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Stephanie
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Early Discussion: Mother Fitzmaurice

[ Edited ]

Describe Meghan and Bridget's conflicting perceptions and memories of their mother. How does the loss of their mother shape the Fitzmaurice sisters' lives and ways of relating to each other? What role does Aunt Maureen play?


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Note: This topic refers to events through page 79. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur after page 79, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!



Message Edited by Stephanie on 06-11-2007 11:29 AM
Stephanie
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzmaurice

[ Edited ]
Early on I was mainly disturbed by Meghan's memories of her mother- what a strange childhood for her, and what a strange existence for her mother. I suppose it takes all kinds of people to make up our world.

Message Edited by Stephanie on 06-11-2007 11:30 AM
Stephanie
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Bunit
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald



Stephanie wrote:

Describe Meghan and Bridget's conflicting perceptions and memories of their mother. How does the loss of their mother shape the Fitzgerald sisters' lives and ways of relating to each other? What role does Aunt Maureen play?


Reply to this message to discuss any of these topics. Or start your own new topic by clicking "New Message."

Note: This topic refers to events through page 79. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur after page 79, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!




Meghan certainly has more of an authenic memory of her mother than Bridget. Probably because she was older and was the one who provided the love and support that Bridget needed at that time. It is my guess that Megahn may have shouldered most of the responsibility for her sister.

Bridget's memory of her mom is more child-like, innocent and carefree.
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kiakar
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald



Bunit wrote:


Stephanie wrote:

Describe Meghan and Bridget's conflicting perceptions and memories of their mother. How does the loss of their mother shape the Fitzgerald sisters' lives and ways of relating to each other? What role does Aunt Maureen play?


Reply to this message to discuss any of these topics. Or start your own new topic by clicking "New Message."

Note: This topic refers to events through page 79. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur after page 79, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!




Meghan certainly has more of an authenic memory of her mother than Bridget. Probably because she was older and was the one who provided the love and support that Bridget needed at that time. It is my guess that Megahn may have shouldered most of the responsibility for her sister.

Bridget's memory of her mom is more child-like, innocent and carefree.




Yes, it did seem that way. When first reading the book, do you feel that Bridget is critizing her sister or is she just describing her life to her audience? I read it over a few times, and I can't get in my head if this is critism or just conjesture about her life. I believe she does resent when Meghan does not confind in her.
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Bunit
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald

You bring up a good point. I too believe that Bridget is not criticizing her sister. I often wonder if Bridget is just describing the life that she had with her mother and sister for the audience..........for effect. I think a point is starting to unfold in regards to being the big sister vs. the little sister. I agree with you in that Bridget is somewhat resentful towards her sister because she doesn't confide in her. Through the years, Meghan has built up a wall......she can solve her own problems, she doesn't need anybody's help. She has been harden throughout the years of being the one to "take care of things." So if she confides in Bridget, it shows some weakness on her part. (Just a thought!!!!)
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kakhi
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald

It also makes me think of the different roles each sibling has in a family. Often the oldest child takes on more family responsibility even as an adult. And siblings of different ages can have different perceptions of the family while growing up.
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Bunit
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald

Oh, so true....birth order is such a unique subject. I remember a book (can't remember the title though)that addresses birth order. Have you ever heard of it? It would be an interesting read.
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SALi
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald



Bunit wrote:
Oh, so true....birth order is such a unique subject. I remember a book (can't remember the title though)that addresses birth order. Have you ever heard of it? It would be an interesting read.




I'm not sure but the book you could be thinking of is The Birth Order Book: Why you are the way you are. its by Dr. Kevin Leman.
I never read it but it looks interesting.
a room without books is like a body without a soul - Cicero (attributed)
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aquindlen
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald



kakhi wrote:
It also makes me think of the different roles each sibling has in a family. Often the oldest child takes on more family responsibility even as an adult. And siblings of different ages can have different perceptions of the family while growing up.




I'm so happy that that was your reaction. I'm fascinated by birth order, perhaps because I am the oldest of five, and as the mother of three I think constantly about the role each child plays in the family dynamic. In fact the line in the novel about each child taking the space not occupied by others is something that was told to me years ago when I was discussing this subject. I do think that a great deal of the relationship between Meghan and Bridget has to do with birth order, but that when Meghan is not around Bridget steps up in a way that is both unaccustomed and exhilarating.
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald



Bunit wrote:
Oh, so true....birth order is such a unique subject. I remember a book (can't remember the title though)that addresses birth order. Have you ever heard of it? It would be an interesting read.




And, of course, there are so many wonderful novels in which birth order plays a part. Think of "Little Women," for example. Amy is the prototype of a certain kind of youngest child. (I have to say "a certain kind" or my own youngest child will be very annoyed!)
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzmaurice

Anna,

I think about birth order a bit myself, mainly because I'm the youngest of seven! I wonder if you're like my oldest sister, who was like a second mother to me. She went away to college when I was in 2nd grade, and I was miserable.

We talk about the different mothers we had- hers was only 22 when she was born, just married two years, a working nurse, etc. Mine was 32 when I was born, already had six kids, been married 12 years, and she stopped working when I was a baby. So I had a mom who was there all the time, up until I was 12. I didn't have any young siblings to follow me around, to take care of, etc... and I wasn't breaking in brand new parents! That's the big one, I think.

