Monday, November 21, 2011

Chapters: Arcs Clumping Together

            In the case of Wintergirls Chapter 11, one arc made a complete chapter, but arcs more often than not clump together to form chapters.  In Chapter 35 of Wintergirls, after attending Cassie’s funeral, Lia arrives at her mother, Chloe’s, house to spend the night.   
            Arc 1: Lia pulls into the driveway observing the cars for the wake parked across the street, and she observes her mother pull up next to her seemingly upset.  Lia searches the house for her mother who’s gone in first and finds her crying in the shower.  This arc establishes a rich ambiguity for the chapter: Chloe could be crying over Cassie’s death, over the danger Lia is in, or over a patient who’s died.   
            Arc 2: Lia cooks a meal for Chloe, asks about Cassie’s autopsy, and when Chloe takes a call from the hospital zones out remembering how the negative voices of this house got in her head.   
            Arc 3: Lia takes her mother’s deal –Lia will eat, and Chloe will tell Lia about Cassie’s autopsy.  
            Each arc has its own rise and landing in a new place.  But they also function together to depict how this daughter and mother get what they need out of each other.  The chapter also continues the through-line of the novel –Lia’s battle with Cassie; she has to know what happened to Cassie and whether she will follow her down the same road or defeat her.

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