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Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Belongings

[ Edited ]
Isaac and Farnaz (as well as Isaac's sister and her husband) are very attached to their belongings. In prison Isaac is picked on because of his materialistic pursuits. His response--that life is to be enjoyed--and his recitation of a poem by Hafez manage to unite the group's opinion in his favor. What do you think of Isaac's philosophy? To what extent do the objects that we collect over the years come to define us?

"Give thanks for nights in good company/
And take the gifts a tranquil heart may bring/
No heart is dark when the kind moon does shine/
And grass-grown riverbanks are fair to see."

And how does Isaac's recitation contrast with the earler passage that describes Farnaz's thoughts upon recognizing the imprisioned pianist she had once been inflamed by, comparing her feelings for him to her early feelings for her husband,

"...But as the years had passed the poetry had left their lives...turning her husband into the kind of man who could offer her the rarest luxuries, but little else, and herself into the kind of woman who had come to accept these terms."

Message Edited by rkubie on 09-26-2007 11:55 PM

Message Edited by rkubie on 10-03-2007 12:54 AM
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Fozzie
Posts: 2,404
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Belongings - SPOILER AT END OF MESSAGE

There is a fine line we have to walk with our belongings. On the one hand, they do define us. There are things that have been in families for generations. There are things bought on trips. There are things made by our children. There are our collections. All of these do define us and are precious mementos of who we are.

"...But as the years had passed the poetry had left their lives...turning her husband into the kind of man who could offer her the rarest luxuries, but little else, and herself into the kind of woman who had come to accept these terms."

However, as the quote above reminds us, objects cannot replace people and the affection we have for each other. I think Isaac spent too much time working for objects and not enough time cultivating the relationships with his family. Consequently, his wife sought affection elsewhere.

SPOILER FOR END OF BOOK

It was interesting to watch Isaac and his family try to redevelop their old affections after his return from prison. Each wanted to cultivate new levels of affection, but it was a hard process, going done a road they had not been before.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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IBIS
Posts: 1,735
Registered: ‎11-22-2006
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Re: Belongings

[ Edited ]
In another post, Dalia Sofer made an insightful comment about belongings:

"I’m very much drawn to the idea of longing for connection—-but failing. In the book ... Farnaz populates her world with objects because they remind her of past, fleeting connections...."

That's such a telling motif about Farnaz. Her belongings are souvenirs of earlier times when she felt connected with her husband, and with others. Touching them, and seeing them, telegraph emotions she once felt deeply; emotions that she fears she is now incapable of feeling any longer.

Isn't that why we hold onto things for similar reasons? Because they are tokens of intangible feelings that we felt once, and hope to feel again?

Isaac's belongings are tangible tokens that life is to be enjoyed; having stuff just for the sheer pleasure of owning them. His belongings are visible symbols of his success; the more he owns, the more successful he appears to himself, and to the world. Maybe his father would be impressed, had he lived long enough.

Message Edited by IBIS on 10-03-2007 04:39 PM
IBIS

"I am a part of everything that I have read."
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