Week 5: In this week’s pages Castorp gets his first official “admittance” to the sanatorium as a “patient” rather than a “visitor.” It feels inevitable to us, of course, knowing he will stay, and having watched Castorp’s progression up to now. But for me maybe the most fascinating element of the book so far is the way that Mann makes this slide into illness feel not only inevitable but also, for Castorp, desirable. He feels pangs at the idea of leaving his cousin up there alone, but the reader understands he actually doesn’t want to go.The near giddiness with which he takes his temperature! Also his obsession with Frau Chauchant is fascinating, and I look forward to discussing it with you all (he loves her, and yet has no plans to speak to her, and calls her “worm-eaten”)! And at the end of chapter 4, with some relief, he is declared “secretly one of the locals,” and ordered to bed.
For next week: Read to the section “Freedom” in Chapter 5.
Also: Our next zoom meeting with be July 12th, 11am EST (moved one week because of July 4th holiday). More details TK!