Feed on


Was it possible that the great Tower didn’t actually exist? After all, no one had ever seen the entire structure, which kept vanishing from sight no matter where you stood. Except for a handful of visible bricks, the whole thing was little more than a collection of rumors, longings, dreams, and travelers’ tales. It was less than a memory. The Tower was a prodigious absence, a soaring void, a pit dug upward into the air. It was as if each part of the visible Tower had begun to dissolve under the vast pressure of the invisible parts, operating in every direction.

the towerIn Millhauser’s “The Tower,” he takes the Biblical Tower of Babel, but he changes it into another interesting place that makes the story unique from the Biblical story. Right at the beginning of the story, we are introduced to the setting of this tall tower that reaches up to heaven. This is similar to the Bible in that the people of Babylon were trying to build a tower that reached up to heaven, but they failed to God’s actions. The great Tower does reach heaven, but it presents different problems that are relatable to the human experience. In the story, Millhauser uses the horizontal versus the vertical world as a way of expressing problems such as the lack of mystery that came with reaching what was once unattainable. The main focus is to create a believable world in which drastic changes in our environment become ordinary and appear minute over time. He also presents the problem of communication in ways of messages traveling and making our stories sound more appealing than what is actually reality. This relates to how in the human experience we often exaggerate events that we witnessed so that our story and our lives appear more interesting. Furthermore, the idea of messages becoming changed over time as it is passed down from person to person is another part of the human experience.  It is similar to the game telephone in which the story changes over time and by the last person, the story is an entirely different story is comprehended differently.  This is also similar to how rumors are spread because details are changed and it can lead to what appears to be true to be false; similar to the mixup of what heaven looked like and what the plain city looked like.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.