What do you think of Hiram McDowell?

Use this forum to discuss the October Book of the Month "McDowell" by William H. Coles.
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daydreaming reader
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Re: What do you think of Hiram McDowell?

Post by daydreaming reader » 04 Oct 2018, 08:04

I am currently reading the book, and at first was merely rooting for Hiram's downfall. He is without a doubt, a narcissist. Right now, I am hoping for some lessons in humility.
"Without chaos, there can be no order"
- Heath D. Alberts
"You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star."
Friedrich Nietzsche

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Post by grace8031 » 07 Oct 2018, 01:39

Hiram is self centered, egotistic and arrogant. He has no regrets stepping on his friend and making fake promises just to get what he wants. which shows he has no respect for other people's feelings or courtesy. He's not professional at the helm of the department his mistakes landed him in jail. But after all is said his attitude is what made the book.

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Post by Doug Jones » 07 Oct 2018, 16:54

grace8031 wrote:
07 Oct 2018, 01:39
Hiram is self centered, egotistic and arrogant. He has no regrets stepping on his friend and making fake promises just to get what he wants. which shows he has no respect for other people's feelings or courtesy. He's not professional at the helm of the department his mistakes landed him in jail. But after all is said his attitude is what made the book.
Partially agree. His attitude lays the table for how the story of the book develops. And, indeed, how Hiram himself develops. That's my take, anyway.
Nothing is more conductive to peace of mind than not having any opinions at all. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

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Post by grace8031 » 07 Oct 2018, 23:40

from start you can see he has an opinion of himself in his own words "deserving more " he doesn't see himself equal to others yes his the story it's self. His life development are the lay down of the story

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Post by serendipity 27 » 08 Oct 2018, 12:07

I think Hiram represents our worst selves in the sense that we can be very selfish at times. However, he is also someone that I think learns his lesson the hard way that people are not expendable and we need to pay attention to other people's feelings.

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Post by Dael Reader » 08 Oct 2018, 17:37

I think McDowell is an arrogant, self-centerd man who never truly changes. So he makes a few friends in the end. He does this while running from the consequences of his behavior. We don't see him expressing any remorse for any of the people he has hurt. To the end, he has the air of a man who believes he is the really victim, because he is so misunderstood. After all, the focus of his memoir is apparently to get people to understand his side of the story. He wants to make a point, not amends. He thinks he can justify his actions and that this justification should absolve him of guilt. His love for his children comes across more as proprietary than caring. He cares about them because they are his. Not because of who they are as individuals. He helps them when it suits him to do so. I think even his efforts to make friends at the end are a little suspect. He is lonely on the run and needs the help that other people can give him. He didn't deserve to be shot down at the end. But he doesn't deserve glory and honor either. He wasn't an innocent man.

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Post by fernsmom » 08 Oct 2018, 19:05

In the beginning of the book I wholeheartedly agreed with you that Hiram was a vindictive, mean and bad person. Towards the end though I felt the author wanted the readers to question if some of the things Hiram was accused of he may have been if not innocent, then possibly misguided. Also, was he changing in the second part of the book, or was that how I was looking at him?

Was very interesting reading, and my second book by this author, the other being again about a surgeon, but the character totally different

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Post by LV2R » 08 Oct 2018, 20:25

At first, of course, I did not like Hiram at all. The author described his character very well and caused me to have strong emotions about how he left his climbing partner, used people to get ahead, mistreated his wife and daughters and Billie. But then, after Hiram met Maud, Hulga, and Wiona, and he started writing his memoir, I think the author did a good job of turning Hiram into an actual human being with empathy and goodwill. I was convinced that Hiram was changing for the better and was wanting to see how he would handle being on the run. I was sad to read that he was shot down at the end.

I was actually contemplating how the author wrote in such a way, as to turn readers from being "against" Hiram, to be more understanding and to see a different perspective of Hiram, and possibly to entertain the idea of actually liking him.

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Post by Kibetious » 09 Oct 2018, 02:56

I am yet to come to terms with the fact that Hiram is the protagonist in the story. The man is so heartless to the point that Carole fears to raise anything to do with divorce since he will just agree to it. His character is not pleasing at all. He is indifferent to other people's feelings.
​​​​​​He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy :techie-studyinggray:

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Post by Kibetious » 09 Oct 2018, 02:58

fernsmom wrote:
08 Oct 2018, 19:05
In the beginning of the book I wholeheartedly agreed with you that Hiram was a vindictive, mean and bad person. Towards the end though I felt the author wanted the readers to question if some of the things Hiram was accused of he may have been if not innocent, then possibly misguided. Also, was he changing in the second part of the book, or was that how I was looking at him?

Was very interesting reading, and my second book by this author, the other being again about a surgeon, but the character totally different
Very true. In the beginning, Hiram is portrayed very negatively. Apart from leaving his partner to die and not fulfilling his promise to Michael, he was also a very poor father.
​​​​​​He gives strength to those who are tired; to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy :techie-studyinggray:

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Post by jwalker73 » 09 Oct 2018, 04:58

I have to admit I initially despised this man, however, I enjoyed watching his growth as a person over time and his evolution from a self-centred, money-hungry person into a character I eventually liked.

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Post by KitabuKizuri » 09 Oct 2018, 16:12

What if it would have been a risk for him to attempt the descent with his friend? He may have concluded that his friend didn't have a chance so used his oxygen to increase his own chances. What if he was arm-twisted out of granting the position that he promised his colleague to give it to someone else? There are aspects of McDowell's thought processes that we don't get to see from his character. This gives us room to judge him only from the victim's perspective. It is easy to get carried away not being objective.

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Post by edith38 » 10 Oct 2018, 04:40

He is sociopath and narcissist. The author has done a great job on writing a completely unlikable character.

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Post by jenjayfromSA » 11 Oct 2018, 06:27

At the start Hiram was arrogant and completely self-absorbed. Everything revolved around him and he was not to blame or responsible for the impact he had on others. This wasn't deliberate. He was oblivious to it. He was so blinded by his own achievements and desires he didn't see anything else. When he was cast down, he was incredulous and felt victimised. Through his encounters on the road he learnt to see value in others. It is a portrait of self discovery. I liked the fact that it wasn't in your face. The experiences were laid out and the reader was left to form an opinion.

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Post by chelhack » 11 Oct 2018, 16:39

I think that Hiram McDowell was not a good person. To me, he was a power hungry pig. But I also believe that it took all this in his case to realize what he really had to bad it was too late when he did realize or the tragedy it took for him to realize. In life, we all have to learn from our mistakes and I feel that this was a phase in his learning lesson.
Chelsea N. Hackett

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