Monday, April 8, 2013


I believe Quaker City is a grand Manipulation. We as readers are being manipulated in the very way we read. The characters and plots that we are following is constantly switching and changing over time, leaving us not knowing what is coming next and making it hard to follow the story as a whole. While reading this book it was hard to understand if all the characters we were following would ever come together.

This book is also presented as a way to create reform in Philadelphia for all the crime and horrible activities that are taking place in the underworld. And while it does bring these crimes to light, it just seems to me that we are being manipulated to think it is about that, so we read it, but really all we get out of this book is fear, superstition and sensation of being drawn into another world. The horrible events that are described hardly seem to not condone the murder and seduction of these people and woman, they seem to let us see them, and wander why we find this book enjoyable to read.

Lippard uses our fascination with horror, and events so terrible that one cannot look away to hold our attention. We as readers do not want to see and hear these horrible actions, but we cannot seem to not read them and crave more. After Devil bug kills Luke he stand over him, "He drew an old - fashioned spanish knife from the breast of his coarse garment as he spoke. The blade, long, pointed and glittering, flew open with the touch of the spring. Stooping over the form of the insensible Luke, he applied the knife to his unbarred throat, and with a wild grimace distorting his features he moved it gently along the skin." (page 367). It is at one of these moments that it seems gruesome and awful, but alas one must not look away to see what will come next.

I also believe that Ravoni is a great way to see the use of manipulation. He is all powerful man, who is able to raise the dead to life, and he uses this power over others. People are scared of him, and yet they follow him and listen to everything he says. "In order to acquire an influence over the minds of men, which shall be irresistable and eternal, I will appeal to the principle rooted deep in every human heart. I will evoke the love of Mystery! I will awe and terrify by Miracles and Pageants and Shadows!" says Ravoni (page 425). I believe that is exactly what Lippard has done with this book. 

1 comment:

  1. This is great, too, and in combination with the previous post I feel like it would be a fascinating essay topic - how imagination can be manipulated, and how that can sometimes be a pleasurable/enlightening and sometimes a violating/limiting experience.