Strange Commonplace: “family dynamic” and clothing in same-name chapters

This was an effort to see if there were any correspondences between the same-named chapters of A Strange Commonplace with respect to two recurring motifs: types of clothing and what I called “family dynamic” (were the chapter’s characters brothers, lovers, parents, or what.). In bold is the chapter title and (1) (2) refers to the book the chapter occurs in. Result was: I found no such correspondences.


In the Bedroom (1) homburg, fedora; lingerie, stockings; white silk scarf with blue polka dots (2) loose shoes; furry coat, dress, green dress.

Success (1) dark suit, elegant tie, gleaming white shirt (2) dark business suit and white blouse; gold-ball earings, jacket, skirt, shoes stockings.

Born Again (1) coat, dress, slip, flats, pink chenille bathrobe, worn corduroy slippers; lingerie drawer; white chemise from wedding day (2) “you need clean clothes

Lovers Not even a passing or general reference to any type of clothing in either (1) or (2).

Another Story (1) A suede jacket (in a box). (2) “to find you gone with all your clothes and things gone”, “I look in your empty closet and my heart feels as if it is going to break.” A doll with three outfits.

Movies: No clothes mentioned in (1) or (2).

Pair of Deuces: (1) Borsalino, baseball caps, powder blue worsted suit, white sun dress. (2) Blue suede jacket, (dress, skirt, blouse, panties, run in stocking, t-shirt) “he wanted her out of her clothes” ; “She hated to buy clothes for Bill, whatever she bought him, even underwear and socks, was always wrong.”

In Dreams: (1) “a dark suit, starched white shirt, small patterned navy blue time, and navy blue polo coat”, grey suede gloves, black watch cap, woman’s suit jacket, white brassiere, “a white shirt, fashionably faded and tattered jeans, and highly polished boots.” (2) skirt, pale blue silk suit, “naked save for her white cotton anklet and white canvas shoes”, “white nylon uniform” (said to be waitresses but seems like a nurse’s), “pink polyester uniform”

On The Roof: (1) oxford gray suit, gray homburg, black wingtip shoes, black socks, black garters, white shirt, dark blue tie, gold tie clasp. (2) dark suit, white shirt, carefully knotted tie; blouse, skirt, half-slip, brassiere.

A Familiar Woman: (1) purple velvet dress, black gabardine suit, shorts, suede jacket, long flowered skirt; “would change his clothes prior to making drinks”; “refuse to remember owning or wearing these clothes.” (2) skirt, blouse.

In the Diner: (1) pink polyester uniform, white crepe-soled shoes; (2) navy blue overcoat, snap-brim fedora, silk scarf snow-white with blue polka dots, “black dress with golden things on it”,

Happy Days: (1) none. (2) hat, silk scarf, skirt.

Claire: (1) none. (2) slip (taken on and off), hospital gowns, paper slippers that say mickie and minnie, blouse, pumps, “New York clothes”.

Rockefeller Center: (1) black velour dress, silver stitching on the bodice, stockings (2) grey homburg, camel hair polo coat, snap brim felt hat, Adam hats.

Brothers: (1) pajamas and overcoat, stained homburg. (2) “cheap one-button lounge suits”, hipster sunglasses, purple tie.

A Small Adventure: (1) an expensive dark suit that needed cleaning and pressing, a white shirt with a dirty collar, panties, slip; (2) underwear, “she didn’t, at least, have to get dressed.”

Another Small Adventure: (1) no underwear but hat and scarf (2) “office clothes” dark suit, white blouse.

Cold Supper: (1) shoes, shoe laces, housecoat, onyx and gold earings, best underwear, silk stockings (carefully gartered), overcoat, taught black dress with gold threading, persian lamb coat. (2) stained housecoat, tattered stockings, “sweaty dirty dress”.

