It's Not Like Waking Up From a Dream

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So I'm back on this whole Nurse Daisy thing, but she happens to be the only who actually knows what's going on. We see her talking to Corvus about the nursing home and finally we see why Corvus wanted to go there so much. Corvus shows up and there's Nurse Daisy ready to accept her, ready to play gatekeeper between the worlds and what appears to be different subdivisions between life and death.

"I know how you go this figured out what you out not to do, and you determined to do it. Against all advice. Not against the odds, however. The odds were always good" (276). Nurse Daisy explains to Corvus as she shows up and then continues with "I hope you don't think you've been chosen."

Here we have Corvus accepting her temporary position inside the nursing home, between worlds, simply living, but not really living. It finally all gets explained why the nursing home was so important to the well being of Corvus. It also explains why Alice and Corvus start their own paths because when Alice goes looking for Corvus there she gets turned away by none other than Nurse Daisy.

Nurse Daisy asks Alice about her childhood and why she wouldn't want to go back and relive it. I took this to mean that Alice didn't want to go back and live again. It would go along with the last sentence of the book, "in their jaws you are carried so effortlessly, with such great care that you think it will never end, you long for it not to end, and then you wake and know that, indeed, they have not brought you back" (308). Here Alice is simply stuck in between, unable to go back to relive and try her life again, because at one point Nurse Daisy asks, "Why do you always have to look at everything twice in order to see it?" (301). Nurse Daisy follows it up with how Alice probably would have failed the false-belief test. All Alice would have had to do was say she wanted to go back and relive her childhood, and perhaps she would have gotten a second chance at life. Instead, she's stuck in the middle of nowhere without a candle. I guess Alice inevitably constructed her own demise on this one since people were there to help her: Corvus and Nurse Daisy who were trying to point her in the right direction.


Josie Rush said:

But she's not stuck in the middle of nowhere witha candle. She refuses the candle, and, despite the boy telling her she has no choice but to take part in the vigil, she believes that one day she will be carried away from this life. Sure, in a sense, the three scenarios (the nursing home, the vigil, the waking from a dream) are all inevitable, because everyone dies. But Alice choses not to live a half-life like Corvus, and not to stand around and wait for death like the candle-holding crowd. Instead she, who doesn't ever dream, or, more accurately, dwell on death (this metaphor is proven throughout the book. She talks and thinks of death much less than the other characters), will one day wake up and find that she's died too. She just hasn't stood around waiting for it to happen, or wasted her life rotting in a nursing home. She didn't want to go back, because, really, what's the point? She doesn't think this is all there is, there's another step. Why look at it all twice?

Melissa Schwenk said:

Wow. I think I missed the ending of this book completely. It probably had something to do with the fact that I feel that it seems pointless to have an ending where everything doesn’t seem to matter and there is really no point to anything in life. Why wouldn’t you want to go back? Maybe there’s no point, but if there’s no point there, then what makes her think the next step will be any better?

Josie Rush said:

I think that the idea is that there's no point retracing your steps because there's another step to take. Like, this is just the begining, and starting completely over is counter-productive. As for how she knows the next step will be any "better", Williams doesn't really seem to try to touch that. Rightly so, in my opinion. Because, really, what definite answer could she give to that? I think, from a more pragmatic look, she's just saying it's senseless to go back, or want to go back, because there's more than this. Alice does equate this life to a dream, and death is "waking up",so make of that what you will. Does that mean it's better, or just more clear and conscious? I think that's more up to the reader than anything.

Jessica Orlowski said:

Corvus is, indeed, just 'there.' If anyone is stuck in the middle, it's her. She, unlike Alice, is choosing to be stuck. Alice has been stuck without a choice for a very long time, and thoughts of her childhood only emphasize this lack of free will.

Melissa Schwenk said:

Josie - I'm really glad you explained this. Even after rereading the ending, I still was a little confused by it. Thanks for clearing that up. I guess the author couldn't necessarily say that it was better because that would probably take another book, but now I'm wondering what actually comes next for Alice.

Jess - Great job. I suppose that you mean that Alice is finally able to do what she wants by being able to move forward and progress through the different stages of life, death, and beyond? That makes a lot of sense that it would take death to finally separate herself from fate and go her own way.

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