WEGG Question #25 ~ Saying Goodbye to Momma

by Peter Hedges

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Gilbert's Girl
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Thu Apr 26, 2007 5:10 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:Fire seems to be used frequently in the story. Doesn't Becky also burn something in Gilbert's yard? Fire can be used as a symbol of purification or purging. Are there other examples in the story? I can't remember off the top of my head.


Betty Carver's cigarettes perhaps?

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Unread postby nebraska » Thu Apr 26, 2007 7:03 pm

Bix wrote:I think the Grape children held the perfect wake for their mother. They played music she liked and looked at pictures of her life and shared their memories. Gilbert even says that even though she was angry and fat, she was their mother and there is a trace of her in each of them. "And we knew in some weird way that she wasn't gone, she had just moved into us and now it was time for us to move on." I think they celebrated that thought with their dancing and beer drinking. Then they all kissed her and told her their private goodbyes. I would wish my family to hold a gathering just like this for themselves when I die.

The decision to burn the house was brilliant. They had the death certificate from the doctor, so there would be no problem with proving Momma was really dead. At least Gilbert and Larry really hated the house itself and we know it wasn't in the best repair. And what Gilbert and Amy had realized about the circus atmosphere trying to get the body out of the upstairs was true. They had each chosen the things they wanted to carry with them into their new lives. It was perfect.

I think the Grape kids finally became a true family that night.


Bix, I think you expressed my thoughts very well. It seemed a bit strange at first for the family to unite in this celebration, it was so much more somber in the movie......but I do think in some way the kids bonded that night, Mama was free of her misery and so were they....

Like you, I hope when I die I have given people reason to celebrate my life.

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Unread postby Liz » Thu Apr 26, 2007 10:53 pm

gemini wrote:
Liz wrote:
Do you think there was a connection between the burning of the school and the burning of the house?

I don't know if there was any connection except it may have spurred the idea in Gilberts mind.


I'm still thinking about this because I feel there should be a connection. It could be as DITHOT said--that they both represent purging--as in eliminating the old baggage and starting anew--rebirth. And Suec referred to both as a therapeutic cleansing. I guess I thought of both incidences as a way to let go of the past and start fresh.

But you are right, Gemini, that it probably gave Gilbert the idea. And I like how he took control of the situation, as Suec said. That was probably also therapeutic for Gilbert.
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Unread postby Linda Lee » Fri Apr 27, 2007 12:37 am

I agree with what's already been said. It was a perfect wake for Momma. I also think turning the house into her funeral pyre was a good idea, to spare Momma and the family the ridicule and the jokes that Bobby had told Gilbert about.
The family was closer than they had been at any time in the book.

I'm still thinking about this because I feel there should be a connection. It could be as DITHOT said--that they both represent purging--as in eliminating the old baggage and starting anew--rebirth. And Suec referred to both as a therapeutic cleansing. I guess I thought of both incidences as a way to let go of the past and start fresh.


I agree the two fires are connected this way, as a purging and rebirth.
Serenity is not freedom from the storm but peace within the storm. ~ Unknown

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Unread postby suec » Sat Apr 28, 2007 4:30 am

I think maybe it is reminiscent of the phoenix; from the ashes, new life emerges - as it does in nature of course. It's a bit suggestive that Momma goes to her bed, as the bird does to its nest before death.
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Unread postby Liz » Sat Apr 28, 2007 8:37 am

suec wrote:I think maybe it is reminiscent of the phoenix; from the ashes, new life emerges - as it does in nature of course. It's a bit suggestive that Momma goes to her bed, as the bird does to its nest before death.


:-O I didn't know that.
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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