At Play: Chapter 17 – 18

19 Mar

Here we get the Niaruna’s reaction to Billy’s death. Plus some background. I was stuck by the rather comical misunderstanding when Boronai offered Pindi to Quarrier, seeing how poorly Q got along with his wife. Then he and Hazel played kissy face to show they were together, which offended B’s “idea of good taste.” So, are things like monogamy inherently right, or are they simply culture bound and arbitrary. Whose taste is good and whose bad in this case?

In the next chapter, we learn a little more about Andy, particularly why she married Huben, and how her opinion of him is changing. Who is this woman? What’s she want? She has brief interactions with Wolfie and Xantes. Do they shed any light on her?

34 Responses to “At Play: Chapter 17 – 18”

  1. Kel Daniels March 19, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    So, Huben has wounds on his hands. Is this a Christ image? And if so, how are we to take it?

    • hresan42 March 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

      Huben makes a point of making it a Christ image and he makes sure everyone else knows it too. I think we’re meant to see it and recognize that Huben is abusing it, because we know he’s nowhere near the “savior” image he likes to project.

      • Kel Daniels March 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

        Nicely put.

      • kyleemc2010 March 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

        I agree with you. I think that this passage is meant to once again depict Huben’s conceded and arrogant personality to the readers.

    • benjaminjung March 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

      If huben is the image of christ then we have some issues.

    • nicklevato March 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      Huben prefers the image of doing great things, rather than actually doing them. Much like Moon pretending to be God.

  2. Kel Daniels March 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Finally, what makes Hazel and Quarrier stay at the mission, when everything has obviously gone to hell?

    • jasen Hengst March 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

      I don’t know why Hazel stayed. But Quarrier refused to accept that all this work, the death of his son was going to end with him quitting, and getting out of there.

      • jasen Hengst March 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

        Actually, like I commented on the Chapter 16 blog, I bet Hazel stayed because if anything happened to her, she could also pin it on the long list of things to blame Quarrier on. And the fact that he was doing something more for his son than she was.

        • staceydahm10 March 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

          Yes and if their son is buried there, it would be hard to leave him behind.

        • kristensteckbar10 March 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

          True. Because up to this point, it seems that she is not giving him too much slack when it comes to things that she thinks he’s doing wrong. Maybe if something happened to her, that would be something to guilt trip him more about.

          But at the same time, if that is her motivation for staying then she has her priorities screwed up…

      • angelaledford10 March 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

        I think Hazel stayed only to be with Quarrier. It may have been to keep him from doing something with someone else but I mostly feel that Hazel stayed to prove that she is just into the mission trip as her husband. That he isn’t the only one that wants to spread their faith.

      • aarontrost March 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

        I agree with you jasen Hengst, but I can see why Hazel stayed. She is married to the guy and at the end of the chapter she said “to death do us part”. I think she stayed because Martin was saying, and maybe with her saying these words. Maybe they are going to die there together or one will die and the other will leave. To Kel Daniels, I think they stayed just as Jasen said to not give up on his son. He has put all this work into the area and doesn’t want to see that go to waste.

      • cadams177 March 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

        Quarrier is the most stubborn character in the book, and if even the death of his son is unable to deter him, I cant imagine what will…

        • kristensteckbar10 March 19, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

          He obviously feels a strong spiritual calling to help “save” and civilize these people. While there is nothing wrong with that, I agree that he is not letting anything come between him and his “mission.”

      • benjaminjung March 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

        I agree with you completely Jasen. They are just trying to salvage something from the disaster that their mission has become, they cant leave after having lost so much. They need something good to hold onto.

    • stuartgaulke March 19, 2012 at 2:07 pm #

      I think the only reason that Hazel stays is because she has nothing else left. Billy was the only one that she had until she lost him earlier in the book. If she were to leave without Quarrier, she would be going back to nothing at all

      • nicklevato March 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

        no, because Q offered for her to leave with Billy, and she refused.

    • nicklevato March 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      Q stands to gain because he enjoys the indian culture, while Hazel is acting out of duty rather than sincerity. Q seems to be acting correctly, and H has no business staying there any longer because her close-mindedness brings her nothing but suffering.


      • wakaflockablog March 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

        Hazel is a terrible character. Her attitude and actions leave the reader pissed off. By the end of the story I hope that Q either cheats on her or she is killed. Or both. That would rather entertaining.

    • bLoGsOhArd March 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

      I feel its either Martin thinks theres still a slight chance of converting these Indians still or hes out for something else and we will find out in the upcoming chapters

  3. kyleemc2010 March 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    I personally don’t think it’s a matter of good or bad taste. Rather these are the ideals of two completely different cultures. And since we are not accustomed to cultures like the Nairuna’s, it would be hard for us to judge Boronai’s “offering” of Pindi.

    • shannonzwicky March 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      I agree, the cultures are what have shaped both of their perceptions on what is good and bad. So, therefore we cannot judge this fairly due to our cultural upbringing most likely being closer to that of the quarriers (sorry if your a Niaruna in this class, then I will retract my statement)

    • wakaflockablog March 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      I agree. One cannot say it is in good or bad taste because it is a way of life for those people. While I do agree with the idea of monogamy I would find it difficult to tell people of a completely different lifestyle what is wrong or what is right. I think the whole idea behind everything the missionaries is wrong, and I think that Martin is slowly seeing that by pushing his faith on to these people he could ultimately ruin their lifestyle and culture.

  4. erinjones10 March 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    I think this interaction between Boronai and Quarrier further emphasizes the growing split between Quarrier and Hazel.

  5. angelaledford10 March 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    Thats a good question. In this book it makes you question because although Quarrier’s beliefs are that monogamy is the right way, isn’t thinking about someone in such a way the same as the actions themselves. I believe in this circumstance both actions are wrong. The indians do this because it’s their way of life but the Quarrier’s actions were not in the truest form either. So, to me they are both in the wrong.

  6. nicklevato March 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm #

    I don’t find monogamy as others do. It seems to be a product of rationality and culture. This doesn’t cause its decrease in value, just offers a different perspective. I think it is wrong to inherently judge another’s culture by comparison to your own (because everything opposing is necessarily wrong) but cultural relativism is wrong as well. I think you should just take it for what it is, and leave it at that.

  7. kristensteckbar10 March 19, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    These are obviously just two very different cultures. It was offensive to Boronai when Quarrier and Hazel showed some PDA, but it is offensive to Quarrier and Hazel to be offered Pindi. Our culture does not accept/allow polygamous relationships, but, as we’ve seen/discussed, it is perfectly acceptable for the Niruana because their survival depends on it.

    • erinjones10 March 19, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      haha PDA…the Indians watch each other have sex for fun, now that’s PDA!

      • kristensteckbar10 March 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

        I mean like to us…I guess that was awkward wording…embarrassed.

      • nicklevato March 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

        yeah, but the Indian choose to watch sex while the Qs decide to impose their ‘love’

    • Kel Daniels March 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      And it wasn’t just the PDA; it was the falseness of it. Clearly they aren’t attracted to one another, but they still present themselves to the world as if they were. The Niaruna would never do such a thing. It’s as alien to their culture as loaning out one’s life is to ours.

    • angelaledford10 March 19, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

      Although Quarrier gets offended with Boronai giving Pindi but I feel that he is beginning to accept more of their traditions. When the tribe was holding their celebration of Billy’s life and they were all getting drunk and throwing up, Quarrier was the one that defended them and was saying it was part of their tradition to cleanse their souls.

  8. 0213rose March 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Feelings about monogamy are for sure cultural. There is no reason why ours is any better than any one else’s.

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