"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 18
What a great choice Pet Sematary has turned out to be for Burial Grounds month! There are as many final resting places here as in all the month's Locus Focus posts (so far) combined! More, if you count the tomb of Lazarus, which is featured in two epigraphs and the thoughts of a couple of characters.
"God can take it back if he wants to," Ellie said. "He can do anything He wants to."
"Ellie, God doesn't do things like that," Louis said uneasily, and in his mind's eye he saw Church squatting on the closed lid of the toilet, staring at him with those muddy eyes as Louis lay in the tub.
"He does so," she said. "In Sunday school, the teacher told us about this guy Lazarus. He was dead and Jesus brought him back to life. He said, 'Lazarus, come forth,' and the teacher said if he'd just said 'Come forth,' probably everyone in that graveyard, and Jesus only wanted Lazarus."
An absurdity popped out of his mouth . . . "That was a long time ago, Ellie."
I really love Ellie Creed. If I don't write about her that much in these readalong posts, it's because I'm saving my thoughts for a Character Connection special.
Chapters 36 to 45
Is Louis useless or what? I feel a little bad judging him so harshly this soon after the death of his son . . . but he is totally worthless at comforting his family. Whether he is withholding an embrace from his wife when she cries or sending her and their daughter away right after the funeral, he is simply doing nothing right. This may seem like an odd thing to say right when he is taking incredible steps to resurrect Gage and to restore him to a grieving mother and sister--but let's not call those steps an attempt at comfort. Louis is a master at rationalisation, but we don't have to give him a run for his money.
The very first time we meet Louis Creed, he is already struggling between sticking with reality and escaping into fantasy. His wife and children have been driving him crazy throughout their road trip, and he is nursing a vision of abandoning them all at the side of the road and becoming a medic at Disney World under another identity. (LOL!) Anyone who has ever been in a similar situation knows this is normal--as is reality's victory when Louis completes the trip with his family intact and contentment with his life renewed. But that was back then, and now Louis is facing another temptation to run away to Disney World, this time with his entire family, leaving behind everyone who knows that Gage shouldn't still be walking around.
Remember that a few weeks ago I thought Ellie had "come home wrong" from the pet cemetery because she was so traumatised? Well, she's all better now, and is probably the most functional person in her family although she is only six years old. So my initial instinct--as guided by King's writing--was correct: the pet cemetery is a healthy, wholesome place. Ellie came back right. It is those who go to the burial ground beyond the pet cemetery who come back wrong.
(I'm still all about taboos.)
Jud is right to be worried--and to feel guilty. But he makes me wonder whether even those who try to work against the Micmac burying ground's influence unwittingly dance to its tune anyway. Who else thinks that the story of Timmy Baterman, intended as the ultimate warning, was exactly what was needed to push Louis over the edge?
The Micmac burying ground does seem almost omnipotent--its reach extending even to those who presumably have never been there. The truck driver who killed Gage says he just felt a mighty compulsion "to put the pedal to the metal" when he hit the road in front of the Creeds' home. Until this point, his record had been clean.
But who says the burying ground is the only culprit? One enormous web of malice must lie over the world, the different forces simply overlapping in crucial areas. The driver may be an extra here, but he is the star of his own tragedy.
What are your thoughts on Chapters 28 to 35?
1. Do you think that those who inter a body in the Micmac burying grounds are forever under its influence, whether they want to be or not?
2. What do you think of the recasting of "Good vs. Evil" as "Reality vs. Fantasy"?
3. Without revealing (too many) spoilers, which other Stephen King novel does Pet Sematary tend to remind you of?
Image Sources: a) Pet Sematary by Stephen King, b) Needful Things