WEGG Question #19 ~ Lance Dodge

by Peter Hedges

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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WEGG Question #19 ~ Lance Dodge

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:28 am

What does Lance Dodge represent in the story?
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 KYwoman » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:42 am

Lance Dodge may represent a small town's desparate hope for a sense of importance and recognition and everything that Gilbert thinks he is not. Although Lance seems to be a superficial, D-list celebrity 'talking head', he recieves the attention and admiration from the family (and town) that Gilbert does not. This is especially painful to Gilbert given the 'history' the two share. The character adds another dimension to Gilbert's own sense of failure and self-loathing. Gilbert seems to see LD for what he truly is, while the rest of the town seems blinded by the fame.
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Unread postby Iceflower » Fri Apr 20, 2007 9:51 am

KYwoman wrote:Lance Dodge may represent a small town's desparate hope for a sense of importance and recognition and everything that Gilbert thinks he is not. Although Lance seems to be a superficial, D-list celebrity 'talking head', he recieves the attention and admiration from the family (and town) that Gilbert does not. This is especially painful to Gilbert given the 'history' the two share. The character adds another dimension to Gilbert's own sense of failure and self-loathing. Gilbert seems to see LD for what he truly is, while the rest of the town seems blinded by the fame.


I agree with you, KYwoman. It is sad to see that people act that way. And it is bad for Gilbert.
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Unread postby inspired » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:05 am

Lance Dodge seems to represent success to the small town of Endora and gives them a sense of validation and meaning. After all, if they can produce a celebrity of this magnitude how bad can Endora be? I think he also shows, as Gilbert is keenly aware, that this sort of success is shallow and fleeting, lacking any real depth and lasting meaning. To a much smaller magnitude, Endora's admoration for Lance is not unlike our society's false infatuation with some celebrities. (Present company excluded, of course.)

P.S. Thanks, Liz, for the warm welcome yesterday. I'm a bit late coming to the party but am enjoying these discussions very much.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:12 am

Good answers so far, Noodlemantras! Lance does seem to represent success to Endora but I always wondered why Gilbert was the only one that seemed to see through the whole charade. Maybe the others didn't want to?

Glad you could make it, inspired!
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 Iceflower » Fri Apr 20, 2007 10:27 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Good answers so far, Noodlemantras! Lance does seem to represent success to Endora but I always wondered why Gilbert was the only one that seemed to see through the whole charade. Maybe the others didn't want to?

Glad you could make it, inspired!


Maybe they knew, but if they told him and talked about it the city would loose what they had left of pride? :eyebrow: And then the city would been ruined and had nothingl eft to celebrate or to talk about on the nice side?!
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Unread postby Endora » Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:32 am

Lance is there to signify yet again how the US, in Gilbert's opinion, is being fooled by shallowness. Like the Foodland and Burger Barn issue we discussed the other day. And like prettying up Momma, I suppose.
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Unread postby SamIam » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:52 pm

Lance Dodge represents some kind of hope that others can be successful too and also the people of Endora are so happy that he's from Endora. He makes them proud of Endora. A pride that might not otherwise be felt by others including Gilbert. My favorite quote being describing Endora is like dancing to no music.

Lance represents a lot of hope and success for the people of Endora.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:54 pm

Don't think I can add anything. :cool:

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:24 pm

I agree with all that has been said. I think they were letting themselves be fooled by Lance because they wanted some town pride and were impressed by the celebrity. It bothered me that Gilbert’s family wasn’t sensitive enough to see how their infatuation with LD was hurting Gilbert.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:37 pm

I think though all places tend to take some "pride" in having a celebrity that hails from their locality however bad or untalented they maybe. But then as inspired said society seems infatuated with celebrity and I didn't see that Endora was any different.

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Unread postby inspired » Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:55 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Good answers so far, Noodlemantras! Lance does seem to represent success to Endora but I always wondered why Gilbert was the only one that seemed to see through the whole charade. Maybe the others didn't want to?

Glad you could make it, inspired!


Thanks DITHOT! I'm glad to be here. :cool:

I've been thinking about this a bit more and it seems to me that Lance allows the folks of Endora to experience a bit of his fame and celebrity just by being near him. If they can't have it themselves than the next best thing is to live out their fantasies vicariously through Lance. To be near him, to touch him, is to be, in small way, part of his world. That's why they don't look too close or examine him too hard. Having just gotten back from Disney World I can tell you the fun is all in the illusion. If you look too hard you can see that you're not really flying in Peter Pan and that it's not really Jack peeking out of that barrel. But if you allow yourself to pretend, all your dreams come true.

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Unread postby nebraska » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:28 pm

Inspired, I think you are on the right track. I think the people of Endora felt that a bit of Lance's celebrity reflected back on them, they could bask in a bit of his glory....I know from associating with some of my music friends, that it is just plain fun to step into an "inner circle" where those celebrities can be considered my friends, even if their celebrity is limited. It is relaxing and fun, a way to escape the humdrum every day of my life for a while. I think Lance might have been that way for the folks in Endora. He gave them reason to celebrate, to whoop and holler a bit, to step outside their every day boredom and have a good time; they didn't need or want to know if Lance deserved the parade to enjoy it. As you said, it is all about the illusion, if you look too close it all might crumble away. Gilbert had lost the joy and fun in his soul, he wasn't able to play any more.....so for him, Lance was another symbol of how much an outsider he had become.

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Unread postby Betty Sue » Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:41 pm

Love all of your answers! :cool: It must have really bugged Gilbert that he'd never seen Momma "so proud or impressed with anyone as she is with Lance" when Lance was someone he really didn't respect at all. In fact, Lance seemed more concerned about what Gilbert thought of him than vice versa. Lance came over as someone who can get slicked up and do newscasts but was not able to handle real life. Gilbert may have been struggling, but I think he was in better touch with real life than Lance. I think Lance actually envied Gilbert because "he always was his own kind of guy." So I guess it could be said that another thing Lance represents is how hollow success can be.
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Unread postby Liz » Fri Apr 20, 2007 5:11 pm

I love all of the answers, too, Betty Sue. :cool:

The words illusion and hope make me think of the American dream. I think that is what LD represents to the people of Endora. And Gilbert is irritated by him and the town’s infatuation with him because Gilbert has given up on any dreams he may have had. He has no illusions about his life. He has no spark or will to have fun (as Nebraska pointed out).
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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