While I Was Gone

.. fe her parents wanted for her, and escaped for one beautiful, idyllic year. This life was bohemian and romantic. Jo lived under an assumed name in a rambling group house in Cambridge. She grew especially close to one of the group members, Dana.

No one had ever taken much attention to Jo throughout her life. When Dana seemed to be intrigues by her, Jo was very attracted to her. The two became extremely close. One day, Jo returned to the house after an evening at work. She came home to find Dana in a pool of blood. The killer was never found and within months, the group members disbanded. On Jos way home to her former husband she ran into a nice man, Daniel.

Jo was attracted to him, but she was still legally married. Once she returned home, she left her husband, this time legally and for good. She got her doctorate in veterinary medicine. A few years later, Jo still thought about Daniel. She looked him up, and within a year they were married.

The two of them had three girls. The girls grew up, moved out, and it was just the two of them. Everything was going fine in their lives until Jo began to feel restless. Eli came into Jos life at the perfect time. The two of them met through Jos veterinary practice. Jo was feeling restless and was yearning for something more from life.

The two of them began to talk. They talked about the past and the present, but mostly about the past. They dug into Danas death. Jo started to think about the possibility of an affair with Eli. One evening they met at a hotel.

Eli and Jo both had different expectations and intentions that night. Jo wanted to get a room and Eli wanted to talk. Eli ended up confessing to murder. Eli thought he could confide in Jo and that she would forgive him. Forgiveness was what he was looking for.

Eli believed the point of them meeting up again, later in life, was for this confession. Jo did not react as he planned. She was shocked and ran out of the restaurant. Jo drove back home to her husband and confessed everything. Once Daniel opened the door she blurted out, The real reason I went to Boston was to meet Eli.

And watched as his eager, loving expression utterly transformed. Daniel was upset beyond belief. He was a preacher and believed that the thought of adultery was nearly as bad as the actual act. Jo and Daniel barely spoke for weeks. Jo went to the police three weeks later and reported what Eli had confessed. The police talked to Eli, who denied anything ever happening.

It would be his word against her word and since neither one had proof, the police dismissed it. Jo took time out from her life with Daniel and stayed with her mother. When Jo returned, Daniel took some time as well. This time was for them to think. Jo thought that Daniel and her might split up, but when Daniel came home he said he forgave her and they could move on.

Daniel had to give up a hardness in him to yield to her. He had always been the one to do the forgiving and he returned to this position. There was a certain distance between them, even after he forgave. Jo learned to accept that and to give him his space. She made this change unintentionally, yet she had to pay the price.

Daniel could forgive her but he could not forget. There were times when Jo knew he was thinking about it and sadness overcomes them both. This was the decision that the two of them made; it was the decision to be together despite it all. They shall live with that decision for the rest of their lives. Sue Miller was emphasizing the idea of what we make of what weve done. Some of it was what we show of ourselves to other people, what we needed to show, and what was best kept private. Jo had a difficult time differentiating between what she showed of herself, what she needed to show (for the benefit of others), and what was best kept private about herself.

Jo needed to show her daughters more about who she was in her past. This would have made it easier for them to understand and love her, despite her flaws. The potential affair was something that Jo needed to keep private about herself. She put her husband and daughter through unnecessary turmoil. This was something that might have killed her inside, if she had not let it out.

That would have been her punishment, instead she took the easy way out. Jo told her husband about the potential affair, knowing how upset he would be. At the same time she knew that he would forgive her and that was what she needed to get over it. This novel was about forgiveness and the human impulse we have to connect with someone else. The impulse to have that other person say, I love you.

No matter what. I love you. This novel was written to set people thinking. It should disturb them, in a good way. More questions should be raised from an interesting book than should be answered. A book is a way of speculating about life, a way of asking yourself questions that you hope reverberate in the reader. The reader should ask himself questions, maybe even answer them for himself.

Blood was a recurring image. The first time it appeared was in a scene where Jo was starting to drift away from her first husband. She was working at a bar and there was a brawl. Blood got spattered all over her. At this point the blood was exciting.

She went home that evening with the blood still on her and she didnt wash before she got into bed with her husband. This was the introduction to her new life of adventure. When Jo found Dana bleeding to death she was of course, horrified. In the final related image, Daniel throws a tomato in anger, and again she gets splattered. Jo has her back to Daniel; he picks up a tomato, and throws it near her. When Jo turned around he simply states It was rotten, (220) and walks out.

At the scene in the bar she took pleasure in feeling that she was experiencing something raw, tough, and real. When Dana was bleeding to death Jo felt the real blood. This terrible blood of someone she loved and couldnt help showed her some of the risk of being in life. It showed her that life and death is not something you can necessarily control. With the tomato and Daniel it depicted a near-murderous rage in a safe relationship, which was the one she had with Daniel. Jo was able to perceive Daniels ability to choose whether to hurt her or not, and of course he didnt.

Daniel wanted to show Jo how angry he was, but he was also capable of showing that without hurting her, without injuring her with his anger. This is exactly what Eli did with Dana. He was not able to control his anger towards Dana and he kills her. All Eli meant to do was express his anger and he killed Dana with it. This was the difference between Eli and Daniel.

Daniel had control and Eli had none. Eli had no control on killing Dana or in telling Jo about the murder. Bibliography none Book Reports.