1105 Adelaide, Fort Smith, AR- Home which inspired
the design for the Cordero’s home in The River Series.
Over this long weekend while my kids practice shooting hoops and throwing snowballs at the house, I’ve been sitting inside under a blankie, totally nerding it up. For a long time, I’ve wanted to sit down and analyze The River Series and, now, I’ve finally done it. This is part one of at least a three-part series. Still to come…
* The House on the Corner of 4th and H, Part 2: The Hiding Holes
* The Chiastic Structure of The River Series.
Yeah, like I said, I’ve been nerding it up…
The House on the Corner of 4th and H, Part 1: The Created Purpose
In The River Series, the house on the corner of 4th and H goes on a journey which is a poignant reflection of the journey Daniella goes on.
For both Daniella and the house on the corner of 4thand H, an overwhelming yearning to return to their created purposes reigns. But what are their created purposes? To know that, we must see what they were when the story first began, before their “fall”, so to speak.
The story more or less begins with Franco and Catrin Cordero. They are the creators of the house and of Daniella. From what we discover through meeting their family, they filled the house with love and joy, peace and tranquility- and lots of children. Since Daniella’s soul and the house’s spirit are intertwined, it suffices to say they both desire to return to that which they had in the beginning- a joyful, loving, peaceful, tranquil family in which there are lots of children.
But both are abruptly thrown into chaos, and they are no longer serving their created purposes. In one single day, the family is reduced to two people- Daniella and Franco. The children mourn, and the empty bedrooms are a sign of the house’s mourning. There is a brief period in which it seems Franco’s and Daniella’s struggle to survive in their new normal directly affects the house’s struggle for survival. With no caretaker of the children, the house also faces an uncertain future.
Soon thereafter, however, the house is commandeered by a corrupt relative (Wulf) and turned into a bordello. The house is full again, yes, and there are lots of people in Daniella’s life- but it is a far cry from the loving family both desires. There is a brief period here where the survival of the house, as well as the children, depends upon the cooperation of Wulf, Franco and Mr. Ulric. However, the triumvirate collapses, with Franco ultimately losing, and it is restructured into a partnership between Mr. Ulric and Wulf. For five years while caught in the middle of the struggle between these two characters (and while subjected to immorality of all kinds), the reputations of Daniella and the house suffer- the house’s as a family home and Daniella’s as an innocent girl.
A time of uncertainty arrives when Daniella leaves with Henry Callum. Will the house continue as a house of ill fame? Or will it be redeemed?Likewise, Daniella’s future is uncertain. Will she be forced to go back to work for her uncle as a prostitute? Or, with the Callum’s help, will she find a new life?
At last, the bordello is shut down. Daniella returns to the house, along with the Callums, and they clear out everything from the house which wreaked of immorality. With the Callum’s help, Daniella, likewise, strives during this time to shed the immorality of her past. Then, they move into the house. Though the future of both the house and Daniella is uncertain, they remain on the path to redemption. But the Callums cannot stay. Soon, they move out of the house (with Daniella) and another family (the Deckers) moves in.
Though the reader learns very little about the Decker family, a few things can be assumed. For one, they have many children. Thus, all the bedrooms are being lived in again. Secondly, the house no longer serves as the birthing place of immorality. Rather, it now literally serves as a birthing place of new life. (Note that Mrs. Decker is pregnant upon the Deckers moving into the home.) Another thing to note is that, during this same time, much is learned about Daniella’s life. She grows up from a sixteen-year-old to a woman. Since the house’s journey parallels to Daniella’s journey, it can be assumed that the house matures, as well, and this is done by the help of the Decker family.
But one thing is learned here that may not have been assumed before. Though both Daniella and the house have loving families to call their own, neither seems “settled”. That is, Daniella keeps longing for a family, even though she is technically already a part of the Callum family, and the house’s inhabitants are renters, not permanent residents. So, what’s the missing element for them to both find their created purpose?
They were made for one another. Neither Daniella nor the house can serve their created purpose without the other.
After many years, the Deckers vacate the house. This particular point in time once again puts the future of the house into uncertain realms. Will anyone move in? Will Daniella sell it? Will she rent it? Or will she allow it to fall into neglect? As the reader learns, Daniella’s life is in flux and she does not know what her future holds. But she is drawn to the houseand, ultimately, she returns. Tio Daniel shows up for the first time, and he immediately sets to work repairing the house which was the dreamwork of his brother, Franco (Daniella’s father). In a parallel way, Daniel’s appearance into Daniella’s life begins restorative works into her soul (and she is a creation of her father’s, as well).
Though Daniella lives there alone for a while, the house begins to respire with life again. Desma, Raymond, Genny- and even Betty- move in. Then, Nathan does, as well. The house, however, like Daniella, suffers from the reputation of its past, and both experience a setback which are due to their infamous pasts.
But they stick together this time, Daniella and that house.
Daniella comes to no longer hide from the shadows of her past and, at the same time, she moves forward with who she is now. The house, too, seems to come to accept that which it was while, still, owning what it now is. As Daniella strides into the walk of a more mature adult and begins to flourish again, so does the house.
But there is a question which lingers on Daniella’s mind. Was I created to be a whore? After all, if I can have sex but I can’t have children, then what good is this desire in me to be a mother? The house with its empty rooms seems to echo that cry of despair. Why have all these rooms if there is no one to fill them? Nathan’s presence in the house and in Daniella’s life brings the answers and healing that both desires.
Finally, symbiosis is reached. Daniella finds her place as a wife and mother. And the house, which was created to be a home, is, at last, filled with a loving family.