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Maurier personally extends the offer for him to join the yachting excursion. Though Gordon maintains a distant and uninterested aura, it becomes evident through the stream-of-consciousness passages that follow that he is at odds with himself over his sudden attraction to Pat that changes his mind about the trip.

When Talliaferro takes leave of Gordon and the women, his path through the city and the paths of other characters that diverge in his wake serve to introduce the multifaceted New Orleans artistic community around which the plot focuses.

Mosquitoes and Whisky

At a dinner that follows, Talliaferro's visit with Gordon, the conversations about art that ensue as well as the sexual tensions that are hinted at in the interactions of Talliaferro, Julius Kaufmann, and Dawson Fairchild set the stage for the interactions and themes that come to typify rest of the novel. The second section opens as Mrs. Maurier welcomes all her guests onto the Nausikaa. The cast of characters in attendance is diverse and is typologically split into artists, non-artists, and youths. Though it, at first provides a chronological foundation to the activities that Mrs. Maurier has planned for her guests, it becomes evident that her guests, especially the men, are uncontrollable and more interested in drinking whisky in their rooms while gossiping about women and discussing art, than in participating in any activity she offers.

The first day on the yacht concludes with a minor cliffhanger when Mr. Talliaferro makes it known that he has his sights set on one of the women on the ship, but only speaks her name behind closed doors. During the second day the activities on the boat take an even further backseat to the development of the characters and their interactions with one another.

Similar conversations among the men over drinks continue, but the second day of the trip becomes largely defined by interactions between pairs of characters that result in misguided sexual tension that is fostered between them. Jameson's advances on Pete, for instance, go unnoticed or unreciprocated by the young man. Similarly, Mr. Talliaferro's interest in Jenny grows, though as is always the case with him, he is not able to realize any relationship with the girl.

Maurier shares in the disappointment of unrequited love as she watches all of the men on the boat fawn over Jenny and Pat.

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These two subjects of male gaze share their own brief sexually charged interaction as they lay together in the room they share. The only openly reciprocal feelings that seem to develop over the course of the day are between Pat and the nervous steward, David West, who she goes to meet for a midnight swim after her intimate encounter with Jenny. Two scenes diametrically opposed conclude the chapter as David West and Pat return in youthful joy from a midnight swim off of the now marooned boat, while Mrs. Maurer lies in bed sobbing in her loneliness. The third day on the yacht begins as Pat and David decide to leave the boat and elope to the town of Mandeville.

The chapter cuts back and forth between the characters on the boat and Pat and David as they make their way through a seemingly endless swamp to their intended destination.

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The sexual advances and artistic discussion continue among characters on the boat. The most notable change in this chapter is the dominant role Mrs.

Mosquitoes (novel) - Wikipedia

Wiseman comes to play both in her sexual exploits and in her display of intelligence. Wiseman's interest in Jenny is evident in her ever-present gaze upon the girl.


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Prior to this chapter, conversations on the merits of artistic production took place almost exclusively among the male passengers of the boat, but now, following her revealed gaze upon Jenny, Mrs. Wiseman holds a strong place in a debate between Fairchild, Julius, and Mark Frost. Maurier too is present, but her idealistic thoughts on the "art of Life" [5] are hardly heard. Eventually growing tired of talking, sitting, and eating, the passengers on the boat join together to try to pull the boat from where it is marooned.

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Their struggle to release the boat is mirrored by the Pat and David's struggle for survival as they continue to trudge, dehydrated through the swamp. Failing to free the boat, the characters return to the yacht and the brief reprieve from explorations of sexuality and art ends. These main themes return quickly as Mrs. Wiseman kisses Jenny and the rest of the men return to drinking and talking. Pat and David soon return and everything returns to normal by the end of the day.

The fourth day opens and David is gone again in pursuit of a better job. The excitement of the third day has vanished. The boat still stranded and no one knows where Gordon has gone.

Eventually the same man who brought back Pat and David also brings Gordon back and everyone is once again accounted for. With David out of the way, Gordon is finally given a chance to explore his attraction to Pat that brought him on the boating trip in the first place. They get in an argument that ends in an unusual manner with him spanking her like a child. Thereafter however, she lies in his arms and they get to know one another.


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The tugboat comes and frees the marooned yacht and everyone, including Gordon, spends the evening dancing. Talliaferro fall victim to a trick by Fairchild and Julius that leads him into a room which he thinks is Jenny's room but is in fact the room of Mrs. Maurier, to whom he is now apparently engaged.

The epilogue follows the Nausikaa's passengers onto land and back into their individual lives, tying up many loose ends.


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Jenny and Pete return to their families. Major Ayers attends a meeting to propose an invention of digestive salts that continually mentions throughout the story. Mark Frost and Mrs. Jameson, the two unimaginative artists, find love in each other and begin a relationship. Gordon, Julius, and Fairchild have one last discussion of art and Gordon reveals that he has shifted from working with marble to clay and has molded from it a likeness Mrs.

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Mosquitoes & Whisky - eBook

Maurier, much departed from his prior artistic obsession with representing the young female nude that he worked on in the beginning of the book. In the last section, Mr. Talliaferro visits Fairchild, distressed again by his ineptitude with women. After returning home, Talliaferro comes to what he thinks is a revelation regarding how he can be more successful with women.

The novel ends as he tries to call Fairchild, but on the other end is only the operator, who says sarcastically "You tell 'em, big boy; treat 'em rough. Inspiration for Mosquitoes has been traced to a specific yachting excursion in Faulkner's life that took place in April, on Lake Pontchartrain. If a bucket or tin can stands upright it stays full of water, and if you get down close enough to the water's surface inside these buckets and tin cans, you'll see what's shown below:. As a kid back on the farm in Kentucky I spent a lot of time with my head hung over the rim of a large, wooden barrel bought cheaply from nearby Glenmore Distillery Kentucky Tavern Bourbon.

The barrel caught rainwater off the coal-house roof, for the washing of our clothes. During my whole childhood the barrel smelled agreeably of aging whisky, but I didn't stick my head over the barrel's rim for the odor. I was watching a seething metropolis of aquatic critters, among the most common and fascinating of which were the ones in the above picture.

My father told me that the larger white things in the barrel, like the one at the left in the picture, were "wiggletails," and that they developed into mosquitoes. They were called wiggletails because they swam through water by violently jerking their bodies back and forth, "wiggling their tails.

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But, there was something missing in the above story, and the error didn't occur to me until I'd asked insect-identifier Bea in Ontario if she know what that dark, comma-shaped critter was to the right of the wiggletail in the picture. She shot back that it was a mosquito PUPA! Of course. The thing wrong with the whisky-barrel story was that mosquitoes belong to the insect order Diptera, along with flies, and dipterids undergo complete metamorphosis, entailing these four stages:. Bea's comma-shaped pupa supplied the missing link.