TPG (HUM225)

I’m having difficulty uploading the audio file from Thursday’s lecture, so hopefully you took scrupulous notes on our discussion of Thousand Pieces of Gold. The main focus of Thursday’s class, you’ll recall, was the issue of economy. McCunn represents various forms of economic activity and organization throughout TPG, from the economic deprivation of agrarian northern China to the economy of sexual exploitation in San Francisco, to the speculative economies of mining and gambling in Warrens. By examining the trope of that which glitters, gleams, flashes, and shines we established that value takes different forms and is highly unstable. Eyes that glitter, for example, suggest greed or an excess of desire. Gold itself functions as a metaphor for cultural or moral values, or gestures at themes of possibility and enterprise. This sort of formal reading– where patterns of signification are examined– allows us to penetrate beyond the text’s literal dimension and assess its symbolic content.