What is the writer trying to say in this story?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Being Thereis a fairly complex work.  I think that one of the messages that underscores the novel is the idea that the modern setting is one in which human beings hear what they want to hear.  For those who interact with Chance, he reveals what it is they wish to hear.  Language and its reception has been constructed without the understanding of scrutinizing of what is its meaning, but rather what its meaning could be.  In this, our critical imagination has become both widened and simultaneously limited.  We search for meaning in the world, but it is a vision of meaning that ties into our own biases and predispositions.  The fact that Chance is able to communicate only through a massive dependence on television makes the work a critique of the social media in which our world operates.  I think that another point that is being made through the work is the idea that no one can really establish Chance's identity.  For Kosinski, the dependence on the media has created a realm where individual differences are either transcended or sublimated, depending on your point of view.  Chance is a construct of television and his identity, his sense of being, is unknown.  He is the world of television, and this becomes his identity.  It is for this reason that so many can relate to him and so many understand him, believing that somehow he understands them.  It is in this where a critique of the individual and social dependence on the media becomes another underlying part of the novel's message. 


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