Whistlejacket is a study in human cruelty and how people rationalize it.
The novel sets out in the manner of a domestic romance. Michael, now a fashion photographer, had been taken in and raised by Harold (Hal) Van Fleet, the wealthy owner of Steepleton, a horse breeding farm that stages fox hunts. The novel begins with a description of Michael's sexual awakening, with hints that he and Hal's daughter, Virgie, will become lovers. This seemingly gentle movement toward romance is shaken when Hal's widow asks Michael to create a photographic biography of her deceased husband.
Michael discovers that the fine, upright man he had admired as a father was also a cruel manipulator of women.
Buse, who Michael believed had been befriended by the Van Fleets as he had been, is revealed to have been Hal's mistress. Three years after his marriage to Alex, Hal informed her that...
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The Whistlejacket Study Pack contains:
Whistlejacket Short Guide
John Hawkes Biographies (3)
4,848 words, approx. 17 pages
John Hawkes was born in Stamford, Connecticut on 17 August 1925. He married Sophie Goode Tazewell in 1947, and they have four children. Hawkes took his undergraduate degree from Harvard in 1949. He ha...
3,347 words, approx. 12 pages
A writer of highly experimental, nightmarish fiction since 1949, John Hawkes turned to playwriting in 1964. Awarded a Ford Foundation fellowship for work in drama, Hawkes became the writer-in-residenc...
9,428 words, approx. 32 pages
A writer of highly experimental, nightmarish fiction, John Hawkes was one of the most original and uncompromising artists to come out of the post-World War II generation of writers. Challenging establ...