Of all the characters who have undergone changes in the novel so far, I find the tutor’s tale (albeit, a cliched one) to be the most dramatic. He is the soldier/poet who finally loses some last shred of humanity separating him from behaving in the manner that the RedBlacks are typically described or typified as. It seems again ironic to me that just as we are witnessing Mike’s rise from mere thuggery to what may perhaps be a brighter, more worldly man who has a new found interest in music, we are also witnessing the tutor’s fall into depression and sadness because he cannot come to terms with Katherine’s rejection of him. This mirrors his lessons to Mike on page 186, where he is advising Mike how to avoid depression. However, this depression is actually settling in on the tutor himself.
During the chapters which talk of his near fanatical chase of Katherine and Morgan through the tunnels via “maps” (a pursuit which, again I find irony in, might have led him to Jane the arsonist) we are given several short glimpses into his mind. Although the characters in the book so far are decidedly flat and nearly unapproachable in their ability to just “take action” with little information given to us as to their real internal dialogue, I wished to hunt through the novel to discover just what event broke the tutor’s previous near-Herculean ability (in my view) to maintain his “self” despite his employer and environs.
While the physical event may have been his attempt to speak to Katherine on page 184 is the root of this, I think that while this may have triggered the descent into his new behavior patterns, the most revealing sentence is at the beginning of Chapter 38.
“He considered his fate, who did not believe in fate until this moment. His fate was to be lonely and sad…” (pg. 220)
While much of the verbiage in the book has focused around religion, this is as I can recall one of the first times fate is considered. And deciding whether or not to believe in fate has scary consequences indeed.
While later on he keeps a book by an “Ellroy”, saying “F— doubt.” So, does this mean that the tutor has resigned himself?
This Ellroy?! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Ellroy
But then we are treated to the tutor’s thoughts on page 237, where he is considering the Judge’s fondness for torture. Here, the tutor suggests that “the Judge either loved causing pain all his life, or experience had transformed him. The tutor knew how that cold happen; it was happening to him.”
So, is the tutor giving in? Or has the tutor actually been causing himself pain all his life? Or does the tutor believe that his experience in wooing Katherine has “transformed” him into someone capable of causing pain now?
The unrequited lover, making excuses for he behavior, as he plots for romantic revenge. A dramatic, if cliched change in character, indeed.