Red Doc> Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Red Doc>.
This section contains 451 words
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Red Doc> Summary & Study Guide Description

Red Doc> Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Red Doc> by Anne Carson.

The following version of this book was used to create the guide: Carson, Anne. Red Doc>. McClelland and Stewart, 2013.

Anne Carson’s note to the reader inside the dust jacket of Red Doc> provides a useful introduction to the world of her poetic novel: “Some years ago I wrote a book about a boy named Geryon who was red and had wings and fell in love with Herakles. Recently I began to wonder what happened to them in later life. Red Doc> continues their adventures in a very different style and with changed names.” She then adds a suggestive maxim, “To live past the end of your myth is a perilous thing,” which serves as a motif for the novel as a whole.

The novel opens with a conversation between Geryon (now called G) and his mother about Herakles (now called Sad But Great) who has recently returned from the war. G's mother is going to have surgery soon but requests that he doesn't accompany her. G then returns to his herd of musk oxen and contemplates the reappearance of Sad in his life. During a flashback, a homeless woman named Ida who lives under a highway underpass assaults G, assuming he was trespassing on her territory, then nurses him back to health. She reintroduces him to Sad, who was staying at the same mental hospital, but their reunion is bittersweet.

Eventually, after G's shack is blown apart in a snow storm, Sad and G decide to take a road trip up north. They drive across deserted, increasingly surreal landscapes including the ocean, a volcano, and ultimately arrive at a glacier. Somehow they manage to get inside the glacier, where G discovers bizarre creatures called icebats, and Sad reconnects with a pair of friends from the army, CMO and 4NO, who have carved out a home inside the ice. 4NO has an uncanny ability to see the near future and considers himself a prophet. CMO, on the other hand, is a hard-nosed, cynical veteran, who has retreated from his former life.

Soon, G and Sad are joined by Ida, and the road trip continues. Ida and Sad have a brief sexual affair. They return to Sad's mental hospital where they decide to stage 4NO's play in the rec room for the other patients. A fight breaks out, but no one (aside from an elderly patient) is seriously hurt. G gets a message to call his mother, who is seriously ill in the hospital. G and his friends visit her before she dies, and a brief funeral follows. The novel ends with G consumed with grief but hopeful that things will improve eventually for him and the others.

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This section contains 451 words
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