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 Post subject: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:48 am 
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What did Nikon represent to Corso? What was Nikon’s purpose to the story? Why do we learn so little about her?



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:27 am 
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She is as already said there to show another side of Corso. That he is capable of loving someone/thing other than books. I think we know so little because we only see snatches of her from his thoughts and its somewhere he doesn't really like to dwell to much.


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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:52 am 
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I'll start by quoting what I said yesterday

Quote:
...her function in the plot. She gives his character depth by showing up his flaws. A flawed character is so much more believable, isn't it. We are more likely to love them. And the author wants us to love Corso, I think, from the start, so we can like him less at the end.


So I think she is there as a plot device to make Corso more real. There's no-one else in the book where we see how he is in his own private moments. To me at least, we see Corso differently with her. He has less self esteem when faced with her, much less than when we see him with his bookish associates, and that sets him up to be the bemused victim when he meets green eyes. With women he's less sure of himself. He likes the absolutes...how much this book is worth, what its provenance is, the layout of battalions in a battle. Nikon could not be impressed by this, so he had to be prepared to be emotional with her. And I think he failed. He couldn't adapt, so she left.

Why do we learn so little about her? Because she's just a memory now. Corso is a pragmatist, and knows there's nothing to be gained by hoping to get it all back. But like a lot of us, the what ifs raise their heads in unguarded moments, often those made maudlin by drink.

So what did she represent to him? I think she represented what it is like to fail, to put your neck on the line and be rebutted. Something he'd resolved not to do again, but in some maudlin moments he looked back on fondly and recognised the loss.



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:01 am 
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When Nikon's name first showed up, I thought, "what's with the name?" Nikon...a camera...a device through which to get a 'real' picture of Corso maybe...? I couldn't help feeling that someone so aptly named would function in the story as a sort of lens for looking at Corso in way that was different from the way he pictured himself. I think that's accurate to a certain extent. Also, Nikon saw Corso through her own lens; seeing someone she wanted to see as opposed to the person who was really there. Most romantics tend to do that, but not without some cues from the other person. You can't invent a romantic hero out of nothing. So Corso must've fed into her romantic notions to some degree. And he must have liked her picture of him or he wouldn't have continued to reminisce about it/her.

I agree about Corso being completely out of his depth when it came to women. He didn't have a clue.



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:11 am 
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I agree, Endora. I think her purpose was to show that Corso had feelings. I just wish there had been some sort of resolution involving Nikon.

I like your analogies, Parlez.
:cool:



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 1:12 pm 
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I think her function was to soften him up for the Girl. We see those moments where he remembers her, her company, almost the ghost of her with her head on his pillow, quite tender moments of companionship, such as cleaning his back. He remembers her and misses what she had to offer. He even has to say his own name out loud, as no-one says it to him anymore. But that was years ago. He's had a long time without her. Now he has a full understanding and appreciation of what it is to have a companion - and a full understanding of what it is to be without one. When he looks up from remembering Nikon on the bridge, the Girl is there to replace her. Last time around, he wasn't prepared to do what it took to keep Nikon, to pay the price. This time around, he is.
I also agree that the memories of her show a different side to him and that it is significant that she has the camera. I think it's siginficant that of the 2 pictures she took of him, one he never saw, the other he destroyed. Bit of a mismatch there in perceptions.



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:48 pm 
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Suec, I'd forgotten about the two photos. Clearly I need to re-read. That's a really good point.

Regarding her name: Do we think her name really was Nikon, or was that him (perhaps callously? Or even tenderly?) naming her after her trade as a photographer? What is it about this book that has so many not using names of their own? I need to think that through.



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:01 pm 
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I like your interpretation, suec. I almost edited my post to add that Nikon's presence in Corso's life and the way he failed to appreciate her until after the fact, after she'd left the scene, led directly to Green Eyes' arrival. The message for Corso, IMO, was: if you can't respond like a fully human human being when a good woman enters your life, you're gonna get another kind. :flirt:

Endora, I think the vagueness about the names reflects the author's effort to show how fiction ran though real life for all these people. If they didn't adopt a pseudonym of their own, others did it for them. In a way they all played, tried to play, or wanted to play fictional parts in each others' lives. I also think Arturo P-R may have been playing some esoteric game, toying with the reader (again), by naming his characters thusly... Numerology might come into play, as well as significant initials with double meanings, symbolic name references, etc., etc., ad nauseum. But far be it from me to try to figure it out! :hypnotic:



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:01 pm 
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Okay...just FYI...we will be discussing character names...Nikon is certainly fair game in this question but if we could keep it to her that would be much appreciated. :cool:

