What are the triangulated relationships in the novel The Clearing?

Quick answer:

One triangulated relationship in The Clearing involves Byron, Randolph, and their dad. You could describe this relationship as cold or transactional. Another triangulated relationship involves Randolph, Lillian, and May. You could say this relationship is like an affair, a betrayal, and a calculation all in one. A third triangulated relationship you could discuss involves the two brothers and the lumber mill itself.

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One of the basic triangulated relationships in Tim Gautreaux’s novel appears to be between the brothers and their father. At first, you might describe the triangulated relationship as distant. It’s literally distant. The dad doesn’t know where Byron is. When he figures out where his eldest son is, the dad buys the lumber mill and sends Randolph to run it. While you could describe the relationship as distant or cold, you could also describe it as transactional. It’s almost as if the dad relates to his sons through money and appointments. The dad buys the lumber mill that employs Byron before he appoints Randolph to run it.

Another triangulated relationship you could talk about involves Randolph, Lillian, and May. In order to run the mill, Randolph has to leave his wife. Lillian, not wanting to be separated from her husband, ends up moving to the desolate mill. Yet Randolph strayed from Lillian with his housekeeper May. The way in which you describe this triangulated relationship might depend on the person you’re talking about. From Randolph’s point of view, you could call the relationship one of passion and seduction. From May’s point of view, you could call it practical and calculating. From Lillian’s point of view, you could call it disappointing and maybe even an act of betrayal. Of course, May plays a part in another triangulated relationship, since she’s also been with Byron.

If you wanted to get more figurative, you could talk about the triangulated relationship between Byron, Randolph, and the lumber mill itself. You could tell how Byron and Randolph see the land differently and how the decadent territory unites them.

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