A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
As Ove regards the cat in the snowdrift, Parvaneh rushes towards him, asking in a terrified voice if the cat is dead. Ove tells her he's not a vet and certainly doesn't have to save the cat. He continues that the cat will come out when the snow melts, and Parvaneh throws a glove at Ove and digs the cat out of the snow. She yells at Ove to open the door to his house. Ove feels out of breath and thinks of Ernest as Parvaneh yells again to open the door.
It's unclear here if Ove is behaving this way because Parvaneh is around to care about the cat, or if he truly doesn't care what happens to the cat. The latter seems unlikely, given that Ove has felt concern for the cat before, which suggests that Ove is very concerned with keeping up his appearances as a curmudgeonly old man with strict principles.
Themes
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Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Parvaneh strides into Ove's house with the dripping cat and orders Ove to find her blankets. She tells him to turn up the radiators. Ove refuses but goes upstairs to get blankets. He hears another voice downstairs and when he descends the stairs, finds Jimmy with Parvaneh and the cat in his living room. Jimmy greets Ove cheerfully and tells Parvaneh that wrapping the cat in the blanket won't work to warm it up.
As Parvaneh manipulates Ove into allowing her to care for the cat in his home, she seems very reminiscent of what we've heard thus far about Sonja. She's forcing Ove to accept the community and he reluctantly does as she tells him to.
Themes
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Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Ove argues with Parvaneh about the cat's outlook as Jimmy takes off his shirt and cuddles the cat close to his chest. He introduces himself to Parvaneh and Ove insists that Jimmy is going to strangle the cat. Jimmy just smiles and tells Ove that a fat person such as himself is exceptionally good at warming things up with body heat. Parvaneh checks the cat's nose and finds it warmer. Ove is relieved, though he won't admit it.
Jimmy shows that he's exceptionally good-natured and helpful. He knows that Ove thinks less of him because he's overweight, but he seems to be unbothered by this knowledge. The fact that Ove is relieved that the cat is getting better shows that he does care for members of the community, even if he's uncomfortable saying so.
Themes
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Parvaneh goes into the kitchen to heat water. Ove follows after her and finds her standing still and looking overwhelmed at the sight of Ove's kitchen. Sonja's things are everywhere collecting dust, the floor is covered in wheel marks, and the counters are very low. Ove is used to the way people look at the kitchen. The narrator says he rebuilt it himself after the accident. Ove takes the kettle from Parvaneh and fills it with water while she apologizes for coming into the kitchen without asking first. Ove lets her hand rest on his shoulder.
We finally learn that Sonja was in a wheelchair. With the kitchen, Ove took his belief in doing things rather than saying things to the extreme by rebuilding it himself to show Sonja he loved and cared about her. Parvaneh's surprise speaks to how well Ove has been able to keep Sonja's condition a secret up until now, though his reasons for not sharing Sonja with anyone are still unclear.
Themes
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Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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Jimmy calls to Ove and asks for some food. Ove brings Jimmy a sandwich and they remark that the cat looks much better. Jimmy offers Ove condolences for Sonja's death. Ove doesn't feel angry. He tells Parvaneh that she has to take the cat, but she says her daughters are allergic. Ove turns to Jimmy, but Jimmy says he's also allergic. Ove and Parvaneh notice that Jimmy is sweating and blotchy. Parvaneh takes the cat and shrieks that they have to take Jimmy to the hospital. Ove says he's barred from the hospital but when he sees the look on Parvaneh's face, he leads the way to his car. He lets Parvaneh pay for parking at the hospital.
In this moment when Ove is entirely overwhelmed with kindness from his community, he brings himself to accept their kindness, their care, and even to put aside his principles to let Parvaneh do something nice for him and pay for parking. Jimmy's kindness also takes on a sacrificial light here. While Ove takes his grumpiness to an extreme that hurts him, Jimmy does the same thing with his kindness.
Themes
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon