Missing Parent Problem Increases

| | Comments (4)

I feel like every single character in this book has grown up or is living a life without loving, responsible parents.  The only exception to the rule is Alice.  Her grandparents seem very sweet.  They may not be the most observant, but from what we know, they are mature caregivers.  The class picked this up on Friday when we discussed the fact that all three girls are motherless, but now that we have been introduced to more characters, the missing parent problem increases. 

 Even if the parents are present, they don't seem to honestly love or understand their children.  Ray's parents disowned him, King's father feels like his two year old is judging him, Emily's mother doesn't even recognize her own daughter when she wakes up in the morning, and Carter never knows what his daughter is doing.  Every single character in this book is so isolated from the world around them that there doesn't even seem to be a natural bond between child and parent evident in any of these situations. 

I know that this behavior happens all of the time, and it almost seems more common to find broken homes than traditional families; however, it seems unnatural that none of these kids are able to look up to a responsible, caring adult.  I understand that Williams is making a point, but I feel like I have always been constantly surrounded by people who I can call if I need.  I am lucky to have two parents who love me, but even if I didn't, teachers, relatives, co-workers, and friend's parents can easily make an impact in a child's life.  Maybe Williams is choosing not to write about any of these relationships to make the characters personal relationships match the desert setting.  I guess it makes me lucky, but I have a very hard time imagining that a person can be so truly alone.  


Class Comments 




Josie Rush said:

I noticed this, too. I'm starting to feel like we're in the middle of a disney movie on acid, or something, where every character is either orphaned or missing a parent. I wonder how this ties into the life/death theme Williams has going on...Any thoughts? The obvious connection I can think of is that the parents are the ppl who bring these characters into the world, so they're sort of the starting marker for their journey to death (a depressing way to think of life, granted). I haven't gotten much beyond that, but I'll comment back here when I do!

Cody Naylor said:

This is pretty strange. I think that the harsh desert setting, the disjointed families, and the bizarre thoughts and behavior that all of the characters are exhibiting must have some sort of connection... I just don't know what it is! Maybe it will all come together by the end of the book...

Carissa Altizer said:

So we've come to the end of the book...what do you think about it now? Cody, I know you seemed pretty upset by the vague ending in class. I think we set ourselves up to expect a crazy abrupt ending though. I think the only real connection they all had at the end was death itself. Any thoughts?

Cody Naylor said:

Carissa, I think I agree with you on that... but I am done trying to analyze the ending and/or overall message of this book (at least, for now).

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