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Inspired Correspondent
EbonyAngel
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎12-22-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

I would have to disagree with you Vivico. Robbie once had his hands around Hannah's neck, but he didn't kill her. So, you're saying it's ok that Hannah killed Robbie because she ASSUMED Robbie was going to hurt one of them. She could have shot the gun away from them to startle them without hurting anyone. In any case, the gun should never have been fired at all. I don't care how threatening Robbie LOOKED.


I dont think you get what is really happening here, with all due respect. But when he tried to choke her before, she had disturbed him in a fitful dream, when he woke he could stop. This is not what is happening here. He time and time again lets us know of his own concern that he will kill someone yet. He may have already. He knows this himself. And for her to fire that gun into the air is not going to snap him out of it or scare him off, it would escalate what was happening in his head already, guns going off, guns going off, battle, even Hannah had seen enough of him to know, he is not going to stop coming, he is lost. I dont think Hannah ever, ever wanted to kill Robbie but in that moment, it was a matter of who would survive. No the gun never should have been there, but the gun didnt set him off, the fireworks did and his fear did, I am just saying, it was probably at this point, the only thing that saved them from him, he was not going to stop.

Don't we have a war vet in here somewhere? If so, can you help out explain this a bit better? As much as this was not the best book to me that I have read this year, if you follow the sequence of what is happening right then, the fireworks, the timing of them, Emmeline yelling at them, holding a gun, what was happening with Robbie, Ms Morton did a very good job here of explaining what was happening and why it was that way. What do you really think would happen if she through that gun in the lake with Robbie charging them?




I have to agree with vivicol on firing the gun in the air. I feel that shooting him was the only way. (She didn't have to aim to kill though). But I guess she does because everything is lost now anyway with Emmeline knowing.
Anyway, I'm not a war vet, but live with one, (Vietnam). He's better now, thank goodness. I can tell you for a fact that even though he knew what was going on at the time, most times, that didn't make it any better. Sometimes even now when I wake him up I stay at the foot of the bed so if he wakes up swinging I'm not in the way. As far as fireworks, once on the 4th of July one went off when he was driving and he ducked under the dashboard.
So I figure with the fireworks, Emmeline shouting and waving a gun, it was just too much. It wasn't like it was his first episode.
Inspired Correspondent
EbonyAngel
Posts: 276
Registered: ‎12-22-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



Tarri wrote:

goingeast wrote:

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.




Hey darcymack,

I would have to agree with you. The whole shorthand thing is a bit farfetched. First of all, how did Hannah know that after all those years had passed, that Grace still knew shorthand? Shorthand must be practiced much like any other language.

Message Edited by goingeast on 01-15-2008 09:15 AM

Message Edited by goingeast on 01-15-2008 09:21 AM




I took shorthand back in 1970, have never used it, and could still read it and probably even write it --- very slowly.




I took shorthand about as far back as you and I can't really remember a thing.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter


EbonyAngel wrote:

Tarri wrote:
I took shorthand back in 1970, have never used it, and could still read it and probably even write it --- very slowly.


I took shorthand about as far back as you and I can't really remember a thing.


I think more important than the white lie about the shorthand is Grace's enabling role in Hannah and Robbie's adultery. She doesn't just look the other way, for example, when Hannah tells her she's going out for the night and Grace sees the scrap of paper on her dresser that says the time/place of Robbie's poetry reading. She actually lies to the butler and steps outside the house so as to create a reasonable excuse for the door to open, to cover up Hannah leaving the house. So she plays a rather active role in Hannah's affair.

I think the shorthand issue really just emphasizes the way insignificant things can take on great -- even tragic -- importance when magnified by the weight of so many additional lies and deceptions. By all involved!
Scribe
vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter


KxBurns wrote:

EbonyAngel wrote:

Tarri wrote:
I took shorthand back in 1970, have never used it, and could still read it and probably even write it --- very slowly.


I took shorthand about as far back as you and I can't really remember a thing.


I think more important than the white lie about the shorthand is Grace's enabling role in Hannah and Robbie's adultery. She doesn't just look the other way, for example, when Hannah tells her she's going out for the night and Grace sees the scrap of paper on her dresser that says the time/place of Robbie's poetry reading. She actually lies to the butler and steps outside the house so as to create a reasonable excuse for the door to open, to cover up Hannah leaving the house. So she plays a rather active role in Hannah's affair.

