WEGG Question #17 - Mrs. Brainer's Rule

by Peter Hedges

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WEGG Question #17 - Mrs. Brainer's Rule

Unread postby Liz » Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:14 am

From Pg. 155.

Mrs. Brainer had a rule cause of Lance Dodge. Rule was—if you have to go to bathroom before break time you forfeit recess rights. So. 10/13/1973. Amy = Senior, Student Council Secy. Larry = 10th grade, Janice = 5th. I was in this room. 2nd grade. Second chair, fourth row. Tucker in front of me, L. Dodge to my left. I had uneasy feeling about my Dad. Had to get home. Wanted to get home. Momma was in Motley with Arnie for tests. Found out he was retarded that August. I had a sick feeling. That morning my dad had been in good spirits. He had been all smiley and picked me up by my ears. Larry said on way to school that Dad was happy. I had this sick feeling and made plans to run home during recess. But I had to pee so I squeezed my legs so hard. It was 8 minutes till recess when I wet my pants. L. Dodge told Mrs. Brainer. I cleaned it up while others went outside. Autopsy determined that about same time my Dad was hanging himself, I was peeing in my seat. Ha. Ha ha ha he he he he ha ha ha. He ha.

Do you think this is indicative of anything?
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:36 am

Not too sure I understand the question, but that won't stop me. :eyebrow: The way Gilbert includes every detail indicates the memory is seared into his brain. Gilbert's premonition indicates he was a very sensitive kid. The depression, then 'happiness' of his dad's leading to suicide must have affected Gilbert's emotional well-being. And his plan to run home at recess shows how caring he was. Lance Dodge's double involvement in the event explains why Gilbert cannot stand Lance. Mrs. Brainer's insensitivity to the embarrassing situation explains why he peed on her grave. The extended ha, ha, ha, he, he, hes indicate he does NOT think it's funny. :bawl:
Last edited by Betty Sue on Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Charlene » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:41 am

My heart broke for him. I had a witch of a teacher, too, in 3rd grade, with same type rules...a little girl about 3 chairs up from me, on my left (that's how vivid my memory is), with a frilly dress and sash (becuse that's what we wore back then), asked to go to the bathroom...teacher refused...you will have to wait...so she sat there and pee ran down her seat all over the floor. It was humilating....the teacher was irked, THEN the teacher let us outside for recess and had to call the janitors.

Perhaps Gilbert stepped inside himself that day to deal with it...never lost the feeling of shame...always thinking, wondering, worrying how he and his family were perceived...

Now, the meat of the question, was it indicative? I don't think Gilbert had ever displayed an ability to "foresee" things before, or even a doting brother image......

..People talk about twins being able to feel something is wrong, or parents...but you always hear about it after the fact..I don't know if it is real or not. The happy morning, the uneasy feeling, hasn't it been said that there are signs sometimes that people are putting their lives in order, saying their goodbyes, before they commit suicide?

I think it is only indicative, because hindsight is 20/20. It was just one more nail in the coffin of Gilbert's family's spiraling downfall. Sometimes it does seem bad things keep happening to good people.

Look at what is happening at VA Tech (my DH and I went to school there and my son is going next year)...the killer's roommate said this morning, nothing was out of ordinary with the killer that morning. But his odd behavior in H.S. and in college was indicative that something was not right in this guy's brain...his teachers had called authorities about him due to his violent writings...again, hindsight now looking at it, but even though they spotted it, there was nothing that could be done...he had broken no law.

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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:43 am

Not sure I get the question either :-/ :perplexed:
Other than it was a very traumatic experience seared into his memory and connected with the other more truamatic experience of his father hanging himself. Maybe he felt that it if it hadn't been for Mrs Brainer he might have been able to save his dad.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:03 am

I think what Liz is asking is how did this experience effect Gilbert.

I'm reminded of our question yesterday about guilt and shame. Gilbert had to deal with the shame of wetting his pants in front of the class and the guilt over not trusting his instincts and running home to check on his father. He is left with the feeling perhaps he could have prevented what happened and then his family wouldn't be in the shape they are in now. For him it is a double burden.

