By Deena Liguori
Stereotype: In literature, a character or author who represents a trait generally attributed to a social or racial group and lacks other individualizing traits. Stereotypes such as the absent-minded professor, the nagging wife, the idealistic student and the spoiled child are repeated from work to work or duplicated over and over through the authors work.
Example: Douglas Coupland’s JPod plays with many stereotypes within its entirety. One of the first examples of stereotypes would be the emphasis on pot and weed as Vancouver is commonly known for its abundance of pot and pot smokers. In this novel, Ethan Jarlewski is the main character whose mother runs a successful grow-op in the basement of her home. This idea is playing with the notion of stereotyping all Vancouverites to have grow-ops in their basements. “Mom always keeps her grow-op at nearly a hundred percent humidity, and I hate humidity”(23). The people who work in JPod are essential a group of computer geeks who are working together to form a new video game for Neotronic Arts, a Burnaby-based company. The six people who work within JPod are all outsiders trying to blend in with regular society. This book brings an in depth and detailed behind the scenes look of computer geeks and what they really do. Through the stereotyping in this book it is easy to see that computer geeks are very smart and talented which is something that they are always associated with. “I’m about to hand out sheets listing 8,363 prime numbers between 10,000 and 100,000. Embedded in the list is of prime numbers is one no prime number” (245). One other great example of stereotyping in the novel is not only about nerds but the mention of their everyday lives and how they are hard core gamers who play video games nonstop. “Ethan you spend way too much time playing manhunt, which is the goriest game of all time. It signals your detachment from humanity” (211). Through Coupland’s fictional novel it is evident that he uses stereotyping as a sense of humor to engage the reader to get the full “nerd or geek” experience in such a unique way.
“Allusion”. Morner, Kathleen and Ralph Rausch. Dictionary of Literary Terms. NTC Publishing, 1991. Print.
Coupland, Douglas. JPod. Toronto: Random House, 2006. Print.