Mumbo Jumbo

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‘Mumbo Jumbo,’ is a novel through which Ishmael Reed reveals how marginalized historical voices express themselves. The work covers a range of these marginalized historical voices as expressed in the text through content and form. In his novel, Ishmael uses the Harlem Renaissance, and jazz age to undermine the instrumental reason as well as, to show how the western Metaphysics and novel construct. The novel began in the form of a film where the action only starts in the Media before the title page. The marginalized historical voices are evident through the detective technique used whereby; there is a confrontation between African Centric thought and European culture. In the middle, of his writing he inserts an eruption called ‘Jes Grew’ which he associates with the practices of African dance and religion which is not well defined when he says “Jes Gres %u2015knows no class no race no consciousness.” (Reeds 5)

A Muslim character by the name Abdul Hamid, tries to convince other people that the only way for black to unite and prosper is by promoting one religious platform, which is Islam through believing in Allah (Reed 42). He believes that the only way they can win is through their religion because according to the Americans winning means the translation of beliefs into land, power, and money. “Hamid says: If we Blacks came up with something as corny as the Angel of Moroni, something as trite and phony as their story that the book is the record of ancient Americans who came here in 600 B.C. and perished by A.D. 400, they would deride us with pejorative adjectival phrases like so-called’ and ‘would-be’” (Reeds 42).

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Further, Abdul Hamid suggested that people subjected to the Academic training of Eurocentric, remained captive because of the illusions of its universal truths and necessity. He said “I always wondered why the teachers just threw knowledge at us when we were in school, why they didn‘t care whether we learned or not. I found that the knowledge, which they had made into a cabala, stripped of its terms and the private codes, its slang you could learn in a few weeks. It didn‘t take 4 years, and the 4 years of the university were set up so that they could have a process by which they would remove the rebels and the dissidents. By their studies and rituals of academics, the Man has made sure that they are people who will serve him” (Reed 37).

The use of Trope as a writing style reveals a marginalized historical voice. The usage of Templars and Teutonic historical existence to bring out a further fiction ends the death of Templars. The famous white member of Mu’tafikah called Thor Wintergreen who belongs to the milt-ethnic gang responsible for third world countries liberation of art from the Western Museums died because a fellow white killed him. Later, Muscle Biff sides with people of different ethnic background when he gave an explanation of what caused Atonist as well as revealing the danger to that kind of cause by the blacks especially the stubborn and smart Berland. White Muscle, got Wintergreen to set him free from the place Mu’tefikah imprisoned him. “Son, this is a nigger closing in on our mysteries and soon he will be asking our civilization to “come quietly.” This man is talking about Judeo-Christian culture, Christianity, Atonism, whatever you want to call it. The most note worthy achievements of anybody anywhere in the … the…whole universe (Reeds 114).

This expresses a battle of two super powers, which distinctively sees the world differently. The two visions represent the two types of human involved the first one being the synergetic and expansive while the other one being the myopic and impermeable.

The writer reveals marginalized historical voices through preservation of value and power of individual differences. The following quote acknowledges the discontinuous experiences of the African American. “Individuality: It could not be herded, rounded-up; it was like crystals of winter each different from one another but in a storm going down together. What would happen if they dispersed, showing up when you least expected them; what would happen if you could not predict their minds” (Reeds 140).

Reeds show there is a significant distinction between Voodooism and Atonism. He clearly constructs a binary. He constructs a typical Western binary exclusively between the Antonist while, on the other hand, the followers of the Jes Grew, black Herman and Bergelang.

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The author of Nadja, Andre Breton uses Nadja as a vehicle to explore the surrealist texts or the art, which emphasizes chance, dream, logic, or nonlinear juxtaposition. Just like Nadjia, Nadja becomes a surrealist text that is resistant to rational cohesion and order. This fact contributed to the eventual descent madness of Nadja. The writer reveals his relationship with the woman named Nadja within a period of ten days. During the time spent with this woman, his life is disturbed and dark because he is not able to recognize the things he is supposed to recognize automatically. This could mean that his life was at the verge of destruction to a point of no return.

Surrealism is evident by the manner Andre could predict the appearance of the words “Bios-Charbon” on many shop front (Breton 29). A word that also appears in the last page of a book written by Breton entitled “Les Champs magnetiques”. He gets to a point whereby he can predict where the same words will appear next in the shops, and he gets that right. He clearly states that the image keeps obsessing him when he goes home. This record connects with the carousel tune and skull of a French philosopher called Rousseau Jean-Jacques who is a composer and writer. The connections significantly frighten Andre to death (Breton 32). Andre’s favorite Theater is Theatre modern because it has small audiences and absurd acting. In this theater, he continues his wild imagination especially of nude women (Breton 45). While He is reading poems by Arthur Rimbaud, the poems evoked in him a deep emotional feeling. Through these poems, he meets a girl, and as he walks with her as she recites her favorite Rimbaud poem (Breton 53). “While, in the called Saint-Ouen flea, he found the poetry book by Rimbaud and the process of flipping through the book, he discovers two pages of reflections and poems by Friedrich” (Breton 55).

