Anxious People

Anxious People

by

Fredrik Backman

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Anxious People: Chapter 49 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
It’s idiotic of Jack to not have realized everything from the start. Maybe it’s his mom’s fault, in that thinking about her so much today has distracted him. When she was alive, she was always fighting with people, Jack especially. She used to travel abroad to do volunteer work and once, she got caught up in a riot and someone stabbed her. She called home as soon as she could, but Jack had already seen the incident on TV, and he angrily asked why she never thought about her family. Jack’s mom knew he was just afraid and concerned, but she told him that boats are meant to leave the harbor. She was impossible to argue with, and when she died, the world changed forever.
Thus far, the novel has shown readers how its parents are often afraid for their children’s wellbeing. But this anecdote about Jack and his mom shows that the opposite is also true: Jack seems to have regularly feared for his mom’s safety. But this fear, and the fighting it causes between Jack and his mom, is also something the novel frames as somewhat normal between parents and children. It’s a sign of how much they love and care for each other. 
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
All this to say, when Jack and Jim are standing out on the street waiting for the negotiator from Stockholm, they’re thinking about Jack’s mom and what she’d do. When the lime/pizza order hits Jack in the head, they call the negotiator and suggest that this is the best way to get in contact with the robber. Jack swears that the bomb in the hallway isn’t really a bomb, and he insists that the robber is just scared, not dangerous. He asks to talk to the robber but doesn’t say that he’s sure he can save everyone. The negotiator is still stuck in traffic, so he gives Jack the go-ahead, as long as Jack gets a phone to the robber so the negotiator can call him.
Remember that Jack’s mom always told her family members to help who they can. In the hostage situation, Jack wants to help all the hostages, but he’s pretty sure that he can at least help the robber. Notably, as Jack and the negotiator discuss the robber, Jack is looking critically at the information in front of him to come to a conclusion. He’s not assuming—and readers know that in this situation, Jack is right. The robber is just scared.
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon
Jack asks what they do if the robber won’t open the door or take the phone—the robber hasn’t behaved rationally so far. Jim suggests they stick the phone in a pizza box, and the negotiator agrees that this is a good idea. Jack says it was his dad’s idea, which embarrasses Jim. Jim orders the pizzas and asks for a uniform too. When the pizzas are ready, Jack and Jim argue about who’s taking the pizzas in. Jim begins changing in the street and says that Jack’s mom wouldn’t forgive him if he let Jack go. Jack points out that Jim was her husband, but Jim says she was Jack’s mom.
It may be embarrassing for Jim to have Jack make sure Jim gets credit for his idea, but this does highlight how much Jack does love and appreciate his dad. As the men argue over who gets to take the pizzas in, they invoke an old argument: should parents sacrifice themselves for their kids, or should kids sacrifice themselves? Jack seems to know very well that Jim and his mom believe that parents should sacrifice for their kids, which is why he ultimately stops fighting Jim and allows his dad to put on the delivery uniform.
Themes
Parenting and Fear Theme Icon
Assumptions  Theme Icon