Robert’s truck symbolizes how coping mechanisms can become toxic. Before his wife’s death, Robert loves the truck, taking pride in using it to run errands for Upper Room. When the church protests the abortion clinic, for example, he offers to transport their picket signs each morning using the bed of his pickup. However, after Elise commits suicide, Robert becomes increasingly obsessed with the truck, spending the majority of his time washing it or using it to run errands for Upper Room. The truck becomes an outlet for his grief, which he uses to distract himself from and cope with his own sorrow. Unfortunately, this outlet also allows Robert to avoid Nadia, as his constant errands for Upper Room keep him from staying at home and interacting with his daughter or keeping tabs on how she’s dealing with the loss of her mother. Robert abandons his responsibility as a parent, instead directing his caretaking energies into polishing his precious vehicle.
Robert’s Truck Quotes in The Mothers
He stepped toward her and the sudden movement made her drop everything in her hands, her purse and shoes and keys clattering to the driveway. She jutted her arms out before he could come closer. He stopped, his jaw clenched, and she couldn’t tell whether he wanted to slap her or hug her. Both hurt, his anger and his love, as they stood together in the dark driveway, his heart beating against her hands.
If you don’t become them, even for a second, a prayer is nothing but words. […] That’s why it didn’t take us long to figure out what had happened to Robert Turner’s truck. Ordinarily waxed and gleaming, the truck hobbled into the Upper Room parking lot on Sunday with a dented front bumper and cracked headlight. In the lobby, we heard young folks joking about how drunk Nadia Turner had been at some beach party. Then we became young again, or that is to say, we became her. Dancing all night with a bottle of vodka in hand, staggering out the door. A careless drive home weaving between lanes. The crunch of metal. How, when Robert smelled the liquor, he must have hit her or maybe hugged her. How she was probably deserving of both.