TPAOL Question #30 - The Last Paragraph

by James Meek

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Charlene
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Unread postby Charlene » Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:04 pm

I think it was just a way to tidy things up in the end...I was not particularly blown away with this ending...I didn't care a twit about the Shaman...nor about his "everyman will have a horse" because only he ended up with the horse....was he saying he was "everyman"...was there something about him that represented all the good and evil in the world? Was he trying to do good, and got treated like dirt?

...and, really, that description of his final resting place...all I could think of was "bagworms" in his burial description...and if you ever had a yard infested with them, well, all I could think of was "pest"

http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Entomology/entfacts/trees/ef440.htm

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:36 pm

Bagworms? :lol: We used them in the kindergarten classes to teach the kids about worms becoming butterflies.


The tree was sacred to the Shaman as a symbol of the three wolrds he traversed.

“The shaman's tree” is an image found in several cultures (Yakuts, Dolgans, Evenks) as a symbol for mediation. The tree is seen as a being whose roots belong to the world underneath; its trunk belongs to the middle, human-inhabited word; and its top is related to the upper world.


There was a custom among the Evenki of "wind burials":

Traditionally the Ewenki practiced tree burial (or wind burial). The corpse was placed in a coffin, or wrapped with bark or willow twigs and then hung high in a tree. The blowing of the wind, drenching of the rain, scorching of the sun, and beaming of the moon were believed to transform the dead into a star.
Last edited by DeppInTheHeartOfTexas on Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Mar 02, 2007 7:50 pm

Linda Lee wrote:Also, perhaps, that paradise wasn't meant to be here on earth.

I like that idea, Linda Lee. :cool:

Depputante wrote:Of course It could be just as simple as the idea that everyone goes on to an after world. But I doubt it. The paragraph, seems to jump around a bit, me thinks. Therefore, there must be a purpose to squeezing that information into that chapter.

I do think there was a purpose, Depputante. We just may never know what it is. :-/


Charlene, you crack me up. :lol: I didn’t much like the ending either……BECAUSE I DIDN’T GET IT.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Parlez » Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:00 pm

Ah, so we're back to the Pegasus-star thing again! Very cool!
The Shaman and the Albino were the indigenous people of the area, so maybe Meek was trying to tie the story back to the land and the orgins of the taiga - back to the mystical beliefs of the Evenki that, in the end, didn't change inspite of all that had happened. That would give the story sort of a timeless quality. Revolutions, and wars, and fanatics come and go but their impact doesn't change the face of the place or the beliefs of the native people living there.
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Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:13 pm

Charlene wrote:
...and, really, that description of his final resting place...all I could think of was "bagworms" in his burial description...and if you ever had a yard infested with them, well, all I could think of was "pest"
:lol:
It's such a clear picture, I can see why the word "pest" comes to mind.

Thank you Dithot for the explanation of "wind burials".

Parlez wrote:
Revolutions, and wars, and fanatics come and go but their impact doesn't change the face of the place or the beliefs of the native people living there.


That's a good point, Parlez.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

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Unread postby Charlene » Fri Mar 02, 2007 8:22 pm

Liz wrote:
Charlene, you crack me up. I didn’t much like the ending either……BECAUSE I DIDN’T GET IT.


Well I didn't either, and I'm beginning to think that every book we read is like an onion...we keep peeling back all the layers, exposing more and more, and the more we peel, the more complex it gets. Now who the heck used the onion as an example...was it Hunter? I know I've read it somewhere in the last year :banghead:

DITHOT...thanks for the lesson on trees...is there a particular link to that theme?
[/code]

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:18 pm

Charlene wrote:Liz wrote:
Charlene, you crack me up. I didn’t much like the ending either……BECAUSE I DIDN’T GET IT.


Well I didn't either, and I'm beginning to think that every book we read is like an onion...we keep peeling back all the layers, exposing more and more, and the more we peel, the more complex it gets. Now who the heck used the onion as an example...was it Hunter? I know I've read it somewhere in the last year :banghead:

DITHOT...thanks for the lesson on trees...is there a particular link to that theme?
[/code]


When I think of Hunter I think of grapefruit. But it could be, considering my memory of late. :lol:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby rainbowsoul » Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:31 pm

Charlene wrote:Liz wrote:
Charlene, you crack me up. I didn’t much like the ending either……BECAUSE I DIDN’T GET IT.


Well I didn't either, and I'm beginning to think that every book we read is like an onion...we keep peeling back all the layers, exposing more and more, and the more we peel, the more complex it gets. Now who the heck used the onion as an example...was it Hunter? I know I've read it somewhere in the last year :banghead:

DITHOT...thanks for the lesson on trees...is there a particular link to that theme?
[/code]


Woo Hoo - something I actually know the answer to LOL

That quote is from Carl Sandburg and it reads:

Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.
No! Not Barker. That man is dead. It's Todd, now. Sweeney Todd. And he shall have his revenge...

