87 pages • 2 hours readWatt Key
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“Pap had tried to explain death to me, but I couldn’t make sense of it.”
Moon reveals many expository details of his day-to-day life and upbringing in the opening paragraphs of his narrative, but this line helps the reader to establish a wider perspective of his existence. Moon cannot make sense of death beyond animals killed and skinned for money and food because his exposure to the lives of other people has been so limited. His mother’s death left no memory, as he was only two; the trauma of Pap’s death and burial sends Moon into a tailspin of loneliness and fear.
“I’m scared, Pap, but I know I can lick most anything three times my size. I know I can survive on my own and keep away from the government.”
Moon writes this affirmation of his skills and talents into a letter to Pap which he burns, hoping that Pap’s spirit can read it in the smoke. Indirectly, Moon’s tone reveals a level of self-awareness that is mature for his 10 years, in that he recognizes and admits his fear, but his ideas reveal his character’s unrealistic sense of confidence in “doing battle” against outside forces with which he has no experience.
“This fellow here looks an awful lot like your pap. I’d even say it was his brother if I was to make a guess of it.”
When Mr. Abroscotto breaks the lock from Pap’s ammunition box and discovers photos of people in Pap’s past, he asks Moon about potential relatives. This line plants a plot point that will become key in Moon’s literal and figurative journey to find his place in the world.
By Watt Key