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KxBurns
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Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

How has the focus of the search efforts changed, both logistically and emotionally, in this group of chapters? Do you see a corresponding shift in family dynamics, or in the dynamic between the family and other members of their circle/community?
 
What, in your opinion, are some of the key scenes in this section?
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lamorgan
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

I feel the police still believe she is a runaway, although they are putting on the charm or a front for the parents. In a way, Kim's friends seem to also feel she left on her own accord.
Her parents are displaying their feelings of helplessness, each in his or her own way, as is the sister Lindsay. They each want to find her, yet neither of them knows how to do that. Her father takes an active part in the search, while her mother appeals to the public through a variety of campaigns. Lindsay is at a total loss. She probably relates more to why Kim may have simply run away, but she doesn't seem to truly believe that's what happened.
At this point, her parents are also looking for a scapegoat. They want to put the blame on anyone and anything -- the "bad boy" boyfriend, her best girl friend -- it doesn't matter who or what, as long as they have some explanation. It's almost as if a small part of them think she really might have run off.
By using the football game as a venue to appeal for even more assistance, Kim's mother is almost intruding on a sports tradition. That may explain why she didn't get the emotional reaction from the audience she was expecting. Most of the people were there to watch the game, not dwell on troubles outside the field. It's not that they don't care, they just need a break from the real world for a while -- a good reason why many have a hobby or favorite pastime, such as watching sports on the field or on TV. There's nothing wrong with that, but Kim's mother would never understand that at this point. She needs to shoulder pats and empathetic comments. She also needs to feel as if everyone is helping her find her daughter.
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GMorrison
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

[ Edited ]
I feel that the biggest change between this section and the first is that the family is settling into a sort of limbo along with the search. After Kim's car is located no further clues emerge to point to her whereabouts or ultimate fate, and although her parents are still involved in the search effort, it's almost taken on the role of habit--they're resigned to not knowing where their daughter is, no longer fervently expecting her to be located.

Indeed, I think the key dynamic shift in this section is that the Larsens are waiting to hear that they've found Kim's body, not Kim herself.

I was glad to see that Ed and Fran's marriage is holding up better than I'd anticipated. There are still problems of course: I'm worried about Fran's increasing dependence on Ambien, but she does seem more conscious of her drinking, and Ed did return home from Sandusky. I think it's a good sign that they've both gone back to work and that Fran is making an effort to connect to Lindsay, even though her daughter is trying to rebuff her somewhat.

I agree with lamorgan that the football game was the pivotal scene. It almost summarizes of the entire development of the past 100-odd pages: people have accepted Kim's disappearance and life goes on. Like the annual memorials held in The Lovely Bones, where fewer and fewer people attend every year, the community moves on, and Kim's loss only remains raw for her immediate family and friends. Kim has become much less of an individual, a person, and more of a brand name or familiar fixture at public events, and her situation just cannot command the same attention anymore. Of course this is difficult for the family to confront, but it's necessary that they do so, especially when it seems as though the missing individual may never be found.

Message Edited by GMorrison on 06-09-2008 01:54 PM
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bentley
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")


lamorgan wrote:
I feel the police still believe she is a runaway, although they are putting on the charm or a front for the parents. In a way, Kim's friends seem to also feel she left on her own accord.
Her parents are displaying their feelings of helplessness, each in his or her own way, as is the sister Lindsay. They each want to find her, yet neither of them knows how to do that. Her father takes an active part in the search, while her mother appeals to the public through a variety of campaigns. Lindsay is at a total loss. She probably relates more to why Kim may have simply run away, but she doesn't seem to truly believe that's what happened.
At this point, her parents are also looking for a scapegoat. They want to put the blame on anyone and anything -- the "bad boy" boyfriend, her best girl friend -- it doesn't matter who or what, as long as they have some explanation. It's almost as if a small part of them think she really might have run off.
By using the football game as a venue to appeal for even more assistance, Kim's mother is almost intruding on a sports tradition. That may explain why she didn't get the emotional reaction from the audience she was expecting. Most of the people were there to watch the game, not dwell on troubles outside the field. It's not that they don't care, they just need a break from the real world for a while -- a good reason why many have a hobby or favorite pastime, such as watching sports on the field or on TV. There's nothing wrong with that, but Kim's mother would never understand that at this point. She needs to shoulder pats and empathetic comments. She also needs to feel as if everyone is helping her find her daughter.





It is odd that both Ed and Fran are confronted by the empty bleachers at half-time. Everybody else is going on with their lives and they are stuck in time; immobilized because their daughter is missing. Fran bears much responsibility for the events and has now become a sound bite herself. She still cannot look within; and still casts aside the best girl friends and the former boy friend. They still loved Kim and would have done anything for her to return; yet they were filled with guilt and only wanted the Larsens to recognize that they had a great loss too.

