I want to expand upon a previous post to this blog titled "Cities in Literature." I was very captivated by Lydia Maria Child's Letters from New-York, as I live an hour outside of New York City and visit there regularly. She mentions places I like to go to, like Broome Street and The Battery. It was interesting for me to compare her observations of NYC in the 19th century with mine in the 21st century. While I view NYC as an inspirational, cultural hub where anybody can be whomever they want to be, she presents a more raw, harsh observation of New York and explores the contradictions within the city, from its poverty to its beauty. For those New Yorkers out there, or for those tourists of New York, what were your reactions to this reading? Or, how could you relate it to what you see in Washington, D.C.? I find myself arguing with friends here who have visited NYC a few times and dislike it compared to Washington. What do you think about "The Big Apple"?
I couldn't help but thinking about Bret Easton Ellis's postmodern novel American Pyscho, especially when she mentions Wall Street on the first page, page 1081, poverty in Letter XIV, and women's rights in Letter XXXIV. American Psycho is a reaction to the high crime rates in the 1980's in New York City, and the main character, unlike Child, has little sympathy for the poor or for women. This novel has stuck with me, not because I think it is so well-written, but because it is so disturbing. For those of you who have read the novel or have seen the film, what do you make of this more contemporary portrayal of New York City compared to Child's less gruesome, 19th century version? I suggest reading this article on the book, if you're interested in learning more about it and think you can stomach it.