The Thanatos Children

… or The Boxcar Syndrome. Take your pick.

What I’m alluding to here is something I noticed while reading Gertrude Chandler Warner’s The Boxcar Children to my daughter the other night. Towards the end of the book, Violet, the youngest of the two girls, gets sick and so the children are taken in by the benevolent Dr. Moore. Dr. Moore also manages to orchestrate the reunification of the children with their grandfather who has been searching for them since their parents died. (The children had been hiding from their grandfather under the mistaken notion that he was a bad guy.) Pleased with how everything has worked out, Dr. Moore remarks: “Well, well!”

Readers of Walker Percy’s The Thanatos Syndrome might recall that that book concludes with the very same utterance from Percy’s Dr. More: “Well, well, well.” So here we have a Dr. More with one less ‘o’ adding an extra “well.” Just as The Moviegoer ends with a scene that pays tribute to Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, was Percy here paying conscious homage to Gertrude Chandler Warner’s Boxcar Children? Could be, could be.

And then of course we have the utterance echoed in our own Quin Finnegan’s novel a few chapters back. Is everyone following along?


Well, well, well, well, well.


  1. Quin Finnegan says

    Not just yeah, but Well Yeah! Sounds like a great gifts for a some wee ones I know. To bad it’s not actually called The Thanatos Children. Mom would love that.

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