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Rdanison
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Re: Early Reading: The Wife’s Decision (SPOILER WARNING)

If the woman was actually physically blind, that would make her a sympathetic character. McCarthy is conveying her selfish and hopeless nature by having her commit suicide. There is no way that he would have her as a blind woman. Too many would understand her choice, if that were the case.
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Finns_dad
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Re: Early Reading: The Wife’s Decision (SPOILER WARNING)

No, the mother isnt blind. The novel makes repeated references to how totally dark the nights are, as there is no ambient light. The father and sons fear of separation in the night is not just a spiritual one; it is a physical one as well. The darkness is described as if the father could not see any less if he walked with his eyes shut in one passage.

The wife acts as a dramatic vehicle in many ways (as indeed does the supermarket trolley). We are brought up to believe that there is no stronger love than a mothers love for her son, yet she willingly and selfishly (?) kills herself. Or is it selfish? Does she do it knowing there are only 2 bullets for the gun, wanting to save them for her husband and son? In the word of us Brits, she "did a Captain Oates". His suicide heralded as the epitome of sacrifice for his friends, yet the mothers same act and the manner in which she did it seen as an act of the utmost selfishness? "her coldness was her last gift to him"?

Does she represent an allegory for the unprepared ness of mankind to the apocalypse? Consider. It’s just past quarter past one in the morning, the couple witness the flash and bang. Immediately the man senses what is happening, tries the power, its off, and then fills the bath knowing that this is one of the immediate actions to be taken in a disaster. She thinks he is taking a bath. This for me sets the scene in that he is just more "geared for survival" than him. However, the three of them must have existed in some sort of "normal" family unit for some time, before they started on the road. The boy can read, which means they must have had the time to teach him, as well as play. Play is important to him, and again, he must have been encouraged and given the wherewithal to do this.

Some of the other issues are the religious connotations, in this new upside down "hell", is "Joseph" the central figure of the second coming, rather than "Mary"?
As another poster has commented, it also adds to the central air of despair than pervades throughout the novel. The small victories scored, the finding of food or clothes, are only a postponement of the inevitable, there will be no happy ending for the boy, just a postponement of his death. There will be no planting of crops, no fishing, no hunting.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Early Reading: The Wife’s Decision (SPOILER WARNING)

I'm curious, Finn. Who was Captain Oates?



Finns_dad wrote:
No, the mother isnt blind. The novel makes repeated references to how totally dark the nights are, as there is no ambient light. The father and sons fear of separation in the night is not just a spiritual one; it is a physical one as well. The darkness is described as if the father could not see any less if he walked with his eyes shut in one passage.

The wife acts as a dramatic vehicle in many ways (as indeed does the supermarket trolley). We are brought up to believe that there is no stronger love than a mothers love for her son, yet she willingly and selfishly (?) kills herself. Or is it selfish? Does she do it knowing there are only 2 bullets for the gun, wanting to save them for her husband and son? In the word of us Brits, she "did a Captain Oates". His suicide heralded as the epitome of sacrifice for his friends, yet the mothers same act and the manner in which she did it seen as an act of the utmost selfishness? "her coldness was her last gift to him"?

Does she represent an allegory for the unprepared ness of mankind to the apocalypse? Consider. It’s just past quarter past one in the morning, the couple witness the flash and bang. Immediately the man senses what is happening, tries the power, its off, and then fills the bath knowing that this is one of the immediate actions to be taken in a disaster. She thinks he is taking a bath. This for me sets the scene in that he is just more "geared for survival" than him. However, the three of them must have existed in some sort of "normal" family unit for some time, before they started on the road. The boy can read, which means they must have had the time to teach him, as well as play. Play is important to him, and again, he must have been encouraged and given the wherewithal to do this.

Some of the other issues are the religious connotations, in this new upside down "hell", is "Joseph" the central figure of the second coming, rather than "Mary"?
As another poster has commented, it also adds to the central air of despair than pervades throughout the novel. The small victories scored, the finding of food or clothes, are only a postponement of the inevitable, there will be no happy ending for the boy, just a postponement of his death. There will be no planting of crops, no fishing, no hunting.


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Finns_dad
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Re: Early Reading: The Wife’s Decision (SPOILER WARNING)

Hello,

Capt. Oates was one of the doomed Antarctic expedition of 1912, lead by Robert Falcon Scott. After having their ponies die and motorised sledges break down, SCotts party dragged their equipment by hand to the Pole only to find Norwegian Roald Amundsen had reached the pole a month before, returning to base, they gradually ran short of supplies and food and became trapped in a blizzard. One of the men, Captain Oates realsiing his snowblindness and frostbite was holding back the men, said "I`m just going outside, I may be gone for some time" and walked off into the storm never to be seen again. Although the guesture wass heroic, it was in the end futile as Scott and his companions froze to death 11 miles from their next store depot. Later that year, a party from his expedition returned and found the men in their tent, where they recovered Scotts' diary. His last words were

"Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more."
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Early Reading: The Wife’s Decision (SPOILER WARNING)

I know the story. Just didn't recall Oates' part in it. Thanks, Finns_dad.