I wonder if the Larsens believe that Kim is forgotten. So odd since so many of the major characters' lives are so filled with remembrances and constant images that fill their days and thoughts. The energy of her personality was gone; but somehow her memory was etched in the stone of her family's everyday life.

The football game should have been a realization that time had passed and hope for the impossible was not going to make things better or change the dynamics of a future without Kim. Fran wants a constant eulogy and memorial as a part of her family's everyday life; like having any fun would be diminishing the memory of one of her family's members (Kim). What about the lives of everybody else in the family which were just ticking away.
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mwinasu
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

I thought this was very powerful.  Dead on.
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Peppermill
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



mwinasu wrote:
I thought this was very powerful. Dead on.





By "this" you mean "this section of the book"? Bentley's comments? Other?
"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
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rdsw
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

I agree with some of the earlier comments.  The half-time "circle of hope", or whatever you want to call it, was a pivotal scene.  The crowd was there for the traditional football game, like a homecoming, with all the college kids home for the first time.  It shows how life goes on.  Like a death in the family, you have to move on at some point.  I think the same kind of questions apply to Kim's parents: When is the right time to go back to work?  Will the community view it as I've given up and moved on?  I was disturbed with Fran's interview at the game.  Nina describes her "anchor woman hair", wearing a suit and lipstick.  She's too commercial, not emotional.  My earlier feelings for Fran are just confirmed...she keeps it all inside and puts on the brave front for the cameras and others.  Maybe that's a sign of her alcoholism, faking it in public.  Another turning point for me is the change in character of JP and Nina.  The freedom of going to college and being whoever you want to be is part of the process.  It's a fresh start for JP and Nina in more ways than one.  I found it interesting how they changed at college, but could fall back into the same routine when coming home. I'm looking forward to last chapters and how this will all wrap up.  But maybe I'm more excited to find out how much more can these characters develop and change.
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ethel55
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

The family goes through a lot in this section.  I agree with many of the earlier comments about the football game and empty bleachers.

Lindsay has also started back at school and has decided the being perfect is the way to go. She "breaks" a bit with the neighbor, Mrs. Hedrick, but otherwise, tries to do her best at school, while still hiding in her room at home.  She spends a lot of time online, searching for info about missing people and that is yet another form of crutch the family is using to cope as time goes along.  When the police call with the news of finding a body, Ed and Fran decide not to tell Lindsay right away, always protecting her, even as she is still growing up.  (ie, not frozen in the same time as she was when Kim disappeared).
 
 
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paula_02912
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

rdsw wrote: "The half-time "circle of hope", or whatever you want to call it, was a pivotal scene."
 
I think this was a pivotal scene, but I think the most poignant part of this scene is that not many people were in the stands when they formed the circle...everyone went to get some snacks before the second half and the teams didn't even stick around...does that mean people were just tired of "celebrating" Kim, and wanted to go back to their normal lives?
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bentley
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")


paula_02912 wrote:
rdsw wrote: "The half-time "circle of hope", or whatever you want to call it, was a pivotal scene."
 
I think this was a pivotal scene, but I think the most poignant part of this scene is that not many people were in the stands when they formed the circle...everyone went to get some snacks before the second half and the teams didn't even stick around...does that mean people were just tired of "celebrating" Kim, and wanted to go back to their normal lives?





Everyone is so bombarded by bad news that when they go to a football game; they are most likely looking for some relief. It did show that many who attended were self absorbed; but maybe also it showed that they had moved on with their lives and felt that there was nothing they could do to bring Kim back. Maybe they felt guilty or maybe relieved that this had not happened to one of their own daughters or family and wanted to remove themselves from that kind of worry when they were at a game to just have some fun.

They might just not have wanted to feel bad.
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peacenbeaches
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

I found that once they found her car that maybe there should have been a few more clues.  I felt like some of the others here that the police and her friends thought that she ran away.  Her family was just in limbo and not knowing what to do next.   It was a big turning point at the football game.  I am was happy to see the Fran and Ed marriage stayed strong. Yea it put a huge strain on the marriage and yet they leaned on each other in their own way.
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Bonnie824
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

What struck me in the middle was that everyone really seemed to have lost hope in a happy ending, but kept going through the emotions and work of pretending they hadn't. It was like they were scared to stop and feel the grief yet. But also would have felt guilty trying to live a normal kind of way yet.
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Amber_R
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



KxBurns wrote:
How has the focus of the search efforts changed, both logistically and emotionally, in this group of chapters? Do you see a corresponding shift in family dynamics, or in the dynamic between the family and other members of their circle/community?
 
What, in your opinion, are some of the key scenes in this section?


