The Insult of Martyrdom

I found myself very interested in the chapter regarding Billy’s death, and what Adam Novy may be suggesting about rebellions, or cultural upheavals in general. What causes them to happen? Is it a series of events, or a buildup until a single event breaks the camel’s back?

If this book is indeed related to the 9/11 tragedy, is this event highlighting the difference between how a event on a massive scale with many deaths can trigger things just the same as a single, small death can trigger massive events? This is not to say that Billy’s death is small or inconsequential, but many of the people within the story would probably be shocked to hear that it was that incident in particular that started the uprising.
Billy’s death came as a shock to me, as I expected the character to tag along with Morgan and Jane throughout the book. What further shocked me, however, was the response that Billy’s death generated from every character in the novel.

I found myself frustrated that no character, save Billy himself, would have been capable of describing the incident that caused the entire uprising as a tragic mistake that was brought on by loneliness. Is the fact that no amount of subjugation, nor segregation in the city was able to motivate them to violence, until a death that had little to do with the overall issue of the RedBlack’s control of the city, an ironic tragedy?

I don’t think Jane does her brother’s death a service, at all. Although it may be true that the Gypsy people are being ruled unjustly, to prop up a death that occurred by accident as a reason to begin burning buildings does not say much for Jane’s character. Also, Morgan seems unable to react to Jane’s new obsession. I wonder if perhaps Morgan knows in some part of him that what they are doing could be construed as “Wrong” but is allowing himself to stay silent and ambivalent, for Jane’s sake.

Although, this also raises the question of whether or not what Jane is not doing is “Wrong” or not. Which is a judgement I am unable to personally make at this time.


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