When The Birds Die All That’s Left Are The Bees And Their Stingers

Aristotle’s world view is tinged and vignetted with so much black it might as well be pitch dark. Despite being the lightest and wispiest novel we have read thus far, Aristotle is one of the most cynical and desperate narrators thus far, rivaling even Giovanni. Perhaps it’s the teen angst (although he’s worse than Molly’s adolescence) or maybe it’s the fact he has three of his four major appendages in casts (I’ll concede to that, he’s got a right to be feisty), but dang—Aristotle is one heck of a ball of depressing. And I believe it is that pent up anger and hurt that masses up inside him and reverberates out of him as an unwelcome attitude. More often than not he comes off as a “wiseass” or some other ball of teenage angst that refuses to talk, but why (137)? Where is the angst deriving from?

Also, Aristotle consistently denies any semblance of caring after the accident, forbidding therapy or probing questions that are posed in hopes of expediting the healing process for mental health. That can be answered by human nature, sometimes we’re so incredibly blind to exactly what is best for us. But what’s odd is the fact that Aristotle seems aware of the fact that a counselor could help him. After Dante returns from his mental health appointment, he asks Ari if he is going to go. Ari simply responds with a “No” but it doesn’t seems it’s because he thinks it’s useless—he relegates his inability to go because of his legs (142). To me, it felt as if Ari knew it would help but he wants to feel the full wrath of his own perpetuated misery so he decides not to go (but also, I don’t have the solid-est of evidence for this so just kind of go with it).

Final point: Ari’s journal. He criticizes his writing in his journal as a “record of my own stupidity” (95). Why then does he return to writing his emotions as catharsis? If he doesn’t believe that it is valid, why does he use it. I think we all know the answer: teen angst. He says one thing and does the opposite. I guess I answered my own question. Oops.

Questions to ponder:

Why does Ari consistently hinder his own healing process? He might not physically alter anything, but his mental healing is most definitely hindered by his stubbornness.

Why is Ari so incredibly sad all the time? Is it just teenage angst or is there another element to his depression (y’know besides the invalid thing)?

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One thought on “When The Birds Die All That’s Left Are The Bees And Their Stingers

  1. Ari’s internal turmoil was certainly a strong, or prominent, part of his character. His displays of anger, physical and mental, kind of drive home your point about the teen angst. Looking back at these sections, though, after finishing the book makes it sort of make sense. Towards the very end we learn about Ari’s father’s time in the war and the burdens he bears everyday. They really mimic the underlying feelings of Ari and sort of serves as a demonstration to give Ari’s mental state more context. He and his father are very similar in regards to their emotions, They feel them very strongly, especially those that anger them, but they pack it all away. They are afraid to impart those emotions on others or to let other’s see that they really are hurt. Ari already hated and loathed the fact that people felt sympathy for his physical ailments, and he certainly didn’t seem interested in having the same happen if people were to learn about his inner turmoil. So like his father, Ari wears a mask. He deadens those feelings enough that he doesn’t have to worry about them and can give off an air of cool stoicism to those around him. But just because they are diminished doesn’t mean Ari feels nothing. He channels his darker emotions into other tasks, such as his angst-ridden journal entries. Additionally, he also deals with the fact that this strategy alienates him from others who do not know or understand what, exactly, he is feeling or whether he even cares at all.

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