In the Lake of the Woods

In the Lake of the Woods

Paul Wade (mentioned by name only once in the novel) is John’s father, and the husband of Eleanor Wade. He plays an enormous role in the novel, insofar as he influences his son’s fondness for deception, manipulation, bullying, and charm. John’s father is a popular figure in his community, and John loves him deeply. At the same time, his father is a drunk, and frequently bullies him, calling him fat and effeminate for wanting to practice magic. Eventually, Paul commits suicide by hanging himself. John is in high school at the time, and is devastated. John learns to use fantasy to repress his sense of sadness, and imagines having long, loving conversations with his father long after his father’s death. It’s suggested many times that Paul’s death gives John a deep need to be loved, a need which influences his decision to enter politics as a career and to marry Kathy. It’s also implied that John learns to go by many names because his father called him names as a child.

Paul Wade Quotes in In the Lake of the Woods

The In the Lake of the Woods quotes below are all either spoken by Paul Wade or refer to Paul Wade. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of In the Lake of the Woods published in 1995.
Chapter 23 Quotes

Curiously, as he worked out the details, Wade found himself experiencing a dull new sympathy for his father. This was how it was. You go about your business. You carry the burdens, entomb yourself in silence, conceal demon-history from all others and most times from yourself. Nothing theatrical … and then one day you discover a length of clothesline. You amaze yourself.

Related Characters: Narrator (speaker), John Herman Wade, Paul Wade
Page Number: 241
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Paul Wade Character Timeline in In the Lake of the Woods

The timeline below shows where the character Paul Wade appears in In the Lake of the Woods. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Further quotes and reports inform us that John’s father bullied him when John was a child. John loved his father, Eleanor says, which is... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Nature of Loss
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
John Wade’s father died when John was fourteen years old. After learning of his father’s death, he felt... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
For weeks after his father’s death, John buries his head in his pillow and imagines his father being alive. He... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...the stories John tells himself comfort him, nothing works for long. John can’t fool himself—his father is dead. Nevertheless, he imagines finding his father in the house, putting him in his... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Nature of Marriage
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...magic, John the child liked to pretend that the tricks are real. At fourteen, John’s father dies, and in his mind he performs magic tricks that restore his father to life. (full context)
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...is a freshman. John is desperate to make Kathy love him. He thinks of his father’s death, and worries to Kathy that things could go wrong between them. Shortly after they... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
The night he sees Kathy, John sleeps in a hotel and thinks about his father’s funeral. He remembers wanting to hit everyone with a hammer, including his father. The next... (full context)
Chapter 10: The Nature of Love
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...not because he wanted to be a good citizen or a hero. He imagines his father praising him for fighting. He thinks to himself that he sometimes does bad things to... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...he would rush back outside and return home. At home, John would talk to his father. His father would ask him to watch a baseball game tomorrow, and John would say,... (full context)
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...in front of the mirror. He thinks that he can use magic to read his father’s mind. While looking in the mirror, he imagines his father thinking that he loves John.... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
John’s father is a popular, charming man. The other boys in the neighborhood love to play football... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
At the age of eleven, John and his father drive to Karra’s Studio of Magic to buy John’s Christmas present. John notes that the... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...trick. She demonstrates that there is a sharp blade on the Guillotine, and tells John’s father to put his arm under it. John’s father is reluctant to do so, but John... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
When John’s father died, John was a teenager. The day he was buried, John performed magic in front... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...and call her, “My Kath.” As he stares at her, Sorcerer pictures Weatherby, and his father’s coffin. He imagines two snakes eating each other, and dreams of the possibility that they... (full context)
Chapter 12: Evidence
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...tricks, including Chinese rings and a Silk load, as well as a postcard from John’s father that contains the words “out of here soon.” (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Eleanor says that when John was eleven, his father, whose name was Paul, went to stay with a state treatment center to fight his... (full context)
Chapter 16: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...“tricks,” dating from the time after he returned from the war: 12 photographs of his father, a deck of cards, an empty bottle of vodka, magic books, and medals, including a... (full context)
Chapter 20: Evidence
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...that he shot no people in Vietnam, only cows. Eleanor says that she “found” John’s father in the garage, and that she “knew” even before she went in. A biographer of... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Eleanor says that John became more secretive after his father hanged himself. Lawrence Ehlers, John’s gym coach, describes the heartbreaking experience of pulling John out... (full context)
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Eleanor reports that John was yelling at his father’s funeral—she thinks that John never accepted his father’s death, since for years afterwards she heard... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Nature of the Spirit
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
John remembers how his father called him Jiggling John. John knew at the time that his father was drunk, but... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
By the eighth grade, John has begun to grow, and his father calls him Javelin John instead of making fun of his weight. Throughout middle school and... (full context)
Chapter 23: Where They Looked
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...“secrets” about himself: the teakettle and the boathouse. He wants to tell them about his father, his fascination with magic and mirrors, etc. John drifts deep into thought. Some time later,... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
...of “casual transportation,” similar to snakes eating one another. As he thinks, he remembers his father, and thinks that he knows what his father went through. John’s father’s suicide was a... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...and then dives back to the bottom of the lake again. John thinks about his father. As a child, John imagined his father praising his magic tricks. John thinks that he... (full context)
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...himself a drink, noticing that Pat is quietly crying. John thinks that he’s like his father. (full context)
Chapter 25: Evidence
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
...John always had nicknames for himself—some of which, like “Jiggling John” and “Little Merlin,” John’s father gave him. Karl S. Guthke, author of a biography of the author B. Traven, opines... (full context)
Chapter 28: How He Went Away
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
...about his memories. He can’t stop thinking about Thuan Yen. Similarly, his memories of his father’s death keep replaying in his mind. He thinks that the villagers in Vietnam are never... (full context)
Chapter 31: Hypothesis
Vietnam, Authorship, Interpretation Theme Icon
War, Memory, and Trauma Theme Icon
Evil, Human Nature, and Freedom Theme Icon
Appearance, the Unknowable, and Magic Theme Icon
Love and Relationships Theme Icon
...makes a radio broadcast on October 26, 1986. He is drunk. He speaks to his father, asking for his love and respect. He also calls out for Kathy, asking where she... (full context)