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Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
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Fears

Early on, the novel seems to loosely focus on fears- Sydney fears her pilot husband's death so much that they divorce, Julie fears the water because of a near-drowning experience. Your thoughts?
Stephanie
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Librarian
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: Fears



Stephanie wrote:
Early on, the novel seems to loosely focus on fears- Sydney fears her pilot husband's death so much that they divorce, Julie fears the water because of a near-drowning experience. Your thoughts?




I think Sydney and Julie have different types of fears. One might think that by divorcing her pilot husband, Sydney has brought the fear to life because now she does not have this pilot husband even though he is still alive. But I think her fear was the constant tension of thinking each morning goodby to her husband could be the last time she would see him. By divorcing him, she no longer has to confront thius naggiong fear each day.
Julie's fear is more tangible. She actually almost drowned and had to be saved in the water. She is afraid it could happen again.
Librarian
Wordsmith
kiakar
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Re: Fears



Stephanie wrote:
Early on, the novel seems to loosely focus on fears- Sydney fears her pilot husband's death so much that they divorce, Julie fears the water because of a near-drowning experience. Your thoughts?




Yes, I agree with Librarian alot; her fear is due to the obivious. If you see someone recklessly living, you think of them dying. The thought does not come to mind when that person is living a quiet normal life the way her second husband was.

And of course, Julie was a victim of her life almost ending, so its entirely different, but her fear should have been certainly approached before all this time. She was seven when it happened and now she is 18. Wow!
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
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Re: Fears

Is it rational for a woman in her twenties, even one who is married to a pilot, be so afraid of his dying that she can't live with him any more? Or for a child to never get over a fear of the water? Sydney's thought- "well, you must not have been trying very hard" (to get Julie to go into the water again) was well-founded. What is it with this family? There seems to be some major disconnectedness (is that a word?) among them. Are we ever clued in as to why?
Stephanie
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Librarian
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Re: Fears



Stephanie wrote:
Is it rational for a woman in her twenties, even one who is married to a pilot, be so afraid of his dying that she can't live with him any more? Or for a child to never get over a fear of the water? Sydney's thought- "well, you must not have been trying very hard" (to get Julie to go into the water again) was well-founded. What is it with this family? There seems to be some major disconnectedness (is that a word?) among them. Are we ever clued in as to why?




Addressing the child never getting over a fear-----this is a rational premise. If someone does not work with the child to help that child overcome the fear, it is reasonable to assume that this fear could be brought into adulthood. An example from the animal world----my son once had a puppy that tripped and hurt his leg on steps. That dog feared steps for the rest of his life. When my son came to visit , he sometimes had to carry his grown Rotweiller up our porch steps! I think this carrying forward of a childhood fear can happen with people too!
Librarian
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kiakar
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Re: Fears



Librarian wrote:


Stephanie wrote:
Is it rational for a woman in her twenties, even one who is married to a pilot, be so afraid of his dying that she can't live with him any more? Or for a child to never get over a fear of the water? Sydney's thought- "well, you must not have been trying very hard" (to get Julie to go into the water again) was well-founded. What is it with this family? There seems to be some major disconnectedness (is that a word?) among them. Are we ever clued in as to why?

Yes, I was bit seriously on the leg by a old hound dog whom I stepped on his leg where he was curled up on a narrow side porch of my grandparents country house. I was around 10 and I am still left with a fear of a dog alittle. I have owned puppies because of my children but never been that affectionate with one.


Addressing the child never getting over a fear-----this is a rational premise. If someone does not work with the child to help that child overcome the fear, it is reasonable to assume that this fear could be brought into adulthood. An example from the animal world----my son once had a puppy that tripped and hurt his leg on steps. That dog feared steps for the rest of his life. When my son came to visit , he sometimes had to carry his grown Rotweiller up our porch steps! I think this carrying forward of a childhood fear can happen with people too!
Librarian


Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
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Re: Fears

It's just hard to imagine a family that goes to the seaside all summer, every summer, would not work harder to help their daughter/sister get over her fear of drowning.  Certainly the fear is founded- it's the family's reaction to it that's bizarre.  Could you imagine owning a horse farm, having a child thrown from a horse and not putting them back on to get over it? 
 
