The book never really addresses the effect that the new wealth has on Mitchell. There are a few places where it describes how much money he has. “When he reached $20,000 he had removed the ice trays to make more room. At $30,000 he had thrown out the rest of the frozen burritos.” There is one other place where he and Jane discuss some of their recent purchases, but other than these two examples the effect that the money has on them isn’t addressed. I suppose that the money doesn’t really affect them all that much, but I find that unlikely. Rare is the person that remains the same after a windfall arrives on their doorstep. Although, I suppose Mitchell and Jane are rare people working in a rare market. Still, I wish that it were addressed more directly. Why doesn’t Mitchell help his parents? We know that being a landlord is taking its toll on his father. Why not make it so that his dad doesn’t have to worry anymore? He does use his newfound wealth to purchase the canoe because of its connection to Elsa, and so that he can shock the struggling artist in the gallery. I suppose that Mitchell works with rich people that he does not like so him ignoring his wealth could be related to his dislike for his clients.
This blog describes how wealth fundamentally changes how we think and perceive the world. I think that this book would have been more interesting if this was factored into the evolution of Mitchell as a character. How would he have reacted differently to the “flotsam”? How would his relationship with Jane and Elsa have changed in light of his changed perspective on the world?