I feel that the focus of the search efforts started out logistically more about just finding her and then it became more emotional as more time went by and they figured out that she was not coming home. I feel that the family has also started to become closer than they were prior to all of this. Lindsay still seems like she's trying to keep her feeling withdrawn, but at least O'Nan lets you know that her parents have noticed that she's not eating. Before they were too busy with their own lives that they probably wouldn't have noticed her loss of appetite. The dynamic between the family and the community has changed as well. Fran has become more of a symbol and is more involved with the community than she was before whereas Ed was once more involved with the community, but as the book goes on he seems to be withdrawing a bit.
The key scene for me was when the police found that body and you feel the stress and the tension of both Fran and Ed as they wait for the Police to confirm whether or not if it's Kim. I just thought that was very well written. The way this has been written, you just feel like you're waiting for the inevitable and with each chapter you think you're getting closer, but then you just find disappointment with the lack of information about Kim, which is probably how O'Nan wants you to feel because then you can identify with the family left behind in this situation.
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Murphy919
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



Bonnie824 wrote:
What struck me in the middle was that everyone really seemed to have lost hope in a happy ending, but kept going through the emotions and work of pretending they hadn't. It was like they were scared to stop and feel the grief yet. But also would have felt guilty trying to live a normal kind of way yet.






I couldn't agree more! It got to the point that to me they were just treading water, afraid to admit that Kim might be gone but tired of waiting for the grieving to begin. Some call it poignant I call it stalling for time, I was getting bored at this point. However, I think it is largely my need for answers and since I wasn't getting any it stopped being fun for me.
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swapna1183
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

I agree - this is where the book started losing my interest!
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pheath
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



swapna1183 wrote:
I agree - this is where the book started losing my interest!





Me too. I felt like the book lost steam when it shifting from the "searching" phase to the "coping" phase.
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fordmg
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



lamorgan wrote:
By using the football game as a venue to appeal for even more assistance, Kim's mother is almost intruding on a sports tradition. That may explain why she didn't get the emotional reaction from the audience she was expecting. Most of the people were there to watch the game, not dwell on troubles outside the field. It's not that they don't care, they just need a break from the real world for a while -- a good reason why many have a hobby or favorite pastime, such as watching sports on the field or on TV. There's nothing wrong with that, but Kim's mother would never understand that at this point. She needs to shoulder pats and empathetic comments. She also needs to feel as if everyone is helping her find her daughter.


Good insight on the use of the football game.  I didn't think of that as why there were empty stands during their ceremony.
MG
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bmbrennan
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")



KxBurns wrote:
How has the focus of the search efforts changed, both logistically and emotionally, in this group of chapters? Do you see a corresponding shift in family dynamics, or in the dynamic between the family and other members of their circle/community?
 
What, in your opinion, are some of the key scenes in this section?


To me the longer a search goes the less urgency that seems to exist.  I see that happening here.  Ironic that Kim's car was found in a hospital parking lot.  I think that Ed thought there would be much more to finding the car, that somehow it would have a bigger sense of purpose.  I got the feeling that Ed thought the car would be in a CSI ish kind of garage and when he sees it in a shack reality begins to sink in that Kim being gone is not the priority to law enforcement that it still is to him and Fran.  I also liked how Ed couldn't completely let go of the real estate agent in him, how in driving to Sandusky, he notes the houses and how easily they could be sold and that he could see himself here, is this an unconscious wish to be able to start over, I don't know.  I also found the telephone call to Fran from the motel room poignant as if it was them against the world how foretelling since at the football game  they are alone in the circle on the field.
bmbrennan
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detailmuse
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

I loved the way Mrs. Hedrick dealt with the situation -- first she comforted Lindsay, then she distracted her with some time together making dinner. It was a good thing, even though Lindsay was resistant to it. I thought it showed that Lindsay wasn't yet full grown and didn't always know what was best for her. A teenager still needs parenting.
 
And it's in such contrast to what Fran did when Lindsay got home (p198). Fran said they needed to talk. I thought Mrs. Hedrick must have told Fran about Lindsay's tears and Fran was going to come through, yay! I think Lindsay thought so, too. "Lindsay waited blankly, as if she was innocent." (innocent of crying!!) But no! it's birthday presents and contacts Fran needed to talk about. :smileymad: I could practically see Lindsay giving up on her mother and detaching in that moment.

ethel55 wrote:
[Lindsay] "breaks" a bit with the neighbor, Mrs. Hedrick
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Crystal8i8
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Re: Middle Chapters ("The Motorist's Prayer" through "Halftime Entertainment")

The entire world shifts or so it seems to the family and friends of Kim.  Her friends have gone to college, her parents and sister back to work and to school. The closeness of these people to Kim doesn't change, but their moving on in their grief is accelerated by life.  They still miss Kim and want her to come home, or be found; they want her to be ok.  They all miss her in their own ways.  Different people are coming together and others are moving apart.  No relationship is staying quite the same. 
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