Fantasy

Johnnie James tells us that she is not unique. She even tells us, the reader, that her views are not particularly interesting either. She is, “a correspondent. [Her] subjects are very particular and unusually domestic, frequently feminine in the most conventional sense of that word…” Her focus is on the normal, the “conventional,” the blase.

Yet, Foreign Correspondent is based in fantasy. The dream of her relationship with cage fighter Scooter Macintosh, the “wolf-dog” Wojo, etc. But even more, her language suggests fantasy. Particularly, I noticed a passage on page 50 that highlighted this notion for me, “The only carnivore in Alphonso’s house is a fish…” This statement is not “fantasy” in that it is fabricated. Instead, Johnnie’s focus on the carnivorous fish, an anomaly I’d say, is indicative of her focus being in a realm separate from the “real” and “conventional.”

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One comment on “Fantasy

  1. I wonder if this contrast between normalcy/conventionality and fantasy, which seems like an inconsistency in the book, is really indicative of Johnnie’s discomfort with her position in life. She’s reporting on the “normal” but she interested in and drawn to the “fantastic.” How do you think this relates to her desire to be a “foreign” correspondent instead of a domestic one? I don’t see how leaving the country would allow for greater fantasy in Johnnie’s life, so Howard must be emphasizing some other definition of “foreign” – maybe just the unknown or unexplainable. That seems to be what Johnnie is drawn to, as you point out.

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