The Night Watch: Duncan's hobby

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The Night Watch: Duncan's hobby

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1lorannen
Redigeret: jun 1, 2015, 12:00pm

What do you make of Duncan's antique collection? The items he picks up are almost invariably damaged, sometimes beyond usefulness—the chipped teacup, the dented jug, the old pipe he dug up on the beach. Why does he gravitate toward such items, whereas a "real" antique collector would not?

2mark.h.gregory
jun 2, 2015, 10:39am

I feel that the these objects of the real world which he is collecting reflect Duncan's need to stay connected to the reality of his life. It is already obvious he has gone through, and is going through, much which is hard and uncomfortable to come to grips with. His collections is just a way to stay grounded. A "real" collector is only looking for the ideal, best representation; not necessarily the normal reality.

3terrygraap
jun 2, 2015, 2:54pm

I kind of enjoy that he collects old things. He sounds a lot like my brother as he collect a lot of things.

4armchairreader
jun 2, 2015, 3:44pm

I wondered if he is looking back towards a past that is more kind and comforting than his present? And the fact that he likes things that are not perfect reflect his own limits and imperfections?

5lorannen
jun 2, 2015, 3:55pm

>3 terrygraap: It's actually a thing I sort of used to do automatically when I was little (6 or so). I'd hoard random stuff picked up from my great-grandmother's house. Just objects I liked—some were familiar, some were things like tin soldiers which I'd never seen before.

The big difference between Duncan's habit and mine, I think, is that the significance of the objects for me is in where they came from—great-grandmother's house—but, while he does relish telling the stories of how and when he acquired these items, the acquisition doesn't have such a running theme.

6triciareads55
jun 3, 2015, 3:58pm

I agree that Duncan's collection of broken items "antiques" makes him feel more connected to the people, that by making up the stories he has some "friends."

I do feel that Duncan's relationship with Alec was probably homosexual and that he either started it or it led to some tragic end - maybe suicide, and led to Duncan's incarceration since homosexuality at that time was a crime.

7lorannen
Redigeret: jun 4, 2015, 6:13pm

>6 triciareads55: Totally agree, though I thought it had been hinted that the reason Duncan had been incarcerated had something to do withhis not serving in the war, either having avoided it entirely, or deserted. That said, I admit my WWII history is embarrassingly rusty, and I'm not sure this is even a possibility. It almost certainly has something to do with Alec, though, and I think you're spot on with regard to Duncan's relationship with him.

8kristilabrie
jun 6, 2015, 12:34pm

>4 armchairreader: I share some of the same opinions here. He collects these items almost nostalgically, hearkening back to "better times", while still appreciating their chipped and tainted beauty today.--As if they, too, had seen some hardships. He's, in some way, connected these items with his own life.

I loved the scene that described his reaction to the old, crooked picture frames in the doctor's house. "You're not mine, and I don't have to want you!", he thought. As if he feels the need to care for things that are no longer cared for. Why?

9piemouth
jun 16, 2015, 3:35pm

I thought he collected broken things for the simple reason that he would have been too intimidated to go into a real antique shop, and that he could afford these things. I'm not disagreeing with the symbolism of a broken person collecting broken things, though.

10kgriffith
jun 24, 2015, 1:11am

I feel like Duncan's joy in his particular brand of antiquing is in creating a back story, in imagining the life the object - and therefore, its owner - lived before he happened upon this piece of history. It seems a form of escapism, not necessarily an unhealthy one either, but a way to connect to the past that isn't as painful or anxiety-producing as his own recollections are.

11piemouth
jun 26, 2015, 3:11pm

I like that too.