John Crimmins... Resurrected.

| | Comments (7)

When I read this book over the summer, I basically skimmed over it. I knew that the name John Crimmins sounded familiar, but I didn't know why. I also noticed that the initials "J.C" showed up a lot during the book, and I was going to attempt to make a connection between whatever two characters held those initials. Then, when I reviewed the book, I realized that these two people are the same person! I was ridiculously excited (ask Melissa- she was in the room). I believe that I didn't notice the connection because the second time Crimmins was mentioned, it was in the world of Emily Bliss Pickless.

As we were discussing the murder of Corvus' dog, Tommy, we aren't given much insight into the personality of John Crimmins. Initially, we may even speculate that Crimmins is a friendly neighbor who cares for Tommy when he says ""This is your neighbor, John," "Your dog is barking" "It's howling. I can hear it through my closed windows. What's going on?" (87). The narrator says that "he sounded reasonable" so the reader has no reason to believe that Corvus's neighbor is cruel. However, a level of cruelty that would result in the murder of Tommy is foreshadowed when John Crimmins says "What's it need, water or something? Food? What's its favorite food? Or maybe it needs its mouth wired shut" (87). The reader's reaction is similar to Corvus' reaction. The tone of this page's opening sentences concerning Crimmins does not suggest such malice, but nonetheless, we are introduced to a character who we are not likely to care much for as the novel progresses.

A few pages later, we are informed that John Crimmins continues to call Corvus's school and complain about Tommy's incessant barking. He even proceeds to tape Tommy's barking. Sadly, the reader journeys with Corvus to her home, where she finds the body of Tommy, and we can only conclude that, due to his cruel tone, John Crimmins killed the dog.

We do not hear of John Crimmins' whereabouts, all we know is that "he had disappeared immediately after the fire. There were already new tenants int he house he'd rented" (99). Alice, offering to avenge Tommy's death, would "see that John Crimmins met his punishment" (99). Honestly, I didn't think anything of the disappearance of John Crimmins until page 166. The mother of Emily Bliss Pickless apparently began to date Crimmins. The most intriguing part of this reappearance was the obvious religious associations with Crimmins' name. His initials are, after all, J.C. Also, Crimmins and Emily converse about Jesus Christ's death, and Crimmins details how "the reason the Son of God disappeared from the tomb was that he was never in the tomb, he was in the bellies of dogs" (167). I wasn't sure if this reference was the reason that Crimmins, in his animosity, killed Tommy. Also, I wondered if this was a blatant foreshadowing of what happens to Crimmins later. On page 187, John Crimmins talks about his 'six-day-wife' and their honeymoon during which the only book to read was one about dogs that were "tottering around half dead through the whole goddam book." 

Emily's relationship with "J.C" is interesting. Though she is a small child who seems to almost deify adults, the irony in the situation is that she dislikes a man who symbolizes the Christ figure. I would like to, in a paper, analyze this relationship further. This blog is becoming entirely too long.

I'll end with a question: Alice doesn't like cats. Crimmins doesn't like dogs. What's the significance? 


Josie Rush said:

-slaps forehead- I did not make that connection. thanks so much for posting this. Throughout this book, I've developed the habit of enjoying the plot and openess of the characters so much that I sort of breeze through the important details. Anyway, enough about me and my shameful reading habits.
I can't answer the last question you posted, but I do think Alice's dislike of cats is getting stranger and stranger. She seems to champion all other animals (well, aside from humans), so what's with this exception? I'd think their independence would appeal to her. Really, I don't think this is a question that Williams will leave unanswered, but in the mean time, it's killing me.

JessicaOrlowski Author Profile Page said:

It's killing me, too. I've noticed a pattern throughout the book concerning cats and dogs. It will be interesting to trace it. As for Alice's distaste against cats, I speculate that this could be due to the fact that cats are the Egyptian symbol for death.

Josie Rush said:

Oh, good thinking. That would at least make sense thematically. I was reaching a little too much, I think. I was considering that she didn't like cats because, unlike the other animals, they don't need her (she says something earlier about how a cat's independence takes away its owner's rights), and this makes her feel powerless. So her attempts to protect and preserve the "underdog" (so to speak) are really just ways to make herself feel less powerless in the face of life and/or death.
I like the thought that it's because the cat is the Egyptian symbol for death, though. It's interesting to think that someone like Alice would be afraid of death.

JessicaOrlowski Author Profile Page said:

That's a really interesting point, and I'm not exactly sure that Alice is afraid of death (or I haven't seen any evidence yet). I believe that she feels empowered when around animals. She says that the cat's independence takes away its owners rights, yes, but the cat also takes away other animals rights when it kills them. A particular example concerning the first time we're introduced to Zipper comes to mind... The cat is killing a bird. A bird symbolizes freedom. I found that interesting.

Also, your "underdog" comment brings a new thought to mind. So. John Crimmins' initials are the same as Jesus Christ's. I'm sort of thinking now that John could be symbolizing a divine power killing off the "underdog." (John DID kill Tommy, a helpless dog) This underdog in our terms, of course, would be the human race. Perhaps the fact that John is shown in a negative light suggests Alice's feelings toward death- unfair; cruel.

Melissa Schwenk said:

I’m not sure why J.C. hates dogs so much, but he does state that “I got that out of my system…Now I don’t care about them one way or another. I’m in balance regarding dogs” (189). So I think it’s not really about dogs, but about whatever is standing in his way, because he says “I don’t like kids” (189), right before he explains about dogs. I took this to mean that if Emily didn’t behave and start to like him more that something bad might happen to her, especially since his whole dog thing is no longer an issue.

Josie Rush said:

That would explain parts of Alice's anti-authority personality. What's the ultimate authority if not God, or some divine power? It would actually fit right into her characterization so far in the book.
I agree that it's too early to say whether or not Alice is afraid of death, but it would make her character more interesting...a little more contradictory at least. Or, rather, this would contradict with the view she seems to have of herself.

Cody Naylor said:

I know that it is really late in the game for me to be getting into this conversation... but I HAVE A THEORY!! It branches off of what Jess said about the cats being the symbol of death in ancient Egypt. So, if we assume that is why Alice dislikes them, then I think we can safely say that J.C.- who is definitely a character associated, for both good and bad, with Christ in the book, dislikes dogs because they are MAN's BEST FRIEND!! You have no idea how proud I was of myself for making that connection...

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.


Recent Comments

Cody Naylor on John Crimmins... Resurrected.: I know that it is really late
Josie Rush on John Crimmins... Resurrected.: That would explain parts of Al
Melissa Schwenk on John Crimmins... Resurrected.: I’m not sure why J.C. hates do
JessicaOrlowski on John Crimmins... Resurrected.: That's a really interesting po
Josie Rush on John Crimmins... Resurrected.: Oh, good thinking. That would
JessicaOrlowski on John Crimmins... Resurrected.: It's killing me, too. I've not
Josie Rush on John Crimmins... Resurrected.: -slaps forehead- I did not mak