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paula_02912
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Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Some unanswered questions

Pepper wrote: "Paula -- thanks for reinforcing the question -- has Kate Morton consciously been creating broader structural metaphors as well as passages of lyric description with her writing?

I suggested to a hospice chaplain this week that she read this book when it becomes available (or when I am willing to loan my ARC) for its description of bringing a fully lived centenarian life with all its familial dysfunctions to a decent and graceful closure. I said I had never encountered a similar experience in literature. (Suggestions anyone?) And, I added, HAR is not the morbid read that description might make it sound like! It's a good read!"

Pepper, that is a great follow up question too...I think that she does create broader structural methaphors. It would be interesting to hear what the Hospice Chaplain says about the book. I know how you feel about loaning out your ARC...I have recommended this book to several of my coworkers and they have it on their to buy list. I loved this book and I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into and start a discussion. Now that we are discussing it I haven't time to really be involved in the discussion. Work just got to be so busy...but hey, that is the life of a schoolteacher, a boarding school one at that...I am really enjoying some of the discussions though, even though I get to see a lot of them late at night or very, very early in the morning (0458hr).
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

Author Unknown
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vivico1
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter


hrnaylor wrote:
One thing that I've noticed throughout this thread for the most part is the reference to Grace's white lie...is it really a lie if Hannah assumed that Grace was taking shorthand lessons?? Just because Grace didn't correct her, is that why it is considered a white lie? Just wondering about that part...but overall, I think it is truly amazing how the author wrote this story and it all tied back ultimately to the incident of Grace and Hannah running into each other in town all those years ago.




There are lies of commission, where you actually lie to get out of something or to look better. For example, if Grace had told Hannah she WAS taking lessons, and told others that too, when in fact she wasnt, that would be a lie of commission. To let someone assume something, or to leave out all or part of a thing, is a lie of ommission. Grace did lie, she went along letter Hannah think she was a student and never told her the truth, thats a lie of ommission.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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nperrin
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Re: Some unanswered questions



Peppermill wrote:

I suggested to a hospice chaplain this week that she read this book when it becomes available (or when I am willing to loan my ARC) for its description of bringing a fully lived centenarian life with all its familial dysfunctions to a decent and graceful closure. I said I had never encountered a similar experience in literature. (Suggestions anyone?) And, I added, HAR is not the morbid read that description might make it sound like! It's a good read!




I also noticed the chapters getting shorter and shorter at the end, and thought of it in terms of how much narrative Grace could sustain at once as she was reaching the end of her time. Another suggestion of this kind of end-of-life narrative is Penelope Lively's Moon Tiger, which I was reminded of in a lot of ways as I read the House at Riverton. Highly recommended.
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cocospals
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

My question: What was in the safe box for Grace? Was it filled with enough money that Grace could attend school to become and archiologist or did it contain more secrets?
Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there - John Wooden
3M
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3M
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Registered: ‎12-13-2007
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

Who could have imagined that one small white lie all those years ago would play such a pivotal role in the lives of so many people... No wonder Grace felt such guilt. Was her guilt warranted? Do you think tragedy could have been prevented?

Grace shouldn't have felt guilty about going down to the lake. She was trying to protect Hannah in that instance. She should feel guilty, though, about being part of Hannah's deception.
3M
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3M
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



COCOSPALS wrote:
My question: What was in the safe box for Grace? Was it filled with enough money that Grace could attend school to become and archiologist or did it contain more secrets?




I wondered that as well!
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



hrnaylor wrote:
One thing that I've noticed throughout this thread for the most part is the reference to Grace's white lie...is it really a lie if Hannah assumed that Grace was taking shorthand lessons?? Just because Grace didn't correct her, is that why it is considered a white lie? Just wondering about that part...but overall, I think it is truly amazing how the author wrote this story and it all tied back ultimately to the incident of Grace and Hannah running into each other in town all those years ago.

There was another comment earlier about how someone thought that Hannah would have shot Robbie anyway, however, if Grace had known shorthand, and read her letter before going to bed, she wouldn't have taken Emme down to the river, and Grace and Robbie would have escaped. The issue of Hannah having to choose Robbie over Emme wouldn't have come up, at least not in the life and death manner. Ultimately Hannah did choose Robbie over Hannah, which is why she agreed to run off with him.

