This is a bird’s eye view or a high angle shot of central park in NY in the centre of Manhattan. We can see spring or summer because of the leaves on the trees. There is a vast expend of leaves, lakes, lanes. In the foreground there is a very big building it’s a museum: Metropolitan museum. In the background rows of skyscrapers.
Nature and origin
It’s an extract from anovel called moon Palace by Paul Auster published in 1989. Moon Palce is part of Paul Auster’s NY trilogy.
A homeless man spend the day wondering about where he is going to sleep and ends up sleeping in Central Park NY.
- Line 1 to 28 : Rejecting options/ a choice of options
- Line 28 until the end : A place to sleep / Central Park
We are not told many things aboutthe main and only character in this passage. We don’t know his name, his age, his occupation… All we know is that one late afternoon he finds himself with no place to sleep. He may have financial problems, he may have lost his job, and his wife kicked him out because he cheated on her. He might be coming from another part of the United States; he might have run out of money. He might have losteverything on the stuck marker in Wall Street. He is alone on the street, homeless. He has no experience, it’s the first time he is a homeless. He sort of though the matter would take care of himself. Nut now that night is approaching, he is beginning to panic of having no place to stay. Different solutions: - stretch out on the sidewalk- spend the night in a flophouse- spend the night in the subway.He is in despair at those alternatives. He rejects all 3 possibilities. Arguments: for the first one he could get exposes to danger, a madman could slit his throat, he could be arrested for vagrancy (vagabondage) . He refuses to go to a flophouse It repulses him because he would have to breathe their smells. For the third one, it’s noisy, too many lights, transit cops, not let him sleep. He stillhas not realized in what position he is, he does not realize he hasn’t got any choice. He still has the way of thinking of a rich urbanite, a yuppy (young urban professional). He is used to great comfort and he doesn’t come trough as a very pleasant character. He feels superior to the others. He’s prejudiced against homeless people but he is part of them irony, but he doesn’t realize it. Thelevel of language, we have a strange mixture of formal English for example line 5 “ Remarkable as it may seem to me now”, we have also colloquial English with “dumb luck” line 10, line 16 “ bum”, l. 28 “ a funk”. When he lists all the possibilities, we have a lot of models “would”, “could”. All these models show us that we are leading with his imagination.
The narrator gets more and morefrightened as time goes by, night is coming and he is rejecting all the different options. Finally, in spite of the horror stories that he had heard about central park, he decides to risk it and tries to spend the night there. In the 80 s central park had at night a terrible reputation. Murderers, rapists…. Even criminals are scared to go in at night. He decided to overcome his fear of such a placebecause: 1- He is exhausted, he has been wondering around the city, he is physically tired, worn out. It’s also his first day on the street. He has probably been kicked out this morning so he is probably also emotionally tired out.
2- It’s around eleven at night, it’s too late to find something else line 33 “ nothing better at that hour”.
3- Compared to the other possibilities he had, the parkdoesn’t seem so bad. line 32 “It’s immense”.
4- The ground would be soft. We have here a comfort compare to the pavements or the subway. Line 35 “making my bed in a place no one could see me”. He still feels the need for quiet and privacy which of course…..
….. luxuries denied to homeless people.
He remembers the horror stories. He has a knife. He cannot hope to assure his defense with such...