I do not set out to recount the entire story; merely to reflect on certain passages while rereading them.
There is a reference to Samuel Gompers that I do not fully understand. (p 231)
In his dream, the narrator goes to bed at night, sleeps happily and wakes up the following morning. Is this possible?
I have remarked on the wind as a powerful symbol and sometimes almost a protagonist (and here) in Anderson's works. Here it is again. When the narrator wakes back into his dream, a tall woman is tidying the house:
"I did not try, then, to look upon her. In my drowsiness, she might as well have been the wind." (p. 232)
The narrator has entered the mind of a young woman in a coma who is still mentally a young girl. Her dream has a consistent environment like a virtual reality. Within the dream, the girl sleeps yet her environment persists. The tall woman - the girl's dead mother? - sings to her and converses with the narrator. Is there a hereafter? Does it border on the inner landscapes of dreamers and of people in comas? Eerie and unsettling, like the tall woman's words which are differentiated from ordinary speech by lacking inverted commas:
"...you cannot stay or ever return, who looked beyond the Edge." (p. 233)
Like Elijah hearing the "...still small voice...," the narrator covers his eyes.