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Quotes and comments (pl. regard all post as potential spoilers)

[ Edited ]
Sometimes I was arrested by some single line and started to think around that very much in the manner of free associations.

A key to Dowwell for me is this line:

"I know nothing-nothing in the world-of the hearts of men. I only know that I am alone-horribly alone."
(P1/ch1)

That doesn't explain much about his character or why he made the choices he did but it at least describes his disposition, a place on the human map.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-12-200708:02 AM

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ELee
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Knowing nothing - SPOILER WARNING

"I know nothing-nothing in the world-of the hearts of men. I only know that I am alone-horribly alone."

I get the feeling that Dowell either takes some sort of perverse pride in this or uses it as an excuse. He alludes to his lack of knowing/understanding frequently. Once recognized, there never seems to be any attempt to make an improvement or "clue in" to his surroundings. A prominent example would be his "saddling" himself with another [mental] invalid (Nancy) at the end of the story. He repeats the same caretaking, sexless role that he had with Florence.
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in defence of Dowell - SPOILER WARNING

[ Edited ]

ELee wrote:
"I know nothing-nothing in the world-of the hearts of men. I only know that I am alone-horribly alone."

I get the feeling that Dowell either takes some sort of perverse pride in this or uses it as an excuse. He alludes to his lack of knowing/understanding frequently. Once recognized, there never seems to be any attempt to make an improvement or "clue in" to his surroundings. A prominent example would be his "saddling" himself with another [mental] invalid (Nancy) at the end of the story. He repeats the same caretaking, sexless role that he had with Florence.





I think you are a bit too quick with him. He didn't recognize much as yet. And even if he will there is not a simple instant remedy; he's not a case for an "improve yourself in 10 minutes" book a la dr. Phil.

Writing of this story is helping him to gain distance, to come to terms with his feelings and he is in a kind of shock (like after Florence's death). One needs to try to see the world from his perspective before delivering judgements. Most of us repeat our roles even if we know they are dysfunctional.

He was also set up by Leonora who didn't want to have anything to do whatsoever with her former life. She moved on, collected the cash and didn't give a damn about Dowell.
However, he appears as a victim of circumstances which emphasizes his impotence.

I agree with you that the picture of him sitting there and eating dinner with Nancy at the end was just 'unreal', it hit me hard.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-12-200707:21 AM

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Dowell's realization

[ Edited ]
"Well, there you have the position, as clear as I can make it-the husband an ignorant fool, the wife a cold sensualist with imbecile fears-for I was such a fool that I should never have known what she was or was not-and the blackmailing lover. And then the other lover came along...."

(P2/ch1)

I find this very typical. You live your life in a certain way, you trust the people around you and think all is as it is...then all of a sudden there is a crack in that image and you can hardly believe what you see. You can hardly take in that deceit. A nice neighbour murders his wife. Your cute uncle robs a bank. A son is arrested for drug dealing.

What hits you is so totally different compared to what you believed, so far removed from all you thought was possible that the mind can hardly grasp it. This quote captures that sensation for me. And imagine the shame that usually comes with it, plus the despair if you are willing to feel that. It's nothing short of an earthquake.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-12-200708:04 AM

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Choisya
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Re: Dowell's realization

Yes, indeedy, Life as cinema verite.




ziki wrote:
"Well, there you have the position, as clear as I can make it-the husband an ignorant fool, the wife a cold sensualist with imbecile fears-for I was such a fool that I should never have known what she was or was not-and the blackmailing lover. And then the other lover came along...."

(P2/ch1)

I find this very typical. You live your life in a certain way, you trust the people around you and think all is as it is...then all of a sudden there is a crack in that image and you can hardly believe what you see. You can hardly take in that deceit. A nice neighbour murders his wife. Your cute uncle robs a bank. A son is arrested for drug dealing.

What hits you is so totally different compared to what you believed, so far removed from all you thought was possible that the mind can hardly grasp it. This quote captures that sensation for me. And imagine the shame that usually comes with it, plus the despair if you are willing to feel that. It's nothing short of an earthquake.

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-12-200708:04 AM




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Dowel feels nothing

[ Edited ]
You ask how it feels to be a deceived husband. Just Heavens, I do not know. It feels just nothing at all. .... Limbo. No, I feel nothing at all about that....It's not my business to think about it. (part 1, ch VI)

But he thinks about it. He writes down the whole story and takes the pain to tell us all the details. He can't pretend it didn't happen. He feels hatred for Florence and he felt pretty left out...

...and me ..perhaps they find me an elevator to run...

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 02-17-200711:30 PM

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