WEGG Question #11 ~ Progress?

by Peter Hedges

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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WEGG Question #11 ~ Progress?

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:27 am

Gilbert despises the encroachment of Food Land, Burger Barn and even the “bing-bing” chord at Dave’s gas station. Why?
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 Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:48 am

This probably needs more thought but I think Gilbert likes things to stay the same. He doesn't like change, in a way its a bit like a child its part of his comfort zone. His security blanket. If things stay the same perhaps he feels he is control of his surroundings. Not sure about that one. As soon as things start to change around him he breaks down.

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Unread postby lumineuse » Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:53 am

Wow, that's a great question.

I think for most of us the encroachment of those big chains signals a de-personalization of life. And Gilbert is already shrinking. Much more de-personalization and he would disappear.
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Unread postby radwen » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:00 am

I think it represents another way that Gilbert cannot control his own destiny.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:22 am

Interesting thoughts! :cool:

At one point in the book Gilbert is talking about the "dinger" at the gas station and he says something along the lines of "We don't need to be reminded we exist"...or something to that effect. I don't have my book at work. If someone remembers that quote, please correct me.
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 Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:45 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Interesting thoughts! :cool:

At one point in the book Gilbert is talking about the "dinger" at the gas station and he says something along the lines of "We don't need to be reminded we exist"...or something to that effect. I don't have my book at work. If someone remembers that quote, please correct me.


More or less right its
none of us need to be reminded we exist.

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:01 am

Good theories! My first thought was that he's stuck, he's on hold, so he needs everything else to stay the same, too. He doesn't seem able to move past the day his dad died. Maybe it irritates him that he's not able to move on, too. (On the other hand, there are probably a lot of people who don't really consider fast food, flashy supermarkets and "bing-bings" progress... :eyebrow: ).
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Unread postby johnnybloom » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:09 am

I think that the world is just moving to fast for Gilbert....His own existance...the one of standing still in time...meets him face to face with the binging of the bell..it kind of reminded me of the line "For whom the bell tolls it tolls for thee.." in the fact that everytime he hears it..or sees the progress around him it signals the fact that he must move on...that would include leaving Momma and the world..the only world he has ever known..behind.
When even the women that have always been there..Momma and Mrs. Betty Carver move on....he must face the fact that there is whole world out there to see..I think that scares the :censored: out of him.
His fear of progress represents the fear of the human race to me...as a whole..the fear of change, moving too fast into the future and not being able to see what the road ahead holds.
Even the siblings that flew the coop scares him, which comes out as bitterness and anger.
These discussion have made me realize what a complex "Child" Gilbert really is and how he can sometimes be bitter about growing up...strikes a cord in my own personal view of being an adult....
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Unread postby Iceflower » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:15 am

I totally agree on the answers. Poor Gilbert will not move on to the scary and big world which is a head of him. He likes the way the world around him is, and if to much of it changes he will be nervous and unsure. He won't pass on because he is probably afraid to loose the dearest he has, and forget about it.

Everything is passing to fast, and Gilbert doesn't get the chance to think about before they are big things. He won't leave Arnie, Betty or Momma behind those are the only persons which he has known his life. It must be hard for him, not manage to follow in time, and be stuck in the safe and old world.

What I have said is most the same as everyone elses. Great question DITHOT! And great answers and interesting, everyone!
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Unread postby SamIam » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:47 am

Betty Sue wrote:Good theories! My first thought was that he's stuck, he's on hold, so he needs everything else to stay the same, too. He doesn't seem able to move past the day his dad died. Maybe it irritates him that he's not able to move on, too. (On the other hand, there are probably a lot of people who don't really consider fast food, flashy supermarkets and "bing-bings" progress... :eyebrow: ).


They were certainly progress for the people in Endora. It's a really small town so things like fast food were a big deal to them. I mean if you lived in a small town and you finally got McDonald's you would be excited too.

He didn't want to change with the world around him. He didn't want to adapt because he hadn't moved on from his father's death. He never really grieved over his father and having lost him at such a young age it really destroyed him. That's his problem. The whole world is changing around him and he feels powerless to stop it.
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Unread postby Liz » Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:20 am

Wow! Great ideas, everyone--as usual! :cool: My thought was that Gilbert can’t deal with the progress he sees around him because it signifies change and moving on. And because he sees himself in a rut and unable to move on, seeing other things moving on around him makes him even more resentful about his lot in life. He sees it as unfair; and it feeds his passive-aggressiveness. I imagine, though, it is probably a combination of all of our ideas.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 12, 2007 4:36 pm

I wonder too if Gilbert dislikes the depersonalization and sameness of the big chains? He likes the way Mr. Lamson knows all the customers and what they buy, the small town atmosphere that lets people know who their neighbors are is less threatening. When he finally has to visit Food Land the clerk he deals with is rude and treats him like a nobody. He doesn't need the dinger at the gas station to announce his arrival, he wants a wave and a greeting from Dave. Like the theme song to the old tv show, Cheers... a place where everybody knows your name :sing:
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 Red Shoes » Thu Apr 12, 2007 8:30 pm

DiTHoT, I was about to say just what you said. :cool: I think Gilbert feels that the world is changing in a bad way - store clerks don't help you with your bags anymore, nobody at those places knows your name or what products you like, and it's all about image and money.
I think Gilbert dislikes the loss of relationship - which also shows up within his family. I think he'd love to just have a few really nice meaningful relationships, and the huge "one-size-fits-all" stores and restaurants make that almost impossible.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:54 pm

And I have to agree with him, Red Shoes!
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 nebraska » Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:40 pm

Wal-Mart recently tried to come to my town, and there was a lot of resistance. It had a lot to do with the proposed location of the store but I believe it had even more to do with citizens who want to continue to live in Mayberry, as it were. :banghead: They were willing to forego all the jobs, tax money, and other benefits in order to preserve the status quo.....which, in my opinion, leaves a little to be desired since our town struggles for existence because it is so near to a metropolitan area. However, the people who wanted to keep Wal-Mart out were firmly convinced they were right and in the end, they won. It seems to me they are looking backward at a world that no longer exists and are doing nothing to prepare themselves to live in the future. I think that was what Gilbert wanted, too, the safe world he knew, the predictable world....not the world where he would have to take risks and try new things.


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