I really enjoyed listening to the Part II podcast today, and I am also surprised that I am still
lost, where exactly are we heading to in this book, because this is certainly a memoir of an old
man who has, had parenting issues when he was a child, but the direction this memoir is
heading to is still unclear.
As to Weer's parents I think it clearly points to me that they really did a bad job raising him,
because although no parents are perfect, but abandoning the child, when the child most needs
them, and leaving away for Europe, casts them in a very poor light, because it was actually
Dennis who needed to be away from this negative reactions which he is getting from the town's
people or even his friends at school, because this being a small town, everyone must have known
what has happened, and given Weer a hard time about it.
I don't think Olivia is a sort of person, whom any parent will like to have his children with,
because not only she does not cook anything substantial she is living mostly on packaged food.
Also Olivia is clearly has her role model as George Sand, which you guys clearly pointed out,
because she is trying to break all the stereotypes in this town, by doing all sorts of eccentric
things, and what exactly motivates her to behave in this way is unclear to us from the text.
Also Weer's gives us a line in first section of the chapter
"In my grandmother's house I had always felt that the house knew but would not tell; in my aunt Olivia's that the house itself had forgotten".
So by this is he trying to describe the characteristics of the person living in the house, that his
parents were secretive about many things, but his aunt Olivia just doesn't care about many
things, that's what I am reading from this.
Also what's special about Olivia's house is that everything looks to be out of sort, not even the
walls are uniform, but they are arranged in an haphazard way. We also get a lot of green color in the
house and outside the house, so basically green as color is suppose to have a calming effect on the
person/person(s), why do we have to so many green imagery here is unclear.
Her garden also has elves & gnomes so again we have a fairy tale connection, or as you guys are saying
imaginary world or lost places invoked over here.
The other thing which I sensed in this chapter was Dennis is typecasting all the women of this
town as having the farm wife mentality, and also telling us that they feared Olivia, because
they were envious of her freedom , we also get line in this chapter where he describes his town of
corn growers and cattle grazers, who wouldn't know about University existing thirty five miles
from the town, this I see as projection of anger towards people who are maybe avoiding him or
giving him hard time, due to the accident which happened with Bobby Black.
Also you guys were right to point out that, Dennis is not all sorry for the fact that Bobby Black
died, he just mentions it casually to us, but I think this death is very much on his mind, because
no wonder he is thinking about killing Olivia's dogs on the picnic, as he thinks funerals are
I also find the start of the next section where in Dennis mentions going in the branches of Elm tree
a bit weird, and then he invokes a nursery rhyme about weather, this is really a curve ball which
Wolfe has thrown at us here, because I tried reading the words again and again, but still can't make sense out of them.
Peacock seemed an interesting personality to me I think you are right in the fact that he is
definitely teaching anthropology at the university, because my first hunch was he was teaching
political science because he mentions about the "troglodytes & Montesquieu". So may be he is
teaching political science, but has interest anthropology.
And that was fantastic catch on Wolfe, where in Wolfe is self reminiscing about people having to work in one field, and having an interest in different fields.
The catch regarding the river flow is fantastic, because no way it is random.
Also now we have a confirmation from Weer himself that his visit to Dr Van Ness is or was imaginary, we also get Crazy Pete from Changeling invoked here.
What can I say about Olivia she is weird because not only she is giving all kinds of names to the flowers, but also she mocks the scholars, also is this a good idea to take a child on such a dangerous trip because by the look of it they are climbing down into big heights, and what if an accident was to happen, this clearly shows us the fact that she doesn't care enough about Dennis, also when you guys told how peacock and Olivia mock Dennis regarding killing someone, that's really brutal, clearly this shows that Dennis hasn't had an easy childhood.
I am still can't make up my mind as to where exactly this novel is going because at one time Weer talks about how the rocks helped preserve some natural trees, and at the next moment he wants to chop down trees. We also get a lot of native indian imagery time again, it's all over the place for me, because I can't hang of theme of this book besides being a memoir.