The Chill 2: Metaphor and motifs


There are a couple of motifs that recur throughout the book.

One is the fog that surrounds Pacific Point at the start of the book. Does the fog represent Archer's inability to understand the situation with Dolly, Helen, and so on? What do you make of the occasion when Archer moves above the fog when he drives to Indian Springs to talk to Alice Jenks? Is that the point where things become clearer, either to Archer or the reader?

Another motif is the number of references to philosophy, especially Zeno's paradox. (Other Lew Archer books don't feature this motif.) Does this help the reader get a sense of Archer's perceived lack of progress? Does it help reinforce the academic/college setting of much of the book?

(There are a few nautical references in the book, but I'm not sure what to make of them in terms of helping the theme.)


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    I did notice the reference to philosophy, and one reference in particular clicked with me, though unfortunately I didn't make a note of it at the time. I'm not as well up on Greek philosophy as I'd like to be, so for the most part they go over my head, but I'm willing to bet that each reference to a philosopher is either a clue, or a cue.

    The fog, however, I didn't notice, but now that you bring it up I can see it - very cool observation.

    I was wondering if there was a bit of a 'go west to find your fortune' thing going on, but never really made much of a study of it.

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    The fog - yes. Without some of that, the context left me (as a Brit who has never travelled to California) completely in the dark in that I had no real sense of where anything was in relation to anything else. (Kind of like if I were to say, "sure, it's only as far as from Clappersgate to Mickelden"). So for me the fog was a pretty good description of my sense of place in the book!

    Again, the classical allusions, yes, this was one of the things that for me helped to anchor the book in the wider context of literature, and gave the writing additional depth and interest.

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