Xanther’s Question Song and Why She Uses It
Xanther’s “Question Song” is obviously quite a big part of the book, but there really isn’t much explanation as to why she uses it other than the fact that she is a curious person. As a reader, I had pretty much just accepted that until Xanther’s and Anwar’s finding of the cat. Both Anwar and Xanther have these big freak outs during this time, where Xanther hears the cry and wonders if it is a seizure coming on, and Anwar wonders if he is having a stroke.
During both of their chapters, they have these moments of pure panic. Their brains begin working very quickly, and their thoughts become negative, again thinking horrible things are happening to their bodies, multiplied for Anwar since his daughter is missing. It was after reading this that it hit me – their long, drawn out thoughts during these scenarios are how they cope with Xanther’s epilepsy.
In class last week, we discussed how horrific life must be for Xanther, knowing she could have an episode and die at literally any moment of any day. How does one go on with this lingering knowledge? They would have to keep their minds occupied on something else at all times, just to live an ordinary life. That’s where the question song comes in. Xanther is curious out of habit, after all her curiosity seems to come from Anwar who she is not biologically related to.
In the ‘Save him!’ chapter, Anwar is trying desperately to find Xanther in the rain after she has bailed out of the car. The spacing on the pages starting at p. 541 gets larger and larger, indicating a sped up, panicked state within Anwar. Then, suddenly, his mind wanders off to something completely different. Even he has trained his mind to think about anything else other than something happening to his daughter. His thoughts wandering does not last long, however, as he keeps lunging back into panic. The end of the episode, where the line “she finds him” (561) repeats, indicating just how much she means to him. He tries so hard to keep her safe, whether it be with the dog or moving from state to state, but it is her who keeps him sane. That is why he cares so much about her, because she is all he has.
Basically, Xanther has taken this coping mechanism from Anwar. She has these racing thoughts to keep her mind off of everything terrible that could happen to her.