Joan Uncle Wiggly throat clearing and many thanks
You made it, Patti!
Just like you :-)
You for hope !
So lovely to hear from you after the memorial service. All the connections are so beautiful
Nice coat Patti. That must have been lovely to see Vanessa Redgrave speak. Much love to you
There weren’t too many role models back then. You chose a good one. And then you became an incredible role model yourself. Thank you.
. . . and we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing~**~
Uncle wiggly…is this the same?
In Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut by J.D. Salinger we have the theme of loss, disillusion, youth, insecurity, love and escape. Taken from his Nine Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after first reading the story the reader realises that Salinger may be exploring the theme of escape. There is the fact that Eloise spends the entirety of the story drinking, preferring not to have to deal with the realities of life (wife and mother). It is quite possible that Eloise may spend every day drinking as Salinger makes no suggestion to the reader that she does anything else with her day. It is also noticeable that Ramona has two imaginary friends (Jimmy and Mickey), the reader sensing that her escape into a world populated with imaginary friends is triggered by the lack of love her mother shows her. Throughout the story Eloise shows very little affection or understanding to her daughter (though she does appear to change at the end of the story). It is also interesting that the triggers for Eloise and Ramona’s escape may be the sense of loss that they feel. Ramona may feel hurt because her mother shows no love towards her and Eloise appears to escape, through drinking, due to Walt’s death and an unhappy marriage. Both feel a loss and as such escape into worlds that in essence are not real.
Salinger also appears to be exploring the theme of youth in the story. Eloise spends most of her time talking to Mary Jane about either people they knew when they were younger and in college or about Walt. There is no doubting that, at least for Eloise, her time spent in college or with Walt was a period when life was easier for Eloise and she was happy. Despite being married and having a child it is obvious to the reader that Eloise has not found happiness (or love) as either a wife or a mother. Eloise also appears to be unable to let go of the past and if anything the past provides Eloise with comfort and like alcohol helps Eloise forget about how miserable she is. By talking with Mary Jane about their time in college, Eloise is able to escape from the present, the reader aware that it if anything Eloise is disillusioned with her life (as both a wife and mother).
There is also some symbolism in the story which may be significant. The rug that Mary Jane spills her drink on. Eloise tells Mary Jane ‘Leave it. Leave it. I hate this damn rug anyway.’ By introducing the rug and Eloise’s dislike for it, Salinger may symbolically be suggesting that Eloise also dislikes her life (at least her present life). Similarly with the pillows in the room. Eloise tells Mary Jane that ‘…There isn’t one damn pillow in this house that I can stand.’ Again this may be significant as Salinger may be suggesting, at least symbolically, that Eloise is not comfortable in her life. The introduction of Akim Tamiroff (actor) may also be important. By telling Mary Jane that she likes him, Salinger may be suggesting the idea of escape for Eloise. To avoid having to deal with the realities of her life (loveless marriage), Eloise may spend time escaping in movies. The fact that Ramona suffers from myopia may also be important as symbolically Salinger may be suggesting that just like her daughter is near-sighted, symbolically Eloise can’t see what she is doing to her daughter (being cold towards her). Joyce Morrow’s blue cardigan that Eloise was wearing when she was on the train with Walt may also be important as blue is usually associated (in literature) with innocence or purity. Salinger may be suggesting the time Eloise spent with Walt was a period in her life when things were more innocent or at least simpler.
Salinger may also be highlighting, through symbolism, the difficulties that come with war. Eloise left college (or was possibly thrown out) due to having been found in an elevator with a soldier. Also Mary Jane’s ex-husband, who was also a soldier, spent time in prison because he stabbed an MP. By introducing both these men and associating a certain level of trouble to them, Salinger may be suggesting that with war (symbolised by soldiers) comes difficulties. Even though neither Eloise nor Mary Jane fought in the war, they still incurred some degree of difficulty. A more obvious example of the difficulties incurred through war is the fact that Eloise lost Walt during the war.
The ending of the story is also significant as there appears to be a moment of realisation (or epiphany) for Eloise. Despite being angry with Ramona and pulling her to the centre of the bed, on seeing Ramona’s glasses, Eloise holds them to her cheek and recalls what Walt said to her when she fell as she was running for the bus ‘Poor Uncle Wiggily.’ It is through this memory that Eloise appears to change. She for the first time in the story shows affection to Ramona, by tucking in Ramona’s bed clothes and kissing her. It is also when she goes downstairs to wake up Mary Jane that Salinger appears to be exploring the theme of insecurity. After waking Mary Jane, Eloise asks her ‘I was a nice girl, wasn’t I?’ This may be significant as it not only suggests an insecurity within Eloise but also for the first time in the story, Eloise appears to be looking at her life. It is quite possible by ending the story as he does that Salinger is suggesting that Eloise can change her life.
Uncle Wiggliness!! LOL! LOve it! Great song too!
Thank you for Uncle Wiggly !!
And thanks for posting Bob chimes ..!!
What a nice memorial service for Joan Didion. Loved your song and Vanessa Redgrave's reading.
Sorry to shill, but know you would appreciate this.
I read A Year of Magical Thinking right after your book Just Kids before she passed. I found it challenging to read her writing after yours, yet was still drawn to it. I put it aside and re-read it after her passing, loving it a lot more. Chimes of Freedom is a favorite, just like your blog. Drink some tea and rest. A beautiful tribute to a fellow female writer.
I did respond to this post but had pen in hand so wrote it in the book. I admitt I was waiting for Cairo to show up and snuggle in.
Beautiful memorial service for Joan Didion and enjoyed very much your performance. Vanessa Redgrave’s reading was unreal. Brought me to tears exactly like Joan’s book of loss.
You and Tony were beautiful at Joan's memorial. Whomever organized it was so smart to include you.
Concrete sweetness. It's the ultimate Uncle Wiggly version, with Mrs. auntie Patti Smith deluxe!
Thank you for the link. Despite what's happening all over, it's a comfort to have all those, well, "things".
There was a quote by Camus on the radio earlier today, if I got it all right: "C'est en hiver que j'ai découvert que j'avais en moi un invincible printemps" (or approx.).