Nanoism of “512” by Phil Temples

An Exploration by Kelsie Sandage

Part One: A little girl stops on the street when she notices a bum, who is actually Christ in disguise.  He calls her Athena in disguise.

Part Two: Christ dressed as a bum is recognizing the little girl as Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. One returned, disguised, and celebrated spirit recognizes the hidden spirit of Athena in the little girl.

The characterization of Christ as a bum and his characterizing the little girl as Athena is interesting. By invoking these well-known figures, the audience learns much about these characters from just their names. Christ as a bum is a metaphor: the Son who died for the sins of humanity is ignored by the adults who exalt Christ’s teachings. However, the adults do not seem to understand their own teachings, as they do not suspect that someone so low in our societal hierarchy could also be the reincarnated Christ. The little girl stopping and seeing the hobo Christ displays the idea that children are more open to ideas and understand better than most adults. Athena is a Greek pantheon pagan Goddess of Wisdom. This is an allusion to classic Greek texts before Christ, an acknowledgment of different interpretations of human history outside the Bible: belief in multiple gods before Christianity spread around the world, and all by the son of God, Christ. The girl Athena shows a hope for new generations to be more open to people of different beliefs.

 “I like your disguise, Athena,” he told her.

The way this sentence links Christ to Athena signifies the vast opening of the world by connecting the history of the Bible to the Greek tales of where their Gods came from.  He does not merely say “Hello, Athena;” Christ addresses her disguised form to show that he believes the innocence and openness to truth are still stemmed from the spirit of Athena. It ends there. Athena does not respond. The audience doesn’t know if what they really experienced was Christ recognizing an old spirit of Wisdom, or a bum talking to a little girl walking on the streets.

The conciseness of this nanofiction allows room for interpretation, such as the vast historical connotations that they might make between Christ and Athena. A non-Christian, say an Amazon warrior completely separated from world history, would understand Christ and Athena as just names because he has no historical reference. People within certain cultures can see how connecting the many gods of the Greek pantheon versus the single God of Christianity opens up new connotations that both Christ and Athena are walking Earth. Others writing microfiction/nanofiction can use characters to allude to attributes and well-known people to personify traits of humanity. You must be concise. Use a dictionary or thesaurus to look for better words to convey what you really mean. When reading, keep memos, text messages or lists of good and descriptive words you find that you can revise.  Revisions are important. Read out loud. Decide if it is right. If it isn’t, then change it. Edit yourself, but trust yourself as well. Try multiple times and create what you want people to remember you for.


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