The Lives of Girls and Women

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Reading Notes: The Lives of Girls and Women

Chapter One: The Flats Road

* Descriptive (3) “ We caught the frogs for him. WE chased them, stalked them, crept up on them, along the muddy riverbank under the willow trees in marshy hollows full of rattails and sword grass that left the most delicate, at first invisible, cuts on our bare legs.” * Uncle Benny: “He was not our uncle, or anybody’s.” (3) * He wore the same clothes “rubber boots, overalls, no shirt, a suit jacket, rusty black and buttoned, showing a V of tough red skin with a tender edge of white. A felt hat on his head had kept its narrow ribbon and two little feathers, which were entirely darkened with sweat.” (3) * “ He said there was a quick-sand hole that would take down a two-ton truck like a bite of breakfast” (4) * Benny subscribed to a strange paper with headlines about nonsense “ Father feeds twin daughters to hogs, woman gives birth to human monkey…” (7) * Narrator lives at the end of Flats Road, has a brother named Owen * Narrators family raises silver foxes

* No one likes the mother, everyone likes the father
* Narrator in the 4th grade
* Uncle Benny mails a lady about possibly marrying her
* Gets a letter back saying that Madeleine Howey would marry him and has an 18 month old daughter named Diane * “Her hands were in the pockets of the jacket, her head was bent, her long legs going like scissors.” (17) * 18 description of Madeleine

* Madeleine was abusive to Benny and Diane
* Madeleine ran away with Diane, and sent a letter saying she was in Toronto (22) * Benny went to go find her
* Couldn’t find the place or didn’t want to? (24)

Chapter Two: Heirs of the Living Body

* Uncle Craig: one rye blind, face was square and sagging, his body stout. (29) * Aunt Grace and Aunt Elspeth played tricks on each other and others when they were little and still continue to do so (33-34) * “It was a hot and perfectly still evening, light lying in bands on the tree-trunks, gold as the skin of apricots.” (35) * Mother is constantly disapproving “My Mother’s disapproval was open and unmistakable, like heavy weather;” (36) * “There it was, the mysterious and to me novel suggestion that choosing not to do things showed, in the end, more wisdom and self-respect than choosing to do them.” (37) * “Her skin was dusty-looking, as if there was a thin, stained sheet of glass over it, or a light oiled paper.” (38) * Mary Agnes is not stupid yet needs her mother for everything. Mental disability or just a mother who is very protective of her daughter? * Mary Agnes, raped? “ I knew something, too, that had happened to Mary Agnes. My mother had told me. Years ago she had been out in the front yard of their house in Porterfield while Aunt Moira was washing clothes in the cellar, and some boys had come by, five boys. They persuaded her to go for a walk with them and they took her out to the fairgrounds and took off all her clothes and left her lying on the cold mud, and she caught bronchitis and nearly died.” (41) * Narrator hates to be naked (bottom 41)

* Narrators name Del?
* Very descriptive about the surroundings. Always commenting on the area around them (the narrator) * Why care so much about the cow and desecrating it? (44) * Uncle Craig died playing cards and had a heart attack

* “She was not surprised to hear that I did not want to go. “Nobody does,” she said frankly. “Nobody ever does. You have to, though. You have to learn to face things sometime.” (45) * “What is Death?” continued my mother with ominous cheerfulness. “What is being dead?” “Well, first off, what is a person? A large percent of water. Just plain water. Noting in a person is that remarkable. Carbon. The simplest elements. What is it they say? Ninety-eight cents worth? That’s all. It’s the way it’s put together that’s remarkable. The way it’s put together, we have the heart and the lungs. We...
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