Finns_dad wrote:
Hello,

Capt. Oates was one of the doomed Antarctic expedition of 1912, lead by Robert Falcon Scott. After having their ponies die and motorised sledges break down, SCotts party dragged their equipment by hand to the Pole only to find Norwegian Roald Amundsen had reached the pole a month before, returning to base, they gradually ran short of supplies and food and became trapped in a blizzard. One of the men, Captain Oates realsiing his snowblindness and frostbite was holding back the men, said "I`m just going outside, I may be gone for some time" and walked off into the storm never to be seen again. Although the guesture wass heroic, it was in the end futile as Scott and his companions froze to death 11 miles from their next store depot. Later that year, a party from his expedition returned and found the men in their tent, where they recovered Scotts' diary. His last words were

"Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more."


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CHolland
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Re: Early Reading: The Wife’s Decision (SPOILER WARNING)

I believe the wife is not blind, however I do believe she has vision issues, possibly to a high degree. The man that the father shoot could barely see them, as well as Ely, but they could still SEE. Even the father alludes to people not being able to see that well when the son finds a house and the father told the son that no one could see it from the road, to which the son replies "We saw it" and the father responds "No, you saw it". So, I think there's vision issues with almost everyone involved (except somehow the little kid, maybe the flash blinded them, or it's metaphorical, I do not know). In addition, I have read some stuff that the mom shot herself, and would like to know if the text backs this up, because after she left to kill her self, McCarthy writes that "She would do it with a flake of obsidian. He'd thought her himself. Sharper than steal." I was just wondering if anyone else has read people saying she shot herself and where this derives from.
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Paul_Hochman
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Re: Early Reading: The Wife’s Decision (SPOILER WARNING)

Thanks for pointing this out. It's an interesting take on the idea of 'vision' both physically and symbolically.

I don't recall any illusion to the wife shooting herself.



CHolland wrote:
I believe the wife is not blind, however I do believe she has vision issues, possibly to a high degree. The man that the father shoot could barely see them, as well as Ely, but they could still SEE. Even the father alludes to people not being able to see that well when the son finds a house and the father told the son that no one could see it from the road, to which the son replies "We saw it" and the father responds "No, you saw it". So, I think there's vision issues with almost everyone involved (except somehow the little kid, maybe the flash blinded them, or it's metaphorical, I do not know). In addition, I have read some stuff that the mom shot herself, and would like to know if the text backs this up, because after she left to kill her self, McCarthy writes that "She would do it with a flake of obsidian. He'd thought her himself. Sharper than steal." I was just wondering if anyone else has read people saying she shot herself and where this derives from.


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CHolland
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Re: Early Reading: The Wife’s Decision (SPOILER WARNING)



PaulH wrote:
Thanks for pointing this out. It's an interesting take on the idea of 'vision' both physically and symbolically.

I don't recall any illusion to the wife shooting herself.



CHolland wrote:
I believe the wife is not blind, however I do believe she has vision issues, possibly to a high degree. The man that the father shoot could barely see them, as well as Ely, but they could still SEE. Even the father alludes to people not being able to see that well when the son finds a house and the father told the son that no one could see it from the road, to which the son replies "We saw it" and the father responds "No, you saw it". So, I think there's vision issues with almost everyone involved (except somehow the little kid, maybe the flash blinded them, or it's metaphorical, I do not know). In addition, I have read some stuff that the mom shot herself, and would like to know if the text backs this up, because after she left to kill her self, McCarthy writes that "She would do it with a flake of obsidian. He'd thought her himself. Sharper than steal." I was just wondering if anyone else has read people saying she shot herself and where this derives from.







Good, because i didn't either. The New Yourk times did... somehow: "Ultimately she gave up and took a bullet"

I got that from here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/25/books/25masl.html?fta=y
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DanSolo
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Re: Early Reading: The Wife’s Decision (SPOILER WARNING)

With regard to guns in general in the book, (does anyone feel a bit Resident Evil I at this point?), it's revealing how many times he refers to the number of bullets in the man's revolver, and to how he ponders over ways to make more bullets, and the finality of them NEVER finding the .45 or 30-06 in the bunker. Then we see at the end how the man who "saves" the boy has made his own shotgun shells using melted wax.
What this tells me is that although the man excelled at "old-world" skills, he's couldn't grasp the complete paradigm shift of the post-disaster world. The boy and the band who save him at the end seem to have this gift though.
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