I enjoyed reading this book, and wish I had stayed on track with the threads so I could read them all and contribute to each chapter...unfortunatley I didn't, and the numbers of threads/posts to read are astronomical:smileyhappy: I hope to be a part of the next book, and keep up with this on a daily basis:smileyhappy:





There are lies of omission especially when they are meant to deceive or keep a deception going.
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



vivico1 wrote:

hrnaylor wrote:
One thing that I've noticed throughout this thread for the most part is the reference to Grace's white lie...is it really a lie if Hannah assumed that Grace was taking shorthand lessons?? Just because Grace didn't correct her, is that why it is considered a white lie? Just wondering about that part...but overall, I think it is truly amazing how the author wrote this story and it all tied back ultimately to the incident of Grace and Hannah running into each other in town all those years ago.




There are lies of commission, where you actually lie to get out of something or to look better. For example, if Grace had told Hannah she WAS taking lessons, and told others that too, when in fact she wasnt, that would be a lie of commission. To let someone assume something, or to leave out all or part of a thing, is a lie of ommission. Grace did lie, she went along letter Hannah think she was a student and never told her the truth, thats a lie of ommission.




Gee Vivian; just saw your response..mine echoed yours. A lie is a lie; and she let Hannah believe something which was not true. Couldn't agree with you more. However, I really do not think that this was the worst that Grace did; and I wonder sometimes why she agonized so much over that and not other decisions that she made.
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vivico1
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter


bentley wrote:


hrnaylor wrote:
One thing that I've noticed throughout this thread for the most part is the reference to Grace's white lie...is it really a lie if Hannah assumed that Grace was taking shorthand lessons?? Just because Grace didn't correct her, is that why it is considered a white lie? Just wondering about that part...but overall, I think it is truly amazing how the author wrote this story and it all tied back ultimately to the incident of Grace and Hannah running into each other in town all those years ago.

There was another comment earlier about how someone thought that Hannah would have shot Robbie anyway, however, if Grace had known shorthand, and read her letter before going to bed, she wouldn't have taken Emme down to the river, and Grace and Robbie would have escaped. The issue of Hannah having to choose Robbie over Emme wouldn't have come up, at least not in the life and death manner. Ultimately Hannah did choose Robbie over Hannah, which is why she agreed to run off with him.






There are lies of omission especially when they are meant to deceive or keep a deception going.


You know,we can go on about if Grace hadnt lied about reading shorthand, she never would have taken Em down there and this wouldnt have happened. I have seen several that find culpability with Grace and maybe Hannah, but only a few of us said anything about Robbie. The thing is, even if it werent for the letter, you could argue all kinds of stuff, like, if they had not had fireworks that night, Robbie wouldnt have lost it and they would all be alive, etc.

There is a different between "cause" and "guilt". And I wonder how much of this is how our society in whole, doesn't seem to think its a big deal to have an affair, if no one knows! Em could have gone down there by herself with no help from Grace and found them. Teddy could have gone down there for something, all kinds of things could have happened. But what did happen was an affair with one of the persons still married. They had to lie, cheat, steal moments, use people, all kinds of stuff that keeps piling up because of an affair. Its not about just you and "getting away with it", its about breaking that first promise you made to your spouse. Its about breaking up families. The damage of an affair to all kinds of people and in the end to the two who only know each other really in this fashion, not in real life everyday stuff, would, even if they hadnt gotten caught, come back to bite them in the backside. Signs of the times I guess. I am glad to see at least a couple of people let Grace off the hook and put half of the guilt back on Robbie. It is NOT Grace's fault that these two are having a dangerous affair. It is not her fault, because she couldnt read short hand, thats just a side note, the piece of the story to get you to this tragic night, not the cause of it.

Grace is not innocent of a lot of things, but she has no guilt in this night. The two, Hannah, and Robbie must take the blame for their own tragic story, they created, fed it, lied for it, dishonored themselves for it and all for what? They could not rise above it and had no desire to. This night is squarely on their shoulders, 50-50, no one elses. Grace couldnt read shorthand, Em was there with a gun, these are just backdrops to what happened. They became part of the perfect storm but not, not a cause of it to be guilty of it. Other things yes, this -no.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

So much in this book was based on a lie. It's not surprising that it was a lie many years ago that finally brought about the tragedy. Almost every relationship in this book was based on a lie of some sort from all the illegitimate children to the games they played. Frankly, I thought Grace's guilt was deserved. She lied to become closer to Hannah, to share a secret, to be more like sisters. However, Hannah was the one who architected her own tragedy. She could resist the last part of the game, writing in code. So ultimately the tissue of lies claimed all it's victims.

