Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chapter 39: In Flanders Fields

After Ryder shows Miles the fields of Flanders, and tries to describe the horrible slaughter that would occur in this countryside in a few years (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Flanders_Fields), Miles realizes “that there had been no miracle, no brilliant technical coup, in fact no ‘time travel’ at all—that the presence in this world of Thorn and his people had been owing only to some chance blundering [this is Mile Blundell of the Chums of Chance speaking] upon a shortcut through unknown topographies of Time, enabled somehow by whatever was to happen here, in this part of Flanders where they stood” (555).

In Flanders Fields, where poppies grow. A poem about death. And the seemingly timeless, immortal Chums, unlike their Hardy Boy brethren, realize that they were right to avoid the promised immortality in Candlebrow, because the promise of these trespassers is a fraud. There is no turning away from mortality.

Like Kilgore Trout turning to Kurt Vonnegut in Breakfast of Champions, pleading “Make me young, make me young, make me young….”, it seems as though Blundell had went on this trip hoping for some escape. Now he, or Chick, have the terrible responsibility of informing the boys that the promise of immortality “was all false, the promise was nothing but a cruel confidence game” (555).

We also learn in this chapter that Pugnax the dog has developed quite a taste for blood since their time in the Carpathians, home of Dracula.

We hope, that somehow, the Chums, who inhabit the sky, truly live in three dimensions, unlike the rest of us flatlanders, might find some way to escape the ravages of time.


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