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The Wisdom of the Bone

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by

Tim Bailey

on 11 December 2013

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Transcript of The Wisdom of the Bone

The Wisdom of the Bone
Chapter One: Just Don't Touch Anything


Chapter Two: All is Forgiven
They would've let me come back if I'd wanted but only if I could be a different person than I was which was not only impossible but unfair because I didn't know how to keep myself from getting into trouble anymore. (p. 18)
Chapter Three: Canadians
Basically people don't know how kids think, I guess they forget. But when you're a kid it's like you're wearing these binoculars strapped to your eyes and you can't see anything except what's in the dead center of the lenses because you're too scared of everything else or else you don't understand it and people expect you to, so you feel stupid all the time. (p. 29-30)
Chapter 4: Adirondack Iron
Around big dogs if you're a kid you either learn to do the little dog or you book. (p. 45)
Image by goodtextures: http://fav.me/d2he3r8
Way back there in the dark end of the closet out of his mind, he looked like I felt so I figured the best thing I could do was leave him alone. (p. 15)
This quote expresses Chappie's empathy for the cat that he admits to abusing and even trying to kill with Ken's gun. It also hints that Chappie himself just wants to be left alone, likely because of the fear, shame, and confusion he experiences in the early parts of the book.
Here Chappie expresses his frustration with living on his own and his feeling that he is trapped in a life of failure, drug use, and crime. He may want to change, but the circumstances of his existence are not going to change. These circumstances are what shaped him, so no wonder he feels that he cannot be a different person.
As an adult who has studied educational psychology, I agree wholeheartedly with Chappie's assessment of the "tunnel vision" that kids have. Chappie indicated that he can now see beyond this narrow field of vision, yet he struggles sometimes to see the long-term consequences of his own actions.
Chappie, as an undersized and relatively powerless adolescent, expresses the way that he copes with having no money, influence, power, or physical intimidation. He knows that he must assume a subordinate position to Bruce and the other bikers or get the hell out of his living situation. To "do the little dog" means to be submissive or to make sure you go unnoticed.
Chapter 5: Presumed Dead
Besides I'd gotten swiftly punished for both those crimes and as long as I stayed away from home I didn't feel guilty about them anymore. This was different and the punishment to fit the crime was going to be heavy so I didn't want any part of it. (p. 64)
Chappie has admitted that he at one time felt guilty for his earlier crimes of stealing the coins and the lingerie, yet that when he thinks of home or goes near home, the guilt returns. This reflects that he feels responsible to his mother for all he has put her through, but may also reflect that he recognizes the home as the primary shaping force of his childhood.
Chapter 6: Skull and Bones
You can stand down there next to the water which in spring comes right up to your feet and smoke a J if you want or just hang out and talk without being seen or heard which is why kids have been going there for generations I think. (p. 84)
Above is a picture of the mill at Au Sable Forks. I agree with Chappie that every town has a spot where kids have gathered for generations. Being a kid and searching out a spot where you can be yourself, and just chill without the prying eyes of adults, is a
universal
experience. What happens to us that we become adults and don't need a spot like this anymore?
Chapter 7: The Bone Rules
Russ goes the whole route with me, my partner in crime and then all of a sudden he decides he can't pay the price anymore which is basically that regular people, the Ridgeways and the Aunt Dorises and the Uncle Georges of the world don't respect you anymore. Tough. Big fucking deal. They never did respect us in the first place unless we were willing to want the same things they wanted. They never respected us for ourselves, for being humans the same as them only kids who people are constantly fucking over because we don't have enough money to stop them. Well, fuck them. Fuck him. Fuck everyone. (p. 129)
Chappie really captures the powerlessness and rage he feels in this passage, but I think he's wrong about not wanting the same things as other people like Doris and the Ridgeways. We all want the same things, but we are
not
all willing to
do
the same things to
get
the same things.
Full transcript