Friday, June 11, 2010

"You can't just go around breaking people's legs like some Mafioso fairy godmother"

First of all, apologies for taking so long to get this update out.  After getting back from vacation it took more time than expected to get back into the swing of things.  And a friend won a free happy hour, so there's that.

My copy of Coyote Blue has some questions in the back meant for a reading group to discuss and I figured I would use one of their jumping off points.  A quick note that this will go over events that happen all through the book so there will be spoilers.

Discuss morality in the course of the book.  After the Coyote has disrupted Sam's life, he goes about "making things right" in various ways -- for instance, by getting Sam's home back by breaking Josh Spagnola's legs and helping to blackmail Aaron Aaron.  Is he really doing right to Sam by doing wrong to others? (114)

The basic trickster archetype, as described by Wikipedia where I obviously do most of my last minute research, "plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior" and the coyote is especially seen as a trickster in Native American culture.  If Coyote had spent more of his time acting more like Cinderella's fairy godmother he wouldn't have been a trickster and honestly the story would have been far less interesting.  Of course breaking the security guard Spagnola's legs to get Sam back into his condo complex isn't moral behavior.  He did it to help Sam, but this is also not a case of naive good intentions.  In this broken leg case, Coyote very deliberately went through Sam's Rolodex to make sure Lonnie got Josh's address and he knew Lonnie would attach Josh in some way.  He operates in an "ends justify the means" way, as long as those means entertain him and this tone permeates the rest of the book.  You end up cheering on Coyote and his bad behavior and, morally reprehensible or not, you want him to help out Sam by stealing his car and selling to get money to play craps.  Alright, so I don't really know how that helped Sam but it was funny.

Coyote Blue wasn't my favorite of the Moore books I've read, but I would absolutely recommend.

Title quote from page 145

Moore, Christopher,  Coyote Blue. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, New York.  1994.
"Trickster". Wikipedia. 6/11/10