How are the city and jungle ethically dependent on one another in Lost City Radio?

Expert Answers
jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Lost City Radio, people from the jungle stream into the city to find news of their loved ones, so the city functions as a kind of holding pen and relocation center. The jungle is dependent on the city, and particularly on Norma's radio show, to find their loved ones. Alarcon writes:

"Every Sunday night, for an hour, since the last year of the war, Norma took calls from people who imagined she had special powers, that she was mantic and all-seeing, able to pluck the lost, estranged, and missing from the moldering city" (page 9). 

The city, and Norma in particular, function as the nerve center of the country. People regard Norma almost as a god, and they think she is able to see everything and find their loved ones. In the passage above, Norma is represented as an omniscient figure who can find anyone in the vast metropolis. The city represents the hope of the rest of the country. People from the jungle, such as the residents of Victor's town (1797), send people to the city in search of a better life. They write to Norma, "We want a better life for Victor. There is no future for him here." (page 5)

The jungle functions as the heart of the city. Refugees pour their hearts out to Norma. Alarcon writes about the refugees from the jungle:

"They'd dance and drink and sing into the early hours of the morning. Norma greeted them all as they lined up to thank her. They were humble people. Tears would well up in their eyes when they met her--not when they saw her, but when she spoke: that voice" (page 10).

The city depends on the hearts and souls and bodies of the vast numbers of refugees from the jungle to populate it and to give it life and heart. The jungle represents the people who worship Norma and her voice as if she were a god. They are filled with humility and gratitude, and they symbolize the heart and soul of the country. The city is dependent on the jungle for its heart.