Past, Present, and Future By: Bridgid Bowman, Lilly Blomquist, Isabel Treichel, and Cece Garner
Flashbacks • Often in the novel, we hear of the characters flashing back or reflecting on their old life. • “In her heart, though, she wondered is anything remembered forever?”( Page 249) • Wondering if Inman still remembers her • Should she hold onto lasting memories or let them go.
How Flashbacks Sculpt Present • The events and tragic stories that were told in the characters flashbacks helped them become and grow from past experiences. • “What she did remember was that he had seemed as content as she was and had no pressed for more but only moved his hands out to the points of her shoulders and held her.”(Page 101) • Later in the story when reunited, Ada does get to experience more.
How The Past Affects the Future • In the novel, the only glance into the future is the epilogue which tells us that Ada and Inman have a child. • “Nevertheless, over all those wasted years he had held in his mind the wish to kiss her there at the back of her neck, and how he had done it.”(Page 421) • The memories Inman had with Ada was what kept him moving on his long walk home.
Ada and her past • Monroe and Ada’s moms relationship • “When Claire died in childbirth, I could hardly think that God would be short with us…It was my determination that my life was now at your service.” (page 202) • Ada and Monroe’s relationship • “Ada had laughed and kissed Monroe’s cheek, thinking, I would follow this old man to Liberia if he asked me to do so.” (page 54)
Ada’s relationship with her father, the death of her father and the struggles she faced after the death of her father made her who is she is now in the present and who she will become. • “They had all stood and watched as the grave was filled, but halfway through Ada had to turn her head and look away toward the bend of the river to be able to stand the moment (page 40-41)
Ruby and her past • Ruby had a difficult childhood, which shaped the woman she is in the present story. • Pages 105- 110 • “She had never known her mother, and her father had been a notorious local ne’er-do-well” (page 105) • “As an infant, Ruby foraged for food in the woods and up and down the river at charitable farms.” (page 106)
Throughout Ruby’s childhood, Stobrod was never around. But since he has returned from war and learned to play the fiddle, he is around more and more. • “Stobrod marveled at such a strange request. It had never entered his mind to give composition a try.” (Page 292) • “By now he knew nine hundred fiddle tunes, some hundred of them being his own compositions.” (Page 296)
Ada and Inman • Throughout the novel, Ada and Inman often reflect on past events in their relationship, which helps to strengthen their relationship in the end. • Pages 77-83: Inman thinks back to the time when he meets Ada for the first time at the chapel. • “He went straight over to Sally Swanger and said, I’d clear an acre of newground for an introduction” (page 81).
Pages 98-102: Ada and Inman have their first real and intimate interaction at Monroe’s Christmas party. • “She took a few uncertain steps, and when Inman half stood and reached out a hand to steady her, she took it. And then, by some mechanism she was unable to reconstruct later, she found herself in his lap” (page 101)
Pages 248-259: Ada looks back to when she goes to Inman’s rented place to say goodbye before he leaves for the war. • “She said, I wanted to tell you that I thought things concluded badly yesterday. Not at all as I wished them to” (page 257).
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