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More on The Corner

An open thread on the remainder of The Corner.

4 Responses to “More on The Corner”

  1. Baird Kellogg says:

    Just about done with The Corner. Amazing book. I am enjoying every second of reading it. It is fascinating how every page is extremely profound.

    One point in the book that I think is worth discussing because of its contrast to The Wire is the type of drug game we see. In The Wire it is all about the big drug kingpins controlling huge amounts of territory in Baltimore. We mainly see Avon and Stringer and sometimes people like Bode who run their corners. In The Corner, it is the complete opposite. I know the book only focuses on the area around Fayette Street and hence won’t have any drug kingpins in it, but the drug game described in the book is quite different. It seems like anyone can get themselves a package from an independent higher up and sell the drugs. It is much more of a free market, with lots of groups of kids working for themselves or for the leader of their particular group. I’m not sure if this is just sort of the food chain that leads to a few big fish, but it seems like a much more diverse drug trade than in the Wire where it is a bunch of corners working for a single person.

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  2. Alex Oberg says:

    It’s interesting that if we had read The Corner during Season 1 we would be making fewer connections with The Wire. The community of Baltimore beyond the police and drug dealers is hardly developed at all in Season 1. Besides Bubbles and Johnny, there is very little depiction of the lives of drug users, a major focus in The Corner.

    But Season 3 has begun to tackle a lot of the subjects and themes that The Corner delves into. Both Season 3 of The Wire, and The Corner provide a much broader character universe of Baltimore. Colvin’s and the Deacon’s efforts to improve lives in the community mirror Ella’s attempts to run a successful rec center. We also see more of a focus on the lives of fiends/drug users.

    Baird brings up an interesting point. It’ll be interesting to see, with Avon and Stringer dethroned, whether or not a free-for-all drug market depicted in the Corner will play more of a factor in Seasons 4 and 5. The Wire seems to be becoming more like the Corner with each episode.

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  3. Tom Ladeau says:

    Something that was a key point of The Corner, and relates to the discussion we had today in class regarding Hamsterdam and the debate about legalizing/decriminalizing drugs is the fact that with these hard drugs, you are dealing with human desire. Human desire is the root of this problem, and in The Corner Simon and Burns make the point that the war on drugs does seem impossible to win. The police/politicians/systems are not merely “fighting” against drug dealers or a black market, they are fighting a losing battle with human desire. Because these hard drugs are so addictive, so enslaving once the person is addicted, the drug trade is one of few economic options for many people in poverty-stricken areas, the “war” has no clear enemies. The root of it all is human desire, a fact that makes it difficult to even think about possible solutions. As Simon and Burns seem to be saying in The Wire, but primarily in The Corner, the drug problem seems insurmountable, and is much more complicated than a “war on drugs.”

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  4. Tom Ladeau says:

    As we discussed in class today, the Corner spends more time on female characters than the Wire does. Another way the Corner is different is the focus on the addicitons, as I mentioned in my previous post. In some ways, the two seem to go hand in hand. They are both encompassed by a focus on a specific neighborhood/community. The Corner gives us an in depth look at the lives of a wide variety of people, not just people (mostly males) involved in the drug “war.” The Corner shows us Ella and allows us to see her concerns and desires. We see how she hold out hope that she can somehow make a difference in this community, even when it seems impossible. Fran is another female character with depth in the novel. She goes back and forth between being a caring mother and a suffering addict. If the Wire focused more on the addictions affecting people beyond Bubbs (there was a couple of brief scenes of the NA group in season one), this would be one way to possibly get more female characters into the show. The main reason for this is the masculine associations that the drug game/war has on the end that we see in the wire, the dealing, murdering: gangster stuff.

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