Let's Get Psychological, Psychological

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"Pamela wonders, is he about to strike or just finished.  Sure of his next blow or pulling back from a swing, sure of the blow just dealt, gauging the disappearance of the drill into the rock.  She can't fix him.  He is open to interpretation.  Talking out both sides of his mouth.  You hear what you want to hear.  The shutter clicks and fixes this moment.  

She catches herself.  This is an artist's rendering.  She is confusing the statue before her with the man, and the man with her conception of the man" (263).
                    Colson Whitehead, John Henry Days

In this section of the story, it seems like Pamela is analyzing herself, or reflecting on life in general, by observing the statue of John Henry.  At this point in the novel, she has decided she is not going to sell the John Henry memorabilia that always made her jealous growing up.  As Jess and Josie discussed in Josie's blog, and we discussed in class, Pamela's father's collection is a source of pride for her in the small town of Talcott.  The above quote, although she's talking about John Henry, seems to reflect Pamela's current emotional state, like she's projecting her feelings onto those of the statue, were it alive.

She's not sure where she is at the moment.  Is she going to keep something she hates that costs her money, or has she already made the decision to keep it just because of pride?  "Sure of his next blow or pulling back from a swing? ... She can't fix him." She's still unsure and she's "talking out both sides of [her] mouth."  The narrator says that Pamela realizes she's analyzing the statue by viewing it as the actual man, and more importantly, with a biased analysis based on her opinion of that man.  

Because of this admittance, I think Whitehead wants the reader to know that this section is important in reflecting Pamela's character, not her opinion of John Henry.  I think it also reflects the motives of all of the characters, which, as Josie pointed out in her previously linked blog, is still unsure to the reader.  However, because of this part, I feel like Whitehead is hinting that their motives will eventually be clear.


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