A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The narrator says that Ove just wants to die in peace. He didn't kill himself right after Sonja died because he still had to go to work, but now that he's been forcibly retired, he's prepared to die. He has an envelope filled with all his important documents, his utility accounts are paid, and the newspaper subscription is canceled. Ove sits in his Saab and thinks he can probably die today if he can avoid his neighbors. He sees the overweight young man from next door wave to him cheerfully. Ove nods back curtly and thinks that his wife liked the young man. His wife took food to him every week after his mother died, and told Ove to stop when he made mean jokes about not getting their containers back.
Ove's principles and sense of duty kept him from committing suicide earlier. This suggests that Ove views his principles as being more important than his sense of family—he seems to believe that he'll be able to maintain his familial relationship with Sonja by dying and joining her in the afterlife, but he’s unwilling to compromise his self-imposed principles to do so. We see that Sonja was kind, caring, and involved in her community. We also see that the community is standing in Ove's way of dying, even if he's not actively participating in it.
Themes
Memory and Grief Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
Ove gets out of his Saab, locks the garage door, and heads back to his house. As he passes the bike shed he sees a woman's bicycle improperly parked outside. Ove puts the bike away and notices that it has a puncture in the tire. As Ove locks the door to the bike shed, a teenage boy asks Ove loudly what he's doing. Ove explains that the bike was improperly parked, and the youth (whose name is later revealed to be Adrian) incredulously replies that he was repairing the bike. Ove points out that it's a woman's bike and therefore cannot possibly belong to this male teenager.
Notice here that Ove doesn't consider the possibility that the youth might be repairing the bike for someone else. Again, this shows how distrustful Ove is of people in his community and how he very much expects them to not look out for or help each other. Ove expects that everyone is operating the same way he is and thinks of themselves as being very much alone in the neighborhood.
Themes
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Ove and the youth glare at each other and Ove notices another teenager with "black stuff" around his eyes behind the bike-parking teen. The youth mutters that the bike belongs to his girlfriend and points to her house down the street. Ove says that she can pick up her bike in the shed, and walks away. The youth calls Ove a bastard while the other young man (whose name is later revealed to be Mirsad) steers the youth away from causing trouble.
Ove continues to deny others the opportunity to create community by clinging tightly to his rigid principles. Ove's scathing remark that the bike is a woman's bike suggests early on that Ove has definite ideas about what roles men and women play, and isn't at all interested in muddying or perceiving nuance in those roles.
Themes
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
As Ove stomps back to his house he thinks about all his horrible neighbors. He remembers that the heavy young man's name is Jimmy and wonders what Jimmy does for a living. He decides it's either something criminal or testing bacon. On the other side of Jimmy lives Rune, Ove's enemy. Rune and his wife, Anita, moved in on the same day that Ove and Sonja did. Rune drove a Volvo then, but has since upgraded to a BMW. Ove thinks you can't reason with people who buy BMWs. The narrator says that it's Rune's fault that Ove is no longer the chairman of the Residents' Association, and Ove hasn't shown his face in meetings since then.
Like the Mercedes Ove tormented on the way to the shopping center, Rune's BMW is a foreign car, and a luxury car at that, and is therefore seen by Ove as a rejection of Swedish culture and sensibilities. In Ove's mind, Rune is also responsible for the fact that Ove is no longer powerful in the Residents' Association. Notice too that Ove doesn't go if he doesn't have power; he doesn't see himself as useful or the organization as worthwhile if he's not the one steering it.
Themes
Rules and Order Theme Icon
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
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When Ove gets close to his house, he notices that “Blond Weed” is yelling violently and throwing stones at the cat, which is backed into a corner, bleeding, and hissing at her dog. Ove comes up behind Weed and tells her to stop. When she insists that the cat scratched Prince, Ove notes that the cat is bleeding and therefore the fight looks even. Weed insists that the cat is rabid, and Ove says that Weed is probably also rabid but they don't throw stones at her. Ove tells Weed that the dog needs to be on a leash in the residential area and to leave the cat alone. He adds that the next time the dog urinates on his paving, he'll electrify the stone. Weed leaves angrily.
Ove is finally engaging in and picking sides in the neighborhood squabbles. He dislikes both “Blond Weed” and the cat, but we see here that he does have a sense of right and wrong when it comes to how people treat animals. It's undeniable that Blond Weed is being cruel, which Ove sees as a direct rejection of his principles of fairness. Here, then, Ove uses his principles to do some good in the world.
Themes
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon
On his way to his shed Ove notices a puddle of urine from the dog. Ove gets out his drill and drill bits. The cat stares at him when he comes out of the shed, and Ove yells at it to leave. The cat seems unconcerned and saunters away. Ove slams his door on the way into his house and decides he's had enough and he's going to die now.
Just because he saved the cat from Blond Weed's torment doesn't mean Ove actually likes the cat; he just believes in doing what he thinks is right. Notice too that this little bit of involvement in the community is enough to push Ove immediately to suicide. Any kind of engagement is too painful for him at this point.
Themes
Love, Family, and Community Theme Icon
Principles, Fairness, and Loyalty Theme Icon