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Women & Men Chapter Discussions > 0504 Gordon's Story: The Year He Skipped

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message 1: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 658 comments Discuss.


message 2: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 524 comments Thank you, Jonathan. Your summaries help to make sense of the chapters and is a great memory refresher.


message 3: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 658 comments This is such a relaxing chapter, pretty much getting away from it all, hearing Gordon's story which is so tangential to all of the important things going on in other chapters. Here we get just a few bits that we mostly already know and a new angle on one of the mysterious South American events.


message 4: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 658 comments Jonathan wrote: "What is the new angle on one of the mysterious South American events given in this chapter? I'm not saying I missed it (though possibly), just that I've thrown it in with the part of my brain holdi..."

There was a paragraph about the Interior Minister and the airplane. I thought that it crashes on other occasions, but here it diverted in order to keep the Minister out of the hands of the enemy. It could also be a second event. Not sure. But I marked it for future comparison. page 521


message 5: by Aloha (new)

Aloha | 524 comments Sometimes I wonder whether there's some sort of a reality warp with some of the events because of a question as to whether they're actually in the future or not, because some of the events don't seem to have a clear path. For example, I can't find a good logic for the reveal at the end. I'm still searching through the book for some good reasoning. There still has to be some logic to the whole book, and I don't want to be fooled by the difficulty of the arrangement.


message 6: by Nathan "N.R.", James Mayn (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (NathanNRGaddis) | 658 comments Jonathan's deleted posts ::

#2---
Gordon and Mayn come into their building from the rain, talk casually. They know each other through Norma (See Charity). Gordon invites Mayn to have a drink, Mayn says yes to the drink, but has Gordon come to Mayn's apartment (9D). It's the apartment he used to live in with his family, a three bedroom, one of few such units in the building. Over drinks, Gordon tells the story of an eventful three month stretch of 'The Year He Skipped', the year he began in the fifth grade of his Quaker private school but was moved into the sixth grade. The year he skipped could also refer to Gordon's present, as he has just quit work as a lawyer to reconsider his life.

The chapter is primarily a third person narration of Gordon's sixth grade year (circa 1944), smoothed over in memory, told for the hundredth time, yet also told anew to Mayn. It is a story that 'everything got drawn' into, 'and bounced back off' of. Events as 'Understood later'. Thus, the story is much more conventional than many we have encountered previously in W&M. We also have Mayn as the listener to Gordon's story, 'ask[ing] for enlightenment here and there', doing out work of 'interrogating' for us. I think most readers will find this among the least difficult of the book's chapters, alongside the future, or the departed tenant. It is also one of the best chapters, and a good entry point for readers wanting a taste of W&M before they commit.

Gordon's friend Dickie asks Gordon when he 'skips', "So you must be smarter than me?" Gordon doesn't say it at the time, but eventually does to his father, "I'm the same person". Gordon says he just reads a lot, is 'made happy by anything printed on the page of a book'. Later on he'll be the guy into 'Complete Works', but right now he's enjoying learning about fractions and poring over the latest Submariner.

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Gordon chronicles his changing relations with his family, with the teachers, with his friends old and new as a result of the 'skip'. The Metz boy at Gordon's school also 'skips', on a larger scale, as he and his family are Jewish refugees recently arrived from France. Gordon and Metz have unspoken races to school in the morning. The war invaded the consciousness of young Gordon. He obsessively cuts out pictures and headlines related to the war for a new bulletin board at school, even cutting out pictures from a friend's parents' paper when he stays at his house. Mayn's only war memories come from the movies.

The chapter ends with Norma entering Mayn's apartment. Is something going on between Norma and Mayn? If there is, it's not confirmed yet. She has with her a plant sprayer to water Mayn's plants (including a jade tree from Barbara-Jean) as he had been out of town. Norma is surprised that Mayn is back early and with her husband.


#5----
What is the new angle on one of the mysterious South American events given in this chapter? I'm not saying I missed it (though possibly), just that I've thrown it in with the part of my brain holding all the South American Event information, and detached it from the part holding Gordon: Year He Skipped information.


#8---
The Interior Minister is real. Check it out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marmaduk...
"notably the middle name Marmaduke"


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