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Flight Behavior

In light of Tuesday’s class discussion, I attempted to be consciously more aware of the manner in which certain characters were type-cast in predetermined cultural roles.  With this in mind, I became interested in Dellarobia and Cub’s relationship, which functions somewhat independently while still adequately reflecting the perception of ignorance in the south.

They had arrived at the gate between pasture and backyard. With effort she avoided looking at the shell-like casing of the trailer hunched between their house and driveway crowded into a corner of the farm that had been carved out of the pasture, back when Bear and Hester built the house.  Like the wedding and the house itself, it was a hurry-up kind of fence.  They’d use metal T-posts and cheap wire that still looked provisional after these many years, like the afterthought it was.

This moment within the novel is particularly important, as it reads as fairly typical. There is a definite stereotype regarding many southern marriages, which involves the notion that they take place when the couple is young and have a child on the way. In the case of Dellarobia and Cub, this is true on all accounts.  It seems disappointing from a structural standpoint, as I have an issue with relating the characters on an emotional level. Instead, as a reader, I become resistant to the couple’s relationship, as I simply consider it to be a contrived caricature of something I have already read.

Yet  prior to the above paragraph (page 263), there is an intimate moment between Cub and Dellarobia that is somewhat sweet and endearing. I think it would have been poignant if Kingsolver had attempted to expand upon what makes their relationship unique and significant, rather than continuing to use them as vessels to relay the ignorance of an entire area. Ignorance isn’t demonstrated through caricatures, it’s demonstrated through the personal and intimate choices of single individuals as a reaction to their society.

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