I was rather notably struck by the relationship presented between Ronnie Fontaine and storytelling as art. The novel as a whole implores us to explore what, exactly, is art? And while it enables these ideas in a multitude of ways, I find Ronnie stories to be the most interesting.
That is, are Ronnie’s stories an art form? And if so, how, and perhaps more importantly, why? Sandro notes that Ronnie is, “complicated…You have to listen closely. He’ll say something perfectly true and it’s meaningless. Then he makes something up, but it has value. He’s telling you something” (199). This something is a part of the art that Ronnie creates. While his stories may not tell you truth, they serve a purpose.
So what is art in the novel? Is it all about purpose. Reno’s mission is only complete when she attains the Land Speed Record, thus initiating a purpose to her art. What else, perhaps, denotes the existence of art within the confines of The Flamethrowers? These are just a few of the questions I have struggled with while reading the novel. While I view Ronnie’s form of communication as an art form (and understand why I feel this way), I am interested in discovering how else art and the idea of art manifests itself “less obviously.”