In Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney, in which way does the story of the Coma Baby symbolises the life of the main character? Why has the author included it?

No doubt that it has much to do with the death of the main character's mother.


2 Answers 2


The coma baby is a representation of the main character himself ( let's call him Coach). Coach's mom is dead and he needs to deal with it and move on with his live. Instead he's living in denial, not accepting the fact that he is miserable. At the same time he is not letting the world around him know that he is miserable. What does he do instead? He drinks and takes drugs. It is easier for coach to just stay put in that lifestyle and he doesn't have strength to say to change his way of living. He wants to though; through the book it is clear that he actually wants to reject Tad and stay home instead of going out.

Now, the baby: His mom is dead and he doesn't want to come out the womb and face life (at least in coach’s dream). This situation is very similar to the Coach’s situation.

At the end of the book coach realizes that he needs to start over again while he is on his knees crawling like a baby. All in all; The coma baby is a representation of coach himself!


I believe it also represents the constant distraction from reality to a current (manufactured) crisis by the press, meant to distract the public from the actual problems of the day that must be resolved.

  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
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    Jan 15, 2023 at 20:50
  • Hi and welcome to Literature Stack Exchange. Could you please expand your answer that there is "current (manufactured) crisis by the press, meant to distract the public from the actual problems of the day" in the novel and that it is relevant to the coma baby story?
    – Tsundoku
    Jan 15, 2023 at 20:52

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