Bright Lights Big City Title Journals
How It’s Going
McInerney used the title “How It’s Going” to portray the protagonist’s disillusionment and reconnection to the reality of his life that he had been unaware of the whole novel. After dreaming the whole book of seeing Amanda in a club, he finally sees her and she nonchalantly says, “How’s it going” (175) to him like nothing ever happened. This serves as a reality check for the protagonist because he realized that the past six months he had been depressed and heartbroken over this shallow bitch that is too oblivious and stupid to understand how much emotional pain she had put him. This served as a turning point for the narrator because he was able to figure out that Amanda wasn’t really that great and that it is not worth suffering over her. After coming to this realization, the protagonist is enlightened and realizes that he will “have to learn everything over again.” (182) By trading his sunglasses, symbolic for exposing himself to the truth for bread, symbolic for him choosing a simpler lifestyle, he starts to commit himself to a different life.
It’s Six A.M. Do You Know Where You Are?
By using this rhetorical question, McInerney depicts the protagonist’s escapism and departure from the lifestyle he wants to live and the lifestyle he is actually living. The protagonist claims he’s “not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning,” (1) yet by snorting coke in the bathroom and chatting with bald woman, he epitomizes the type of person who would be there. This shows the contrast between the type of person he wants to be and the type of person he really is. This is further shown by his feelings for his friend tad. The protagonist sees Tad as both his “best self and worst self” (2) and although he believes Tad is shallow and selfish, he still admires his indulgent lifestyle. This demonstrates that the protagonist, despite what he thinks he wants, is actually unsure of his dreams and aspirations.
The Department of Factual Verification
The author uses this title as rhetoric to convey the contrast between his exciting, but fake nightlife and the boring, but realistic job. When the protagonist walks into his office he feels like he did “walking into school on Monday mornings” (14) and “the dread of not having finished (his) homework.” (14) After a night of partying and messing around, he is thrown back into the reality of his stressful and monotonous job. “It’s a lot like the Ivy League, from which its staff is mostly drawn, or like a cold, impenetrable New England family which keeps even the black sheep suffocating within the fold.” (15) The protagonist describes thinks of his job as an old, boring, and exclusive club that harshly judges others and constantly scrutinizes each other. Although he wants the status, security, and bragging rights that come with his job, he ultimately feels out of place and unwelcome at his job.
The Utility of Fiction
McInerney uses the title “Utility of Fiction” to portray