Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 10 Edgar Sawtelle

Week 10 – "Trudy"

Sorry for being late, everyone. I have not peeked at your posts and can hardly wait to read them!
In Week 10, we get some valuable insight into Trudy. “As an orphan handed from relation to relation a half dozen times before she was 12, Trudy could wield an insular self-reliance…” p.482. I disagree with the author holding onto this information for so long. First of all, this is the fundamental formative experience of Trudy’s life. She is a main character and perhaps it would have been better to know a bit more about her earlier. I know an author is not supposed to get bogged down in back story at the beginning of the novel, but this is a bit extreme, that we have to wait until the end of the book to learn about Trudy. So basically Trudy’s life was defined by death right from the start. First her parents both die making her an orphan, and then you infer other bad things happening causing her to move a lot and not form any lasting parental-type relationships in her youth. This also to me illuminates the depth of her depression at not being able to form her ideal family, first through having her own children with a man she loves, and then to have it taken from her by Gar’s death. It also means that she had no role models for being a good parent.
Ever since the prologue, the reader has had the idea of poison in the back of their mind. Now I think we are going to see the complexity of this image as DW winds up his story. In this week’s reading we learn about what is “poison” for Trudy: depression, “Every hour spent like that poisoned her, she’d thought, yet the sensation was irresistible, enthralling, equal parts dread and desire.” P. 476. We are also given the black plant image, the extended metaphor from seed to vine to woven cage.
When the wolf pup dies, she resolves, “That night she had made a pact with death itself: she could stay if she allowed death to stay as well. In choosing life she embraced contradiction.” p. 477 I think this means that Trudy has tried her best to overcome all the deaths that have shadowed her since childhood, and to accept death as part of life. She has decided that she will continue to live. Nevertheless, she has had to deal with more than most people. Presumably she has been worried that Edgar has died, because she hasn’t heard from him, and then the death of Almondine has also occurred.
Trudy is also described as insular, but I find that her actions show her to be the opposite of this. She has an unbreakable connection to Gar and Edgar, and her relationship with the dogs is one of complete personal interaction, not the dry paper records that entranced Gar. The dogs are like her pack. Plus she lets Claude into her home and life.
Claude is described as the great distracter, and presented as a wild sort of force but again I feel that in reality he is the ultimate controller not a distracter. Everything is done for a purpose, no matter how random or playful it seems. He has actually taken Gar’s life for his own reasons, and he is manipulating Trudy and Glen. We even see that he is trying to get Edgar to act in a certain way. He makes sure that Edgar gets the money and the key to the Impala so that Edgar will take off again, only this time he will be caught by Glen, who has also been manipulated.
We learn a little more about Claude’s background too. DW tells us, “only classical music bored him with its orderly sterility.” P 483. This is a total contrast to Henry of course, who played the highly structured Bach all the time. As well, this is a bit misleading. Pop music is also written according to a fairly inflexible formula. I have been thinking about why these details have been provided to us. To make us like Claude more? To make him more accessible and human? It has not worked on me!

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