her body.”DEAD BUG WORDS!What a stark, ominous Kafkaesque image these three little wordsconjure up, as though Gregor Samsa were painted by Munch or Bosch fora
centerfold. They are made even more so when compared withwhat Helio, a Bleekman, says about a book, Pascal’s
(1657), he’s been reading to Manfred:“The rhythm. Great prose establishes acadence, which attracts and holds theboy’s wandering attention.” (ch. 13)Well, the cadence of “dead bug words” certainly held, and holds, myattention. They are crawling around and around in the shadowy recesses ofmy mind, like those ants on a moebius strip by Escher. And Hamlet’sincisive injunction, “suit the action to the word, the word to the action, withthis special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature,” (III,iii) gives me little solace in trying to cope with them.It’s certainly possible to relate them to the apparent theme of
, the nature and effects of schizophrenia, in particular asmanifested by Jack Bohlen and Manfred Steiner. And we could point towhat another character in the novel, Dr. Glaub (the German word, “glaube,”means
), states about trying to communicate with Manfred:“…decades ago Jung cracked the privatelanguage of the schizophrenic. But in childautism, as with Manfred, there is no languageat all, at least no spoken language, Possiblytotally personal private thought…but no words.”(ch. 7)Also of importance is that the phrase – dead bug words – is, it seems,indeed a “personal private thought” of Manfred’s as he observes, andintrospectively describes, the interactions between Jack Bohlen, DoreenAnderton and Arnie Kott at a meeting, the narration of which occurs no lessthan three times – twice in ch. 10 and once in ch. 11 – each timeprogressively different with added details, the phrase being a part of thelatter two.