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Do dogs have to fight sadness as tirelessly as humans do? They seem less involved with retrospect, less involved in dread and anticipation. Animals other than humans appear to be having a more profound experience of the present. But who’s to say? Clearly their feelings are intense, and maybe grief and anxiety darken all their days. Maybe that’s why they’ve acquired their stripes and polka dots and fluffiness–to cheer themselves up.

-Deborah Eisenberg,Twilight of the Superheroes”

This paragraph really struck me while reading Twilight of the Superheroes. We discussed in class about the narrative being structured like a comic strip, with different panels and frames. This passage really stuck out with its disjointedness from the rest of the narrative. It’s not mentioned as being either Nathaniel’s or Lucien’s stream of thought, but I think it could be either one of them. Nathaniel seems lost throughout the entire short story. He doesn’t feel happy in the Midwest, nor is he content in New York, especially after the events of 9/11. As we discussed in class, he only moves to New York after he is peer pressured by his friend Amity. He wants to be like dogs, able to be more in the moment. He can move on from the memories and feelings from 9/11, and just feel what he is feeling now. He can forget about having to move out of Mr. Matsumoto’s apartment and just live in the present. I think he also wants to be able to acquire like the dogs’ “stripes and polka dots and fluffiness” to cheer himself up, and move him out of his phase as the main character of his comic, Passivityman.

I think this passage also applies to Lucien as well. He is affected by the events of 9/11, but not so much as Nathaniel and his friends. I think he would express these thoughts to more directly relate to the death of his wife, Charlie. He seems to be jealous of the dogs’ ability to move on from grief, and negative feelings in general. They don’t look back on memories. But the author also expresses thoughts on dogs maybe expressing even more grief than we humans do, as they seem to experience feelings more intensely than we do. So the author may be warning her audience to be careful to long to feel differently.

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