I think the shorthand issue really just emphasizes the way insignificant things can take on great -- even tragic -- importance when magnified by the weight of so many additional lies and deceptions. By all involved!


I definitely agree with you on Grace here.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



kiakar wrote:


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...




Come on guys, Grace essentially worked for the children not the teacher/nanny whatever. So if your boss gets a phone call and tells you to say he's not in are you going to say oh no sir I can't lie.
Debbie
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vivico1
Posts: 3,456
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter


dhaupt wrote:


kiakar wrote:


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...




Come on guys, Grace essentially worked for the children not the teacher/nanny whatever. So if your boss gets a phone call and tells you to say he's not in are you going to say oh no sir I can't lie.
Debbie


The fact is, we are all liars, about something, sometime. Anyone who says they have never lied, is lying. Whether its minor, like someone asking you if you like their dress and you politely just say yes, when you are thinking, you wouldnt catch me dead in it, or whether its a bigger lie. And lies of omission are every bit as dangerous as lies of commission. Relationships, even those not of a romantic nature, but friendships for example, that are built on a lie that then has to be continued in order to try to keep the relationship, are doomed to disaster, anything from terribly hurt feelings and mistrust to someone dying. Since as humans, its impossible to never lie, then we have a huge responsibility to weigh the possible outcomes of those lies just as we have to weigh the outcomes of our actions. Tis a slippery slope.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
Frequent Contributor
krenea1
Posts: 356
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

I wonder though, if Hannah had always beleived that Grace had been learning shorthand why she never asked her about it. In that time it is not a usual past time for ladies to learn shorthand for fun is it. Wouldn't you think that Hannah would have eventually questioned why Grace still stuck around and did not venture out to get a job at a news paper and become independant like she herself had wanted so badly.
Karen Renea

Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



krenea1 wrote:
I wonder though, if Hannah had always beleived that Grace had been learning shorthand why she never asked her about it. In that time it is not a usual past time for ladies to learn shorthand for fun is it. Wouldn't you think that Hannah would have eventually questioned why Grace still stuck around and did not venture out to get a job at a news paper and become independant like she herself had wanted so badly.



My take on this is that Hannah's interest in Grace and Grace's life is fairly superficial. She only asks Grace about herself when she is mulling something of her own, and is only interested in Grace's answers insofar as they reinforce her existing opinions or decisions. I think this is why Grace feels like her interactions with Hannah are often some kind of test.

Do you agree?
Wordsmith
Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



KxBurns wrote:


krenea1 wrote:
I wonder though, if Hannah had always beleived that Grace had been learning shorthand why she never asked her about it. In that time it is not a usual past time for ladies to learn shorthand for fun is it. Wouldn't you think that Hannah would have eventually questioned why Grace still stuck around and did not venture out to get a job at a news paper and become independant like she herself had wanted so badly.



My take on this is that Hannah's interest in Grace and Grace's life is fairly superficial. She only asks Grace about herself when she is mulling something of her own, and is only interested in Grace's answers insofar as they reinforce her existing opinions or decisions. I think this is why Grace feels like her interactions with Hannah are often some kind of test.

Do you agree?




I do agree, which illuminates Hannah's selfishness in my eyes.
Contributor
readerrobb
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎12-29-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



Everyman wrote:
I had trouble with the letter.

The letters are, as I recall, placed on Hannah's pillow, so that she will be sure to seem before she goes to bed.

We are told that Hannah knows that Grace can't read shorthand. So Hannah knows that Grace will have to go somewhere else to get the letter to her read. Hannah can hardly expect Grace to do this before she goes to bed, can she? So Hannah knows, or should know, that her letter to Grace won't get read that night.

But Hannah'sletter contains the instruction that Emmeline isn't to get her letter until the next day. So Hannah knows, or should know, that Grace won't get that instruction until the next day, when it no longer matters to have told her that.

I understand why Morton does it this way. In order for events to play out as Morton has designed them to, Hannah has to read the letter to Emmeline that night. But if Hannah had written Grace's letter in English, so that Grace had read it that night, would she have disobeyed a specific directive from Hannah and opened Emmeline's letter that night? If not, things would have turned out much differently.

The sequence of expectations by Hannah that Grace would learn that night not to give the letter to Emmeline doesn't work for me.




