The Character of Alice in Animal Dreams

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The Character of Alice in Animal Dreams

She is dead. She does not appear physically but haunts mentally. She is

Codi and Hallie's mother Alice, the late wife of Homero Noline. Throughout the

novel Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, Alice impacted the characters, action,

and theme(s).

When Alice passed away she took part of Homer with her. What she left

was a misfit of time and circumstance; an emotionally distraught and distant man

who attempted to resemble a father but veered more towards the tin man. Homero

existed beyond his wife as only a page out of an instruction manual, the one

with the caution statement. Homero's delicate heart decided that the only way

to endure Alice's death was to flush any remembrance or resemblance of her out

of his fortified technical realm which throughout the novel becomes increasingly

skewed. Kingsolver pushes home this idea by omitting Alice from any of Homer's

frequent flashbacks which are usually mishaps from the past involving his

daughters. These incidents are his only recollection of his daughters'

estranged childhood in which he strained to create slippery and unmothered


Homer's fear of becoming attached to anything which reminded him of

Alice resulted in an unorthodox childhood for Hallie and Codi. Homero was more

of a child mechanic than a father. Retaining only his technical aptitude after

Alice died all he could do was provide his kids with orthopedic shoes and the

correct medicine. When not fixing Codi or Hallie's present or future ailments

Homero took photographs of natural objects and slyly transformed them into man-

made devices by doing what he seemed to be best at, distorting images.

Codi, similar to her father mentally blocked out her past. Her

childhood remained within her as only a series of stained and misplaced memories.

Codi attempted to follow in her father's emulsion lined footprints, fixing

every one of life's problems with an internal wrench. By approaching life

from behind this falsified image Codi managed to distance herself from

everything and everyone who could have hurt her. One aspect of life and time in

which Codi was bred to be distanced from is the past. As Codi grew older she
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