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vivico1
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THE KILL HORSES & JOE VS JACK: END OF BOOK SPOILER but with midpoint warning

[ Edited ]
This first part you can read if you are only part way through and share your ideas, the spoiler part I will mark.
What did you guys think about the kill horses and Joe buying them and working with them? Do you think the way Joe buying these horses and then working with them the way he did was tied to what happened to Old Ace that you learn more about later on?

I liked the idea that Joe would buy these horses that no one else really wanted, that were battered and broken and dangerous or old, and take them in. He was careful about them but was gentle with them, rebuilding something in them that people could be around again. That he could be around. From a business aspect, since they were really in a hole, it didnt make much sense to pay to buy them or to pay just for feed and things to keep them when mostly, they couldn't be used for anything. But at first I thought, well sometimes things that mean a lot just inside us, something kind that we need to reach out and do, we cant figure into our "budgets", they are just there and we need to do them and it gives us something back too. Altho Joe had a "do NOT go near the kill horses" rule, there were those like Old Ace that once he was taken care of, was very gentle and easy to ride and used for that, sometimes for Sheila for example.

Jack, Jo's father thought it was crazy for him to keep buying those horses, (if I am remembering right) and you just figure at first, its just not his passion like it is Jo's. I am with Alice when Jack and Ruby are there and really getting some things done, in thinking, man they need to hang around a bit longer till things pick up but Jo doesnt want him there, something from the past is between them, or he doesn't feel like his father thinks he measures up. I do see some similarities between Jack and Jo's relationship and Nona's and Alice's. Jack and Nona were both the ones that get all the attention from the town, from the business and are seen as THE ones, whereas Jo and Alice are left in their shadows. That alone can cause strained relationships. But....



(SPOILER)
when we find out what Jack did to Old Ace, that he was the one that bashed him in with a hammer and did other cruel things to the horses to break them or just because they did something an animal would do that could hurt someone, I lost my respect for Jack and was as shocked as Alice and didnt want him around them anymore than Jo did after that. How does one do such a brutal thing to an animal? This may be a business and they may be property, but they are not inanimate objects, like taking a hammer to a board or nail. They are feeling animals for heaven's sakes!

I think what Jack did to Old Ace and how he handled other horses is what made Joe start his kill horse corals. Its like, he was trying to make up to these animals what his father had done, and other men and maybe erase from his eyes what he saw. His gentle style may have taken much longer but thats ok. This aspect may have cost him money but better that, than a piece of your soul.

I know you guys have thoughts on the kill horses, maybe something in particular you read that you thought about, and about Jack and this whole business. So what are your thoughts? I am really interested on this one. :smileywink:

Message Edited by vivico1 on 06-09-2007 02:11 PM
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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cindersue
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Re: THE KILL HORSES & JOE VS JACK: END OF BOOK SPOILER but with midpoint warning

My husband tells a true story of a farmer he use to work for. He was a dairy farmer. The man was milking his cow, and the cow kicked him so hard he fell off the stool and went flying. The farmer picked up a bat and hit the cow in the head. The cow dropped dead. He didn't mean to kill the cow. The farmer was then out of a lot of money. He lost the cow and part of his income. It was a thoughtless reaction on the farmers part.
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NorthShoreGirl
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Re: THE KILL HORSES & JOE VS JACK: END OF BOOK SPOILER but with midpoint warning

I was really liking Jack, the way he came in and instantly helped around the farm, fixing things like the air conditioner. I was so disappointed when I read what he did to Ace! I know that people who run farms have a different attitude towards animals than us "city folk" who have pets, but his behavior was terrible and I hope that this is rare among farm/ranch owners. My grandpa owned a farm and I only saw him treat his animals with kindness. He told me that our job on earth was to care for the animals that God gave to us to enjoy.

I am sure that Joe was deeply disturbed at what his father did to Ace. By taking in the sick and unhealthy horses and nurturing them back to health, it was his way of making things right for what his dad did. I really like this about Joe.