This is definitely what went through my mind when I finished the book. I was so engrossed when I finished part 3 that I didn't even stop to write about it.

It seemed to me that Hannah wanted to "get caught". Grace had "proven" herself good at keeping secrets, so why not just write her note in English. I get the sense that Grace would have let the events happen. Remember, it's not the servants job to question the master. While Grace may have disagreed with Hannah's choices, she wouldn't have stood in the way.

As for Grace's guilt all those years. I have agree that no matter what happened that evening in regard to the letters, Someone was going to die at the lake. If you bring out a gun in act one, someone must get shot in act three. All the discussion about hand gun control led to someone getting shot.

Not that I thought the book was formulaic or to be expected.

My only complaint in the whole book was how long it too Grace to realize that she was the half sister of Emmeline and Hannah.

Ms. Morton, what a wonderful book. After a long dry spell in reading, I'm finally ready to read again, thanks to you.
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



dhaupt wrote:


kiakar wrote:


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...




Come on guys, Grace essentially worked for the children not the teacher/nanny whatever. So if your boss gets a phone call and tells you to say he's not in are you going to say oh no sir I can't lie.
Debbie




I am sorry, but no, I have never lied for someone else at my place of employment. If they do not want to be there, then they better leave the area, then I can say, they left. I will not be so vain and say I never lied to protect myself, I have. But never will I tell a lie to cover someone else's ???. I have to lie for myself too often. ha. Use to , anyway. Thank goodness that life is over now!
Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

[ Edited ]

KxBurns wrote:


krenea1 wrote:
I wonder though, if Hannah had always beleived that Grace had been learning shorthand why she never asked her about it. In that time it is not a usual past time for ladies to learn shorthand for fun is it. Wouldn't you think that Hannah would have eventually questioned why Grace still stuck around and did not venture out to get a job at a news paper and become independant like she herself had wanted so badly.



My take on this is that Hannah's interest in Grace and Grace's life is fairly superficial. She only asks Grace about herself when she is mulling something of her own, and is only interested in Grace's answers insofar as they reinforce her existing opinions or decisions. I think this is why Grace feels like her interactions with Hannah are often some kind of test.

Do you agree?


Test, and a reinforcement to her dedication to Hannah.

I found a continuing thread of tension between these two characters. Grace had her desires to be as close as she could to Hannah, for numerous reasons throughout the story. I think I was looking for some major revelation to happen between them....showing the relationship that didn't exist, and should have. The letter certainly changed the whole dynamics of this ending. It revealed so much, but too late. I always wondered just how much Hannah knew. Lots of implications between all of these characters. And lots of eye contact between Frederick and Grace. His family dissolved before his eyes.

Kathy S.

Message Edited by KathyS on 01-22-2008 12:48 AM
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



kiakar wrote:


dhaupt wrote:


kiakar wrote:


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...




Come on guys, Grace essentially worked for the children not the teacher/nanny whatever. So if your boss gets a phone call and tells you to say he's not in are you going to say oh no sir I can't lie.
Debbie




I am sorry, but no, I have never lied for someone else at my place of employment. If they do not want to be there, then they better leave the area, then I can say, they left. I will not be so vain and say I never lied to protect myself, I have. But never will I tell a lie to cover someone else's ???. I have to lie for myself too often. ha. Use to , anyway. Thank goodness that life is over now!




Could you send your boss my way.
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



dhaupt wrote:


kiakar wrote:


dhaupt wrote:


kiakar wrote:


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...




Come on guys, Grace essentially worked for the children not the teacher/nanny whatever. So if your boss gets a phone call and tells you to say he's not in are you going to say oh no sir I can't lie.
Debbie




I am sorry, but no, I have never lied for someone else at my place of employment. If they do not want to be there, then they better leave the area, then I can say, they left. I will not be so vain and say I never lied to protect myself, I have. But never will I tell a lie to cover someone else's ???. I have to lie for myself too often. ha. Use to , anyway. Thank goodness that life is over now!




Could you send your boss my way.




