Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Finders Keepers

One important aspect of Eric Foster’s journey in Black Rainbow is that he is labeled a “searcher.” As a searcher, he seems to get much more out of his travels. I remember one instance when I got more out of my travel by being a searcher as well. I think back to my senior year of high school when I was touring many college campuses looking for the right one for me. Loyola was without a doubt one of the most gorgeous campuses I saw. This was not the only thing that factored into my decision, but I remember being extremely excited to walk to class every day on a beautiful campus.

However, as almost every student can agree with, this beauty is quickly forgotten. Walking back from class day after day, nobody appreciates the beautiful landscape anymore. When the day ends and I have to make the walk from Maryland Hall, I am so focused on getting to Newman towers that I fail to notice the beautiful landscape on the quad, or the many signs posted on the bridge for upcoming student activities. During the daily grind most students ignore all the great things that make up Loyola. When I was on a search for the perfect college I took into account all that Loyola had to offer. Now I just take for granted all its amenities and focus on the trivial issues from day to day.

Unfortunately I did not realize how ungrateful I have been until just now in my senior year. I would love go to back to freshmen year and be on the walk from the quad to my dorm, when I was worried about which reading to do first or how I was going to write a ten page paper. I should have been appreciating the alone time I had to think about whatever I wanted, enjoying the nature around me, and knowing that the only stress of my day came from getting my education. I am starting to feel that complacency is bad, because it can let life pass by way too quickly. This is one reason why studying abroad is important, because it makes a student experience a new foreign location, but also appreciate Loyola even more upon his or her return. Students returning from abroad may be familiar with the layout of the campus, but so much has changed that it feels like freshmen year all over again. Any visitor traveling to Loyola for the first time is able to experience Loyola the way it is meant to be experienced. It seems to be that only in searching on a journey can someone find what is really out there.

Similarly, in Black Rainbow, the Government Insurance Corporation appears to most people as just what it sounds like. Foster enters the building and notices how it is structured just like a government building and how there is an advertisement for the president’s life insurance plan. However, because during Foster’s journey he is on a search, he discovers what really goes on in the building. The many citizens who call it the Puzzle Palace just assume it is what it claims to be, and because of this the Tribunal is able to get away with making it something else. In reality, the building is a hub for training hunters.

The overall meaning of the book follows this pattern as well. Foster becomes complacent with his situation. He accepts his wife, his job as a bank clerk, and even later on his role in giving history to the tribunal. When all these things are taken away from him, however, and he is sent on this search, he discovers many new things. He uncovers cities that possibly don’t exist, or at least can never be found again (such as Taniwhanui). And more importantly Foster discovers things about himself that he never knew. He is amazed that he has the skills to kill people, and eventually finds out he was a hunter. He uncovers his family’s past as well. Whether it is a daily walk to and from class, or a trip around the world, there is always something to be discovered if one focuses on the search, not the destination. This must be why Foster refuses to accept his victory and $50 million prize, because he felt “empty” no longer being on the search. 

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