What is Hiram's redeeming quality?

Use this forum to discuss the October Book of the Month "McDowell" by William H. Coles.
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Re: What is Hiram's redeeming quality?

Post by Dael Reader » 28 Oct 2018, 12:39

He did the right thing and helped Kitsy. That is the only redeeming act I see in the book. Hiram was a narcissistic jerk. But clearly, this time, he took his oath as a doctor seriously and reached out to help when he realized he was the only one who could.

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Post by A_Wolfe » 28 Oct 2018, 14:39

I think his redeeming quality is most often what he literally uses to redeem himself; his ability to provide something. He's a man who creates wealth and finds ways to be wealthier, and even when his ignorance shields from many of his unethical ways of thinking, he tries to develop and provide resources for others when he recognizes his ability to do so, as he does with a daughter early on.

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Post by Miercoles » 28 Oct 2018, 17:30

In Part 1 his redeeming quality was his love of his children. In Part 2 it was his willingness to learn more about himself and to share with others.

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Post by Radiant3 » 30 Oct 2018, 00:15

He was a good father. Perhaps not an overly emotional person but he ensured that they were always provided for. He showed an interest and certain sensitivity when it came to the lives of his children.

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Post by Supergirl1 » 01 Nov 2018, 15:44

His love for his children. As beastly as he was in part one, he never failed to provide for his family.
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Post by sarahmarlowe » 01 Nov 2018, 21:49

Halfway through the book, I would have thought it impossible that he could have a redeeming quality! I did not like Hiram, and I did not want to know much more about him. However, I began warming up to him at his first stop at the little town with the library and burnt out house. He began to see people as more than chess pieces there, and he began to care about how he treated them.
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Post by ShailaSheshadri » 02 Nov 2018, 02:39

For me, he appeared like a whole personality. The shortcomings in his character, like a bit of selfishness and anti-feminism, are normal human traits. I mean, if you consider his good qualities, these shortcomings are okay. He didn't cheat anyone for his gain and not committed any serious crime. On the other hand, he helped society by being a surgeon and a good citizen. He built a hospital in Nepal for the poor people. Also, it is evident that he guided his daughter Sophie and Billy when they were in trouble. Later, when he was roaming like a fugitive, out of instinct, he helped many people. These points make it clear that Hiram was a humanitarian.

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Post by ShailaSheshadri » 02 Nov 2018, 02:39

For me, he appeared like a whole personality. The shortcomings in his character, like a bit of selfishness and anti-feminism, are normal human traits. I mean, if you consider his good qualities, these shortcomings are okay. He didn't cheat anyone for his gain and not committed any serious crime. On the other hand, he helped society by being a surgeon and a good citizen. He built a hospital in Nepal for the poor people. Also, it is evident that he guided his daughter Sophie and Billy when they were in trouble. Later, when he was roaming like a fugitive, out of instinct, he helped many people. These points make it clear that Hiram was a humanitarian.

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Post by Hiruni Bhagya 81 » 02 Nov 2018, 06:11

Even if he was an absentee father, he loved his children in his own way. He tried to care for them. Also, if he was a bad father, his children wouldn't have defended him. This leads me to believe that he's not completely bad.

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Post by bootsie0126+ » 03 Nov 2018, 00:58

It was hard to find anything nice to say about Hiram at the beginning of the book and even at the end, however, I do believe that Hiram finally realized that he was the only person responsible for his downfall. Only at the very end of the book did he finally come to understand that everything was not always about him. He finally was able to stop blaming others and accept his situation.

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Post by somersas13 » 03 Nov 2018, 11:44

The fact that he stayed and died, so someone else could live (someone he wasn't even that close to) spoke volumes. It would've been different had he given himself up for one of his children or a lover, but he did it for a neighbor who he didn't even know that well. The interesting juxtaposition here is that the neighbor turned him in because it was the right thing to do (even though he had saved her life) and she was clinging to the moral high ground. McDowell, for all his faults in the first part of the book never really had a moral compass or driving force. Here we are shown that maybe being driven by absolute morals (right or wrong) isn't the best or "right" thing to do either.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 04 Nov 2018, 10:11

I've only read the book's sample and review, but from those and the comments I've read, I get the impression that Hiram does have the desire to change and ultimately helped someone else, which I see as redeeming.

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Post by memalescole75 » 05 Nov 2018, 19:20

I agree that he loved and looked out for his children, but it still rested in selfishness; how will this reflect on me? Perhaps he would have turned things around eventually, but he lived a materialistic, ecocentric life and by the time he accepted that and began to change, his life was over. The risk of exposure he took at the end when he saved Kitsy is evidence of his internal shift.

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Post by Izzy+ » 05 Nov 2018, 20:31

His ability to change.

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Post by cristinaro » 09 Nov 2018, 09:22

In time, Hiram learns the value of sharing and generosity. At first, he helps Willie by giving him money for his sick wife and, in the end, he risks his own freedom in order to save Kitsy. Altruism might turn out to be his redeeming quality,
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