:: peace like a river/pages 129-179 - ominous ::

Reuben asked my first questions for today. After realizing that the tramp outside the post office was old Mr. Finch, Reuben witnessed:

"....he looked dead, is what I'm telling you. Like a man so trampled of spirit he'd given over the strength of limbs. I watched his face and his futile, suety hands, and for the first time a question nipped at me: Was it possible that real loss had occurred at the death of Israel Finch? That real grief had been felt?"
[page 132]

His questions caught me by surprise. I feel sympathy for the Land family, even Davy, but I don't stop to think much about the Basca or Finch families. Sure, they do not seem to be the greatest of people, but after reading that quote, I wondered, why is old Mr. Finch such a drunk? What happened in his early life? Within his family? Was there great loss when Israel died?

I noticed something else. Before Reuben identified the bum as old Mr. Finch, he said, "I think he's praying." I thought, my goodness, he could be praying. I'm sure he was intoxicated, but he could have uttered a drunkard's prayer. What do y'all think?

As for the ominous, what about those two dead crows in the road en route to North Dakota? The first one:

"It was a much more grievous sight than you'd think, a dead crow lying in the road out in the heart of noplace, and just before we reached it the wind brought up that wing again so it looked like a thing asking mercy."
[page 133]

Jeremiah was surprised. In all the many years he spent in North Dakota, he'd never seen a dead crow on the road. He said, "They're awfully smart birds .... They get out of the way."

I felt chills when I read that, and also after they saw another dead crow on the road, "cruelly pasted and lying over at the edge."
[page 134]

One last thing that was ominous to me: Jeremiah remained too skinny from pneumonia. I guess I thought since his health had improved - he was up and around, anyway - he had gained some of his weight back. I think Reuben assumed this, too. It didn't sit well with me that Jeremiah looked emaciated not only to Reuben, but also to August.

So, am I paranoid, or did you find these things ominous, too?


Crystal said...

The passage about old Mr. Finch struck me at the time but not the same way it does now. At the time I read it I thought, "Wow, that is one messed up family. Drunks, delinquents, and who knows what else. Poor people."

But between now and then I have read another book, "Nineteen Minutes" by Jodi Picoult. It is about a school shooting but it focuses on events from the standpoint of the shooter; a boy who was horrendously bullied every day of his life at school and who had an older brother that set impossible standards at home. He doesn't get off in the end, in fact he goes to prison on 8 consequetive life sentences, but I certainly left the book feeling for him and wishing he would get off.

The whole point of that book was that the perpetrator has feelings too. He is someone's son. He was someone's innocent little baby. He is loved and loves in return. Despite the horrors he has committed he still deserves love and dignity and kindness just like the rest of us.

So now looking back on the Finch and Basca families I am more inclined to have some compassion on them. I do not condone what they did in anyway but it is pretty obvious they never understood the love of God, or maybe the love of anyone, or they never would have become the bullies, drunks, etc. that they were.

We are not here to judge people but to serve them. And that means the Finches and Basca's of the world too. Wow, that is hard for me to do sometimes.

I did have a bad feeling about the crows but I don't know what they are foreshadowing. Once again, I got so involved in the story line that I kind of forgot about them until just now.

Libby said...

This just pooped-or popped-spelling error or reality?? in my head as I read the post about Mr Finch.This is going back aways- I wondered if in taking his own revenge if Davy hadn't become more like the two boys he shot than the avenger he wanted to be. I remembered Jeremiah talking about the principle of escalation theory and him telling Reuben they didn't have to do anything else cuz they'd already won(or something like that) yet Davy couldn't rest in that truth that the Lord would take care of it but handled it himself and look at the mess and heartache. Is there a huge lesson here? Let me know what you all think

jenni said...

Libby ~ I think you might be on to something. I do think Davy became more like Basca & Finch than he intended. Definitely not anywhere near their level of evil, but that is a interesting thought indeed.