Spaceman Essay

1153 words - 5 pages

In Robert Olen Butler’s Mr. Spaceman, an extraterrestrial visits Earth with a mission. He is running out of time, but his earthling wife, Edna Bradshaw, helps him along the way. Edna is a former hairdresser. She is in her early 40s and has large breasts. She has many Southern old-fashioned traits. The alien’s name cannot be pronounced by Earthlings; therefore, Edna assigns him the name Desi. Desi is a very empathetic creature. His extensive study of media and pop culture causes him to talk in slogans, idioms, and clichés. He has no lips, hair, nose, or ears. He has large cat-shaped eyes, as well as 8 digits on each foot and hand. His species is telepathic and has the power to induce sleep and forgetfulness. At the turn of the millennium, Desi abducts a casino bus of 12 people, near Lake Charles, Louisiana. There are 7 men and 5 women in this group. The driver is Henry Gillette. He is homosexual and has a gray ponytail, along with sideburns. There are a total of four couples. Jared and Citrus are in their early twenties and have body jewelry. Mary and Lucky Wynn are Vietnamese. The other two couples are Viola and Arthur Stackhouse and Misty and Digger. Then, there is Hudson, an African-American Harvard graduate in a suit. The other two passengers are Claudia and Trey, a devoted gambler. Most of the story takes place in Desi’s spacecraft, before “Y2K.” Desi makes an effort to understand humanity. His was sent by his species with orders to reveal himself on New Year’s. Desi tackles what it means to be human; he is perplexed by language, dreams, and other human aspects.
Doniger argued that through the comparison of myths, we can comprehend them better. This novel was very similar to the story of Jesus Christ. The first four words (excluding punctuation) are “I am the word.” Like Jesus, Desi suffers through a stage of worry and doubt, terrified of his fate. His 12 passengers come to accept him in a short period of time, like the 12 disciples of Jesus. Unlike Jesus, Desi’s followers included females. In the novel, there is a lot of terminology associated with the bible. He constantly says that he is other people or he says he is inanimate objects. When Edna gathers people to move rooms, it is referred to as “herding.” This is an allusion to a Shepard, which is prevalent in the bible. Through his process of listening, he is able to store voices of people long gone within him. More than just their voice, he also feels their emotion when he recalls. In this way, the dead are alive within him in “the clouds,” his spaceship. Citrus believes that the bible is not to be taken literal. She sees the many bible verses that refer to the sky as proof for that this spaceman is the Lord. Desi tells them that they will keep their memories to spread the word of his existence, similar to disciples. Additionally, there was a “Last Supper” before he is to “descend” from his spaceship to make a large revelation to the people of Earth. The green punch they drink...

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