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thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Hope

i found the evolution of hope disturbing. it seemed to me that it went from wanting kim to be found alive, to almost wanting kim "not to be anymore". as time passed, the enormity of the event seemed to weigh so heavily on everyone that they grew tired of the whole thing and just wanted to concentrate on getting back to their own lives, without worrying anymore about what had happened to kim's. it seemed so cold.
did all of the publicity and media attention tire everyone out after awhile? in other words, did it play itself out or did it overplay itself? kim's memory seemed to change from being something sacred, to being a burden and living with it was becoming impossible for all of them.
what if the person is never found? how do you find closure? how awful it must be for people like the patz's, whose son etan was never found. how do you clean the room the child occupied when you are always hoping he will return to it? does the room become a shrine that haunts your life if you always cling to hope, even unrealistically?
lindsay, most of all, seemed to have no hope for her sister's return and she did not want to live in her shadow. she needed to escape her sister's ghost. rather than be defined by the tragedy, she wanted anonymity.
ed lost hope and was so overwhelmed with the life her disappearance had created that when he no longer had anything to do to help in the search, he just retreated into his own private world feeling useless and unmotivated.
even fran, who thrived on the activity of the search, which ultimately made her stronger, felt it was beginning to impinge on her ability to return to work and regain some normalcy back in her relationship with her husband. she, though, more than anyone seemed to hold out false hope and wanted to pretend that kim was still an integral part of their ongoing lives. she also, more than anyone, kept a positive attitude and tried to keep life on an even keel even as she inflicted kim's memory on them in moments when they were trying to retreat from it. she never gave up hope, first for her return, then for the discovery of her body and than for the return of a life with ed.
in short, i felt lindsay didn't want to hope, ed had no hope and fran was full of hope.
it was sad to me that in order for all of them to go ahead, kim had to be put behind them, to some degree, even though i understand it intellectually. everyone needs closure.


KxBurns
Hope is an evolving concept in this story. The hopes of Kim's family and friends (for Kim as well as for themselves) change dramatically over time. What does hope mean to different characters at different points?

What form does hope take as the story comes to a close?
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Hope

TWJ -- Thank you for the thoughtful assessment, even though I don't necessarily read all of the events or attitudes in exactly the same way, nor am I totally certain by what you mean by expressions like "Lindsey didn't want to hope."

(I have an acquaintance that dislikes the word "closure." She says that there is no such thing as closure. Not certain I agree; at the same time I think she offers an insight on what living is like.)

thewanderingjew wrote:
i found the evolution of hope disturbing. it seemed to me that it went from wanting kim to be found alive, to almost wanting kim "not to be anymore". as time passed, the enormity of the event seemed to weigh so heavily on everyone that they grew tired of the whole thing and just wanted to concentrate on getting back to their own lives, without worrying anymore about what had happened to kim's. it seemed so cold.

did all of the publicity and media attention tire everyone out after awhile? in other words, did it play itself out or did it overplay itself? kim's memory seemed to change from being something sacred, to being a burden and living with it was becoming impossible for all of them.

what if the person is never found? how do you find closure? how awful it must be for people like the patz's, whose son etan was never found. how do you clean the room the child occupied when you are always hoping he will return to it? does the room become a shrine that haunts your life if you always cling to hope, even unrealistically?

lindsay, most of all, seemed to have no hope for her sister's return and she did not want to live in her shadow. she needed to escape her sister's ghost. rather than be defined by the tragedy, she wanted anonymity.

ed lost hope and was so overwhelmed with the life her disappearance had created that when he no longer had anything to do to help in the search, he just retreated into his own private world feeling useless and unmotivated.

even fran, who thrived on the activity of the search, which ultimately made her stronger, felt it was beginning to impinge on her ability to return to work and regain some normalcy back in her relationship with her husband. she, though, more than anyone seemed to hold out false hope and wanted to pretend that kim was still an integral part of their ongoing lives. she also, more than anyone, kept a positive attitude and tried to keep life on an even keel even as she inflicted kim's memory on them in moments when they were trying to retreat from it. she never gave up hope, first for her return, then for the discovery of her body and than for the return of a life with ed.

in short, i felt lindsay didn't want to hope, ed had no hope and fran was full of hope.

it was sad to me that in order for all of them to go ahead, kim had to be put behind them, to some degree, even though i understand it intellectually. everyone needs closure.
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Hope

thank you for your comments peppermill. i have read and appreciated many of your previous analyses.

