Group C & D
03/14/02 (War Memorials)
i will discuss the parts i have absorbed while reading this book.
I must admit that I have mixed feelings about “War Memorials” by Clint McCown. On the one hand, I enjoyed the book because I found some passages very funny. Besides, owing to it, I could learn many interesting things about the Americans and their different forms of entertainment. I am really glad that I could get to know something about such a typically American phenomenon as for example derby. Actually, before reading this book, I associated it only with horserace. Another reason why I liked the text was the fact that there were no taboo subjects for the author. Consequently, we get a full description of the corpse of Jerry Ruthburn, we can admire the extraordinary ”figure of Jesus” who uses swear words, etc. I wonder how the real southerners, spending all their lives in a small town where the church is the center of the community, would react to such a treatment of those issues.
On the other hand, according to me, some parts were pretty boring. I must say that usually I do not enjoy any stories, which are set in small towns of the South. I just cannot put up with unnecessarily long descriptions of one event. That is why sometimes I had to skip several sentences to be able to continue reading. What is more, I do not like books, which try to make the impression of being based on a true story or at least some vague real experience, but which, in fact, do not have a lot in common with reality. In my opinion, this is the case with “War Memorials”. I think that such an easy reconciliation after a serious marital crisis Laney and Nolan had would be highly unlikely. Furthermore, I am very curious whether nowadays anyone has such an attitude towards wars as the citizens of Lincoln. The importance they attached to heroes and the military past was shocking for me. And it is quite significant that the younger generation has a different point of view. Nolan did not even try to hide that he was strongly against raising money for another monument.
Just to finish my response and to make it more balanced, I’d like to enclose one of the passages I liked:
“But I understand now why fortune- tellers had to work with palms. The face had to many futures to wear. The hand was a much safer map.” (219)
This time I chose 2 different websites. The first one may seem a bit ridiculous because it is targeted at kids. However, it has some interesting links e.g. to the page concerning the Creek War. Socialstudiesforkids.com/wwww/us/horseshoebenddef.htm
The second web site shows locations of different battles of the Civil War. What is more, it also contains some information about each of those military events: americancivilwar.com/statepic
War Memorials was a wonderful book
for us to read. I loved to read it because it was fast to read and there were
some truly genius insights about Nolan and the way that life goes. The
relationship that really intrigued me was the one with his wife. Starting with
page 5 where Nolan gave us a glimpse of what his relationship was like.
He started off by saying, "The
one thing Laney didn't know...", and ended with "The third thing Laney
didn't know...". It seemed as though he was keeping track so that he would
be very aware just how much he was not telling her. It also seemed that there
was probably more than just three things that he had not told her.
I absolutely loved the section on
page 38, "And I did like (Randall). He wasn't cute, or friendly, or clever,
or affectionate, or any of the other things Laney imagined him to be. But he was
stoic. I had to give him that." With an animal like Randall the people can
make his personality to fit themselves. So Laney is cute, friendly, clever, and
affectionate. She may not be these things to Nolan anymore but when he talks
about their past he does show us that she was like that. Nolan on the other hand
is stoic. All of these terrible things are happening to him, like finding the
dead body, getting fired from his job, and a tree falling on his house, just to
name a few. And he really does not react like a normal emotional person. He
doesn't talk to anyone about it unless they ask him and even then he doesn't go
At the end I think that Nolan nails the problem for any relationship problem. "We knew way too much about each other without really knowing anything at all. And talking that out would be like swapping our coffin-nail collections." ( page 216) After so long people stop talking to each other. I think that sometime they just forget. They have been with that person for so long that the other person is like a chair that has been sitting beside theirs for years. They just forget the chair is there. Then one day they remember about all the terrible things they have done and how they need to talk about them. But it is too late.
They don't know how the other person
is going to react. So they just sit in silence.
Jerry the dog is also a reflection of Nolan. Laney doesn't want to mess with the dog. She doesn't want to take the time with him and she is scared of what he might do. This is the same with her relationship with Nolan. She doesn't want him around and yet I think that she was afraid to tell him whose baby it was because that might be the one thing that sets him off. Nolan on the other hand says that the dog has had a rough time and that they should take some pity on him. I think that this was a plead to Laney.
I am not really sure if they
"make it" or not but I think that they have a chance and that is all
anyone has really. He does foreshadow for us to tell us that they both work at
the Salvation Army, rebuilt the family room, keep Jerry, and keep the baby. This
only gives us a blue print of his future without emotion. I guess this leaves it
open for a sequel.
for the second half of "War Memorials"
Nolan Vann, the main character in "War Memorials", made a
Battle of the Horseshoe took place on March 27, 1814 between
park that Nolan and his wife Laney visit in the novel actually
i don't know what to say about this book.. Why does it jump from story to story
or situation to situation? (is my question) what i get from this book is that
Nolan seems to have a void in his life and obviously doesnt know how to fulfill
it and so maybe these different stories, events, situations, dilemmas, etc tie
into the confusion he has in his own life...At the end, Is Nolan really at peace
with all the change? or does he just think he is...Is having uncertainty a thing
to be so accepting of? (I really wonder).....maybe Nolan has laid to rest some
of the demons of his life or has he?? Has Nolan really found himself?but he does
stop himself from falling...
I picked this website because the title was interesting.... http://www.graywolfpress.org/titles/warmemorials.html
I just wondered how Clint McCown really tried to portray his main character of his book(Nolan).Especially when I read page 159 of the book when Nolan said "I had no identifiable career, and my option seemed to grow fewer by the hour ...I might wind up as one of Chet's disciples." Is this what the writer intended to show us, that almost everybody either determined or undetermined has to pass through these kind of trials and errors? Or did he intended to tell us that there are just these few peculiar people who do not really know what they are to do in their lives? However, if so what does he want to teach us from this?
Scott Van Eman
reading the book, the major aspect that upset me was the issue of
book is full of crazy situations in this guys life. I must admit I
also like at the beginning where it talks about his dad being dead
main character also ends up in the repo business which is really not a glamorous
job. And judging by his description he does not meet your typical repo man
visualization. He is scrawny and actually fits the description of a insurance
agent whith which he did for 9 years. His life is pretty funny and I am looking
forward to the forum.
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