July 21, 2018, 06:42:44 PM

Author Topic: Mrs Schell, the younger  (Read 532 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

September 13, 2014, 11:58:15 PM

RiverSpirit

  • You can count on me!
  • Forum Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 554
  • Maroon to the Bone
Oskar's need to solve the mystery of the key became all-consuming. His plan to head out into one of the world's largest and busiest cities alone at his tender age is enough to scare me as a parent.

One character who has always intrigued me is Oskar's mother. She seems to be what I would call a "fringe" character for most of the book. I would love to know her background story.

She is obviously an extremely loving and caring mother. If she was aware of Oskar's plan why did she let him do it? Is she really being responsible letting him venture out on his own? How could she have known exactly how he was thinking if he didn't share it with her?

What are your ideas? What do you think of her decisions?


  
Logged
October 04, 2014, 10:25:08 PM
Reply #1

Evreka

  • Quibbling Queen
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1700
    • Try & Trix
She's an odd character in many ways... Maybe partly because we only see her through Oskar's eyes and he has chosen to shut her out, more or less.

For the most part of the book I was convinced that she and Ron was a couple and that she was moving "on" in life, rather than living as a widow. And then somewhere near the end we learn how they met and suddenly I wonder if maybe it's true that they are just friends, both recovering from a terrible blow. It puts the whole thing in a different light.

Another seriously weird thing is what goes on in the phone calls. Why does Thomas call his wife, a grown woman, and tells her he is on the ground walking home; while he calls his apartment repeatedly trying to reach his 9 year old son, telling him the truth, with some details??!  :o :-\

Wouldn't it have made more sense if he'd told his kid he was safe and his wife the truth?! Why was it more necessary to lie to her?  :what: Oskar says it was his father's first priority to protect her, and now it's his... But why was it Thomas first priority? Protecting her from what?

Somewhere in the beginning, Oskar writes a letter to his French teacher, which is laughable, and I can not imagine did not result in an immediate call to his Mum. I expected to hear more about the letter, but we never do! I think it can only mean she agreed to cancel those lessons and to give him that extra time and space. Why though? Because his councellor adviced it? Because she thought he needed it?

I wouldn't want a 9 year old, however intelligent, to go all over Stockholm all on their own at any odd hours, talking to just about any stranger who happens to have a common surname. I mean, that could include anyone, criminals too! And I very much doubt that New York would be a safer place.... on the contrary I think the opposite is true by far (although I guess I might be wrong there). Or maybe the average New Yorker, as a result of 11 September, at least for awhile, could be trusted not to harm a grieving child, however obsessive and irritating?  :what:

Still, even if that's so, how can she be calm when he goes out at night and only comes home in the middle of night? Since she knew that he was heading to Harlem and other less fortunate parts of New York... How can she let him?
Logged
October 06, 2014, 01:31:49 AM
Reply #2

paint it Black

  • Notorious Mass Murderer OR Innocent Singing Sensation
  • Forum Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 697
I think Evreka has an excellent point in that we only see Mrs. Schell through Oskar's eyes.  We never even learn her first name; to Oskar she is simply Mom, the person who cares for him and whom he unthinkingly depends upon for his well-being.

....Another seriously weird thing is what goes on in the phone calls. Why does Thomas call his wife, a grown woman, and tells her he is on the ground walking home; while he calls his apartment repeatedly trying to reach his 9 year old son, telling him the truth, with some details??!  :o :-\

Wouldn't it have made more sense if he'd told his kid he was safe and his wife the truth?! Why was it more necessary to lie to her? ....

I don't think it was specified when Thomas made the call to his wife telling her that he was on his way home, and she does not tell Oskar if Thomas made more than one call to her.  The call she describes may have been near the very end, when Thomas had lost hope.  Oskar asks her (and she confirms) that Thomas knew that his wife would know that he was not telling the truth when he told her that he was on his way home.  Perhaps it was his way of telling her not to give up hope for a happy life.  We don't know exactly why he told his wife what he did, but I think we're being led to believe that she understood why.  As to the messages to Oskar, I think they were mostly updates on his situation, and he tried to be optimistic about his chances for survival, until the last desperate message where he probably just really wanted to speak to Oskar in person one last time.

As to how could Mom let Oskar go all around New York by himself ... I think it is established at the end of the book that Mom knew from almost the very beginning (after the call from Abby Black) what Oskar was doing, and called each of the people that Oskar visited beforehand.  She also very likely enlisted the help of the Mr. Black that lived in their apartment building, in order for him to accompany Oskar on his journeys.  I can only assume that at other times she took precautions to either watch him herself from a distance or have others do so for her.  I do wonder who tipped her off about the night at the graveyard; was Mrs. Schell in touch with The Renter, or did Gerald the limo driver call her?  I can't think that she would have been so totally calm with her son showing up at 4AM without having some clue as to where he had been.

As to why she permitted Oskar's journeys to continue once she was made aware of them ... perhaps she felt strongly that Oskar was a unique kid, and this was the way he had come upon to work through his grief of his father's death.  He was the type of kid to investigate and go on scavenger hunts; it was the kind of thing that might make him feel closer to his dad, and doing it himself might make him realize eventually that he'd survive without his dad.  I don't know if Oskar's therapist had any opinions on this matter, but she seemed like she'd stand up to the therapist for something she felt strongly about.  Since we only see her though Oskar's eyes, we never get to know exactly what she was thinking during this time.

Cuppa is discussing Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman.  Please join us!
Logged