I was thinking that there is a very significant breakdown of trust in this family.  Julie goes into the water with Sydney because she trusts her.   I'm only surmising, but I think if any of the other family members had tried, Julie wouldn't have succeeded because the necessary trust was simply not there. 
 
The question then becomes, why is there such a lack of trust?   
Stephanie
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kiakar
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Re: Fears



Stephanie wrote:
It's just hard to imagine a family that goes to the seaside all summer, every summer, would not work harder to help their daughter/sister get over her fear of drowning.  Certainly the fear is founded- it's the family's reaction to it that's bizarre.  Could you imagine owning a horse farm, having a child thrown from a horse and not putting them back on to get over it? 
 
I was thinking that there is a very significant breakdown of trust in this family.  Julie goes into the water with Sydney because she trusts her.   I'm only surmising, but I think if any of the other family members had tried, Julie wouldn't have succeeded because the necessary trust was simply not there. 
 
The question then becomes, why is there such a lack of trust?   


There just doesn't seem to be alot of activity with Julie and her brothers or her mother. She helps her father with the garden, but do they talk or do they busy theirselves with the plants they are working with instead of discussing Julie's concerns. Her mother seems very distant to everyone so I do not think Julie could trust her enought to talk things over with her or confine in her. Its true, her brothers are alot older and are not around her alot. When they are , they are off dating or doing their thing.
Inspired Wordsmith
Stephanie
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Re: Fears

Linda,
 
Good point- they really don't spend much time together, do they?  Or we're not privy to the time they do spend, I'm not sure which.  I can't remember one conversation between Julie and her mother throughout the entire novel, can you?
 
 
Stephanie
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kiakar
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Re: Fears



Stephanie wrote:
Linda,
 
Good point- they really don't spend much time together, do they?  Or we're not privy to the time they do spend, I'm not sure which.  I can't remember one conversation between Julie and her mother throughout the entire novel, can you?
 
 


That is what I can't understand either! Not one time that I can find, did Anna and Julie have a conversation. Can anyone find one?
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IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: Fears

Good point about Julie and her mother never seen talking with each other. One explanation must be that Mrs Edwards truly doted on her two sons. They are the apples of her eye. Perhaps having Julie as an "afterthought", which is part of the family myth, is something that Mrs. Edwards has never reconciled herself with. There are fears expressed here as well. Mrs. Edwards may fear that Julie is not the "trophy" material that the boys are. Her social status is somehow lowered because her daughter, although beautiful, is not quite up to social snuff. IBIS
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
Wordsmith
kiakar
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Re: Fears



IBIS wrote:
Good point about Julie and her mother never seen talking with each other. One explanation must be that Mrs Edwards truly doted on her two sons. They are the apples of her eye. Perhaps having Julie as an "afterthought", which is part of the family myth, is something that Mrs. Edwards has never reconciled herself with. There are fears expressed here as well. Mrs. Edwards may fear that Julie is not the "trophy" material that the boys are. Her social status is somehow lowered because her daughter, although beautiful, is not quite up to social snuff. IBIS

  So very true!
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IBIS
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Re: Fears



Stephanie wrote:
Early on, the novel seems to loosely focus on fears- Sydney fears her pilot husband's death so much that they divorce, Julie fears the water because of a near-drowning experience. Your thoughts?

I had some other thoughts on the undercurrent of fears that runs throughout BODY SURFING. What's so intriguing about the fears that plague both Sydney and Julie is that their fears shape their lives on a daily basis.
 
We all have fears, but we circle around them and go on with our lives. For example, I have this irrational fear of snakes; so I avoid snake houses at the zoo, and never watch killer snake movies.
 
Sydney MARRIES a pilot knowing full well how he courts death with his dangerous aerial exploits; Julie's family visittheir summer home near the OCEAN every summer knowing full well how terrified she is of drowning.
 
