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State of Wonder/ Ann Patchet Essay

April 19th (Chapter one)

The first chapter started with a big mess which triggered a lot of confusion in me. At the beginning there is the death of Dr.Eckman. The news came in a form of a letter that Mr. Fox came to deliver to Marina. The relationship between Marina and Mr. Fox also was confusing at first with him being her Boss and I guess also her lover. Dr.Eckman and Marina worked together for seven years, which made the news shocking for her. When I picture myself working with someone for so long and all of a sudden hear from someone else that they are dead i would have been shocked too.

I think that the hardest thing was to deliver the news to Dr.Eckman’s wife, I would never want to be in this position, especially when he has three children, which just made it harder for Marina. It is understandable that Karen (Dr.Eckman’s wife) would have a hard time to accept the fact that her husband is dead, but I was really surprised when she asked Marina to go to the Amazons to find out what exactly happened to him. “I know how much I’m asking, Karen said. And I know how terrible you feel about Anders and about me and the boys. I know that I’m using all of it against you and how unfair it is and I still want you to go. “

April 26th (Chapters Two-Three)

Marina agreed to go to fly to the Amazons, but, did Karen or Mr. Fox had the right to ask her to go there? I don’t think so, but then the question raises; was it a -selfless gesture for Karen or did Marina have her own motives to there? After Marina’s big accident in medical school, back when Dr.Swenson was her teacher, would make the trip even harder, forcing Marina to confront her past. Marina still hesitated to go; she stopped by Karen’s hose, hoping that Karen would give up that unnecessary trip. “Both of the women thought it was -important to say goodbye, though for different reasons. Marina wanted to see if Karen had given up on the idea that Anders might still be alive now that she’d had some days to sit with his death. Karen wanted to make sure Marina wasn’t thinking of backing out.” That trip also requires Marina taking the Larima drug to be protected from malaria, but it also making her having horrible nightmares. Personally I wouldn’t want to do that to myself.

Later Mr. Fox took Marina to the air-port, the way Mr. Fox acted maid the impression that he wants to marry Marina when she gets back. “…He took his own left hand and slid the tips of his fingers down her third finger, as if he were putting a ring there…” Marina threw the Larima drug to the trash at the air-port; would it cause her problems afterwards? After she landed in Manaus her mission is to find Dr.Swenson, to find out what exactly happened to Anders Eckman, but the only key to find Dr.Swenson are the Bovenders couple that are living in Dr.Swenson apartment. I was a bit suspicious because If they had a relationship with Dr.Swenson so how come they didn’t know about Anders Eckman’s death? Why were they so surprised when Marina told them? May 2nd (Chapters four-five)

Marina is still trying to reach Dr.Swenson through the Bovenders. “…must first get past the Bovenders. The Bovenders are the gourds of the gate. It is their job to keep you away from her…” But it seemed that the Bovenders them self’s didn’t know how to contact her. They seem to be just a young couple who is bored and looking for some company. When Marina got sick, Barbara Bovender helped her to get better and then took her to the opera where surprisingly Dr.Swenson shows up. Dr.Swenson doesn’t seem to remember Marina and her accident back in medical school, that was a big relief for Marina. “All of her fears were floating away from her now…one by one she met them and let them go.” Dr.Swenson doesn’t really give Marina any information, in fact she gave her nothing. Marina felt like she did her job and was ready to go home. “She understood that she was being given her ticket home.” But Mr. Fox wanted Marina to stay, he wanted her to find out more about the progress of Dr.Swenson’s research.

May 10th (Chapters six-seven) Dr.Swenson and Marina were on their way to the Amazon Jungle on a boat, droven by a child (Easter). While they were on boat, Marina and Dr.Swenson were having a discussion about almost about everything, from Dr.Eckman to the “Lakashi”, from the time Marina was Dr.Swenson’s student to “Vogal”. In their conversation it seemed like Dr.Swenson intentially implying that Marina is lower than Anders in her eyes. “You make no end of suppositions, Dr.Singh. Is that a habit of yours? I have to say that was one thing I admired about Dr.Eckman: no preconceived conclusions what so ever. A truly open mind is scientist’s greatest asset.” Dr.Swenson though seems to be pleased that Marina has no husband or kids as if she has plans with her. “Do you have children Dr.Singh? None.

That’s good… are you married? I am not. Good again.” Dr.Swenson tells Marina about back when she was a student of Dr.Rapps, and how he was the one who took her to the Amazon’s and how she took after him the Lakashi research. It seemed like the history repeats itself, now that – Dr.Swenson, Marina’s previous teacher takes her to the Amazon forest. While they are on the boat Marina has another nightmare as an effect of the Larima drug, and Dr.Swenson suggests that she would stop taking it. When they arrived, they were welcomed by the Lakashi people. Marina spent the night in Easters room and she assumed that she is sleeping on Anders’s bed. When Easter cried in the middle of the night, Marina took care of him as if he was her own child, considering Marina’s age and her being with no children, maybe she felt something a bit appealing about it, about being a mother. “she made all the appropriate sounds he couldn’t hear. She whispered, okay, it’s alright now. She couldn’t have stopped herself.” May 17th (Chapters eight-nine)

Since Marina lost her luggage (again) every one helps her with little things, like cloze and a tooth brush. “It seemed to Marina that these were among the kindest gifts of her existence” I can relay to that, it is like these desperate times when you are far away from home and the most elemental things, all of a sudden become so important. Marina finally writes to Mr.Fox after she didn’t contact him all this time since she left Manaus (the city), she doesn’t really give him much details about the research though. As Marina stayed longer she found more and more about Dr.Swenson’s research, the fertility drug, the malaria vaccine and how everything was found. Easter pulls out an Anaconda (a large snake) out of the water and gets attacked by it. Marina rescued Easter by cutting the snake off of him. It kind of reminded me myself as a child, fearless, now though I wouldn’t even think of doing such a thing.

Later on Marina was shocked when Dr.Swenson tells her that she is pregnant. (Considering Dr.Swenson old age) “You’re telling me you’re pregnant? Dr.Swenson blinked. For a moment she looked more surprised than Marina. You thought I was fat?” At that point I didn’t know if to admire her or to think that she is crazy, experimenting on herself like that. After that -Dr.Swenson made Marina do a C-section on a woman helping deliver a baby. I got the impression that Dr.Swenson was testing Marina, forcing her to confront her bed experience back in medical school. “Dr.Swenson, you have to listen to – me. I am not the person for this job, there are other doctors here and anyone of them, I promise you is better qualified.”

May 24th (Chapters ten-eleven)

In the last chapters surprisingly Mr.Fox arrives to the jungle on a boat along with Barbara Bovenders and Milten. Although it wasn’t as romantic as I thought it would be. When Marina operated the C-section on Dr.Swenson I’ve felt the pressure that Marina must have had, doing an operation like this on the same teacher who taught her how to do. Next when they discovered that Anders isn’t dead, I wasn’t really that shocked, I’ve felt like I kind of was expecting that to happen. When Marina went to rescue him from the “Hummoca peaple” and foolishly took Easter with her, which resulted with her giving him up in order to save herself and Anders, I’ve felt terrible, as if they gave me away, and it was very disappointing for me that they didn’t went back for him. In the end there was the big closer of having Anders get back home to his wife that was satisfying enough. So I would say that I did enjoy the novel, especially it being so scientific which I personally find appealing. I’ve also liked the way everything in the book is connected to each other, like all of Marina’s experiences effecting her future and her having to confront her past over and over again.


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