In reading Being There, I found myself traveling two different avenues regarding Chance, aka Chauncey Gardiner. On the one avenue, the book contained such an interesting insight into our society. Kosinski pushes to the top a man of simplicity, who arrives there through the use of simple platitudes and repetition of what others are telling him. He literally starts off his rise by parroting back the last few words the person speaking to him has said. They take that as agreement, and propel him forward. It says that what we want is just to hear ourselves speak. We seek only ears.
The other avenue, more tenuously reflected, was Peter Keating in The Fountainhead. Keating is Chance with ambition. Keating spends much of The Fountainhead trying to move to the top, but it’s his method that mirrors Chance. In a critical passage of the book, Keating and Howard Roark are together, and Howard notes that Peter Keating is substantially nothing - he purposefully acts as a mirror, parroting back whatever he’s being told.
Chance is some combination of both a mirror and something more - a sculptor’s clay. In the beginning, he merely parrots back what he hears, but he becomes more than a reflection through the course of the book. He becomes clay and is shaped into whomever is speaking wants him to be. Each person literally fashions him into whatever purpose suits them best.
A really interesting satirical work, relatively short, but it leaves you with a lot to ponder about society.
Book 19 of 189