Suttree in Knoxville

This topic contains 37 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  wesmorgan 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • 03 Jul 2012 at 12:42 pm #1675

    Richard L.
    Member

    Thanks for that link: Harrogate and Suttree: Felonious Monk.

    I can dig it.


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    • This reply was modified 4 years, 10 months ago by  Richard L..
    06 Jul 2012 at 6:50 pm #1690

    Glass
    Member

    It’s pretty good stuff that the etymology of “gauche” includes “totter” and “stagger.”
    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=gauche


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    06 Jul 2012 at 7:52 pm #1691

    Glass
    Member

    There is a palindromish quality in Suttree of the type Forbis writes about in BM. What piqued my interest a couple of weeks ago in this regard was a possible connection between the boy who is standing with Suttree at the river when the suicide is pulled ashore and the boy invites Suttree out to the Corner for a drink. He says “come out,” a phrase mirrored at the end of the book when Suttree “comes out” of the weeds just before he accepts a drink from the waterbearer. I don’t believe this waterbearer boy is the same boy from the river scene withe the suicide, but I did wonder if this area of the construction project and where Suttree ends up getting a ride out of town is in the vicinity of the Corner and whether the driver of the car is indeed the boy who offered that invitation to come out there five (?) years earlier.


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    07 Jul 2012 at 11:22 am #1692

    wesmorgan
    Member

    Peter: The boy in the crowd who greets Suttree on the bank of the river as the suicide is brought in is Joe (Junior) Long, J-Bone’s brother. It is doubtful that Joe would be the waterboy at the end of the novel as you note. The Corner Tavern in reality was not very close to where the road construction project was located, but I suppose that Joe could have been the driver of the car that picked Sut up. It might explain why the driver “…stopped for Suttree, he’d not lifted a hand” (p. 471). However the conversation, “Let’s go” by the driver and “Hello” from Sut hardly sounds like two old friends greeting each other after an accidental encounter. But I suppose the two could have planned their escape from Knoxville together. It is sure something to think about.


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    08 Jul 2012 at 12:19 pm #1695

    Glass
    Member

    Wes, thanks for the information about Joe and the Corner. I like what you said about how the conversation between Suttree and the driver. A couple of other details that appear on p. 10 (Joe and Sut on the riverbank) and the ending are the phrase “Let’s go,” and Suttree wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, to name a few of the ones I find the most interesting.

    Another tidbit that’s caught my attention while rereading Suttree is the visual and perhaps aural connection between “Yeegh” (Harrogate’s drunken utterance in the workhouse) and “Yegg.” I like how this links Harrogate to his future behavior — robber, thief, failed safecracker — in the published text and that excised scene involving Harrogate and Leonard you spoke about at the BM Conference. That the etymology of “Yegg” includes “huntsman” is interesting.

    Last, I’ve also been looking at the scene at the mansion (136) and the concept of Hortus Conclusus, an enclosed garden, sealed up. That concrete dolphin fountain is intriguing, the etymology of dolpin meaning “fish with a womb,” and thinking of this in terms of links between macule, macula and immaculate.


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    10 Jul 2012 at 12:12 pm #1698

    I really see nothing at the end of SUTTREE to suggest that the driver who picks up our hero is Joe (Junior) Long. The few words in this situation are too impersonal to indicate a Joe-Bud hookup. The driver looks to be symbolic like the waterboy, tropes for Bud Suttree’s new whole self escaping big bad Knoxville and its hell hounds (cops, filth, disease, low life, violence, death, etc.).

    Sorry, Wes, but I don’t see much if any of a warm feeling for Knoxville in this novel. There’s just too much in it to suggest otherwise. I agree that on one level it’s about a young man growing up and coming to terms with his better self. How much he actually does change is certainly debatable.


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    11 Jul 2012 at 2:01 pm #1703

    wesmorgan
    Member

    Bob: My thinking takes two different lines. The first has to do with what I think were Cormac’s own feelings toward Knoxville. I would point out that Cormac, after traveling the States for the best part of a year and doing a tour in the Air Force, elected to return to Knoxville to live and continue his education even though he could have gone most anywhere. And then later after traveling Europe, marrying an English woman and living off the coast of Spain for a year, decided to bring his relatively new bride back to Knoxville to live when they could have gone about anywhere. These are the actions of someone who liked a good bit about his old home town. Now, does the novel Suttree reflect this warm feeling toward Knoxville? I suppose we could reasonably differ about this. I will grant you that Sut doesn’t think much of his educational experience in Knoxville. However I would argue that it is the personal relationships and interesting people that best characterize the place in which we live. And Sut does seem to have warm feelings toward most non-authority figures in the novel. Even though in the end Sut decided to move on, I think he felt warmly about the place in spite of its ugly side.


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    11 Jul 2012 at 8:58 pm #1705

    He likes “the good hearts of McAnally,” Harrogate, and other close friends of Bud. But I don’t think the novel as a whole shows any real like for the city. There are all kinds of negative, some quite doleful, depictions of people, places and things in K-ville. Even birds sit mute on wires and shit. In one place Bud and Harrogate talk about caves under downtown Knoxville and the possibility of downtown caving in. Bud, if I recall (don’t have the text here)says something to the effect that a great cave-in would be a fine thing. Granted, this is said partly jokingly (I guess), but there are many other places where the narrator is dead-serious about how wretched the city is but makes no attempt to provide anything even approaching positive balance except in Bud’s friends from whom our hero always keeps his haut bourgeois distance. The novel’s ending shows a fiery, smoke-filled Knoxville with workers toiling in a pit of hell, relieved only by Lazarus-like waterbearer boy whose eyes twin with Bud’s. I could cite all kinds of other examples of my contentions here, but am traveling in the Midwest right now and don’t have the time.

    Anyway, it’s always good to hear from you, Wes, even in disagreement.


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    23 Jul 2012 at 9:35 pm #1740

    Glass
    Member

    “The jar of his heels on the pavement kept stopping the fans that spun above the shop-doors.” (Suttree 282)

    Is this possible? Is Suttree making them wobble and stop working? I’d try this in my house to see if I can do it but I don’t want to wake the wife and the cats. This also makes me think of the various references to clocks both stopped and running in the book.


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    25 Jul 2012 at 11:02 am #1744

    Anonymous

    Glass: I puzzled over that sentence for a while as well. I now take it to mean that the jarring of his heels caused him to blink, which will in fact make fan blades appear to “freeze” momentarily.


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