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Inspired Correspondent
Librarian
Posts: 483
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Ben and Jeff

I am interested in opinions about Ben and Jeff------their relationships with each other and with Sydney. What are your thoughts on this?
Librarian
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ben and Jeff



Librarian wrote:
I am interested in opinions about Ben and Jeff------their relationships with each other and with Sydney. What are your thoughts on this?
Librarian


Jeff is the oldest, right?  It seems that Jeff was extra orinary jealous of Ben.  Jeff couldn't be good at things that Ben was good at in his life that he had to have something  to compete with Ben.  So he picked his girlfriends, which seems so dumb. But certainly it shows he had no respect for Sydney. Didn't Ben make some comment to Sydney about her loving Jeff more than Jeff loved her. It came up some where but I can't remember where. And it didn't seem that either one of them had a great relationship with either parent. I can't remember any great communication between them.
Inspired Correspondent
Librarian
Posts: 483
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Ben and Jeff



kiakar wrote:


Librarian wrote:
I am interested in opinions about Ben and Jeff------their relationships with each other and with Sydney. What are your thoughts on this?
Librarian


Jeff is the oldest, right?  It seems that Jeff was extra orinary jealous of Ben.  Jeff couldn't be good at things that Ben was good at in his life that he had to have something  to compete with Ben.  So he picked his girlfriends, which seems so dumb. But certainly it shows he had no respect for Sydney. Didn't Ben make some comment to Sydney about her loving Jeff more than Jeff loved her. It came up some where but I can't remember where. And it didn't seem that either one of them had a great relationship with either parent. I can't remember any great communication between them.


Hi Kiakar------Jeff is younger than Ben. Yes Ben did tell Sydney she loves Jeff more than Jeff could love her, when she meets him for a drink to try to reconcile the brothers by encouraging him to come to her  wedding. I think this is the occasion . I agree with your thoughts. I still can't understand what would make Jeff do this to Sydney no matter what the rivalry with his brother. I wonder if Jeff and Ben had a better rapport with their mother. Although any such communication is only implied in the book. And Mr. Edwards would be closer to Julie'
Librarian
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ben and Jeff



Librarian wrote:





Hi Kiakar------Jeff is younger than Ben. Yes Ben did tell Sydney she loves Jeff more than Jeff could love her, when she meets him for a drink to try to reconcile the brothers by encouraging him to come to her  wedding. I think this is the occasion . I agree with your thoughts. I still can't understand what would make Jeff do this to Sydney no matter what the rivalry with his brother. I wonder if Jeff and Ben had a better rapport with their mother. Although any such communication is only implied in the book. And Mr. Edwards would be closer to Julie'
Librarian


Hi Librarian, do you feel there was like a doting quality in the feelings from Anna to her boys. It was like they were Kings and should treated that way. But it didn't seem to be many conversations between them. And you are so right about Julie. She was her Father's favorite.
Inspired Correspondent
Librarian
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Ben and Jeff

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
kiakar wrote:






 
Hi Librarian, do you feel there was like a doting quality in the feelings from Anna to her boys. It was like they were Kings and should treated that way. But it didn't seem to be many conversations between them. And you are so right about Julie. She was her Father's favorite.


I think there could be a doting quality. Also I think Anna is proud of the boys' careers. She wants her children to measure up academically or financially in their life choices. That's why she has Sydney tutoring Julie. She wants Julie to be as successful as the boys in the way that the boys are. She can't face the reality of the situation and doesn't want to realize there are different paths for success in Julie's life.
Librarian
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: Ben and Jeff

It's clear that Julie is an "afterthought" in the family's birth order. Mrs. Edwards may be one of those women who expend all their insight and energy on the two boys, and when Julie happened along, she had no energy or interest left. Julie, although beautiful, was not, in her mother's eyes, the powerfully, socially mobile force that her brothers were.
 
Both boys are handsome and athletic and high achievers... sons that any mother would be proud of. This may in turn have fostered an unhealthy competition between the boys; a competition that was felt more fiercely by Jeff, who's womanizing skills far surpassed Ben's.
 