The difference I saw in this regard between Meghan and Bridget was that Meghan needed her mother to be a mother, but Bridget didn't- she had Meghan. Meghan made it possible for Bridget to not notice their mother's infirmity.
Stephanie
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kiakar
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald



Bunit wrote:
You bring up a good point. I too believe that Bridget is not criticizing her sister. I often wonder if Bridget is just describing the life that she had with her mother and sister for the audience..........for effect. I think a point is starting to unfold in regards to being the big sister vs. the little sister. I agree with you in that Bridget is somewhat resentful towards her sister because she doesn't confide in her. Through the years, Meghan has built up a wall......she can solve her own problems, she doesn't need anybody's help. She has been harden throughout the years of being the one to "take care of things." So if she confides in Bridget, it shows some weakness on her part. (Just a thought!!!!)




That is a very good thought, Bunit. I agree fully with you. Linda
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kiakar
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald



kakhi wrote:
It also makes me think of the different roles each sibling has in a family. Often the oldest child takes on more family responsibility even as an adult. And siblings of different ages can have different perceptions of the family while growing up.




You are so right! I think that shows us why there is so much conflict in sibling relationships. If the sibling is older, she takes on more responibly as the care giver and if the sibling is younger, she does not ever like to be kept in the dark in what is going on. Sisters especially there is so much conflict in what they do or don't do concerning the other.
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald

Linda,

Excellent point about younger sisters not wanting to be kept in the dark. I didn't realize I felt that way until you made the statement- I thought back and recalled many instances in which that was exactly the case. I suppose the older ones think the youngsters can't handle the truth. Hrmph! :smileyhappy:
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aquindlen
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald

I think the crux of those sibling relationships is that everyone gets locked into their roles and has no idea how to get out of them. Look at Meghan. She is so used to being strong and in charge that when she is wounded and suffering the only way she can figure out how to deal is to simply disappear! As for Bridget, it seems to me that she illustrates the way in which we surmount our birth order roles by having children of our own. The primary reason she is able to step up when Meghan drops out is because of Leo. I think having children in your care is the single largest thing that can move you away from birth order roles that are no longer fulfilling or useful.
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Stephanie
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald

Anna,

Another great point regarding birth order that definitely holds true for me, but that I hadn't even considered until you mentioned it. I'll never forget my oldest sister (by 10 years) asking me how I got my children to do the things that I asked of them. I was very surprised, She was asking Me a parenting question!? She was like another mother to me, someone I'd looked up to my whole life. :smileyhappy: It's still funny to me today, all these years later, but I really felt like her equal that day. It was a very nice feeling.
Stephanie
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LaurenKondrat
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzmaurice

I think that both girls have a limited memory of their mother, or at least, limited by how they decide to remember her. Bridget is more realistic, therefore, knowing she was only six when the parents died, she only can have a few memories of them. On the other hand, many memories are described by Meghan from (what seems to me) rose-colored glasses. She wants to remember her parents as these wonderful people...so over the years she has remembered them the way she wants to remember them, instead of how they might really be. From the sounds of Bridget's memories (the memories of an honest,this is how it happened, six year old) the parents were well off and able to have other people cooking for the girls, cleaning up after them, taking them places... All the things that are part of a parent's job description. So I think if I were to look at the conflicting perceptions of the mother, I would have to rely more on Bridget's memories. Little children tell it like it is.
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzmaurice

I suppose one of the issues I'm trying to explore here is whether memory is ever truly reliable. I'm always struck by how different people who have been at the same dinner party, or the same lecture, or even in the same family have somewhat different recollections of the same event. Sometimes it's the way the story has been told, massaged, retold, shaped over the years. I find memory always highly suspect. I never know whether I am remembering based on my actual recollections or a photograph or anecdote. The truth is that people shape their pasts into a form that works for them. There is a sentence from Joan Didion I think about often: "we tell ourselves stories in order to live." I don't think she means in the writerly sense, but in the personal one. We're always telling ourselves stories about ourselves. And that's one of the things that plays a major role in the lives of the Fitzmaurice sisters. Meghan has shaped the past in a way that works for her self-image and, I suspect, in a way she thinks works for her younger sister.
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LaurenKondrat
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzmaurice

That's what I was trying to get to but I couldn't find the words. Shaping memories. When you were writing this novel, was the age difference correlative with how they remembered their parents?

Also, I am only to page 80 but I absolutely love the dialogue in this book. :smileyhappy:
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kakhi
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Re: Early Discussion: Mother Fitzgerald

[ Edited ]
Stephanie,
I can identify with your last three comments.
My brother was 9 years older and he had my parents only younger and for all that time to himself. I often was not told things even as an adult. When I confronted my mom about it she said they didn't want me to worry. As an adult I had no experience dealing with some things like health or money issues. You do learn to work things out though.
I grew up in the shadow of him being the male child and he was more important. Even when he passed away my mom said what are we going to do? So it was like I didn't even count. However, I did take care of her and we all did just fine. I think I surprised her at how competent I was.

Message Edited by kakhi on 06-26-2007 10:29 PM
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