Purity in a Pandemic – And It’s Out Now (End of Part Six)

Reading all of part six in one sitting, I was surprised at just how little Andreas Wolf saw him as a self person trying to control the information, ending up just as bad as the totalitarian world he came from.

The difficulty with his fascination with younger girls is his belief in their goodness, in their purity. As if Pip didn’t have her own demons to fight, with wanting to find her father and conflating that with romantic impulses of two older men. Unfortunately, Andreas’s insular selfishness prevents him from seeing situations beyond his own image. He attempts to control Tom, and uses Pip to get to him. He hides behind the sanctimony of the Sunlight Project, by testifying that he must keep himself clean, though he knows full well that inside of him there is “The Killer.”

This killer is more than simply a literal designation for who Andreas Wolf is: it is also a metaphorical killer of intimacy, of relationships. It is an attempt at sterility. Like any monk ascetic, he wants to strip himself clean of all transgressions, of porn and other maladies, in order to achieve peak work, peak productivity.

Some good strangely comes out of all this, as Tom relays to Wolf that he and Leila were going through some things, and that Wolf’s “little shove” of them both has helped them get past some hurdle. This infuriates Andreas, connoting an intense desire for control of information.

Administrators would always want to videotape me giving my lessons, and now it seems with distance learning some people are inevitably going to be forced to do this if it continues in the fall. They claimed all sorts of things, like it helped me to be a better teacher. I responded that the second they were willing to videotape administrative meetings, that I would be willing to video tape myself. The problem with most institutions and the idea of transparency is that it is not equal. Wolf is totally willing to bring to light other people’s issues, yet the obvious hypocrisy of his secrets is destroying him on the inside. Annagret, though apparently “weak” is leading a much happier, though more parochial, life. At all times she wants to bring the murder they committed together to light, to “discuss discuss discuss.” Wolf, on the other hand, is miserable, and towards the end pleads for death.

At the end of the part, Wolf vindictively invades Tom’s computer and sends a draft of what looks to be a memoir to Pip. What Pip will do with all this information will complete the saga of Purity, and I am very excited to read its conclusion. What I have enjoyed most about the novel is the same as the previous ones, which is that I love seeing these themes play out among rounded characters, constantly critiquing my simple notions of information and transparency.

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