References and Entities From The Novel
Riddley Walker is set in the far future; two millennia after a nuclear war which changed human society deeply. The characters continually refer to cultural and political concepts and figures from history, which they themselves only dimly understand. Below are some of the more important concepts, to give a sense of the novel's tone.
- Punch - While the authorized narrative of society, The Eusa Show, appropriates many of the familiar puppets from the Punch and Judy show, Punch himself is suppressed until Riddley happens to find an ancient Punch puppet which sets him on his journey.
- Eusa - The protagonist in several folk tales and ballads depicting the nuclear conflict. Eusa mythology conflates the legend of Saint Eustace, who is depicted in a painting in Canterbury Cathedral, and the historical United States of America (USA), the first user of atomic weapons.
- Puter Leat - Riddley Walker-speak for the "Computer Elite", referring to those who existed before the "Bad Time" and their seemingly endless abilities; "What Goodparley calls Eusas head which it ben a girt box of knowing and you hook up peopl to it thats what a puter ben. We ben the Puter Leat we had the woal worl in our mynd and we had worls beyont this in our mynd we programmit pas the sarvering gallack seas."
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Famous quotes containing the word entities:
“What are you now? If we could touch one another,
if these our separate entities could come to grips,
clenched like a Chinese puzzle . . . yesterday
I stood in a crowded street that was live with people,
and no one spoke a word, and the morning shone.
Everyone silent, moving. . . . Take my hand. Speak to me.”
—Muriel Rukeyser (19131980)