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:23 pm

rainbowsoul wrote:
Charlene wrote:Liz wrote:
Charlene, you crack me up. I didn’t much like the ending either……BECAUSE I DIDN’T GET IT.


Well I didn't either, and I'm beginning to think that every book we read is like an onion...we keep peeling back all the layers, exposing more and more, and the more we peel, the more complex it gets. Now who the heck used the onion as an example...was it Hunter? I know I've read it somewhere in the last year :banghead:

DITHOT...thanks for the lesson on trees...is there a particular link to that theme?
[/code]


Woo Hoo - something I actually know the answer to LOL

That quote is from Carl Sandburg and it reads:

Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.


I knew someone would know the answer. :highfive: I never would have thought of him.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:31 pm

Charlene, here are a couple of links regarding wind burials:

http://www.everyculture.com/wc/Mauritania-to-Nigeria/Ewenki.html

http://english.people.com.cn/data/minorities/Ewenki.html

Nice catch rainbowsoul! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Theresa » Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:46 pm

Charlene wrote:Liz wrote:
Charlene, you crack me up. I didn’t much like the ending either……BECAUSE I DIDN’T GET IT.


Well I didn't either, and I'm beginning to think that every book we read is like an onion...we keep peeling back all the layers, exposing more and more, and the more we peel, the more complex it gets. Now who the heck used the onion as an example...was it Hunter? I know I've read it somewhere in the last year :banghead:

DITHOT...thanks for the lesson on trees...is there a particular link to that theme?
[/code]

rainbowsoul's quote is much more profound, but this is what I thought of . . . Shrek.

    Shrek: Ogres are like onions.
    Donkey: They stink?
    Shrek: Yes. No.
    Donkey: Oh, they make you cry.
    Shrek: No.
    Donkey: Oh, you leave em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin' little white hairs.
    Shrek: NO. Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.
    [sighs]
    Donkey: Oh, you both have layers. Oh. You know, not everybody like onions.

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:25 pm

theresa wrote:
Charlene wrote:Liz wrote:
Charlene, you crack me up. I didn’t much like the ending either……BECAUSE I DIDN’T GET IT.


Well I didn't either, and I'm beginning to think that every book we read is like an onion...we keep peeling back all the layers, exposing more and more, and the more we peel, the more complex it gets. Now who the heck used the onion as an example...was it Hunter? I know I've read it somewhere in the last year :banghead:

DITHOT...thanks for the lesson on trees...is there a particular link to that theme?
[/code]

rainbowsoul's quote is much more profound, but this is what I thought of . . . Shrek.

    Shrek: Ogres are like onions.
    Donkey: They stink?
    Shrek: Yes. No.
    Donkey: Oh, they make you cry.
    Shrek: No.
    Donkey: Oh, you leave em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin' little white hairs.
    Shrek: NO. Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.
    [sighs]
    Donkey: Oh, you both have layers. Oh. You know, not everybody like onions.


:lol: Not as profound, but funny. And with this book, I think I need some funny. :thanks!: Theresa.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:34 pm

:cool: Gotta' love the donkey and the ogre!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Lady Jill » Sat Mar 03, 2007 3:19 am

Bix wrote: Of all Mutz's persuasions, getting the Reds to part with the stallion for the albino had been the hardest.


Look guys, I don't get this line. Mutz persuades the Reds to part with the horse for the albino . . yet there is the albino walking away with the shaman lashed to the horse with Meeks speculations on how the burial will be. Doesn't make any sense, if they traded, why is the albino leaving the scene?? What say you?

Lady Jill

Charlene:
I am in agreement with you. screwy ending. Like Meek didn't quite know what to write so just threw out more weird stuff.
" After we're gone, the only thing that matters is the love we left behind."

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Unread postby Parlez » Sat Mar 03, 2007 8:23 am

The way I interpreted this sentence, Lady Jill, is that Mutz didn't trade the horse for the albino; he persuaded the Reds to give the horse to the albino so that he could take the Shaman away and do the burial thing. However, the sentence didn't ring true for me either, because: since when did Mutz have that kind of persuasive power? He capitulated all the way through the story and suddenly he's able to pull off such a tricky negotiation? I doubt the Reds would've been willing to part with the horse - horses in general were too important in this story - so you're right in assuming there must have been a trade and that the Reds would get something in return. But they didn't - they just let the horse go - supposedly because Mutz persuaded them to. I don't get that. Samarin was the persuader in the story, IMO, not Mutz. I don't understand why Meek says, "Of all Mutz's persuasions...", as if there'd been a string of them throughout the book.
:perplexed:
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