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Five Wives by Joan Thomas

A. Ashley

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I’m reading this book entitled Five Wives  by Joan Thomas, and I have a few questions based on this passage (it’s not a school question, it’s just for fun insight):


In the dark, in the quiet, she [Rachel Saint] finds herself standing outside the net, intent on an errand elsewhere in the house. Scorpions, God says, breaking His silence. Put your shoes on. She squats to buckle them and makes her way down the hall, passing the kitchen and the radio room. Crossing a patch of moonlight from the windows in the lounge, seeing in the silver light her alabaster limbs, the strong, bare legs of a mountain woman. She comes to the stairway and tramps methodically up and turns down the corridor. Past the upstairs toilet. Past the bed where the lovers [Jim and Betty] float together in a single dream.
She walks the length of the house and tramps back downstairs. A sinister noise has started up, she moves towards it with the resolve of a watchman. Squawk, squawk, squawk, squawk. It’s Nate’s room, and she’s at the doorway, and she understands. They’re at it, Nate and his bride, Nate and the curly-haired Cyclops, they’re riding the bedsprings, panting with one voice, panting, grunting, moaning (hard work, the making of a saint!), huh, huh, huh, huh, huh. She stands still, skewered by the noise. If she had a willie, she’d lift it and piss on the floor. Just here, against their closed door. The boys did that sometimes outside her bedroom. One winter the whole house stank of piss.

They yelp like foxes and fall silent. A quick business when you think about it. She waits a beat. “I hope to God it was worth it,” she calls into the crack of the door” (p. 143-145). 

•What does the phrase “float together in a single dream” mean?


•What are the actions that are taking place?


•What are the thoughts that might be going through the characters’ minds?



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