This work is based on the novel Motherless Brooklyn that was written by Jonathan Lethem in the year 1999. The work is one of the greatest fiction books that are full of fun and classic quest story. This book talks of a complete and a reluctant hero who initially was suffering from Tourrete Syndrome. This disorder makes the victim to shout or often scream especially using obscene phrases. Lionel Essrog is the main character in the book and has been portrayed as a protagonist in the whole novel. Despite of his disorder and orphanage since he was young, he is able to lead detective team of the murder of their boss (Jonathan pg 56). He is portrayed as hero at the end as a he face monks and crooks of all types especially the one that they were rescued with from St Vincent's Home for Boys.
Lionel is great character who touches many people in the way he does his things. He is compulsive and rearranges objects with great obsession of finding the underlying cause of his mentor's death. To the world, he is seen as someone who does not tolerate injustices, incongruous and is capable of disrupting everything to ensure that he get what he need in life. Nevertheless, he has been a victim of its disorder where has to live it repercussion.
Theme of control
Due to the disorder Tourette syndrome that the Lionel is suffering from, he gets him self in a controlled place in the St. Vincent Home for Boys. In this place, he is unfamiliar with so many things as things here are done according to predetermined laws. This controlled nature continue until his rescue from the center by Minna. According to Jonathan pg 35, Minna became Lionel mentor as he introduced him to the outside world of Brooklyn. This shows how the center controlled his life to a verge of not realizing his surrounding. The book says, "But it's in an older Brooklyn where he found his identity and purpose" meaning that he had been in control for a long time.
So many peculiar aspects surround the main character who is Lionel Essrog by looking at her life. By being portrayed as suffering from this peculiar disorder, he bears character which most of the people are left not to understand. Therefore, his Tourettic condition seems to control his life as it have to a certain significance determined his destiny. This disorder has take control of his life so much that he did things that himself could not have done if normal. This is because he could tap on people shoulder, shout and even at time back. This this shows the level at which the disorder has taken control of his social life.
According to Jonathan pg 89, this novel was written in line with a tradition structure detective story. Nevertheless, the condition that Lionel is succumbing separates the whole work from crime fiction tradition. It is evident from the novel that Lionel internal situation that leave him being controlled for all his life tends to address the postmodern American society who tries to shout, cry as well as behave queerly to find a coherent solution of their stable identity in the modern world.
From the title of the book Motherless Brooklyn relates peculiar social cultural elements that have existed for a long time between blacks and whites. Some of these cultural differences are experienced in terms of language that is used by the white which, according to the black has not existed in their culture. According to Jonathan pg 113, social-culture differences that exist and brings identity problem are especially street games among others that are present in Brooklyn in real life. These social cultural lifestyles has been cited to affect the black people very much. They try to assimilate them therefore being controlled by these foreign cultures in their life.
The writer through using the title Motherless Brooklyn, the title acts as his backdrop in trying to narrate the difficulties that are experienced by the black people as they try to intermingle with the whites due to control that they succumb. From the novel, this can be well demonstrated where Lionel describe Danny Fantl who was the most likely heir of Minna as, "an out-of-work mortician" as he was neither black nor white. This was because Minna have taken advantage of them by controlling them through imposing them in committing crimes in the name of rescuing them.
According to the novel, the social cultural control is still vivid where the writer tries to show that in Brooklyn, there are rules that are to be followed. These rules are thought of when people are dealing with different cultures (Jonathan, pg 77). The book says that there are many prejudices in this place especially making people become prone to control. Nevertheless, the people here blend cultures that cannot be found anywhere else. The book quotes, "It was a form of racism, not respect that restricted blacks and Asians from every being stupid like a Mick or a Polack. If you weren't funny you didn't quite exist." This show the social-cultural control that at certain race was subjected to in Brooklyn.
There are different styles used in the novel. Some of them are discussed below.
The writer has adversely used this style especially where the narrator Lionel uses personification in describing his neurological disorder. By trying to show his disorder, he says that he should be dressed up and one will see that he is a carnival barker. Due to the disorder that he was suffering from, he was used to bark like a dog. Therefore, as he tries to narrate this, he personifies himself with a carnival.Another example of personification is where he relates his jaw muscles beating like a miniature heart under his cheek. He says that his words escaped silently (Jonathan, pg 101). Words are seen as things that have life and can be in a position to escape.
This style incorporate the reader with the story subject making them more involved. It also makes as to learn the kind of the torture that Lionel was undergoing through his neurological disorder. Through his narration also, Tourrete as well as trauma which had been previously been enclosed only in the field of medicine and few people new about them are brought in light as well as their symptoms.
Use of metaphors
Several metaphors are used in the narration of the story. An example of a metaphor that shows itself as Lionel tries to tell the predicament of his disorder is that, "though mostly I whisper or subvocalize like I'm reading aloud." He tries to show the way this disorder makes him shout loudly as he is reading though it is not his fault (Jonathan, 56). He continue narrating his problem by saying, "In this diminished form the words rush out of the cornucopia of my brain to course over the surface of the world, tickling reality like fingers on piano keys."
These metaphors that he uses for example tickling reality like fingers on piano, makes us understand his predicament through the getting the real touch of common things that reader can understand. This makes the narrator to incorporate fully the reader in the symptoms of the neurological disorder and understand it in the nonprofessional language. It also makes the story interesting.
Criticism of the book
Though Lionel is said to be sensitive to finer details, he can be depicted to have been given a more ambiguous character. The reason was that he was suffering from the neurological disorder that would make his audience incorporative as he investigated the cause of death of Manni. On the onset, he seem to be so vulnerable of circumstances as people tend to marginalize him due to the disorder that he is suffering from, therefore, it makes it obviously hard to carry out a comprehensive investigation.
It is beyond logic and a very high level of fiction whereby one person is a victim of circumstances at all level. Lionel parents both died and he suffered fro the neurological disorder. Due to this his predicament still continued as he was left to be alienated to the rest of the world in the name of being rescued and be taken to St Vincent Home for Boys(Jonathan, pg 31). In addition, even after being rescued from the home, the person he say as his mentor and savior later dies leaving him with all the problems to uncover his cause of death. Looking at this chain form of problem, we get some literal problem with the writer as he took this fiction too far.
Though the book has been developed as a fiction, it has turned as very aspiring story where Lionel is portrayed as a person who despite of his predicament he never gives up. We see him endorsed a very big role that creates an urge to al the readers to read this novel to unravel what will happen. The book discusses tradition and culture in a very comic manner. This is a style that turns out to be very good of conveying message that the writer need to tell the whole society. By use of the title Motherless Brooklyn, he first creates a backdrop of his story to especially those who understand the lifestyle and social cultural aspect of the place. Therein, he creates a good catch on readers to get the themes that he wants to address. This makes the book an excellent literal work.