As we have discussed in class, the art in this novel is influenced, driven, and generated by speed, loss, and risk. These artists adhere to the Futurist tenant that “beauty exists only in struggle,” indicating that something must be lost or fought in order to attain something meaningful. (As a side note, I think this is the reason why Reno was not immensely proud of her own land speed accomplishment: she felt as though she did not earn it because she gave up nothing for it.) Good art is not a passive representation of life, but rather it is a direct interaction with life. The other artists at the dinner party do not adhere to this philosophy in the same way Reno does, but together they demonstrate the desperation of art. John Dogg is a prime example: he spends the evening pestering Helen Hellenberger to look at his work, “As if that were the main stumbling block, and not the problem of making art, the problem of believing in it” (156). He is a humorous and exaggerated character, but his purpose in the novel is not so light-hearted. There must be a balance between creating art the artist thinks is good, and creating art that others will support. This leads to the problem of having to sell art to people, to take on the role of salesperson (though perhaps with more subtlety than John Dogg) in order to earn anything from what is created. Reno considers this, saying, “And I was safe in another essential way: I had not put myself out there yet. I could delay it until I knew for certain that what I was doing was good. Until I knew I was doing the right thing” (154). This struck me. Her opinion of art is that something must be risked, and yet she will not reveal her work until she is sure there will not be much risk (or is delaying putting her work out there for fear of that risk). This is also influenced by her belief that her work is not meeting her own standards, but I still find her decision to cling to safety to be striking. There is a struggle between striving for authenticity and ensuring, at least on a small scale, some popularity. This secondary goal of popularity may, as it does for John Dogg, ultimately undermine the work itself, which may not be a risk Reno is willing to take.