State of Wonder Important Quotes

Ann Patchett

State of Wonder

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State of Wonder Important Quotes

  1. “Despite any setbacks, we persevere” (Chapter 1, p. 4).

One of the many ambiguous and problematic phrases in Dr. Swenson’s letter announcing the death of Anders Eckman, this final sentence not only underscores the problem of communication between Dr. Swenson’s remote Amazonian Research Station, and the offices of the Vogel Campus in Minnesota but, as Marina points out, the word choice implies a callous disregard for the significance of human life–“Is she calling Anders a setback” (4).

  1. “Mr. Fox was not a doctor. He had been the first CEO to come from the manufacturing side. When she spoke of him to other people she spoke of Mr. Fox. When she spoke to him in front of other people she addressed him as Mr. Fox. The problem was calling him Jim when they were alone” (Chapter 1, p. 5).

This quote sheds light on both Mr. Fox’s career background and the nature of his relationship with Marina. It is noteworthy that his background is in production and not medicine, which prefigures his obsession with the Martin based fertility drug, a drug that has very little value in terms of public health, but a lot of value financially. Beyond this, Marina’s difficulty in separating “Jim” from “Mr. Fox” shows how difficult she finds loving a man whose personal and corporate identities seem so inextricably linked.

  1. “Mr. Fox didn’t know Karen Eckman. He had met her at company parties but he told Marina he could not remember her face, a fact that seemed unforgivable now in light of what had happened” (Chapter 1, pp. 7-8).

The fact that Mr. Fox does not know Karen, even after meeting her at several company parties, does seem damning. This is particularly true given the fact that he personally dispatched her husband—against the advice of his board—thus risking his life on a company mission that he was ill-equipped to tackle. This detail is a brush stroke in a larger portrait of the CEO, portraying a cold man largely interested in his business, but disengaged from the human beings that help drive it. 

  1. “It strikes Marina as…
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