i may have phrased it too harshly. from the beginning, i felt that lindsay believed her sister was gone for good. rather than deal daily, with the upheaval of the search, the false hope, and the stress and notoriety it caused, she wanted to move on, escape quietly, anonymously, out from under her sister's shadow, and go on to have a normal life.

hasn't anyone ever felt that they wanted to grieve privately for their loss or deal with their problems alone and not have to share them with someone else because it seemed to be the "right" thing to do or the accepted way to do it? hasn't anyone ever felt that alone, without the constant reminders and repetition of the stressful situation from others, that you could move on more easily? although i am social and "opinionated", i am also a very private person and prefer to do my "suffering in silence" out of any public eye. i know others feel differently but i thought that might have been how lindsay felt.

maybe being the daughter/sister, gave her a different perspective. she was on the opposite side of the equation from her parents. lindsay was climbing up the mountain while the parents were on the plateau or even the downward slope. she was "growing into her life" but parent's lives are bound up with their children's, often even shaped by them. when a child is hurt, ill, missing or dies, a part of that life dies too. parents can almost feel the pain of their children, they identify so strongly with them. their suffering is even more unbearable because it is not the natural order of things.

we are so helpless to do anything to change the situation but often, as parents, we want to fix everything and think we certainly should be endowed with that gift or ability, perhaps, even to change places with a suffering child.

peppermill wrote:
...nor am I totally certain by what you mean by expressions like "Lindsey didn't want to hope."
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LucyintheOC
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Re: Hope

I think fear was as much a part of this story as hope, but in a very quiet, underground kind of way. Thinking back on the book, though no chapter is labled by this heading, fear was always there in different manifestations for the different characters...and for us readers as well, wondering where O'Nan would go with this story. I think fear, just like hope, permeated the story kind of like a fumigated house.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Hope



krb2g wrote:

BookSavage wrote:
I think the fact that it does end with the reader finding out that it was a random act makes the hope almost disappear at the end of the book.





I don't think that the final word on what happened to Kim should change our response to the hope the family feels throughout the process. If anything, I think hope helps them move on with their lives both before and after they learn the truth. As Fran organizes the public campaign for Kim, she picks a song "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and a corresponding rainbow image that both express the family's hopes. (Kiakar also responded to this post and commented on the link between faith and hope--in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the rainbow is a powerfully charged symbol of hope). As other readers have noticed, the nature of hope changes throughout the book, but in all the stages, hope keeps the family from being entirely crippled by grief.

I thought the book did end with some hope remaining -- hope for the future. It ended with Lindsay starting to separate from the family and the tragedy and make her own way in the world. Also, Fran and Ed seem to have come to some sort of more peaceful place at the end. We can discuss this more on the Resolution thread that will go up on June 16th!
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Hope



pheath wrote:
... the story had to have a boundary. We aren't told much about how Kim's friends interacted with their parents during this time. I would hope that they were getting support through these channels. However it would have bogged down the story to try to give a full account of every character's actions.



I disagree. I think O'Nan spent a lot more time than he needed to on the details of Ed's search process, time he could have used to develop the characters and interactions more deeply.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Everyman
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Re: Hope

One interesting thing -- I admit that I somewhat sped through the later parts of the book, and I read it a few weeks ago, but I don't recall seeing much if any involvement of faith or a church support group. Was there even a minister involved in support of Fran and Ed? If so, it wasn't memorable enough for me to remember. But a realtor in a small town setting who depended on personal contacts for business success, surely they would have been involved in a local church. Did I totally space that out?
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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pheath
Posts: 82
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Re: Hope



Everyman wrote:
One interesting thing -- I admit that I somewhat sped through the later parts of the book, and I read it a few weeks ago, but I don't recall seeing much if any involvement of faith or a church support group. Was there even a minister involved in support of Fran and Ed? If so, it wasn't memorable enough for me to remember. But a realtor in a small town setting who depended on personal contacts for business success, surely they would have been involved in a local church. Did I totally space that out?




There were brief mentions of a priest when the search was based out of their church, but there weren't any truly religious or faith aspects mentioned about the priest or the church.
-Philip
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pheath
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎02-01-2007
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Re: Hope



Everyman wrote:


pheath wrote:
... the story had to have a boundary. We aren't told much about how Kim's friends interacted with their parents during this time. I would hope that they were getting support through these channels. However it would have bogged down the story to try to give a full account of every character's actions.



