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A Thread for Over-analyzing Characters (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Weasel Craig)

Discussion in ''Salem's Lot' started by Coyo-T, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. Coyo-T

    Coyo-T Well-Known Member

    So, I hope this isn't too niche a topic, or that I'm being annoying and posting in this section too much- but I've been thinking about it a lot since reading it, and wondering what I could say that hasn't been said over the past four decades. And then it hit me: I like minor characters, and 'Salem's Lot is a book with a huge supporting cast. Most don't get a lot of detail but enough information is dropped throughout the book to build a better picture of a few than might otherwise be apparent. I think it'd be cool to put that information together for individual characters, as well as one's own thoughts on them. (This applies to the main cast, as well, as some of them have details scattered about in various places.) As I've mentioned in other threads, I like Weasel Craig, so I wanted to start with him.

    Like Ben Mears, I like this guy. I feel that his closer proximity to Ben (living under the same roof) gives him a little more exposure in the book than most other background characters, and his distinct manner of speech lends him a bit more personality than others. And while there are certainly other characters more deserving of empathy for the evil that befalls them than an aged alcoholic, he also doesn't fit the category of people that were either utterly horrible (child abuse, spousal abuse, etc.) or just generally unpleasant- I find it hard to feel anything other than pity for a man whose addiction had already cost him almost everything (including most of his dignity.) I've seen his alcoholism used as an example of one of the "little" evils in the town that allowed the greater Evil entrance, but again, besides being in a totally different league as some of the other awful, physically violent stuff going on, I actually think his biggest failing is not his addiction but his seeming unwillingness to try to do anything about his current situation. This isn't an entirely fair assessment (since it's possible that he did, in the past, try to sober up, and became discouraged because he failed) but that's the impression I get from him- that he sees outside factors (time, the bottle, Matt Burke's opportunity to get an education where he didn't) as controlling his life more than his own agency, and sees himself as more of a passive participant in his own life. In any case, in his introductory section he reminisces about better times, which helpfully gives a lot of dates that build a decent timeline of some of his major life events:

    1908- Born (based on his given age of 67)
    1944- Won the Silver Star at Anzio
    1954- Met Eva Miller
    1961- Had a good job on the B&M, and was still called "Ed" at this point
    1962- Began a relationship with Eva Miller (who was widowed in '59). At some point after this his drinking began (or at least became problematic), presumably causing him to lose his job; he also picked up the nickname "Weasel".
    c.1966- His relationship with Eva Miller ended (and while it's never stated, it's probably a safe bet that his alcoholism was at least a contributing factor.)

    Other random tidbits:

    - Despite his reputation as the town drunk, he's not the saddest alcoholic in town- just the one people are willing to acknowledge and still accept as part of the community. Franklin Boddin and Virgil Rathbun are worse (seemingly almost constantly drunk) and virtually shunned; even Eva, sympathetic though she might be to Weasel, thinks poorly of Virgil.

    - While Eva seems to still harbor some feelings for him beyond the professional or even friendship, there's no evidence that Weasel's continued interest goes beyond the physical- it doesn't mean there isn't anything more there, but the most we're given outside of a physical attraction is that he respects her success a businesswoman.

    - He apparently still has beautiful, sexy hair.;-D Granted, this is from his point of view and thus hardly unbiased, but given that it seems to be the only thing he takes pride in and has going for him, I'm inclined to just let him have this one.

    Well, hope I didn't bore anyone too much- does anybody have something else to add or correct me on for Weasel, or another favorite character they'd like to totally over-analyze?
     
  2. mjs9153

    mjs9153 Peripherally known member..

    ha,nope,think you got it covered there..I liked him too..how about the town dump guy,was it Dud Rogers? Haven't read the book in a while,just going from memory..two good things about him,he was really,really strong,and a good shot with his .22,lol.. ;)
     
  3. Coyo-T

    Coyo-T Well-Known Member

    Yep, I didn't look too much at Dud, but I believe someone talked about him a little bit in one of the other threads here- he didn't come off as the most pleasant person to me, but then he wasn't really shown a lot of kindness by anyone else.

    One other "tidbit" I forgot about Weasel (and unfortunately can't edit in)- Ben notes at one point how neat and sparse his room at the boarding house is. It's an interesting little piece of information- Weasel doesn't seem to have much in the way of possessions, anyway, but the normal assumption would probably be that his living quarters are as big a mess as the rest of his life. It's little details like this that I love.
     
    mjs9153 likes this.
  4. GNTLGNT

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

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