Sunday, September 5, 2010

Notes on the First Half of "Jacob's Room"

The first half of this story left me with more questions and confusion than conclusions. I found the text hard to follow. One issue was in the beginning of the book, while Jacob was a child almost every character is referred to as Mr. and Mrs., this makes it very difficult to keep track of them. This gripe actually brings up another issue, the sheer amount of characters, with the exception of Jacob and Tim it is rare that we follow one for more than a page or two. Thirdly, the sudden shifts in setting and character focus throw me off. For example in chapter three, I was almost finished before I figured out that they were actually on a boat, not on the shore looking at the ocean, or in a dorm room talking and thinking about boats. Then by the time I figured that out Jacob was putting on his dinner jacket to eat with the Durrants.

Despite the confusing aspects though, some themes or motifs do seem to be emerging. One is of the sun, the text is littered with descriptions of sunlight. Whether it is the particular colors of the light or a setting sun. I'm not sure if certain sunlight conditions tend to go with particular events or moods in the story, but it is something I will be keeping an eye on. Another motif I saw is the ocean representing melancholy or sadness. There were also a lot of mentions of Shakespeare with the discussion of ocean water, I'm not sure how the go together though.

One more thing a noticed was a slight alluding to affairs between certain characters. First between Mrs. Flanders and Captain Barfoot. I only got this idea because the text suggest that Mrs Barfoot did not like that her husband was visiting Mrs. Flanders to say goodbye. "Mrs Barfoot knew that Captain Barfoot was on his way to Mrs Flanders."(17) If it were "Flanders'" that would suggest that he was visiting the woman's home, not the woman herself. To me this suggest a romantic relationship. The second instance of the is between Jacob and the mother of his friend Tim "thinking of Jacob, thinking he must not say that he loves her, no no no."(46) I could be way off base, that's just the idea I gathered from the text.

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