Horses of the Night Stage notes
Quite literally, a brick house. The location of which a lot of the story happens. Owned by Vanessa’s grandfather. “Looked huge and cool from the outside… inside it wasn’t cool at all.” Could possibly represent Grandfather Conner’s cold, ignorant, arrogant attitude and demeanor. Grandfather Connor
Very aggressive, cold demeanor similar to the bunkhouse. Always tries to find a reason to get mad like the train being late or Grandmother not making potato salad, etc. Appears to have a poor/uneasy relationship with her daughter, Beth. As noted by “I can’t bring myself to ask father about it, Ewen. I simply cannot do it.”… “There wouldn’t be much point in asking… when the answer is a foregone conclusion.” “I felt the old rage of helplessness. But as for Chris – he gave no sign of feeling anything. He was sitting on the big wing-backed sofa curled into the bay window like a black and giant seashell. He began to talk to me, quite easily, just as though he had not heard a word my grandfather was saying. This method proved to be the one Chris always used in any dealings with my grandfather. Appears to be the first sign that Chris is unaffected by the words of others whether by ignoring them, getting lost in his fantasies, or the least likely- being mentally handicapped (bipolar?), delusional? It is also said a few lines down that “[Chris] simply appeared to be absent.” which also aids the fact that Chris is doing something in his mind to avoid the words. Could almost foreshadow how Chris doesn’t deal with reality, how he just lives in his fantasies instead of facing facts. Interesting to note the “old rage of helplessness” possibly referring to a feeling she is very used the feeling; it could be that she herself has been faced with this situation. The words used in the passage suggest great strength of character from Chris. Grandfather Connor was talking to Chris but Chris seems unfazed by it and even brushes it off like nothing happened. This tenacious spirit of Chris would be prominent again as he moves through the story after high school and faces many different problems. The fact that Chris was curled up into a “giant seashell” was probably a way to protect himself. The words used to describe the seashell are “black” and “giant.” Black as a reference to absorbing the other colours just as Chris absorbs the heated emotions from Grandfather Connor. The seashell is also giant and probably hollow with only Chris inside similar to the world that Chris sees himself in, large, alone, and helpless. “[Chris] was – although I didn’t know the phrase then -- a respecter of persons.” Very interesting to note this because it is said later that Chris was “violent” and that Vanessa “could not associate the word with Chris, who had been much the reverse.” Perhaps Chris was prone to violent fits but there have been no references to Chris being violent while with Vanessa and her family. Criss-Cross ranch
The name of Chris’ supposed ranch and also a “reference to his name.” The “criss-cross” appears to create an “x” pattern and the “criss” part might be the reference he was talking about in his name. This “x” pattern can also mean like a “nonexistent” idea as the ranch doesn’t exist (“What ranch?” my mother said, bewildered) or how “Shallow Creek wasn’t a town. It was merely a name on a map.” Along with the fact that the other meaning to the reference is that Chris really isn’t “there” in reality but a non-tangible thing like his fantasies. (“… but they didn’t know was that he’d fooled them. He didn’t live inside it any more.”) Duchess and Firefly
“Oh, them. Well, we’ve got these two riding horses. Duchess and Firefly. I raised them, and you should see them. Really sleek, know what I mean? I bet I could make racers out of them.” Based on his real horses Floss and Trooper which were “thick in the legs and badly matched as a team.” Duchess and Firefly are merely figments of...
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