But it also bothered me how Joe sometimes "broke" the horses. Like the one he left tied so that he couldn't move in the heat of the day... is that really necessary? It seems so cruel. Or when he put them in the same corral as those other horses that beat him up daily. Isn't there a better way to break a horse than this?
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basia
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Re: THE KILL HORSES & JOE VS JACK: END OF BOOK SPOILER but with midpoint warning

I agree that taking in the kill horses was Joe's way of making things right re: what happened with Jack. "The Old Men" - so sweet!

And yet, he was so though on Darling, or the broodmares, the foals, poor things. Overall, he was toughest on the females - I wander if he was aware of that. It's almost as if he was taking out his frustration with his family (all women) - on some of the horses.
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vivico1
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Re: THE KILL HORSES & JOE VS JACK: END OF BOOK SPOILER but with midpoint warning


NorthShoreGirl wrote:
I was really liking Jack, the way he came in and instantly helped around the farm, fixing things like the air conditioner. I was so disappointed when I read what he did to Ace! I know that people who run farms have a different attitude towards animals than us "city folk" who have pets, but his behavior was terrible and I hope that this is rare among farm/ranch owners. My grandpa owned a farm and I only saw him treat his animals with kindness. He told me that our job on earth was to care for the animals that God gave to us to enjoy.

I am sure that Joe was deeply disturbed at what his father did to Ace. By taking in the sick and unhealthy horses and nurturing them back to health, it was his way of making things right for what his dad did. I really like this about Joe.

But it also bothered me how Joe sometimes "broke" the horses. Like the one he left tied so that he couldn't move in the heat of the day... is that really necessary? It seems so cruel. Or when he put them in the same corral as those other horses that beat him up daily. Isn't there a better way to break a horse than this?




Cindersue wrote:
My husband tells a true story of a farmer he use to work for. He was a dairy farmer. The man was milking his cow, and the cow kicked him so hard he fell off the stool and went flying. The farmer picked up a bat and hit the cow in the head. The cow dropped dead. He didn't mean to kill the cow. The farmer was then out of a lot of money. He lost the cow and part of his income. It was a thoughtless reaction on the farmers part.


I agree with you NorthShoreGirl and I liked Jack at first too. I see cindersue's point too. I think both things happened here. I went back and read the part about Jack with the hammer on Ace and that one was more cruel, not just a reflex like I think Joe's was that ended tragically. It said that Jack hit Ace with repeated blows while Ace was tied to the fence, so it wasnt just a one blow reflex. Nona said Jack actually had a bad temper and I think he just did like she said, he about beat the horse to death out of his anger. He had some even harsher ideas about breaking the horses than Joe did and yeah your right, the part about letting the other mares beat Darling up daily to break her sounded like an unnecessary way to break her. I thought this is really the meaning of "break" a horse isn't it, break its whole spirit, hurt it enough that it will do anything you want.(I don't mean that of how everyone breaks a horse, just this way). Bet Joe learned that one from Jack. Can you imagine being a young boy and seeing your dad repeatedly beat a horse in the nose and head with a hammer? Geesh! When Joe hit King with his cane so hard that King had to be put down, Joe didnt mean to do it, and he backed away in shock himself and stood there motionless. It was more the action of what cindersue said about the farmer but even a faster reflex to King's nibble when Joe was in a furious state already. I think in that instant he saw his father's actions too.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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bettyvander
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Re: THE KILL HORSES & JOE VS JACK: END OF BOOK SPOILER but with midpoint warning

Jack's caring for and protection of the "kill" horses mirrors his care and protection of his wife, who is damaged as they are. His care of both wife and horses is a kind of apology for what has been done to them which renders them incapable of coping in their respective worlds. We do not find out until the end what part Jack played in causing his wife to arrive at the state she's in, but we suspect along the way that it is related to his need to control his horses by breaking rather than gentling them. Just as what Joe did to Ace has its mirror in what Jack does to King (and is foreshadowed by what Jack did to the kittens), we can't help feeling that the trauma imposed on Alice by witnessing Jack's actions toward the kittens (and his treatment of the horses) may be a kind of mirror of the trauma Jack felt at witnessing Joe's actions toward Ace.
Does that make sense...or is it just confusing? Aryn's parallelism between animals and people in this story is very deep and has many reverberations.
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