Day: October 2, 2014

The Monstrumologist – Another Symbolism Theory

Another Symbolism Theory

The Monstrumologist

I have a bunch of just random theories that I’ve come up with that may or may not be feasible. Just different ideas of what represented what y’know?

The Shrunken Head/Key Theory

Early on in the book, when Dr. Warthrop opens his father’s trunk for the first time in forever, one of the first objects pulled out is a shrunken head. While Dr. Warthrop isn’t there, Will Henry examines the head only to find a key. He plans on telling Dr. Warthrop before deciding not to because of the fact that Dr. Warthrop appeared to be very angry. He quickly pockets it, vowing to tell him later.

“I flung the head into the box. It ricocheted against one side before dropping down, rolling onto its side, and coming to rest atop the other items in the trunk. The force of the impact must have dislodged the object tucked inside the hollow of its tiny skull, for I glimpsed protruding from the neck a piece of bright red material. I pulled the head out again, grasped the end of the cloth, and tugged at it until the object to which the other end was tied pulled free of its cadaverous cocoon. It was a key – to what I did not know, but it was too large to belong to the trunk or a door.

‘Will Henry!’ shouted the doctor from the basement steps.

I dropped the head back into the box and jammed the key into my pocket. I would show it to him later, I decided……

I thought about mentioning the key, and quickly decided to wait until his mood had improved.”

Page 113-114

Will Henry completely forgets to give the key to Dr. Warthrop. It ends up unlocking the feeding chamber of the Anthropophagi.

Now, on the surface it’s just Will Henry being forgetful. But looking deeper (and possibly over-analyzing it), perhaps the fact that Will Henry is in possession of the key represents that Will Henry was the key to unlocking the lock that’s on Dr. Warthrop’s ability to let go of his past. Maybe the passing of the key symbolizes the moment where Dr. Warthrop comes to realize that he needs to appreciate his assistant more and that he isn’t alone in the world. Will Henry was what essentially caused the doctor to be able to make peace with his past. They were the reasons that both eventually got past their pain and grief.

My theory is spawned from the last chapter of the journal as well as the doctor’s reaction when Will Henry gives him the key. His reaction is one of surprise and wonder. The doctor is incredibly dense and unappreciative due to his childhood. Maybe this key passing represents this moment of realization. It’s certainly represented in the last chapter. Their relationship has evolved to a much closer one (because now they actually know stuff about each other).

She is Not Invisible – Marcus Sedgwick

She is Not Invisible

 She Is Not Invisible

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Publish Date: April 22, 2014

Number of Pages: 224 pages

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Adventure, Mystery

Laureth Peak’s father has taught her to look for recurring events, patterns, and numbers – a skill at which she’s remarkably talented.

Her secret: she is blind.

But when her father goes missing, Laureth and her 7-year-old brother Benjamin are thrust into a mystery that takes them to New York City where surviving will take all her skill at spotting the amazing, shocking, and sometimes dangerous connections in a world full of darkness.

She Is Not Invisible is an intricate puzzle of a novel that sheds a light on the delicate ties that bind people to each other.


Review

I think this is like the third novel I’ve read by Marcus Sedgwick in the last year and it’s all by accident. I randomly picked up some books off the shelf, and I guess two were by Sedgwick. And then, I picked up She is Not Invisible like a month later without even realizing that he wrote it. So far, I’ve noticed that I really like Sedgwick’s writing style. It’s smooth and descriptive which is good because if there is one type of writing I hate, it’s the choppy writing.

The first time I read this book, I went in completely blind but I didn’t finish it because I ended up having to return it to the library. The second time I checked it out because I had heard that it had received really good reviews.

Anyways, this book is about a blind character. I liked that. It was interesting to read about a completely different perspective on the world. We, as people who have sight, are completely dependent on it, more so than any of the other senses we have. How many times have you identified a location based on the sounds of people walking? Reading about it makes me want to try (although I’d end up tripping or running into something). The idea that a blind person might not understand the concept of color or appearances was something that really intrigued me. There was one event in the book that really made me think about what racism means to other people(highlight to read. Laureth is contacted by a boy in the states named Michael. He’s really courteous, super informed and the complete opposite of the black stereotype. While talking to him, they are approached by some dangerous and racist people. They make a comment on his race and Laureth doesn’t understand. She can’t see colors so she doesn’t understand what racism is. This event made me really wonder what the world would be like if nobody could see skin color.). I just really enjoyed reading from the perspective of a blind person.

Even better than this was Laureth’s personality. She was an extremely realistic character. She’s thoughtful while also reckless, slightly stubborn but also understanding. She understands that her blindness is an impediment but she doesn’t crave the ability to see. She’s confident and knows how to work around her disability.

