Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Frequent Contributor
Jessica
Posts: 968
Registered: ‎09-24-2006
0 Kudos

Early Chapters (no spoilers): The Family Business

[ Edited ]

Horses are a business and a way of life for the Winstons. How does that affect the decisions Joe and Alice make regarding their horses, and the way they treat them?
How do their choices and actions make you feel?



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 Chapter 5. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events
that occur after Chapter 5 please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!

Message Edited by basia on 06-04-200704:12 PM

Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters: The Family Business


Jessica wrote:

Horses are a business and a way of life for the Winstons. How does that affect the decisions Joe and Alice make regarding their horses, and the way they treat them?
How do their choices and actions make you feel?




They treat them as just that, a business. Now in later chapters in the book, there are specific things that will make you think, but I think its too soon to talk about that till we get a week or two into the discussion. As for the first lets say 1/3 of the book, yeah Alice treats them as a business too, like her dad. She pretty much follows along his lead but then she knows she has to if they are to survive too. There are things that happen later that could use a whole thread for just those two incidences, especially for those of us who didnt know these aspects of the horse business. I think here in the first of the book, the author is giving us a general view of things to help us start to understand and see in our minds what its like on a small rundown ranch and to introduce to us what kind of life Alice is growing up in. If we have not been around the business,we are very likely to see it as the women who come to be called the "catfish" do. Just the fun outside stuff of coming and riding and maybe cleaning them up some..but in our way of "petting a pet" kind of cleaning. I am not sure the first part is so much about choices as about getting to know the business some, does that make sense?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Contributor
jenlaw77
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters: The Family Business

Yes, the horses were a source of income for the family. Alice's father definitely just treated them as such. I think Alice felt a little more for them. This is proven later on in the book.

Jenn
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters: The Family Business

It is just a income or a way to make it in Joe's life. He might have a notion of becoming famous in the back of his head, but he wants to make a good living, I feel he does this for his family to be proud of him.
Inspired Correspondent
Wrighty
Posts: 1,762
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters (no spoilers): The Family Business


Jessica wrote:

Horses are a business and a way of life for the Winstons. How does that affect the decisions Joe and Alice make regarding their horses, and the way they treat them?
How do their choices and actions make you feel?




I am still in the early chapters but I can relate to their life on a ranch. I grew up on a farm with several different animals. It wasn't our main source of income but selling pigs and cows did supplement it. We also had chickens, a few horses and dogs and cats. My grandparents had a small dairy farm. It's a hard life that requires a lot of dedication and you can't take sick days or vacations. Someone still needs to tend to the animals. It is an amazing experience though, especially when new animals are born. There is nothing cuter than baby pigs running around your yard! They are very smart and very clean (the mud is to keep cool and it also protects their delicate skin from the sun. We had a baby get sunburned once. It wasn't pleasant!) One issue that was hard for me was that I loved these animals. They had names and personalities. Several of them we raised to sell off to other people for their farms, to breed with or to provide their family with meat. I did not cope well with that part of farm life. I treated these animals as pets and few of them were. It broke my heart when they left. My parents always handled it so well. They encouraged us to care for the animals but they told us from the start if we would be keeping them or not. If an animal was being sold for the meat they carefully avoided that and let us think otherwise. We knew farm life and the realities of it, the circle of life, etc. but we were also kids whose hearts could easily be broken. They didn't add to that unnecessarily. It was a wonderful way to grow up and I'm grateful to have had it.