I was wondering if losing Nikon is what made Corso so bitter and single minded or was that why he lost Nikon? I think the memory of her did set him up to be open to the girl and allowed us to see a different side to him. Very good ideas on the name everyone! My thought was he called her that because she was a photographer but she did allow us to see Corso through a different lens. Youse guys are good!
:notworthy:



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:00 pm 
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I do find it interesting that she’s a photographer and such a lover of films and it has been bugging me a bit. A R-P really stresses that in the information we have of her, although I am not sure why. My guess is this. The other characters are all avid readers, and/or people who deal in books. Even at Makarova’s bar, the books are discussed. For many in the book, they seem to take their reading a wee bit too seriously! They use them as terms of reference and as guides for their own behaviour. The books seem to be “the lens” through which they see their real worlds. It’s interesting that when Corso is asked for his opinion of the Devil, he answers that his knowledge of him is second-hand, and starts discussing different literary interpretations of him. Nikon is the one character that does not love books or deal in them. But she still sees life through another medium. Like the readers, she is selective about what she chooses to focus on. Those pictures she has taken of Corso are constructed images. She is a professional photographer, who has had time to set up the shots, to choose what to include in the frame and what to leave out, which angle to use, and so on. She also uses films as terms of reference, to compare them with books to sum up and dismiss Corso as a person. I think some of the photos he lists of hers are pretty stereotypical: wide-eyed children, dogs with faithful expressions. They are also very positive. Her lens is rose-tinted. It’s very limiting to see life through one medium or another, visual or written, whether that view is positive or negative. May be that is why she is called Nikon, because she has those limitations, that she allows to define her? I’m not sure really but that’s what I’m speculating at the moment. But perhaps that is really too negative a view of her. Not sure. In the end, there is only Corso's perspective of her which makes it difficult to see her that well. And perhaps that is relevant too as it acts as a filter.



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:52 pm 
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Actually, my take on Nikon is a positive one. I know I resented her insults to book lovers but that does not mean I don't understand why she said them to Corso.. I feel her pain in the realization that even though she loved him she can never change him.

What did Nikon represent to Corso? She was everything good and loving to him even though he didn't know how to deal with it.

What was Nikon’s purpose to the story? Like so many of you already said, she was there to show that Corso did actually have some feeling and loved at one time. She also showed that he was selfish and never really let her into his life totally. She showed that he had the chance for his life to go in another direction but he chose not to go there.

As some of you noted the reference to her name, she was used as a photo flash back where he could show us how his mind worked.



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:09 pm 
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There have been some really great answers so far! :bounce: You all inspire me with your insights.

On a more surface level :dunce: , I liked Nikon. To me she was full of life and fun and pleasure. She may have been a bit naive and perhaps she wanted more from Corso than he was able to give, but she seemed like a breath of fresh air to me. Corso seemed so single minded and serious and dark and it would have been good for him if she could have got him to lighten up a bit. I think he knew that, too, and that is why he thought of her often and longed to have her back in his life even when he knew they would never make the relationship work.

I wonder if "Nikon" was Corso's pet name for her. A term of endearment, as it were. Or like shorthand. It told so much of how he viewed her and how she viewed the world (as others have pointed out so eloquently). It didn't disturb me that he thought of her by that name instead of a given name.

But then, I like Corso, Corso on film is one of my favorite Johnny characters, so I suppose that influences my feeling about the Nikon passages.


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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 1:21 pm 
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Great answers, everyone!

As far as her name, I think it could have just been the name that Pérez-Reverte chose to use to symbolize who she was. It could also have been the name Balkan chose to use, since he is telling the story.



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:53 am 
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Wow fabulous comments, I am just now catching up with this thread. I wish I had some insight to offer, but you guys said it all...most of what I was thinking. Corso's memories of Nikon made me feel badly for him. Maybe he realized being loved isn't so horrible when looking back on it. Nikon, was not the right girl for him maybe...but the experience of caring so deeply for someone, made a deep impression on him.



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 Post subject: Re: TCD Question #9 ~ Your Take on Nikon
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:57 pm 
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Kittycat88 wrote:
Wow fabulous comments, I am just now catching up with this thread. I wish I had some insight to offer, but you guys said it all...most of what I was thinking. Corso's memories of Nikon made me feel badly for him. Maybe he realized being loved isn't so horrible when looking back on it. Nikon, was not the right girl for him maybe...but the experience of caring so deeply for someone, made a deep impression on him.

I felt that way, too, Kittycat. Those were the times that I could relate to Corso as a human being.



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