It's this tissue of lies and all the participants willingness to be part of a game that made the hints of romance in the previous chapter ring false. I didn't think any of them, Grace included, learned from their inability to face the "real" world.

Still it was a good read.

Nancy
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter


nfam wrote:
However, Hannah was the one who architected her own tragedy.



________________________________________________________________________________


Yes, nfam Hannah was the architect and her designs helped seal her fate. What is that quote about the webs we weave? Wish I could remember it but this situation reminded me of it.

Bentley
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goingeast
Posts: 89
Registered: ‎01-03-2007
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

[ Edited ]
Oh what a tangled web we weave!
When first we practice to deceive!

Shakespeare (of course!)


They were all spinning the web though.
Even Teddy and Deborah. After all, the police were paid off to drop the case. Do you really believe, for even a moment, that everyone couldn't guess what had happened? Don't we (and the police and the townspeople) wonder how Robbie got the gun if it was taped to the inside of the coat Emmeline was wearing?

Message Edited by goingeast on 01-20-2008 11:09 AM
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dejread
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

Hannah made the choice to write her letter to Grace, knowing that Grace did not read shorthand and in doing so set the chain of events that created the choice she had to make between Robbie and Emmaline. It was an unexpected and poignant part of this chapter that I read as saying that we all hold fate in our hands, it's just that our human condition doesn't always allow us to to make the "right" choices.
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



bentley wrote:
There are lies of omission especially when they are meant to deceive or keep a deception going.

Or, as my grandmother taught me:

A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats every lie you can invent.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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hpthatbme
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



dejread wrote:
Hannah made the choice to write her letter to Grace, knowing that Grace did not read shorthand and in doing so set the chain of events that created the choice she had to make between Robbie and Emmaline. It was an unexpected and poignant part of this chapter that I read as saying that we all hold fate in our hands, it's just that our human condition doesn't always allow us to to make the "right" choices.



~~At the time Hannah didn't know that Grace couldn't read shorthand,that part was told to us earlier before we found out about what happened the night Robbie was shot.
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hpthatbme
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

I found it very interesting that the first lie that Grace told for the children, when the teacher-I forgot the right term- was looking for them, and Grace says she isn't a Liar. Grace told several lies through out the story, not as many as Hannah but to me one lie is worth the title even for a small while.
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kiakar
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



hpthatbme wrote:
I found it very interesting that the first lie that Grace told for the children, when the teacher-I forgot the right term- was looking for them, and Grace says she isn't a Liar. Grace told several lies through out the story, not as many as Hannah but to me one lie is worth the title even for a small while.




Yes, Grace started lying for those children when she first met them, and then never stopped...
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



goingeast wrote:
Oh what a tangled web we weave!
When first we practice to deceive!

Shakespeare (of course!)


They were all spinning the web though.
Even Teddy and Deborah. After all, the police were paid off to drop the case. Do you really believe, for even a moment, that everyone couldn't guess what had happened? Don't we (and the police and the townspeople) wonder how Robbie got the gun if it was taped to the inside of the coat Emmeline was wearing?

Message Edited by goingeast on 01-20-2008 11:09 AM




Thanks goingeast..for the life of me..could not remember it. Yes, everyone looked the other way.
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



Everyman wrote:


bentley wrote:
There are lies of omission especially when they are meant to deceive or keep a deception going.

Or, as my grandmother taught me:

A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats every lie you can invent.




Terrific Everyman.
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EbonyAngel
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎12-22-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



darcymack wrote:
I cannot believe that a secret, such as pretending to be able to read short hand should have caused such an event. I do not believe it is Grace's fault, but the fault lies more with Hannah. Grace had one secret. Hannah had many....starting with learning shorthand, and ending with the affair with Robbie.




I had a problem with the shorthand too. First, I didn't see it as that big a deal that Grace didn't tell Hannah she couldn't read it. Of course that was proven wrong.
As to the other points brought up. Didn't servants receive some small payment? Grace could've saved that up and used it for shorthand lessons. But, then again, when was she to have time, her days or 1/2 days off.
Now Hannah, when did she have time after leaving Riverton? I don't remember her going out much. I've taken shorthand, although it was some years ago and if you asked me now, I wouldn't know a thing now. It's one of those things you have to keep in practice, writing or reading, or you lose it.
I don't put the fault on Grace.
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