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Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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The Dispatcher-Jeffrey

We haven't talked much about Ian's older child Jeffrey

 

We know that he was in charge the night Maggie went missing and we know what's happened since

 

Let's focus on the phone call Ian makes to Jeffrey

was it too little too late

what effect if any do you think it had on Jeffrey

what did the chess game that Ian kept set up tell you

Distinguished Correspondent
Catherine111
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎04-30-2012

Re: The Dispatcher-Jeffrey


dhaupt wrote:

We haven't talked much about Ian's older child Jeffrey

 

We know that he was in charge the night Maggie went missing and we know what's happened since

 

Let's focus on the phone call Ian makes to Jeffrey

was it too little too late

what effect if any do you think it had on Jeffrey

what did the chess game that Ian kept set up tell you


I don’t know how their relationship could ever really be repaired—phone call or no phone call.  I could be wrong, but I don’t know that it was ever explicit that Ian blamed Jeffrey.  There is no way of telling whether Maggie’s abduction could have happened if her parents had been home.  (That part of the story reminded me of the Polly Klaas case.)  But I am sure there are a slew of what-ifs.  Putting myself in Jeffrey’s shoes, there would definitely be guilt on my part but also a feeling that Ian loved Maggie more (not that that is necessarily true.)  It is similar to a sick child who needs (rightly) more attention from the parents, but in the meantime his/her siblings get lost somewhere.  Out of that situation resentment begins to grow, which is followed by guilt over the growing resentment.  Now that Jeffrey is an adult, how can you give him back his formative years?  I find this part of the story particularly sad.  You wonder how Jeffrey coped all those years having the guilt hanging over him and then believing his father blames him. 

  

I saw the chess game as Ian keeping the door open for Jeffrey, as a sliver of hope.   But frankly, I think it is too late.  Gosh, I hope Jeffrey can find some peace. 

 

Catherine
Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008

Re: The Dispatcher-Jeffrey

I think in Jeffrey's mind that Ian called him a little too late. It had been years since the two had spoken and it must have been a little hurtful to Jeffrey that Ian only finally decided to call him after he found out that Maggie was still alive.

 

I felt bad for Jeffrey. All those years he must have felt that Maggie's kidnapping was his fault since he was the only one home at the time. Without his father around telling him it wasn't his fault, how could he not blame himself.

 

I believe that Ian kept the chess game set up all those years because he didn't want to admit to himself that he no longer had a relationship with Jeffrey. I think Ian always thought he could pick up with Jeffrey right where they left off, like nothing had changed. Unfortunately for him, time didn't stand still. Jeffrey had grown up without a real relationship with his father and moved on with his life. I wondered if Ian was a little surprised by the reaction he got when he called Jeffrey. He kept thinking he should have said different things, I think to make it better, but after all that time had passed I'm not sure there was anything he could say to make the situation better.

April
Distinguished Wordsmith
aprilh
Posts: 424
Registered: ‎09-25-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Dispatcher-Jeffrey


Catherine111 wrote:

dhaupt wrote:

We haven't talked much about Ian's older child Jeffrey

 

We know that he was in charge the night Maggie went missing and we know what's happened since

 

Let's focus on the phone call Ian makes to Jeffrey

was it too little too late

what effect if any do you think it had on Jeffrey

what did the chess game that Ian kept set up tell you


I don’t know how their relationship could ever really be repaired—phone call or no phone call.  I could be wrong, but I don’t know that it was ever explicit that Ian blamed Jeffrey.  There is no way of telling whether Maggie’s abduction could have happened if her parents had been home.  (That part of the story reminded me of the Polly Klaas case.)  But I am sure there are a slew of what-ifs.  Putting myself in Jeffrey’s shoes, there would definitely be guilt on my part but also a feeling that Ian loved Maggie more (not that that is necessarily true.)  It is similar to a sick child who needs (rightly) more attention from the parents, but in the meantime his/her siblings get lost somewhere.  Out of that situation resentment begins to grow, which is followed by guilt over the growing resentment.  Now that Jeffrey is an adult, how can you give him back his formative years?  I find this part of the story particularly sad.  You wonder how Jeffrey coped all those years having the guilt hanging over him and then believing his father blames him. 

