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.From a nearby abandoned building, they watch the mur-derous bikers flee.The fire department arrives with ladder and snaking hoses, yetChappie gazes in horror as Bruce, thinking to save Chappie, plunges into theflames while the other bikers yell for him to come back.The roof collapses killingBruce, the good thief, a theme quite typical of the picaresque novel, which oftendramatizes how good people are expunged from the nightmare underworld inwhich they find themselves.In Mark Twain s autobiography, he mentions beinghaunted by the specter of having lent matches to a tramp who burned to deathin the local Hannibal jail.In Twain s memoir, hideous dreams about the trampappear to rebuke him for  a hundred nights afterward. 3 Although Chappieregrets Bruce s death, he feels no responsibility for it, which slides off his backlike water off a duck, further illustrating Chappie s narcissistic tendencies.Both Chappie and Russ are presumed dead from the fire, just as Huck enjoysposthumous life after faking his death with a pig, axe, and the pulling out someof his own hair.4 Chappie and Russ hit the road just as Huck and Jim light outon the river.Russ steals a running pickup truck at a convenience store when theowner is inside the store buying cigarettes, and they are off in the stolen pickuptruck to Vermont.Russ knows of an abandoned school bus where they crash.It turns out this school bus is the same bus from The Sweet Hereafter:Richard was going on about how him and his brother and sister used to ride thebus to school every day but this one time him and his brother stayed at home sickand that was the day the bus went off a cliff and crashed in a quarry.A shitload ofkids were killed, man, but my sister, man, she was okay, he said.Well not okay,she got busted up pretty good, broke her back and everything and now she s ina wheelchair and all that.But check it out, this fucking bus, man, me and mybrother James, we wasn t on the bus that fateful day, so this bus was like goodkarma for us and bad karma for my sister Nichole and bad karma for practicallyevery kid except me and James in the whole town of Sam Dent.We justneeded a place to party and all.5The deadbeat brothers don t look out for their young sister Nichole (there sno mention of older brothers in The Sweet Hereafter), but enjoy the overripefruits of their idleness by desultory drug dealing at the nearby college wherethey dropped out.Ironically, they speak of karma.To describe the death of somany friends or acquaintances as a shitload lies beyond insensitivity and trans-gresses into blasphemous horror.They party in the bus that crippled their sisterand killed many of their childhood friends.Chappie aptly nicknames them theBong Brothers.Through these narcissistic brothers, Banks hinges the plot of thisnovel as a comic sequel to the heart-wrenching tragedy of The Sweet Hereafter.This peculiar link functions more like a satire of how other writers link novels.The lay about brothers wallow in a debased parody of the counterculture.At the hands of an ignorant rabble, the counterculture did provide cover forself-indulgent dereliction.The Bong Brothers, narcissistic opportunists of epicdelusionary highs, appear to be literary descendents of the two menacing Rambling Picaresque: Rule of the Bone 115drifters from the 1970 Woodstock concert portrayed by Ken Kesey in hismemorial essay on the death of Beat icon Neal Cassady,  The Day After Super-man Died, 6 where Kesey issued an alarming and prophetic report of how thecounterculture might be co-opted by crass underclass opportunists.WhileKesey s portrait of the tattooed drifters remains more menacing, the BongBrothers (perhaps inspired by the series of Cheech & Chong comedy movies)provide a paragon of irresponsibility and insensitivity veering off into pettycriminality.Appropriating Melville s Typee (1846) tattoo theme of acquiring magicalprotective icons, Russ and Chappie acquire tattoos to celebrate their newunderground identities.Russ sports a black panther cover tattoo to disguisehis Adirondack Iron biker tattoo, while Chappie opts for the regressive CaptainHook crossed bones without the skull on the inside of his left forearm, thinkingburied treasure, that X marks the spot, and as in  Malcolm X like in the movie :You got the bones! He said to me.I could tell Russ was wishing he hadn t gottenpanther now but it was too late.That s what your name oughta be, he says.Bone.On account of your tattoo.Forget Zombie, man, it sounds like you re into voodoo or some kind of weirdoccult shit like that.Bone is hard, man.Hard.7Chappie attempts to assume his new identity as a hardened underworldadult, yet finds that more difficult than he imagined.Russ, to Chappie s disgust,chooses the name Buck as in the Buck knife company, but Chappie mentallyputs him down for a Buck Rogers escapist fantasy-man, confirming Russ s com-mitment to a continued Zombie adolescence.It will turn out Chappie was notwrong in his assessment.For Chappie, the eponym Bone indicates a new super-ego that idealizes his desire to be an adult who will handle the traumatic coreof his family background.Henceforth, Bone will attempt to rule his own life,the development of both his future and fragile identity lurking behind the coldmask of his cool piratical nickname.On the bus to Keene, New Hampshire, Bone indulges in the fantasy freedomof his new disguise.Unlike Holden s contempt for all that s phony, Bone revelsin the spontaneous art of the counterculture goof, the prankster put-on.Duringhis bus ride to Keene, he tries to convince another passenger he belongs to aspecial Israeli Mohawk tribe.While it s not completely clear his audiencebelieves Bone s absurd rap, it s evident Bone has made an impression upon hislistener as a far-out dude.Departing the bus, Bone proudly unhoods his faintstubble of the Mohawk haircut he previously sported.The scene scintillateswith charm in its wild goofiness, dramatizing the exhilaration of Bone s newlyassumed freedom.The fugitives crash at a plush summer house not far from Russ s NewHampshire home, a neighbor s summer house.Russ has occasionally donesome odd summer jobs like lawn mowing for these well-to-do neighbors, theRidgeways [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

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