She acted so much like a teen that I could imagine somebody doing some of the actions she did in real life. Her brother was quirky and cute. He was, quite simply put, one of the most entertaining aspects of the book.

One thing that did bother me was the lack of explanation about why they had the abilities they did. The history of how Laureth became blind was explained but can someone please explain to me how on Earth her brother is physically capable of wrecking electronic devices? Sedgwick chalks it up to just being some strange abnormality that Ben had. Apparently no doctors are able to find the cause. The lack of solid explanation annoyed me.

I also felt like their adventure was too…. innocent shall I say? They’re taking a trip to New York City alone and the only plausible way that they could have successfully made it is with a lot of luck. Nobody can even begin to convince me that the authorities would look the other direction if two kids are sketchily trying to fly to another country and I’m positive that they would have had more challenges on their trip than they had.

I liked that the book was about coincidences. I’ve also experienced the phenomenon explained in the book where somebody has their “number”. Granted, I’m not really sure what my “number” is because for me it happens more often with names and words. Or I learn about something in class one day only to read about it in a book. Just a bunch of serendipitous events that make me feel a sense of déjà vu. I found it fun to read about coincidences and how a string of them led Laureth and Ben on their adventure.

Although I liked the characters, setting, and writing, I never really connected to the novel. It was hard for me to really get into it and I didn’t until about halfway through. Usually this might not be a huge problem, but considering that this book was 224 pages long, I personally feel like I would have enjoyed it more had I become interested earlier on while reading.

3/5 Stars

A Theme in The Monstrumologist

A Theme in The Monstrumologist

Theme: Sometimes in life, when a friend may be suffering, a person might face the difficult decision of whether or not they should end their suffering by death because it may be hard to decide what the right choice is.


This theme is brought up really early in The Monstrumologist. During their first encounter with the Anthropophagi, one of the characters is snatched and eaten alive. Dr. Warthrop quickly shoots him dead in order to end his suffering quickly. However, this action prompts Will Henry to wonder when it’s okay to do so, how you know that they want you to, as well as a multitude of other factors.

“The mouth below continued to work, chomping upward as the claw pulled the old man down, his free leg flailing like a drowning man’s trying to kick to the surface. I felt the doctor’s hands upon my waist, his voice barely audible above the cries of the doomed man.

‘Let go, Will Henry! Let go!

But it was not I who held fast with iron grip; it was Erasmus Gray. His fingers were wrapped around my wrist, and he was pulling me into the pit with him. All at once I slid farther in, for Warthrop had released me, and then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the barrel of the doctor’s revolver slam against the old man’s forehead.

I whipped my head around, turning my face from the sight as the doctor pulled the trigger, snuffing out the old man’s screams of pain and panic in a single explosive instant.”

Page 66

1880’s revolver. Dr. Warthrop most likely used a similar handgun.

In this moment of the novel, Dr. Warthrop knows that Erasmus Gray cannot be saved. He had one reason for shooting Erasmus Gray – mercy. However, even with this reason, Will Henry cannot fathom why he decided to do it and how he made his decision to do so.

“The doctor scampered down the ladder. ‘Why are you staring at me like that?’

‘Mr. Gray -,’ I began, but the doctor cut me off.

‘We are slaves, all of us, Will Henry,’ he said, pulling the book from my hand and placing it upon the nearest stack. ‘Some are slaves to fear. Other are slaves to reason–or base desire. It is our lot to be slaves, Will Henry, and the question must be to what shall we owe our indenture? Will it be to truth or to falsehood, hop or despair, light or darkness? I choose to serve the light, even though that bondage often lies in darkness. Despair did not drive me to pull that trigger, Will Henry; mercy guided my hand’……

‘He was doomed the moment the creature struck,’ he went on. ‘No more absurd or insidious a precept has ever been laid down than ‘Where there is live, there is hop.’ Just as the trout is doomed once the bait is taken, there was no hope for him once the barbs were set. He would thank me if he could. As I would thank you, Will Henry.'”

Page 75

This instant caused Will Henry to wonder if he would be able to do the same. If he would be able to shoot somebody to end their suffering.

It poses the question: Should you assume that victims would want you to end their suffering or should you play no role in their death?

This is often applicable in the event where a relative or friend may be in intense pain due to some type of ailment. They may be in a coma, fighting cancer, heart disease, blood infection, etc. There’s a multitude of different possibilities. But should you take them off of life support? Should you do nothing to prevent their death? Should you take drugs that will kill you without any pain?

What is the morally right thing to do?