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Nadja gets to a point she is not able to differentiate between reality and illusions, dark eccentricity and obsessive behavior. Breton sees a girl across the street and strikes up a conversation with her. During the time they were acquainted with each other, there is an evidence of deep relationship beyond the limitation of logic, rationality, and daily sanity. He discovered there was something unique about her. She could not maintain a paradoxical role of absence and the presence, or consciousness and unconsciousness. Breton is at first attracted to Nadja because of the embodies of extra rational and extra logical modes of her thoughts cherished by surrealist but soon abandons after discovering that her madness was increasing. Her inability to break the barrier, and differentiate between insanity and sanity contributed to her institutionalization termed as madness.

In his work, Breton describes the eyes of Nadja as “…being meant for the street unlike the eyes of Solange which were meant for the theatre. He distinguishes the exquisite sign with the image of a woman called Caroline De Gunderode” (Breton 49). During their meeting with Nadja at the coffee shop, Nadja reads a poem, which entails a person who wonders inside the forest at night. At this point, her imagination goes wild such that she shuts she book fast because she got frightened. She knew in her mind that the only place they would have met was at night and deep in the forest.

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Eoin McNamee’s book, Resurrection Man represents the sectarian history and violence among the people of Northern Ireland. It was a dark age where Protestants and Catholics were pitied against each other and lives lost. Extremist groups some with a paramilitary nature were formed in both sects and they performed killings on behalf of their respective faiths. At times, there were persons like Victor Kelly, a man on a solo mission to silence people on the streets. Victor Kelly is a Protestant, but his surname Kelly makes people suspect that he is a Catholic pretending to be a Protestant. Victor remains at the center with no identity because either the Protestants or the Catholics view him as a person who belongs to the “other” sect. Families had to be on the move to avoid being killed by any person or gang that suspected their loyalty. Streets in Belfast were named after some alien places to avoid cultural names that could suggest alliance to either sect. For instance, there is a Palestine and Balaklava Streets in Belfast. Kelly’s ups and downs are reflected through the media. His life has been documented as a film and much written and shown on print and television respectively. The bodies of Kelly’s victims give the audience a map or trend that urban violence takes in most places across the world.

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In the 1930’s Hollywood started to films about American gangsters. Films made the activities of the gangsters in America look real as Kelly watched and took in all the information. Religious preachers used print media and television in Belfast to offer their ideas of “sectarian histories” and “merciless theologies throughout the city” (McNamee 9). As Kelly grew, he was caught between Hollywood’s representation of violence and a preacher in the Belfast streets who is offering simple, but local sermons whose words highlighted the history of sects. These two played a role in shaping the rise and violent life of Kelly in the streets of Belfast.

Kelly started to master the urban map of Belfast as a tool that will help him commit murder. He would “memorize a street, its derelict sites …turns, and areas under the street lights” (McNamee 11). As he did this, he listed to the BBC, an international channel that served him with information on the outside world and the level of sectarian violence and where it was rife in Belfast. Kelly had mastered the “zones of conflict, boundaries, and divisions within the heart (McNamee 13). He knew where the government had put surveillance machines with the aim of reducing violence. He studied these loopholes just as he had seen the gangsters in the American films. “Street lights were sparse as if areas of darkness had been agreed” (McNamee 25).

Kelly purchased a black Ford Capri and took his girlfriend Heather on a random drive across the city. Heather noted that, “he drove slowly in the Catholic neighborhoods in the West part of the city. He went to the panoramic hills around the city from where he felt that “he could wipe them off the map. These were places which were only seen on television (McNamee 25-26). This shows that sectarian violence was at times spurred by the creations of the media and “vulnerable places” were also exposed by the media. Kelly’s knowledge is nurtured by the media information to study the town and lay strategy on how and when to strike his victims. Cinema, television and print media interpret and deliver the actual brutality of the sectarian violence. Kelly knew where to get his victims and he bought a car to help him with killing and concealing and disguising himself from the government and the people. He carried the acts in the most brutal manner, “…the root of the tongue had been severed” (McNamee 16). Kelly’s mantra is “…knife across the throat”. Then the head of the victim would be bent as if he was reading words etched on the chest. This description from the media motivated Kelly and he felt that crime was part of modernity just the way he had seen in the movies and print media. The bodies of victims were found at the dark places, where there were bullet holes in the walls and somewhere near the division lines. These bodies were found at the most vulnerable places in town where violence is frequently experienced.


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