Page 1 The Flight of Kate VaidenKate Vaiden was a character with many problems. She dealt with them in many different ways but the one she used the most was to flee and run away from her problems when they become too big for her to handle. The most predictable behavior Kate can manage seems to be unplanned periodic flight and reappearance on the doorstep of anyone who promises comfort, then flight again whenever the threat of permanence begins to suffocate her. She does linger long enough to conceive a child by a lover with a parentless background to match her own. She crosses the landscape of North Carolina, from her small town of Macon to Raleigh, up to Norfolk, Va., to Greensboro and back again, getting on and off trains on an impulse or a premonition, showing up at the houses of relatives she barely knows, casting herself with strangers.
She is helped more than she wants to acknowledge by an assortment of lively characters who sustain her and ask little in return. Kate has an incapacity to fully commit herself to anyone.
These actions were happening even before she had the power to stop it. Kate and Francis were forced to flee from Dan to attend the funeral. This does not mean that Kate was unhappy or abused in any way. She had an invulnerably happy early childhood and Page 2 remembers her young parents as attractive and fiercely devoted. Her mother was depressive and her was father jealous of what he takes to be his wife's special relationship to her family. The night before they left Dan and Francis had a huge argument over this. Kate's mother had been abandoned by a mother who succumbed to the dangers of childbirth. Kate recalls the mysterious circumstances in which her father, Dan, shot his wife, Frances, and then himself. Kate was forced to flee the life she once had and begin a new one in the care of her aunt and uncle. At the age of 11 she seems less scarred by their deaths than one might expect. She lived with them for many years and developed into a woman. She meet Gaston and fell in love with him. They did not have a typical relationship. Gaston enlists himself in the war and is killed even before reaching enemy grounds. At this time Kate is helped by many characters. Walter comes to visit and gives her money. The character that takes the biggest shining to her the most is Fob. He buys her a horse and gives her small sums of money. The big mistake he makes is giving her a large sum of money for guessing the correct plantations. This is the what makes it possible for Kate to once again flee from what she calls home. She boards a train and decides to live with her cousin Walter. Kate does this because he tells her that if she is ever in any kind of trouble he is willing to be there to help her. Again many people are willing to offer her a generous hand. The cab driver lost a day's wage just to ensure that she will be safe. Strangers she meet on the train offer their hospitality. After one night she is able to get in touch with Walter and move in with him. Her life with Walter and Douglas is a good one. They teat her kindly and it is at this time that she find love with Douglas. She become pregnant. The calling for motherhood is too much for her to Page 3 handle. Kate abruptly abandoned her baby ''while he was down for a nap.'' The novel does not finish for we do not know whether or not Kate finds her child. I believe that Kate does not purposely run away from her problems in the way that she does. Her nature and the way she was brought up could be the best justifications for her actions. It started when the people she loved the most, her parents, were taken away from her by their own misdeeds. This may have instilled the fear of trusting people and not letting them get too close. Whenever someone does get close she flees before they have the opportunity to do it first. Ultimately, this make Kate a stronger person.