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The setting of the story offers a feeling of isolation for the overall plot and the characters within. The lack of descriptions of the narrator’s physical surroundings also reinforces the idea of that isolation. The story’s prose is casual, like listening to someone recount their background rather than listening to a formal reading of their biography. This undermines the seriousness of the situations presented to the narrator and the characters around him, but also creates a surreal quality that acts as a glaring juxtaposition. George Saunders’ decision to make up names for the drugs and put an actual trademark brand next to them feels like it is supposed to be his version of dark humor. The only question I have about this story is why Saunders use a first person past tense rather than a present tense. The ending of the story suggests to us that the narrator is dead, yet the tense makes it seem like he is alive. Also, the mysterious ending and the usage of the past tense also raises suspicion in me that the ending might be a hallucination of some kind. Ultimately, I think this story is about the choices that the narrator must make, such as whether or not Rachel or Heather should be given the Darkenfloxx, and whether or not he should escape the facility or not.

One Response to ““Escape from Spiderhead” by George Saunders”

  1. Yue: I like your observation that the ending might be an hallucination of some kind. I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes complete sense given all of the other mind-bending drugs that have been injected into the characters.

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