A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Nasanin is delighted by Ove. The seven-year-old is less delighted as she leads her sister up the hospital steps. Parvaneh looks ready to hit Ove, but decides not to. Ove follows them into the hospital, thinking about the parking debacle that just took place. He'd yelled at the parking attendant that he was a fake policeman and thinks that it's a rip-off to pay for parking when you go to the hospital to die. Parvaneh had offered to pay, and Ove had declared that women don't understand principles.
Parvaneh understands that principles aren't the most important thing; sometimes, it's more important to live in the real world and stay flexible. Ove then genders Parvaneh's outlook as feminine. Notably, her belief here prioritizes people and the wellbeing of others over being right, something that Ove isn't yet willing to cave on.
Themes
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Ove studies the signs in the hospital entrance explaining the out-of-service elevators and that Beppo the clown is visiting the hospital today. Ove grouses that the hospital makes you pay to use the restroom, and Parvaneh offers him some change. Ove insists he doesn't need to use the bathroom and seems offended that Parvaneh offered. When she asks Ove how much time he put on the parking meter and finds he only put ten minutes on it, Ove says he'll feed the meter in ten minutes rather than pay for more time that they might not even use.
Just like the injustice of having to pay for parking at a hospital, Ove sees having to pay for a bathroom as a complete rip off and worth commenting on for the sake of pointing out that it's an unjust system. Again, Parvaneh is less concerned with hanging onto change and more concerned with making sure her companions are comfortable.
Themes
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Parvaneh tells her daughters to sit with Ove while she goes to see Patrick. She disappears before Ove can argue. Nasanin happily screams and runs towards the kids' toys in the waiting room. Ove turns to the seven-year-old and asks her if she needs to use the restroom or needs food. She's very offended and insists that she's almost eight and can use the bathroom alone. Nasanin returns with a book and says "read!" to Ove. Ove looks at the book as though it's evil, but follows her to the bench. Nasanin threads herself between Ove's legs and excitedly looks at the pictures.
By their very nature, children challenge Ove's love of structure and rules. Nasanin in particular wants nothing more than to spend time with Ove (prioritizing people) and doesn't care for Ove's insistence that they follow rules and his principles. Ove's willingness to read the book suggests he's not as cold as he'd like people to think, however. He wants to make the girls happy enough to get through this ordeal at the hospital.
Themes
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Ove begins to unenthusiastically read a story about a train. The seven-year-old explains that he has to "do the voices" and Ove attempts unsuccessfully to not curse as he argues with her about the quality of the book. Nasanin is thrilled that Ove swore and cries "clown!" When Ove insists he's not a clown, the seven-year-old points to the approaching clown. Nasanin is beside herself with excitement as the clown approaches and offers to perform a magic trick. He asks Ove for a coin and Ove says he doesn't have one. The clown asks Ove again for a coin and insists he'll give it back. Nasanin keeps screaming and finally, Ove gives the clown a coin.
The book doesn't follow Ove's principles, and he's not above arguing with children about that. Ove's principles dictate that the clown is surely lying and will obviously steal a coin. Though this moment is particularly humorous, it's also sad to see the extent of Ove's principles. Here, they don't help him at all as he both denies the girls a magic trick and doesn't feel that he can trust even a hospital clown, someone whose job is to bring joy.
Themes
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Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
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Several minutes later, Parvaneh returns and a nurse directs her to Ove and the girls. Ove sits angrily on a bench with a child on each side and a security guard standing on either side of them. When Parvaneh asks incredulously what happened, Nasanin happily shrieks that Ove hit the clown. The seven-year-old tries to explain that the clown was going to make Ove's coin disappear as her sister continues excitedly to say that Ove hit the clown. Parvaneh stares at her daughters and Ove for a minute before telling the security guards that she's taking her daughters to see Patrick.
Nasanin is entirely unconcerned with the fact that Ove hit a clown. At three years old, she doesn't yet understand the rules and conventions that society expects people to follow. Her obvious joy at Ove's actions suggests that there's some happiness to be gained by simply not acknowledging that there are codes of conduct in place. Her youth keeps her from adhering to the rules, and that in turn makes this a fantastic experience for her and only her.
Themes
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When Ove, Parvaneh, Nasanin, and the seven-year-old make it back to Ove's garage, Parvaneh offers to pay Ove's parking ticket. The seven-year-old heads back to her house as Ove insists that he'll pay his own ticket, and Nasanin happily tells Ove he's funny. He tells her that she should turn out okay. Parvaneh notices the tube on the floor and looks worried. She asks Ove to help her move the ladder and fix a radiator in her house. She says that Patrick doesn't know how to fix things and suggests that Ove can't let the girls freeze.
Parvaneh manipulates Ove's desire to both have things be right and make fun of Patrick as she convinces him to fix her radiators. By insisting that Ove help his community, she keeps him from spending the rest of the day going back to his task of committing suicide. Ove insists on sticking to his own principles by not allowing Parvaneh to pay his parking ticket, though his decision to help shows that he's coming around to the idea that community isn't entirely bad.
Themes
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Ove decides that Sonja would be very upset if he let the girls freeze. He closes up his garage, fetches his tools from the shed, and decides that he will kill himself the next day.
Again, the thought of what Sonja would say keeps Ove making decisions that turn him towards the community again and again.
Themes
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon