What about Woolf?

Use this forum to discuss the October Book of the Month "McDowell" by William H. Coles.
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What about Woolf?

Post by somersas13 » 03 Nov 2018, 10:21

I really enjoyed this book, but one of the issues I had with it was the Prologue shows McDowell leaving his climbing partner, Woolf, on the mountain to die. While this serves to paint a pretty clear picture of his character, it is by far and large his largest moral failing. He goes through this large transformation after prison, yet never comes to terms with this incident and apart from a fireside chat with Paige, it is never really addressed in the book. Did any one else notice this?

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Post by cristinaro » 09 Nov 2018, 10:02

I did notice this and I found it to be a little disconcerting too. I expected some kind of resolution at one point or another in the book or at least for McDowell to show some remorse or to have some memories of the incident. I wish the author inserted some extracts from McDowell's memoir. Maybe this issue could have been addressed there.
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Post by lucie_paul » 09 Nov 2018, 13:58

My thoughts are that maybe the author didn't want to sound obvious about McDowell having changed from his heartlessness to being kind-hearted enough to help others when in need, instead he wanted the readers to see for themselves the full contrast of how McDowell changed to a better person. We see him leaving Woolf out in the cold to die and also murdering his grandson Jeremy but later on, after encountering many things that included loneliness while he was on the run, he learns to appreciate people and realize that other people matter too. Hence, we see him saving Kitsy's life. This clearly shows that he is now a changed man, not just doing things for his personal gain but helping people, making things right for the least.

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Post by Harley-Panda » 13 Nov 2018, 05:59

I do feel it may have been beneficial for this to come up again, although it is true that the readers can see a change in McDowell's character by his actions (e.g. saving Kitsy even though it could mean he gets caught) rather than him literally saying "I feel bad for what I've done in the past".
I agree that an excerpt from the memoir may have helped here.
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Post by Life In Books » 22 Nov 2018, 04:26

Woolf had been mentioned in the prologue and during a conversation between Hiram and Paige. Hiram was sure about the situation under which he had to leave Woolf in the mountains where he died. That instance seemed helpful in adding to the character-development of Hiram which showed his decision-making instincts.

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Post by lara_haelterman » 22 Nov 2018, 11:18

I did notice this. I thought it would have made more of an impact on the story. It's a shame that it's only used as a strong introduction to the character of Hiram but that it isn't explained in the second part of the story, as most of his other shameful actions were.

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Post by abbiejoice » 01 Dec 2018, 03:52

For me, it would have made a greater impact had this been addressed later on in the book.

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Post by Ekta Kumari » 08 Dec 2018, 10:48

This issue was not properly addressed in the book, but it did play an important role in the introduction and development of Hiram's character. Although, I do think Hiram is not entirely a very likable person, but anyone would do that in order to survive. In those situations it's do or die, either you live or you help. It's a very tough decision to make, and many would have to act the way Hiram did. Everything does not always go the way we want it to. In those circumstances, mostly survival kicks in.
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Post by Shalu1707 » 10 Dec 2018, 11:51

Just like Hiram's breakout from jail, his unlimited cash supply on run and many other things even the character of Woolf was forgotten by the author after the first page, I think he just created it to show the cruel face of McDowell to his readers without any other significance to it.

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Post by Theresam » 15 Dec 2018, 01:15

I think mentioning the incident showed the type of person Hiram was and his ambition and self centered attitude. I don’t think it really needed to be brought up again after that.

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