I disagree. I think O'Nan spent a lot more time than he needed to on the details of Ed's search process, time he could have used to develop the characters and interactions more deeply.




That's an interesting take, Eman. That would require a balance of character development at the cost of plot development. I actually thought that the "coping" chapters between the end of the search and when Kim was found were where the story bogged down. I was still pretty glued to the book from the beginning to the end of the search. I guess that just goes to show that people go into books looking for different things.
-Philip
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Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Hope



krb2g wrote:

BookSavage wrote:
I think the fact that it does end with the reader finding out that it was a random act makes the hope almost disappear at the end of the book.





I don't think that the final word on what happened to Kim should change our response to the hope the family feels throughout the process. If anything, I think hope helps them move on with their lives both before and after they learn the truth. As Fran organizes the public campaign for Kim, she picks a song "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and a corresponding rainbow image that both express the family's hopes. (Kiakar also responded to this post and commented on the link between faith and hope--in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the rainbow is a powerfully charged symbol of hope). As other readers have noticed, the nature of hope changes throughout the book, but in all the stages, hope keeps the family from being entirely crippled by grief.


I agree that hope is what kept this family going and will keep it going in the future. The opposite of hope is despair (the greatest of evils)which brings all things positive to a grinding halt. Jo
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BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
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Re: Hope



thewanderingjew wrote:
in short, i felt lindsay didn't want to hope, ed had no hope and fran was full of hope.
it was sad to me that in order for all of them to go ahead, kim had to be put behind them, to some degree, even though i understand it intellectually. everyone needs closure.


KxBurns
Hope is an evolving concept in this story. The hopes of Kim's family and friends (for Kim as well as for themselves) change dramatically over time. What does hope mean to different characters at different points?

What form does hope take as the story comes to a close?

I didn’t find it sad, but ultimately the best kind of hope, that one can put, not the person, but the grief over that person, behind, and go on to live a good life. The saddest sights I have seen are those who cannot come to terms with the loss (obviously there’s a time factor here) and cling to a past which can no longer be. I believe the person lives on for as long as he is remembered and talked about and laughed over. Family stories that include the foibles of the deceased and are shared with new friends are great examples of this. My husband died before any of our daughters were married, but you can believe that all the sons-in-law AND the grandchildren can tell stories about ‘Grandpa Bob.”


CAG
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CAG
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Re: Hope



pheath wrote:
At the highest level we see a shift from hope for Kim's safe return to hope for being able to go on with life without Kim.


I have read through the many comments about hope and I think you said it best. Hope does have many stages and in this story each stage is explored. The hope for Kim's safe return goes all the way to being able to just continue on without her. The only other choice is complete despair and the characters are not about despair. It will be interesting to see what develops as far as  Lindsay is concerned. 
CAG
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fordmg
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Re: Hope



Everyman wrote:
One interesting thing -- I admit that I somewhat sped through the later parts of the book, and I read it a few weeks ago, but I don't recall seeing much if any involvement of faith or a church support group. Was there even a minister involved in support of Fran and Ed? If so, it wasn't memorable enough for me to remember. But a realtor in a small town setting who depended on personal contacts for business success, surely they would have been involved in a local church. Did I totally space that out?

There was involvement of Father John, and they used the church as a gathering place until the State police took over, but this wasn't developed very well.  We don't really "see" the character of Father John or the church as a unit other than the community as a whole.
MG
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lamorgan
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Re: Hope

I don't think the family ever gave up hope, per se. Their hope shifted gears as more and more time passed without finding her or any clues. As with any grieving, they needed to continue on with their lives. Bills were piling up, they had another daughter to raise, Ed's mother was in a nursing home ... the day-to-day realities had taken a back seat for too long.
Her friends, on the other hand, are a different story. I feel they resigned themselves to never seeing her again and accepted her being gone sooner than her parents did. Of course, I feel they wanted to believe she ran off on her own, which changes their reason for grief. They believed the evil boyfriend was behind her disappearance and every time something went wrong in their own lives, they tended to blame him.
Personally, I can't imagine what it would be like to have a child disappear like Kim did. I can, however, relate to her parents' reactions and how they found ways to try to find her, albeit unsuccessful.
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CarriesClassics
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Re: Hope

