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Throughout the novel, Hall places a large emphasis on the relationship between the mental and physical aspects of a human being. In our discussion during class, the question of “what makes a person?” was brought up and whether we truly are just a “singular concept wrapped in skin and chemicals.” Scout assures Eric that humans are much more than that. Hall makes it clear that both the physical and psychological components are equally as important. One of the themes in the book points to the uselessness of a human body without memory as Eric Sanderson is said to have died and been reborn as a different person because he has no mental history. However, Hall points to the possibility of physical memory. When Eric and Scout reconcile, he notes, “The taste of her then, the touch and the warmth and the movement, all of it perfect, like the sweetest, saddest remembered note coming back through years of silence” (388). His automatic and almost innate attraction to Scout exemplifies the possibility that though the mind can be wiped clean, the body retains a sort of memory that acts more on intuition than any signal from our mental memory. We see this when he makes his way through Fidorous’ hideaway without thinking, just doing. Furthermore, Eric experiences moments of complete consciousness, moments in which physical sensations are altered enough to trigger memories. Eric describes all the “ordinary things carefully kept in place because the last person to touch them would never put a cup down on the edge of the table again, or ever leave a book half-read” (411). These objects, including the underwater pictures, though useless after Clio has passed, still affect him, reminding him of small details about her that he thought he had forgotten. This suggests the immense power that physical sensations have over the mind and body. It also makes sense why Hall focuses not just on Eric’s psychological process, but also on the seemingly insignificant objects around him. The objects – things like water, the feel of pictures in his hands, the smell of the air, the rocking of the boat – make him feel as if he is not just the walking zombie that is the Second Eric Sanderson, but a living, breathing and feeling human being in his full five senses.

-Jazmynn Vazquez

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