Thursday, April 10, 2014

A creditable character



When I started to read Harvey’s The Wilderness I took it for what it was. Soon after I learned that the main character Jake was suffering from Alzheimer. At first it didn’t really affect the way I was taking in information from the book. I kept reading and realized that his condition was starting to affect the information I received as a reader. 

When Jake tells a story or is trying to remember a person or particular situation I don’t fully believe it. A particular example of this is when Elanor asks if he likes raspberries and he replied that he loved them, "It is true, Helen did dislike them. He recalls her once tasting one and taking it out of her mouth. Hairs, she frowned, texture, not right. She had given him the chewed remains of the fruit and smiled; he had eaten it from his palm. But he doesn't in fact remember if he likes raspberries," (Harvey 107).
It isn't just this one example, but tons of others that begin to build up and make you wonder if what he's talking about actually happened.


Throughout the book he’s constantly going back and forth remembering certain events, but then taking it back and saying it could have happened at a different time or with a different person, or it may not have happened at all. I don’t say this to mean he is a liar, but that his condition affects not only his life but the lives of people around him and the reader. As a reader I do want to believe that certain things happened and if I don’t think about it I’m able to believe it. What he is describing fits into reality, but the constant reminders that nothing is exactly as Jake says nags at the back of my mind when I’m reading and makes it harder to trust what he’s talking about. Sometimes its even frustrating because all I want is a direct answer from him, but I know because of his illness that its not his fault.

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