The Art of Drowning

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"She saved me from drowning" (19).

Something about this statement from Corvus irritates me. On page 19, we're introduced to Darleen, Corvus' mother's best friend. Then, we soon learn that Darleen basically tried to kill Corvus and, almost as an after-thought, saves her at the last second. The question that is going through my mind now, however, is this: Was Corvus saved from drowning and death, or was Darleen trying to save her from something else entirely (namely, a life of pain)? If the latter is the case, then Darleen failed miserably. Saying that, then, we can speculate Darleen wasn't really a psychotic freak who liked to drown her friends' kids. I don't think she was psychotic at all. Up until now, the writing style that Williams uses is much too meticulous. I just can't seem to get a good feel on Darleen. Does anyone have any ideas as to her character? I wish Williams would have devulged a bit more.

Anyway, interestingly enough, Alice took the words out of my... head... as I was reading this part: "What was sort of remarkable was that Corvus's parents had ended up the drowned ones" (19). That IS sort of remarkable. Maybe Darleen was a figure that symbolized death. Death had to take someone in the end. It didnt' matter if it was Corvus or her parents.

It seems that Williams likes to use the imagery of drowning: "She told Annabel that deer often came down from the mountains and drowned in people's swimming pools and asked if that had happened here yet" (29). This statement seems too perfect to be anything BUT strategically placed by the author. Here, we have two characters: One whose life has been doubly affected by drowning (Corvus) and one whose life may or may not be affected (although this statement by Alice seems to foreshadow something grand). What kind of imagery is Williams trying to invent here? Clearly, Alice is the only one that has not been affected by drowning, but she seems to have a bit of clairvoyance in her. Where does Alice fit into all of this?


PS) I promised that I'd reference my other blog about "Confusion" when we came to this book, but I can't find it. I'll put it in the next one. 

6 Comments

Aja Hannah said:

I actually thought Darlene was just wanted to be the center of attention. Because she whispered hateful things at Corvus, I didn't think she would have to heart to think about saving her from the horrors of life. I think she was just self-centered.

JessicaOrlowski Author Profile Page said:

I was going to disagree with you about this until I looked back in the text. Before, I didn't think that Darleen was hateful, but kind of perverted. Then, I looked back and saw that it said "... but when we were alone she'd say the most maliciously nonsensical things. She thought everything was grotesque" (20). So, I suppose you're right on this point!

Cody Naylor said:

I forgot about Darleen! I think she was one of those people who like poison their babies just so that they can take care of them and nurse them back to health only to poison them again and repeat the process... like that one mother in "The Sixth Sense"... there is a name for this disorder, but I can't recall...

I thought of Darleen as a kind of child predator, actually, because of the word choices Williams makes in describing Corvus' history with the woman. First of all, she dropped Corvus when she was a baby several times. Now that doesn't mean Darleen = child predator, but it made me suspicious of her character right from the start.

Darleen begins to seem especially creepy on page 20. Corvus recalls that Darleen "spoke to [her] in a sort of singing whisper" only when Corvus' parents weren't around. When her parents were there, Darleen would act completely normal. Alice comments that she "sounds pornographic" like she was "molesting [Corvus'] mind." Corvus responds by saying, "she had me share her private world, all right." Then Alice says that her innocence was the reason that Darleen was able to do such things to her, and it seems like she loses her innocence on that day because it's when she "had [her] first thought" (21).

It just all sounds incredibly creepy to me. Maybe I'm reading too far into her character, but honestly, that was the first thought that came into my mind as I was reading the book. I didn't reflect on it at all until I read your blog.

JessicaOrlowski Author Profile Page said:

I thought of Darleen in the same way! I didn't really think too much about Corvus being "dropped" numerous times, though. I suppose this is very revelatory about Darleen's character- Not only was she a sexual predator, but she was also demented and kinda murderous.

Also, it seems that each of the girls loses their innocence at a very young age. Corvus loses hers after being practically molested, Alice loses hers when she finds out that her granny is not her granny (that happens later, but it's still young), and Annabel's happens when her mother kills the sea turtles.

And that goes along with the theme that all of these kids have basically had to raise themselves and fend for themselves. None of them have the traditional parental figure.

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Karyssa Blair on The Art of Drowning: And that goes along with the t
JessicaOrlowski on The Art of Drowning: I thought of Darleen in the sa
Karyssa Blair on The Art of Drowning: I thought of Darleen as a kind
Cody Naylor on The Art of Drowning: I forgot about Darleen! I thin
JessicaOrlowski on The Art of Drowning: I was going to disagree with y
Aja Hannah on The Art of Drowning: I actually thought Darlene was