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Visible Empire


An epic novel—based on true events—of love, grief, race, and wealth.
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How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

Created: 08/07/19

Replies: 10

Posted Aug. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 3058

How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo (before he knew it was an armadillo) the last straw for Robert, causing him to end their friendship? During this scene, the author writes, "What scared Robert more than anything was the calmness with which Coleman spoke. An outlandish idea, but his verdict just then was that it was the calmness of money; it was the flatness of privilege" (page 244). What does Robert mean by this?


Posted Aug. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 215

RE: How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

It seemed like Coleman really did not want to know what he hit because if he knew he would lose plausible deniability. Robert had to know in order to do the right thing. He even sat by the armadillo until it died. The difference in their responses showed the difference in their personalties. Basically, Coleman was a me first, last, and only kind of guy and Robert felt compassion for the other, whether it was another person or an armadillo.


Posted Aug. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 166

RE: How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

"...the flatness of privilege" I think Robert finally saw the shallowness of the Colemans of the world. He couldn't just ignore what had happened. At that moment he realized how wrong he had been for his self-pity and selfishness. That two drunk and privileged humans could destroy the little living thing without consequences or further thought.


Posted Aug. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 173

RE: How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

Robert knew what kind of a man Coleman was, he mistakenly thought he was the same kind of man. Robert’s reaction to Coleman’s disregard for life shows that he has a moral compass. Coleman does not.


Posted Aug. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 381

RE: How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

I think Robert felt responsible for Rita's death, in that he was the one who sent her to Paris with the art group. He ran away from his life because he could not stomach that he, Robert, killed her. Coleman's attitude toward the loss of life or harm of another was completely different. About to be cut off financially by his father, he practically celebrated the plane crash. So he certainly wasn't going to be bothered if, in fact, he did hit another person with his car. He didn't care about hurting or losing people he was related to, so a stranger was hardly worth his time. He made it clear that he was the only one who mattered.

I didn't understand Robert's "jealously of another man's bankroll" at this moment. To me, it is clear we have two different systems of justice; one for the wealthy and one for the poor. If Coleman had hit a person, he could have used his social standing or his money to absolve himself, but I think Coleman would have had the same reaction to the crash even if he was an average Joe. He simply was not a kind, thoughtful, moral person regardless of his bank account. I think Robert was tired of being around thoughtless, selfish people.

The most important part of this chapter for me was that in the face of Coleman's unwillingness to be responsible for his actions, Robert finally accepted that he WAS responsible for all of his that led him to this very moment. That is why he looked in the ditch. That is why he sat with the armadillo until it died. That is why he knew he needed to return to his wife.


Posted Aug. 16, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia S

Join Date: 02/08/16

Posts: 435

RE: How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

Robert had been running from the responsibilities and consequences of his life and actions. Coleman, the booze, and the drugs helped him escape from all that. Robert finally realized what an uncaring, selfish person Coleman was when the armadillo was hit and Coleman had no feelings about it. It think Robert realized Coleman wouldn't even have cared if it'd been a person. It was this cold reality that brought Robert back to his senses.


Posted Aug. 18, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
swchis39

Join Date: 09/26/12

Posts: 143

RE: How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

I think Robert realized how callous and shallow Coleman was when he didn’t acknowledge the armadillo. He showed his true self by staying with the armadillo.


Posted Aug. 20, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jennie r

Join Date: 08/06/17

Posts: 52

RE: How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

When Coleman said “To hell with mankind...to hell with you and my old man and everything and everyone. There’s just me, Bucko. There’s always only me,” Robert finally saw Coleman for what he truly was...a privileged rich man who cared only for himself.


Posted Aug. 23, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 381

RE: How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

Maybe at this point, Robert saw a bit of himself in Coleman. He behaved as if it was "only me" when he left Lily after the plane crash.


Posted Aug. 23, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kkb

Join Date: 04/22/19

Posts: 12

RE: How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

It was a wake up call for Robert, making him realize "I am not this kind of person". I think this made him decide that he might not be the loser he thought he was, and that he felt his wife thought he was, and maybe there was a chance for him yet.


Posted Aug. 27, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 496

RE: How was Coleman's reaction to hitting the armadillo the last straw for Robert?

Robert realized that Coleman had been willing to be a hit-and-run killer if the victim had been a human being. That was shocking to Robert, and perhaps it made him realize that Coleman would have left him to die as well. Robert had that shred of humanity in him which hated to see any creature suffer, even though it was "only" an armadillo that was in pain and struggled to breathe for a few hours. Finally, there was a line of decency drawn in the sand.


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