Absolutely, and that change of hope is one that is hardest for all the characters to make.  It is unclear whether or not Kim's dad and sister fully go through this change or not.  (It appears as though they do, but more because they feel that they must rather than they are ready for a life without Kim.)  Lindsey won't have anything to do with personal items while she's away at school.  She doesn't even really want to go to Kim's funeral.  And Ed withdrawls into himself to the point that I wonder if he achieves the point of even hoping to have a life without Kim.
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LucyintheOC
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Re: Hope

______
 
One interesting thing -- I admit that I somewhat sped through the later parts of the book, and I read it a few weeks ago, but I don't recall seeing much if any involvement of faith or a church support group. Was there even a minister involved in support of Fran and Ed? If so, it wasn't memorable enough for me to remember. But a realtor in a small town setting who depended on personal contacts for business success, surely they would have been involved in a local church. Did I totally space that out? 
______
 
The family did have involvement with their church, but it just didn't seem to be the focus of their lives. They had a church family and attended services, and as you mentioned, and this would be important for a man in Ed's position in a small town--in the same way as the fact he was a family man and participated civically (he was a coach). But I think O'Nan may have deliberately chosen not to delve too much into the religous aspect of the family to keep the novel a more broad-based novel, plus, I don't think their faith was the purpose of his writing the book. The family's religion affiliation and whatever faith the characters may or may not have had is more a part of painting the background for the picture of this family than the foreground--which I think is also an accurate portrayal of many people--they attend services but are not overly religious in their daily lives. This doesn't mean that they don't believe or have faith--it's just not the active focus of their daily lives.
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KxBurns
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Re: Hope



lamorgan wrote:
I don't think the family ever gave up hope, per se. Their hope shifted gears as more and more time passed without finding her or any clues. As with any grieving, they needed to continue on with their lives. Bills were piling up, they had another daughter to raise, Ed's mother was in a nursing home ... the day-to-day realities had taken a back seat for too long.
Her friends, on the other hand, are a different story. I feel they resigned themselves to never seeing her again and accepted her being gone sooner than her parents did. Of course, I feel they wanted to believe she ran off on her own, which changes their reason for grief. They believed the evil boyfriend was behind her disappearance and every time something went wrong in their own lives, they tended to blame him.

Interesting observation, lamorgan. On a related note, do you see any generational differences in the impact of Kim's disappearance on her friends and young sister as opposed to her parents? 
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NYBri
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Registered: ‎02-12-2008
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Re: Hope

[ Edited ]
I think the difference between the family and the friends feelings are based on how they remember Kim. The family lost something they had, the friends lost someone they once knew. The friends are hurt by the guilt trip and rejection put on them by the family, even Lindsay had to go along with the parents position towards Kim's friends.
The parents and sister lost a major part of their lives - they maintain their hope and faith because they have to - it is what is done by people in their situation. They are unable to accept the disappearance, despite all evidence that Kim is gone forever. All the time they live with the possibility of Kim's reappearance and how they would react. They choose not to consider the possibility of Kim's death - and temporize the event by doing the right thing - the fruitless search. They refuse to grieve - ultimately extending the grief over a year.
Hope springs eternal but it prevents the healing that comes with acceptance. One does not always have to know how the dice rolled.
I don't know what the point of the story is - it is hard to see what the intended moral is. It is like rubbernecking a traffic accident - There but for fortune go you or I...

- Brian

Message Edited by NYBri on 06-12-2008 11:54 PM
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JaneM
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Re: Hope

I'm not sure there has to be a moral to the story.  It's about the journey.  What do people do when faced with this unimaginable horror of losing a child and/or friend?  It's about the experience, and the changes that are occuring individually.  How do they grow or change?  It's also about the media and our love/hate relationship with it.  But above all, it's about hope -- hope the there can be a resolution to the situation, regardless of what form the resolution takes.  Hope that life for the participants can go forward in some meaningful way while they are still dealing with the day-to-day challenges.  Hope that other children in the family are not destroyed in the process.  The focus on one child whether through loss, disability, or serious illness often has an equally negative reaction on the siblings.  And I think O'Nan ultimately leaves us with a strong message of hope.  Fran and Ed appear to be on track to rebuilding their marriage and lives.  Lindsay seems to have found a coping mechanism (perfectionism and flight) that will allow her to develop into her own person.  And all of us can hope that we never have to face such a terror in our own lives.
 
Jane
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Jo6353
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Hope



JaneM wrote:
And all of us can hope that we never have to face such a terror in our own lives.
Jane



Amen to that! Jo
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