic relief throughout the film. This is similar to Hamlet, in the aspect that the play is a tragedy with the comic relief of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Their role in the play is to spy on Hamlet, but for the audience, their role is to create laughter and brighten the mood. 

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When the two are introduced into the movie version, they are horsing around on the train. Right away they create a sense of humor for the audience to enjoy. It’s a good change to the mood of death and revenge. In class when my friend and I read the lines of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, we used English accents to create some laughter in the classroom. We tried to humor the class and change up the mood as appose to the dry monotone reading that most kids do when reading plays, because lets be honest, which teenagers are excited to read plays about a bunch of crazy people killing each other and themselves 400 years ago.  

 

Just like in our class, Shakespeare uses these characters to shake things up and lighten up the play. Although it may be a small amount, creating that sense of comedy can really attract different audiences and change the mood of the play to something much more enjoyable.