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A possible answer to one of Professor Pulizzi’s closing questions struck me a few minutes after class concluded today. Why does Ballard feature women the way he does in The Atrocity Exhibition? They’re often portrayed as passive, mutilated and part of experiments. Perhaps Ballard is commenting on the strong impact of media on the major role women play in the development of life, biologically speaking. Women carry and bear children through an extremely vulnerable state of development. However, once the natural development of a human being ceases in the womb, and the child leaves a woman’s body, he/she is subject to other elements of development such as exposure to mass media. Perhaps the text is suggesting that the progressing role of media is becoming the dominant cognitive developer for humans, the main source of nourishment for the mind, as opposed to direct social interaction. The text isn’t necessarily saying that women are becoming obsolete due to extensive media exposure, but represents the deteriorating, direct social bond between humans through the novel’s various assaults on women. The novel represents this through women in particular because women participate in everyone’s first relationship, everyone’s first encounter with another human being.

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