The Episodic Organization of a Mercy

At last, I have mustered up the confidence to make a blog post! Over the past few weeks I’ve kept up with my readings but have been too shy to speak in front of the whole group. I believe it was recently however that Dr. McCoy assured us that none of us really know what we’re talking about, and this has inspired me to put my thoughts here. How wrong could I be?

I don’t think we have spoken much about how the chapters in a Mercy have been organized, but we have recently touched on making connections between all of the different perspectives seen throughout the novel. Well, I noticed that not only is each chapter from a different point of view, but they are all written from or about different times as well, and are not necessarily in the correct order.

Each chapter is written from different perspectives that include different side stories as well as an outside look at the other chapters. The chapters are like a timeline influenced by multiple sources that has been shuffled around. I’ve seen this before in a book I read in high school, The Things They Carried a book about the Vietnam War written by Tim O’Brien. I apparently very much enjoy novels that have an episodic feel to them.

We talked in class about making these sorts of connections between different perspectives. We talked about whether moments from different perspectives supported or refuted one another and found out how little the characters really understand one another. Well making these connections brought me back to The Things They Carried and how the organization of the chapters gave the novel a chaotic or uncontrolled sort of feeling which complemented the idea of war. I find this has a similar effect on a Mercy which features many characters whose fates seem completely out of their control. It seems slavery is also complemented well by this sort of organization.

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