Luckily, this wasn't my parents main source of income so we didn't depend on it for survival as so many people do. Alice's family needed their ranch to do well and she needed to contribute. She must have had such conflicted emotions at her age. Her father was all business and her sister was gifted in dealing with the horses. She was a very talented rider. Alice didn't share that talent and was more of a ranch hand but she cared about the animals. When Sheila came along Alice's father took her under his wing. He saw it as a business deal. He was being paid to teach her and hopefully it would lead to more students and more horse sales. To Alice it felt like she and her sister had been replaced. She wanted the attention from her father. Everything she said and did was to try to please him. The ranch was her one true connection to her father and her sister.
Author
aryn
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎05-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters (no spoilers): The Family Business


Wrighty wrote:
...One issue that was hard for me was that I loved these animals. They had names and personalities. Several of them we raised to sell off to other people for their farms, to breed with or to provide their family with meat. I did not cope well with that part of farm life. I treated these animals as pets and few of them were. It broke my heart when they left. My parents always handled it so well. They encouraged us to care for the animals but they told us from the start if we would be keeping them or not. If an animal was being sold for the meat they carefully avoided that and let us think otherwise. We knew farm life and the realities of it, the circle of life, etc. but we were also kids whose hearts could easily be broken. They didn't add to that unnecessarily. It was a wonderful way to grow up and I'm grateful to have had it...





Thanks so much for sharing this, Wrighty. I've always been someone who gets very attached to my pets. I can imagine how difficult it would be for a child to grow up caring about animals then watching them sold away, or worse. It was something that I thought about a lot as I was working on the book. Alice and her sister have been raised to limit their attachments to their animals (although I'm not sure that they are entirely successful--look at Nona and Cap).

"There isn't a horse that can't be replaced," Alice's father tells the family. For much of the novel, Alice is struggling to understand how the rules of attachment she’s learned from her family apply to the larger world. Horses aren’t the only thing that disappear from her life: her sister has, her mother largely has. It’s one of the reasons she’s so drawn to Polly. If horses can be replaced, maybe people can too. Alice knows that she cannot replace her sister, but begins to believe she might, in some ways, replace Polly Cain.

Everything that Alice understands about loss, abandonment, power, and ownership began in the family business. During the course of the novel I think that she’s trying to figure out what, if anything, really belongs to her.
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Early Chapters (no spoilers): The Family Business



aryn wrote:

Wrighty wrote:
...One issue that was hard for me was that I loved these animals. They had names and personalities. Several of them we raised to sell off to other people for their farms, to breed with or to provide their family with meat. I did not cope well with that part of farm life. I treated these animals as pets and few of them were. It broke my heart when they left. My parents always handled it so well. They encouraged us to care for the animals but they told us from the start if we would be keeping them or not. If an animal was being sold for the meat they carefully avoided that and let us think otherwise. We knew farm life and the realities of it, the circle of life, etc. but we were also kids whose hearts could easily be broken. They didn't add to that unnecessarily. It was a wonderful way to grow up and I'm grateful to have had it...





Thanks so much for sharing this, Wrighty. I've always been someone who gets very attached to my pets. I can imagine how difficult it would be for a child to grow up caring about animals then watching them sold away, or worse. It was something that I thought about a lot as I was working on the book. Alice and her sister have been raised to limit their attachments to their animals (although I'm not sure that they are entirely successful--look at Nona and Cap).

"There isn't a horse that can't be replaced," Alice's father tells the family. For much of the novel, Alice is struggling to understand how the rules of attachment she’s learned from her family apply to the larger world. Horses aren’t the only thing that disappear from her life: her sister has, her mother largely has. It’s one of the reasons she’s so drawn to Polly. If horses can be replaced, maybe people can too. Alice knows that she cannot replace her sister, but begins to believe she might, in some ways, replace Polly Cain.

Everything that Alice understands about loss, abandonment, power, and ownership began in the family business. During the course of the novel I think that she’s trying to figure out what, if anything, really belongs to her.




You know, this has to be tough! You have to be tough sometimes with your animals that you love and feel part of the family especially if they are part of your income. You have to have alot of emotions mixed and otherwise tied uptogether as to what your frue feelings are. Maybe you feel as if you are cold in dept for havng to be stern and disciplnary with dealing with them. I also was raised ona farm but was very young when I left it after my dad died.
Users Online
Currently online: 13 members 426 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: