Re: Part III: Our Lady, Voices
I'm beginning to see the whole story as a sort of 'pilgrimage', a pilgrimage to the Falls as a spiritual place. Plenty of reference to native beliefs in this regard, the voices, Our Lady and the characters lives (corporeal) have a centeredness around the Falls which matches the way that their spirit is drawn there (my theory only). The pilgrimage begins with Gilbert who 'runs for his life', we assume he is running away but he also seem to run toward the Falls. Ariah's vigil, Dirk's death, Royall's boat tours, Juliet's voices and near suicide and Ariah and Dirk take Chandler to the Falls right after birth with strange and uncomfortable closeness to Gilbert. The final family reconciliation happens at the falls too. So are all these people engaged in some kind of pilgrimage, a spiritual journey, to the Falls? We did start out by saying how the Falls tends to pull you toward it, so I'll venture the thought that Oates extrapolated from this common feeling.
I did not see too strong a link between the Falls and the Woman in Black though, nothing that approaches 'pilgrimage' so this sort of blows my theory a bit, It surprises me because I see her as a spirit, at least in the later part of the book and in the way she connects Royall and Dirk and so I wanted her 'sprit' to make that pilgrimage but I don't think she did.
I recall the news coverage of Love Canal in the 1970's, it was certainly a big story, and makes me wonder if there was a real person who Dirk Burnaby is modelled on?