12 June 2006

On spiders

In Gilead, Marilynne Robinson's creates a character, John Ames, who reflects on his life and last days in a letter to his son. Ames views life with tenderness and plenty of self-criticism. Robinson's admiration for author Karl Barth is evident and references to him are peppered throughout the text. But, aside from the delightful unfolding of characters personalities through their interactions with one another, I love how Robinson paints the picture of small town Iowa life in the midst of the Great Drought during the Great Depression, as well as life during the Great War. One of my favorite visual imagery excerpts is as follows:
  • Jack brought gourds, a whole sack of them. Your mother sent him back wiht green tomatoes. Oh, these late, strange riches of the summer, these slab-sided pumpkins and preposterous zucchinis. Every wind brings a hail of acorns against hte roof. Still, it is mild. For a while the spiders were building webs everywhere, and now those webs are all blown to shreds and tatters, so I suppose we can imagine well-fed spiders tucked up in the detritus of old leaves, drowsing away the very thought of toil.

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