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Now that you’ve (hopefully) finished reading Clockers, how do you see it in relation to The Wire? Do you find that they offer different ways of engaging with similar stories? What aspects of the book and show point to the different possibilities of television versus literature?

3 Responses to “Open Thread on Clockers (full book)”

  1. Emily McCabe says:

    The novel Clockers in its entirety certainly engages with many of the same themes as the wire Season 1 lending them a unique spin, but also explores some new material. Religion in the novel, as we see it through Rocco’s interaction with the Rector regarding Victors confession, provides complicated comfort for Victor when his frustration with his family and work life comes to a head. The priest tells Rocco how much he longs to make a connection with Victor and to help him, that he doesn’t understand exactly why Victor attends the middle class church but that he nevertheless is pleased to offer him support. I see his attendance as less abject devotion to God and more as dedication to a necessary hopeful community oriented place where he can be surrounded by what he aspires to and not lose faith in his own dreams. The sermons also center his moral compass, and when he can no longer stand the guilt the church is his refuge.

    The novel leads the reader along, making you want to believe that Victor is a liar and that he didnt shoot Darryl in cold blood. As a likeable hardworking character we see Victor as Rocco does and do not want to find him guilty. Unlike the wire, the one mystery of who killed Darryl hangs over your head the whole time (interwoven with other subplots of course) and definitions of guilt must be reserved for the end of the story. The climax of the novel happens in my opinion when Strike confesses the truth and talks to his mother on the phone confirming that Victor is indeed the murderer. The action falls from that point and everything else seems like closure. In each episode the wire is constantly leaving the viewer hanging and leaves as many small mysteries open as it solves. The general structure of rising action, climax and resolution works well for the novel but is generally not employed in the show.

    An emotional note: I am so happy that Strike is able to escape and start again elsewhere! Although it is unclear whether he will just begin selling again wherever he ends up. It is hopeful in a way that D’Angelo’s character arc at the end of season 1 is not. I am also upset about the authors choice to make Tyrone a casualty of of the drug war. It is hard to blame Strike since he tried (albeit passive aggressively) to leave him alone, but questions of blame are certainly pertinent. Why does he get away and an eleven year old kid faces time away from his mother in a juvenile center? Tyrone reminded me in subtle ways of Wallace. Childlike but old beyond their years, both characters tried to make good decisions but were ultimately screwed over by the game.


  2. Max Monbouquette says:

    I enjoyed reading Clockers in conjunction with The Wire. After seeing each episode now multiple times it became clear when reading the book that it provided some of the roots for the show. The “dissent” Simon talks about being present in The Wire I see traces of in Clockers, especially having to do with the role of children in the game.
    Another thing I noticed about Clockers in relation to The Wire are the many little seemingly unimportant anecdotes and descriptive scenes in the novel that Simon incorporated into the series. I don’t really know why but this bothers me greatly. Some of the little scenes don’t mean too much to the overall plot of the show or episode but to me they make The Wire great. I guess it is a way for Simon to give a nod to his inspirations but for me it takes away from the originality an authenticity of the show. From another standpoint though one could also argue that it speaks to the fact that The Wire accomplished what so many series couldn’t and that is bringing something truly realistic to television.


  3. Baird Kellogg says:

    Well I guess I just can’t get enough Clockers, but after finishing up the essay yesterday, I wanted to include something that did not end up fitting in my essay. The second time around I picked up on a small reference that I thought was actually pretty fascinating. When Rocco searches the room of Darryl Adams, he finds blood pressure medicine, insulin, and some other medications. To me it was a perfect reminder of the cyclical nature of the game. Darry Adams, although he seemed somewhat of a thug when we heard he was stealing from, he actually seemed to be a good person who was extremely nervous about his job. Strike, when he takes over for Darryl, immediately gets the same way (as we see with his ulcder). I think we see this a lot on the Wire too, especially at the end of Season 1 when there is immediately someone to step in for the people who are arrested or get killed.


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