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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Doug Jones
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Re: What do you think of Hiram McDowell?

Post by Doug Jones » 27 Oct 2018, 03:58

Sirajuddin wrote: ↑
26 Oct 2018, 12:27
The character of Hiram is not totally invented by William H. Coles, in real life also we see such type of characters, but they hide their true faces. A novelist simply lifts these characters from society for his plot.
By that rationale, no character in any story is totally invented by any author. For a character to be believable, their personal traits have to be similar to those traits that real-life human beings possess. Otherwise, the reader's ability to empathize with the characters and suspend disbelief when reading the story will be limited.
Nothing is more conductive to peace of mind than not having any opinions at all. - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

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Post by Sweet Psamy » 27 Oct 2018, 10:05

Actually he looks more like an antagonist than a protagonist. l actually saw him as a man who was down on his luck at the end.

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Post by Tracey Madeley » 28 Oct 2018, 12:19

I am only a few chapters in at the moment, but I haven't read a book with such an obnoxious protagonist since Martin Amis Money. Some readers don't like books where they do not like the main character so in this sense, the author is taking a risk that readers will finish the book. As commentators have suggested it does make for a more interesting character.

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Post by stacie k » 29 Oct 2018, 17:11

When a character is as despicable as McDowell, it makes me curious to understand them more. What caused him to become this way? It reminds me of Dr. House in the TV series House. As much as I dislike the character, I'm enticed to continue on to learn more and, hopefully, see some growth in the character.
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Post by Radiant3 » 30 Oct 2018, 00:06

I think on the surface Hiram is cold, very practical and ambitious. Inherently, I think he has the capacity for great kindness and compassion. If you observe the type of people he connects with on an emotional level. People with strength of character, intelligence, and kindness like Maud and Winona. There must have been something in his own character to become friends with these women.
Even to build the hospital in Nepal, it could not have been all for selfish reasons. He is like any human being. There is the capacity for good and bad qualities to develop.

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Post by Catherine Amarachi » 30 Oct 2018, 04:18

In my own view, in the first part of the novel, i think Hiram McDowell is a typical example of fame and power driven human who would do all they could to get what they want. Hiram is a good example of a choleric, he gets angry easily, he is a respecter of no one, always self centered and a bad example of a father. For Hiram, money and fame is his own definition of a successful man. But the second part of the novel reveals to us a different Hiram, a Hiram who is now humbled by nature, a Hiram who now show care and love to others, a Hiram who even hide from anything that could make him Famous, a repentant Hiram.

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Post by Ayat paarsa » 30 Oct 2018, 08:39

It's the author's success, if every body is hating Hiram McDowell. I think the writer willingly wrote a character who is negative more and less good. The image of McDowell, that author wanted to fix in reader's mind was successfully delivered as he wished.
:reading-5: @paarsa. :escribir:

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Post by ShailaSheshadri » 03 Nov 2018, 02:51

McDowell is a complex character. It is difficult to judge whether he is good or not. He is an opportunist and survivalist. McDowell cares and helps his children. He helps people as a doctor. He builds a hospital in Nepal for poor people. While roaming from place to place like a fugitive, he helps many people. It is evident that he didn't ill-treat any women.

On the other hand, he neglects his ailing friend during mountain climbing. He tries euthanasia like thing on his own grandson Jeremy. He is a bit selfish too.

In view of all these observations, I conclude that McDowell is a complex character and not a bad character. I liked this character a lot. He is the backbone of this novel.

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Post by Theresam » 03 Nov 2018, 16:39

McDowell does end up being a full fledged protagonist. The author manages to ammeter. Impressive arch for this character as he is very unlike able I t he beginningof the novel but manages to redeem himself by the end.

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Post by TheRVMom » 05 Nov 2018, 18:08

I'm just not sure the author convinced me completely. Sure, he's better in the end but I just can't like him.

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Post by cristinaro » 09 Nov 2018, 10:53

Nerea wrote: ↑
03 Oct 2018, 03:56
Hiram reflects traits that majority in the society possess. This calls to mind that we are all imperfect and reflect traits that might not be appealing to the eyes of men. The fact that he started off badly then later at the end of the story he changes to become a better man reflects what really happen in people's day-to-day life experience.
I agree with you on this. As much as we don't like McDowell, he reflects many moral flaws in a world that is more and more driven by materialistic purposes and personal ambitions.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

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Post by cristinaro » 09 Nov 2018, 10:56

daydreaming reader wrote: ↑
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.
I was hoping for the same while reading the book, but I'm not so sure he learns anything genuinely transformative from all his experiences. He does help others in the end; however, he doesn't seem to get rid of his high opinion of himself.
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)

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Post by Zimall » 11 Nov 2018, 03:59

I think he is a man with flaws that we all mortals are. The repentance makes difference. Hiram changed and became a good man.

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Post by ObsessedBookNerd » 13 Nov 2018, 11:29

I think McDowell is one of the worse character I have ever read. I was so surprised to read some of the things that he did. I don't think that I found any redeeming qualities. He is uncaring and does what he wants to fulfill his greed/selfishness.

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Post by ochiengjr01 » 14 Nov 2018, 07:20

As for me, i think Hiram is inhuman. He leaves his friend behind without helping him when climbing the mountain to become the champion on reaching the peak.

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