A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove Chapter 31 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Earlier that morning, Ove had gotten out Sonja's father’s rifle to shoot himself. He was interrupted, however, by something that made him extremely angry, and now he is standing in the road with the man in the white shirt, telling the man that there was nothing good on TV. Unlike all the other men in white shirts that Ove has dealt with, this one seems actually angry and that makes Ove feel very good inside.
The white shirts' lack of feeling makes them all the more frustrating for Ove, who feels so much anger and negative emotion about them. This white shirt is then marked as being different than all the others, which means that Ove will have to use new or different ways of fighting him than he's used in the past.
Themes
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Ove had planned to shoot himself when the cat went outside, but Parvaneh had knocked on Ove's door and asked to use the bathroom. On her way in, she hands Ove her phone and says it's the journalist. Ove accepts the phone and Lena asks Ove if he read the letter or the newspaper she sent. He hadn't read either but as he goes to find them, he notices the man in the white shirt driving his Škoda through the residential area. Ove drops the phone and runs out to yell at him.
Parvaneh is still knocking before coming in, but she's also definitely forcing Ove to accept her as a fixture in the neighborhood and in his house. The man in the white shirt continues to violate Ove's rules for the neighborhood and is also threatening Ove's community, which makes his presence even more infuriating.
Themes
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
The man in the white shirt gets out of his car by Rune and Anita's house as Ove yells at him. The man asks Ove what he's going to do about his rule breaking and tells Ove that he knows all about Ove's fight with the council after Sonja's accident. When Ove approaches the man, the man puts his hand on Ove's chest and tells him to go inside and watch TV. Ove stands, angry, and watches the man and his female companion go into Rune's house.
Ove is a known entity for the man in the white shirt, while the man in the white shirt is still a mystery to Ove. This creates a major power imbalance, particularly since Ove has a history of failure and the white shirt has the council and bureaucracy on his side.
Themes
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Ove walks to Parvaneh's house and asks if Patrick is home. Parvaneh nods and Patrick opens the door. He greets Ove cheerfully, which Ove ignores. Ove asks if Patrick can procure the trailer he had when he and Parvaneh moved in.
Ove's transformation is evident: he's calling on previously despised members of his community for help, something that was entirely unthinkable a week ago.
Themes
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
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When the man in the white shirt comes out of Rune's house, he finds his car blocked by a trailer. Ove stands there and insists he didn't do it, and then refuses to move the trailer. He only points to the sign forbidding vehicles in the residential area. When the man asks if Ove has anything better to do, Ove insists that there's nothing good on TV. The man tells Ove that this was silly, and he and his companion stalk away.
Ove's love of rules and regulations allows him to achieve this victory. The fact that Ove most certainly drove in the residential area to park the trailer suggests that the fight to keep Rune in his home is more important to Ove than even his most important principles. He's willing to break his own rules to protect his community.
Themes
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Rather than looking thrilled, Ove just looks sad. Parvaneh comes up behind him and tells him that they're going to take Rune away from Anita. Anita appears suddenly and tells Ove that they're coming to get Rune later that week. Parvaneh tries to call Ove to action, but Ove only insists that it'll take years to get through all the bureaucracy. Parvaneh and Ove argue that neither knows what they're talking about, and Ove suddenly feels drained. He realizes that the white shirts always come back and win, and that life will go on without Sonja. Ove goes into his house, ignores Parvaneh banging on the door, and cries.
Here, Ove becomes trapped by his memories. He's never truly won anything from the white shirts, and this parking victory is small compared to the larger goal. His experiences fighting for Sonja were largely unsuccessful and certainly draining, hence his loss of hope here. Notice, though, that this is the first time we hear of Ove crying. This suggests that it's possible he's beginning to actually grieve and recover, rather than just pretending as though Sonja is still around.
Themes
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon