The Desensitization of Murder in Drive Your Plow

After Janina spills the meticulous story behind each of her victims, Oddball, Dizzy, and Good News are faced with digesting the truth behind their friend. Shocked, they sit motionless on the table as Janina flees her house and goes on a walk.

As a reader, we come into the confrontation expecting the trio to report Janina after hearing her confession. After all, they made it clear that the purpose of their visit was to get the truth from her. However, after the chapter ends, we find their response to be oddly comforting.

One of the most important details in this response can be found in the book that Dizzy drops off. The last sentence of his highlighted message reads, “We are all subjects of Error: Who shall say that we are not all subject to Crime?” This quote directly shows the reader that Dizzy is on her side and doesn’t believe that she should be held accountable for her actions. In a way, he is justifying her murders.

In the next scene, Janina is hiding in the boiler room as the police search her house. This scene sets us up for finding Oddballs opinion on Janina’s murders. First, he tells his son, Black Coat, that she decided to visit a friend in a neighboring town. Later, as they are leaving, Oddball tells Black Coat that “I’ll marry her when she gets out of jail.” This statement is also extremely powerful in developing the idea of Oddball’s and Janina’s relationship. It shows, for the first time in the book, Oddball’s true feelings.

Once escaped, Boros picks up Janina and they drive to the Entomologist’s Research Station. All in all, I was shocked to see how forgiving and nurturing everyone was after finding out about Janina’s actions. Especially after she divulged every single detail and dialogue about the killings. In particular, the poisoning and execution of the President stood out as a heartless crime, as he was unwell and aware of her actions before she committed them. The responses of her friends show how desensitized one can become based on someone’s past actions. Janina’s friends are able to overlook her crimes based on their interpretation of her intentions and have no trouble helping her escape and settle in a new life.

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