Thursday, March 15, 2007

Not Doctor Street

"Would always be known as Mains Avenue and not Doctor Street."

This sentence is fascinating to me because of the unclarity of the last three words. Is Morrison saying that it isn't Doctor Street, or also Not Doctor Street? You can read it both ways. Since the "not" isn't capitalized, it would seem like the first choice. But if read aloud, it sounds like the second choice. Unclarity almost always has a purpose in literature, and I wonder what it means in this case.


Jenna said...

This is funny because I was wondering the same thing as I was reading the book.

Karen O'Neil said...

Isn't it an example of the black community turning the white community's ignorance on its head? Okay, if you say that forever more it will be known as Mains Avenue and not Doctor Street, we'll take you at your word and call it Not Doctor Street.