A Very Rainy 839 Pages
There are many things that make a recurring appearance in The Familiar. People have posted about the ideas of non-English jargon, animals, colors, narcons, religion, the number 9, hearing a strange sound, and other things that come up more than once. We discussed many of these in class as well, but I have been wondering about the presence of rain. Obviously, the story is about “One Rainy Day in May” but I think there is actual meaning in it, a sort of deeper theme (and I would love some ideas on what that meaning is, what Danielewski’s point was).
Rain is extremely important in Xanther’s story. In the beginning, Xanther feared she would have another seizure while trying to count all of the raindrops. At the climax of her story, Xanther runs out in the rain to save the cat. Shasti and Freya go out into the rain with the expensive dog bed which Astair is forced to buy. Later, they were playing outside in the rain with no clothes and a water hose and Astair even reminisces on a time in which she played outside in the rain in much the same way. Additionally, rain is visually represented in a big way. For example, there are pages and pages of lines of words across those pages in the shape of rain. Sometimes the story is told with falling words, like rain drops, as well.
Even though Xanther’s story is the main story of The Familiar, the “One Rainy Day in May” applies to all of the other stories as well. If rain isn’t apparent in a story, I’ve noticed that some form of water is present. Luther walks across water, pushes Hopi into a pool of water, etc. Why didn’t he make it “One Hot Day in June” or “One Snowy Day in December” or even just “One Sunny Day in May”? Would the stories have been different in some ways if it wasn’t raining (apparently all over the world) that day?