Scholarly Undergraduate Research Journal at Clark


In Karen Tei Yamashita’s Tropic of Orange, characters attempt to make meaning of the many complex structures in which they are situated. In his unique meaning-making process, Manzanar Murakami, a homeless Sansei, “conducts” the Los Angeles traffic with a silver baton from atop a highway overpass. In conducting his music, Murakami per- forms complex mathematics, finding meaning in connection by mapping the rhythmic flow of humans, machines, and goods. Through his baton, to the sounds of a beautiful orchestra, he translates precisely the relationships he sees before him. Murakami’s music and Yamashita’s fantastic images constitute a “mathematical realism,” a lens through which to explore the structures and relationships of modern transnational life.



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