Charlene, we are all so saddened by what happened at VA Tech this week. I really hope the media doesn't try to play the blame game with anyone involved. As you say hindsight is always 20/20 but who could have predicted such a tragic outcome. Our thoughts and prayers to all who have been effected by such a horrific tragedy.
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Unread postby radwen » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:24 am

Indicative as in foreshadowing perhaps?

This passage about what was happening to Gilbert at this particular point in time is very full of emotional images: uneasy feeling, sick feeling, good spirits, Dad was happy. I found the writing of this passage very interesting.

That is a lot of feeling for Gilbert. He "tries" to be emotionally detached from that day forward. But everything about this incident is seared in his brain. It started the chain of events that would affect his life for so many years to come. This was the last morning the Grapes were just a normal family and Gilbert a normal second grader.
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Unread postby radwen » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:29 am

Yes DITHOT I was thinking of that question from before as well.

He does feel guilt and shame. I think the strength of these two feelings is what makes him not want to feel anything. ???
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Unread postby Iceflower » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:36 am

I didn't get the question either, but if I shall answer what DITHOT is asking.

It affects him in that way that he can't run away from it. It probably get worse when they finds out the floor is nearly falling through. He gets uneasy and sad, but tries to run away with it, when he is thinking of something else or is finding love with Becky. But it's stills hunts him.

It affects the family because of the way Gilbert is. He seems to have had a good relationship with is dad, or am I all wrong? And when is father hung himself, he lost a best friend. But it might be that I am totally wrong about that :-?

It don't get better when the family memebers and friends tells him that he looks like his father. So he knows that his father will always hunt him in his look.

And as radwen said, that morning was the last morning they all were together as a normal family and Gilbert a normal second grader. The father was kind of a bond, which did hold the family together, after he passed away, they all go different paths in life.
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Unread postby Iceflower » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:36 am

radwen wrote:Yes DITHOT I was thinking of that question from before as well.

He does feel guilt and shame. I think the strength of these two feelings is what makes him not want to feel anything. ???


That is interesting, and I agree.
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Unread postby SamIam » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:48 am

It was definitely indicative of how he becomes guilty and shameful of his family. The way his teacher treats him and prevented him from saving his dad or so he thought he could save his dad made him feel guilty and because he pees his pants he felt ashamed. He felt shame for peeing himself and for his father's death. He felt guilty because he thought he could stop his dad.

The last part indicates he does not think it was funny and he is ashamed of the whole incident. Who could blame for that? He felt guilty because his dad died and he couldn't do anything about it.

My cousin was at VT two weeks ago visiting a friend of hers. She was going to go there for veterinary school. She is alright but her friend was in Norris Hall. He is okay but very shaken up as to be expected. All the students and their families are in my thoughts and prayers.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:51 am

I think the way the passage is written is interesting as well. It's almost like being back in his 2nd grade head when you read it. This incident is forcing him to confront those feelings he has tucked away for so long.

SamIam, I'm glad your cousin and her friend are okay.
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Unread postby Iceflower » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:58 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I think the way the passage is written is interesting as well. It's almost like being back in his 2nd grade head when you read it. This incident is forcing him to confront those feelings he has tucked away for so long.

SamIam, I'm glad your cousin and her friend are okay.


It is interesting written. I am very glad Norway doesn't have that system. They are not that strict. Not at all. SO i don't get any "flashback" when reading it.

Edit: SamIam, glad your cousin and her friend is okay from me as well.
Last edited by Iceflower on Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby SamIam » Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:59 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I think the way the passage is written is interesting as well. It's almost like being back in his 2nd grade head when you read it. This incident is forcing him to confront those feelings he has tucked away for so long.

SamIam, I'm glad your cousin and her friend are okay.


:thanks: DITHOT, We are all Hokies now.
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Unread postby Endora » Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:12 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:I think the way the passage is written is interesting as well. It's almost like being back in his 2nd grade head when you read it. This incident is forcing him to confront those feelings he has tucked away for so long.


Yes, the language is clever, the short sentences work well to show his anxiety then and his guilt/shame now. But I also thought about the comments about Dad being smiley this morning were important. They'd both noticed it, so are they saying that he hadn't been recently, maybe since Arnie's diagnosis? Perhaps he was happy because he'd made his decision and knew what he'd do that day. So Gilbert associated his father's happiness with the day he died.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:48 pm

The thing is though how much of that is Gilbert looking back at with hindsight.


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