  

I saw the chess game as Ian keeping the door open for Jeffrey, as a sliver of hope.   But frankly, I think it is too late.  Gosh, I hope Jeffrey can find some peace. 

 


Catherine, I love the comparison you made. I think you hit the nail on the head. Brilliant!

April
Wordsmith
elaine_hf
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎01-05-2010

Re: The Dispatcher-Jeffrey

Jeffrey is spoken of so infrequently that I think that the author loves Maggie more, too!   :smileywink:

I'm still trying to decide what role he really plays in this story - not really a foil, I would say he serves as a kind of barometer for the family except that he hasn't been a physical presence for years. Even if Ian didn't directly blame him for Maggie's disappearance, I feel fairly certain that his body language clearly conveyed blame. How could Ian not feel that immediate rush of anger, since Jeffrey was the one left in charge. Do I think it would have made any difference had Ian been home? No. And I do think that Ian, assuming he placed the blame initially on Jeffrey's shoulders, regretted that reaction and the chess board served as a connection to him. Kind of a weak connection, really, a little like playing telephone with two tin cans connected by a string. I completely get Ian's procrastination in contacting Jeffrey, but because of that delay I think he destroyed any chance of a real relationship with him. Who knows how things would have turned out had Jeffrey left only temporarily, to give things a chance to cool off.

 

Okay, I'm done rambling on......

Elaine

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Dispatcher-Jeffrey


elaine_hf wrote:

Jeffrey is spoken of so infrequently that I think that the author loves Maggie more, too!   :smileywink:

I'm still trying to decide what role he really plays in this story - not really a foil, I would say he serves as a kind of barometer for the family except that he hasn't been a physical presence for years. Even if Ian didn't directly blame him for Maggie's disappearance, I feel fairly certain that his body language clearly conveyed blame. How could Ian not feel that immediate rush of anger, since Jeffrey was the one left in charge. Do I think it would have made any difference had Ian been home? No. And I do think that Ian, assuming he placed the blame initially on Jeffrey's shoulders, regretted that reaction and the chess board served as a connection to him. Kind of a weak connection, really, a little like playing telephone with two tin cans connected by a string. I completely get Ian's procrastination in contacting Jeffrey, but because of that delay I think he destroyed any chance of a real relationship with him. Who knows how things would have turned out had Jeffrey left only temporarily, to give things a chance to cool off.

 

Okay, I'm done rambling on......

Elaine


That was definitely not rambling and this is why I love these conversations because I would never have thought of some and some are so right on that I think the commentor and I are sharing the same brain.

Thanks Elaine 

Scribe
TarHeelGirl00
Posts: 665
Registered: ‎02-10-2012

Re: The Dispatcher-Jeffrey

Jeffrey was just a young teenager when Maggie was taken, and although I don't feel he is responsible, I'm sure he has lived with massive guilt for many years.  Ian probably saw the chess game as an effort to hold onto Jeffrey.  After not hearing from his dad for so long, Jeffrey got rid of the game in an attempt to deal with the pain.  I think mentioning the chess game to Jeffrey was a mistake on Ian's part, but at least he seems to realize it.  Unfortunately so many times parents who have estranged relationships with their children fail to acknowledge any fault.  In Ian's defense, he does seem to recognize his part in the severed relationship, he just hasn't dealt with it.

Author
ryandavidjahn
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎01-19-2012

Re: The Dispatcher-Jeffrey

Thanks for the comments, all.

 

To me Jeffrey is a stand-in for the ruined relationships in Ian's life in general and his inability to deal with the present, so focused is he on his past losses. He's neglected the now so fully that he's in fact created more loss for himself, and for those around him. The kidnapping not only took Maggie from Ian, but his wife and his son; and for their parts, they not only lost a sister and a daughter, but a father and a husband.

 

I think the wide-ranging consequences of such an event are often ignored in fiction and reality, and I wanted to pay as much attention to them as I could without causing the story to drag.