The interesting twist is that by the end of the story, Ben, the successful real-estate wizard, drops out of the rat race, buys a rundown cottage, and plans to spend lots of free time refurbishing it... unlike the architectural powerhorse that his father represented.
 
IBIS
 
 
 
 
 
 
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
Posts: 2,613
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ben and Jeff

I actually had trouble with that ending for Ben- it seemed a little too "pipe-dream" and a little too laid back for a man in his mid-thirties.  I could see him going in that direction at 50 or 55, maybe.   Anyone else?
Stephanie
Contributor
mntdew
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
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Re: Ben and Jeff

I have to admit that Jeff's actions totally floored me!  I was really wondering how in the world the author could do that to his character - seemed totally out of character.  Only my opinion of course, but it did affect how I felt about the ending, which ended up not making sense to me. 
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ben and Jeff



Stephanie wrote:
I actually had trouble with that ending for Ben- it seemed a little too "pipe-dream" and a little too laid back for a man in his mid-thirties.  I could see him going in that direction at 50 or 55, maybe.   Anyone else?


Yes, the ending didn't seem possible to me, either. Jeff never stayed away from home that much and now he doesn't ever return. And Ben, whatever he wants to do sounds phony.  Does anyone think maybe Sydney and Ben will get together?
Inspired Scribe
IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: Ben and Jeff



kiakar wrote:

Yes, the ending didn't seem possible to me, either. Jeff never stayed away from home that much and now he doesn't ever return. And Ben, whatever he wants to do sounds phony.  Does anyone think maybe Sydney and Ben will get together?

 I agree with everyone that Ben's dropping out of the real estate rat race didn't sound within character...  But that's where my previous observation about Sydney's one-sided perspective comes in....  there is a side to Ben that we never got to see because we only saw things from Sydney's perspective.
 
Just as we saw the Edwards' marriage from Sydney's lopsided perspective,  we need to see Ben and Jeff away from Sydney's myopic sightlines.
 
I can see Jeff running tail from shame.  And Africa is as far as he can run away from the Atlantic shore. At least he has a tiny bit of self-respect to be ashamed at his behavior. Jeff's running away makes absolute sense in light of what he did to Sydney.
 
So maybe Ben's wanting to slack off and stop the pretense of  being the real estate wiz kid everyone thought him to be is  the real Ben... the one we never got to see beyond Sydney's emotionally blindered view.
 
I suspect that Sydney and Ben may get together since they're both planning to attend Julie's art show in Montreal.  Although both Ben and Sydney have been hoodwinked by Jeff is not exactly the ideal common bond that should bring 2 people together,....
 
frankly, if I were Sydney, I would run away from that family as far as my feet could carry me.
 
IBIS
 
 
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ben and Jeff



IBIS wrote:


kiakar wrote:

Yes, the ending didn't seem possible to me, either. Jeff never stayed away from home that much and now he doesn't ever return. And Ben, whatever he wants to do sounds phony.  Does anyone think maybe Sydney and Ben will get together?

 I agree with everyone that Ben's dropping out of the real estate rat race didn't sound within character...  But that's where my previous observation about Sydney's one-sided perspective comes in....  there is a side to Ben that we never got to see because we only saw things from Sydney's perspective.
 
Just as we saw the Edwards' marriage from Sydney's lopsided perspective,  we need to see Ben and Jeff away from Sydney's myopic sightlines.
 
I can see Jeff running tail from shame.  And Africa is as far as he can run away from the Atlantic shore. At least he has a tiny bit of self-respect to be ashamed at his behavior. Jeff's running away makes absolute sense in light of what he did to Sydney.
 
So maybe Ben's wanting to slack off and stop the pretense of  being the real estate wiz kid everyone thought him to be is  the real Ben... the one we never got to see beyond Sydney's emotionally blindered view.
 
I suspect that Sydney and Ben may get together since they're both planning to attend Julie's art show in Montreal.  Although both Ben and Sydney have been hoodwinked by Jeff is not exactly the ideal common bond that should bring 2 people together,....
 
frankly, if I were Sydney, I would run away from that family as far as my feet could carry me.
 
IBIS
 
 


IBIS, I agree 100% about Sydney running and running fast!
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