It's as if I would deliberately CHOSE to live in a snake-infested jungle.
 
What is wrong with these people?
 
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: Fears



IBIS wrote:


Stephanie wrote:
Early on, the novel seems to loosely focus on fears- Sydney fears her pilot husband's death so much that they divorce, Julie fears the water because of a near-drowning experience. Your thoughts?

I had some other thoughts on the undercurrent of fears that runs throughout BODY SURFING. What's so intriguing about the fears that plague both Sydney and Julie is that their fears shape their lives on a daily basis.
 
We all have fears, but we circle around them and go on with our lives. For example, I have this irrational fear of snakes; so I avoid snake houses at the zoo, and never watch killer snake movies.
 
Sydney MARRIES a pilot knowing full well how he courts death with his dangerous aerial exploits; Julie's family visittheir summer home near the OCEAN every summer knowing full well how terrified she is of drowning.
 
It's as if I would deliberately CHOSE to live in a snake-infested jungle.
 
What is wrong with these people?
 
IBIS
 
 


You are so right, IBIS. They all knew where they were heading,  to cry in their cornflakes.
Frequent Contributor
WildCityWoman
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎01-18-2007
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Re: Fears

I don't think it's strange for a person to be afraid of water, when there's been a previous incident. Some people never get over their fear of water.
 
Mind you, I think a child should be encouraged to go back into the water, very soon after the near drowning occurs.
 
It might be that someone in the family is putting the fear into her.
 
------------------------------------
 
No, I don't understand why she would divorce the pilot, because of her fear of his dying. If she really loved him, she wouldn't let him go - if she didn't really love him, she might have used it as an excuse to let him go.
 
I myself have never had a feeling like that, so I can't say for sure.
 
------------------------------------
 
Something I notice about Anita Shreve's novels, is that she is very critical of people - she dissects everyone in the room.
 
Although she's quick to notice cattiness in another woman, she seems to have catty thoughts about other women herself.
 
I'd hate to be in the same room with her - hate to think about what she might write about me - ha ha!
 
But this trait, I think, is what makes her novels interesting - her constant dissection of people.
 
 
Carly

http://wildcity.proboards14.com/index.cgi?board=Books
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WildCityWoman
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Registered: ‎01-18-2007
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Re: Fears

No - I listened to this novel right through last summer - I ran it a couple of times. I do not remember Julie having a conversation with her mother.
 
 
Carly

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WildCityWoman
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Registered: ‎01-18-2007
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Re: Fears

[ Edited ]
Other thoughts I'm having . . .
 
This character, Sydney, seems to think there's some undercurrent to everything somebody says to her. Like the whole world is deeply interested on whatever reaction she might have to their existence. She seems to think so.
 
When Jeff (I think it's Jeff) asks if she's 'had the tour' . . . she seems to do a 'take' on that . . . so what? Think of it - what's the big deal about somebody saying, well, have you had the tour?
 
Maybe the author does this to create suspense . . . dunno'.
 
Or it might be that I'm picking that up from the 'audio' version I'm using . . . maybe the reader's making it sound that way.
 
---------------------------------
 
 
 
 
 


Message Edited by WildCityWoman on 03-22-2008 11:03 AM

Message Edited by WildCityWoman on 03-22-2008 11:39 AM
Carly

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WildCityWoman
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Re: Fears

Sydney seems to think it's important that these people approve of her . . . one of the boys asks if she wants to go wind surfing - she doesn't even know what this kind of sport is, and agrees to do it . . . why?
 
Why wouldn't she just ask 'what is it?'
 
 
Carly

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WildCityWoman
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Registered: ‎01-18-2007
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Re: Fears

OK, so I'm being silly - this isn't a 'current' thread and I've been 'talking to myself'  - ha ha!
 
If you (like me) would like to participate in a discussion on this book, feel free to click on this link where
I've set up a thread on the book discussion forum at Wild City . . .
 
Carly

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