Sounds Like Titanic
Jessica Chiccehito Hindman
Contributed by Greta Venegas
Motifs are devices or structures that are used by artists or authors to help in the development of a theme.
Willy Stark

Hindman talks about a book she read, All the Kings Men, and how the author, Jack Burden, offers his sardonic descriptions of Willie Stark while he was onstage — and who is a master of deceiving his audience. He gives a speech about how he is not giving a speech, and the crowd of bumpkins, not realizing they have been had, loves it (Hindman, 2019, p. 157-158). Similarly, this scenario relates to The Composer, who is a master of fakery and has thrived over the years with the sham of pressing the “Play” button on the CD player he had bought in Philadelphia, while using dead microphones for their performances. These crowds, too, love his performances, not realizing they have been had.

Master and Commander

The narrator talks about how The Composer narrates with excitement the book he had been reading, Master and Commander. He tells the narrator about life at sea, how hard it was for the sailors, and that the master and commander was just another name for the captain of the ship. Similarly, in Hindman’s memoir, The Composer was just another name for her boss who traveled to different towns, cities and countries to ‘perform’ with his ensemble. The Composer also thinks that the ability of the Master and Commander to kill anyone he wants, is cool (Hindman, 2019, p. 160). 

Life in the Body

Throughout the book, the narrator uses this motif to signify the changes that occur in a female’s body. During one of her performances with the ensemble, she narrates how she experienced a panic attack on stage and had the urge to pee. In her memoir, she says “Part of the problem is the embarrassment. You do not want to talk about having to pee. It is gross, and no one wants to be gross, especially not a young woman still trying to reconcile life in the body” (Hindman, 2019, p. 155). Here, she likens life in the body to an adolescent age, where girls feel embarrassed and uncomfortable to talk about having to pee.

The narrator also uses this motif to refer to pregnancy in teenage girls. During her work assignment at MTV, she is tasked to seek young teenage girls across America who were pregnant and were interested in appearing on reality television. She receives emails from girls having various challenges due to their pregnancy. Hillman says the ultimate curse of life in the body would be accidentally getting someone else’s life literally inside your body (Hindman, 2019, p. 192). 

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