Language and Architecture

After finishing The Ravickians, one of the things I’m drawn to the most, and one of the ideas I would like to further explore, is the tie between architecture and language that the text seems to grapple with. Why does the book speak of buildings and roads, bridges and windows, so frequently? It seems to me that this discussion stems from the dilapidation of Ravicka, which the characters continuously refer to. Our narrator for most of the book, Amini, seems acutely troubled by the shifting of Ravicka. Indeed, near the beginning of the book, she sifts through rubble, starts musing about buildings and writing about buildings. And this leads to contemplation on the very demise of Ravicka: The decay of Und Ravidjka is not the result of meddling from our contentious neighbors or other faraway enemy states. Rather, it is an internal disabling” (53). The disabling pattern seems to tie to the decay of the buildings. She writes, also: “Well for a long time, as a thing is being made, you cannot tell whether it is growing or dying” (55). Amini seems to asking about the identity of Ravicka — will it become lost as it turns into rubble, or will it take on a new identity? I wonder about how the people of Ravicka are disabling their city from the inside, and why it’s happening. 

Further on, Zaoter Limici reads at his poetry presentation: “I have written poems to speak to the contours of Ravicka. For every oblong window of the train station, I have constructed my own oblong phrasing” (96). Then, later: “The paved road is a story and a poem” (101).  So to me, through the discourse related to both of these characters, it seems there is a link between the language and communication of Ravick and its architecture. But what is that link? And how is it shifting as Ravicka grows or dies?

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