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The jaguars-in-South-Carolina issue didn’t seem to be the point of the story. It was just a unique plot line through which we could learn about Ruth. Instead, I was interested by a kind of parallel between Ruth’s loneliness and the missing child flyers. The missing children could be important to Ruth because of her dead son, but to me they seemed more like Ruth herself. Both are lost and alone, and people who see them don’t give them a second thought. Ruth may feel the need to save the flyers that (my impression is) most people just throw away because she empathizes with the children – even Ruth’s coworkers don’t pay attention to her and if she went missing and “the police needed an artist’s sketch, none of them could provide a distinguishing detail.” Rash seems to have deliberately structured Ruth’s train of thought to end up with her going missing, just like the children in her flyers. Later in the story, Ruth’s desire to find a missing child (and to be found herself?) is so great that she mistakes an innocent boy who would only rather not be at the zoo for a kidnapee.

One Response to “The Woman Who Believed in Jaguars”

  1. Greer Gordon says:

    Kaitlin,

    I agree with what you say, but I do not believe that the plot line that deals with the jaguars is simply something to make it interesting. I think that the line on page 104, “so people just forgot they were here,” which ties into her loneliness also. She continually calls out of work, and she has that heartbreaking line that nobody would be able to identify her if the cops needed a sketch, which follows the same for the jaguars–they both have been forgotten. I thought that her obsession with the missing children was connected with the wording the nurse used that they “lost” her child–I noticed that the child she to a specific interest in was a blond boy, like hers. Nobody could help her with her “lost baby”, so she does what she can to find others, so that they won’t be forgotten like hers was. While the baby fades from peoples memory, she does her best to fade from everyone else’s as well. The story about the birds is the sense of community that she lacks. She said that the dead exhausted her, well the dead exhausted the other birds too.

    The setting was interesting for the story. Zoos are generally associated with children, but they also serve to save animals that may be extinct. They are in isolation, which Ruth can identify with, and she can see all of the children walking around and is reminded that she doesn’t have a kid, which could be one of the factors in her taking such notice of the blond boy she sees tied to the mother. For as much as it looks like the boy has been kidnapped, and is the boy on the flier, it could be her boy just lost too.
    I could be way off on a lot of this, but this is just how I figured it all could tie in together.