Pearl Grey Homburg: (1) pearl grey homburg (like new), oxford grey shadow stripe suit (2) pearl grey homburg (soiled), long flowered skirt, “her clothes, of course, would all be gone,” heavy black woolen sweater, Hanes briefs (unopened), “they often shared each other’s clothes, even shoes and underwear,” black french garter belt and nylons, black gabardine suits, chignons.

An Apartment: (1) flower print housecoat, high-heeled pumps (times two). (2) none.

Saturday Afternoon: (1) none; (2) none.

Snow: (1) navy blue overcoat, pearl gray homburg, white silk scarf with blue polka dots; (2) black silk blouse, bright green skating costume with matching fur-trimmed tam (skirt), scarf and coat, upturned collar, dressed and undressed.

The Jungle: (1) crotch of metallic jeans, (2) shoes, adjusting, fixing, taking off clothes.

Rain: (1) black and silver evening dress that needs cleaning, wingtip shoes oozing and dissolving; (2) shoes ruined by the rain, sodden overcoats.

The Alpine: (1) scarves, “clothes”. (2) mother’s pants, skirt.

A Wake: (1) Hugo Boss or Armani suit, purple velvet dress with black silk dress, black pumps and stockings, black gabardine suit; (2) black and grey argyle socks, dark grey suit, white shirt, navy blue tie, bluchers, “articles of apparel”, black dress, badly fitting suit, purple velvet dress, skirt, little black dress.

Family dynamics

In the bedroom (1) straying husband, faithful wife, a daughter (2) straying husband, faithful wife, a son.

Success. (1) a single man, a straying wife (in an open relationship) (2) coworkers, married to other people, about to begin an affair.

Born Again. (1) a presumably straying husband and faithful wife with a daughter (2) a straying husband (with a single woman), a straying wife (in retaliation) with a single man.

Lovers (1) Woman long estranged (but not divorced) from husband, no kids, a male companion (2) Woman with a male companion who divorced her first husband, who has gone on to remarry and have three kids.

Another Story (1) Singles: a man, a friend from the past, the friend’s girlfriend at that time. (2) A trio: straying husband, wife, and daughter.

Movies: (1) a family of three from the standpoint of the grown son. (2) a “fake” family of three in the movies, (Hal, Peggy, Scotty).

Pair of Deuces: (1) old man with a son and daughter-n-law; (2) husband, wife and daughter/ husband and wife.

In Dreams: (1) a family of three, husband, wife, and son. (2) a single guy.

On The Roof: (1) father (having left his former wife and child) and new wife. (2) husband and wife.

A Familiar Woman: (1) Man and wife ( partner). (2) Husband, wife, two kids; man’s second wife; two widows.

In the Diner: (1) no relatives. (2) son, father, mother.

Happy Days: (1) no relatives. (2) father, mother, daughter / single woman.

Claire: (1) divorced man / incestuous: father, daughter, uncle. (2) single woman.

Rockefeller Center: (1) man first single then married (2) two seniors married to other people, at least one with kids

Brothers: (1) man, wife, daughter/ man, wife, daughter, son .(2) two married couples.

A Small Adventure: (1) married couple. (2) woman, son, ex-husband / married couple.

Another Small Adventure: (1) A married couple (2) single woman (maybe).

Cold Supper: (1) man, wife, son (Joey) (2) man, wife, son (Charlie).

Pearl Gray Homburg: (1) father, wife, daughter, son; (2) single people.

An Apartment: (1) unknown, single woman. (2) unknown, old man.

Saturday Afternoon: (1) old man with grown son (dating) and daughter (apparently single) and a teenaged grandson (wife/ mother absent); (2) old man with son (engaged), daughter (one guesses, divorced), and highschool aged grandson (wife/ mother absent).

Snow: (1) mother, father, son; (2) (unknown)

The Jungle: (1) single man (unknown); (2) married woman.

Rain: (1) dreamer (2) fathers and sons.

The Alpine (1) father, mother, son (suggested); (2) mother, father, son.

A WAKE: (1) single woman; (2) man, his girlfriend, ex-wife, her husband,

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