My bosses were nurses mostly since I was a LPN Medication Asst. at a mentally challenged facuilty. Maybe that made the difference. I really do not think I was ever put in that position to lie for my supervisor. Sometimes a nurse would say, if the phone was ringing in my medication office, if its for me I just left or something of this nature. I was a typist the younger part of my life in Washington, D. C. But I can't ever recall flat out lying for my boss. But I think I would question it anyway.
Frequent Contributor
judycarr
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎12-12-2007
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

I think we have to remember that first and foremost, Grace was the servant and there is nothing she would have done to betray that. She did what she had to do because of her "station" and her devotion to her mistress. In retrospect, its easy to see where her anguish of later years comes from but at the same time, she certainly did well for herself. I think it was fascinating that she was able to recover and not become stuck with her grief and trauma. She was a courageous woman but one who, I think, saw her obligation as to her mistress and her safety.
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hpthatbme
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎02-17-2007
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter



vivico1 wrote:

dhaupt wrote:


kiakar wrote:


hpthatbme wrote:










Come on guys, Grace essentially worked for the children not the teacher/nanny whatever. So if your boss gets a phone call and tells you to say he's not in are you going to say oh no sir I can't lie.
Debbie


The fact is, we are all liars, about something, sometime. Anyone who says they have never lied, is lying. Whether its minor, like someone asking you if you like their dress and you politely just say yes, when you are thinking, you wouldnt catch me dead in it, or whether its a bigger lie. And lies of omission are every bit as dangerous as lies of commission. Relationships, even those not of a romantic nature, but friendships for example, that are built on a lie that then has to be continued in order to try to keep the relationship, are doomed to disaster, anything from terribly hurt feelings and mistrust to someone dying. Since as humans, its impossible to never lie, then we have a huge responsibility to weigh the possible outcomes of those lies just as we have to weigh the outcomes of our actions. Tis a slippery slope.





~~I realize that we all lie and are considered liars at some point. I just thought it interesting that Grace doesn't see herself as a liar, even looking back at the first time she lies and continues all through out her life. I didn't see her working for the children I saw her working for the grandparents at the time of her "first lie" for the children. I get what you are saying though.
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hpthatbme
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎02-17-2007
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter


KxBurns wrote:



My take on this is that Hannah's interest in Grace and Grace's life is fairly superficial. She only asks Grace about herself when she is mulling something of her own, and is only interested in Grace's answers insofar as they reinforce her existing opinions or decisions. I think this is why Grace feels like her interactions with Hannah are often some kind of test.

Do you agree?




~~That is an interesting point, and as I think about it I do agree with you about it. Hannah doesn't seem to take the same interest in Grace's life that Grace does with Hannah's but at the same time this might be another one of those school crushes that were explained in another post about David and Robbie for Grace.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter


judycarr wrote:
I think we have to remember that first and foremost, Grace was the servant and there is nothing she would have done to betray that. She did what she had to do because of her "station" and her devotion to her mistress. In retrospect, its easy to see where her anguish of later years comes from but at the same time, she certainly did well for herself. I think it was fascinating that she was able to recover and not become stuck with her grief and trauma. She was a courageous woman but one who, I think, saw her obligation as to her mistress and her safety.



This is true, Grace takes her duty to Hannah very seriously. Yet she is in an untenable position b/c she sees herself as not just in charge of Hannah's wardrobe, but also responsible for "maintaining her good character" (p. 283). A ladies maid, when asked a candid question by a particularly frank employer, might simply give an honest answer. But someone who feels responsible for the good character of the person asking might answer that same question very differently.

Who would have responded to Hannah's request if Grace had been able to read shorthand -- Grace, the dutiful ladies made or Grace, keeper of Hannah's moral fiber? We'll never know!

Your comment brings up another dichotomy in Grace's character, between the grief-stricken young woman who cannot muster the emotional resilience to mother her child and the woman that we hear so little about -- vibrant grandmother, archaeologist, companion to Alfred. I would have loved to read more about the latter, just to bridge the gap between the two.

Although, maybe the gap between the two Graces is part of the point?
Distinguished Bibliophile
KathyS
Posts: 6,898
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Letter

Karen wrote: ....another dichotomy in Grace's character, between the grief-stricken young woman who cannot muster the emotional resilience to mother her child and the woman that we hear so little about -- vibrant grandmother, archaeologist, companion to Alfred. I would have loved to read more about the latter, just to bridge the gap between the two.

Although, maybe the gap between the two Graces is part of the point?
_______________

Me too! I'm sure that part of her life would have been just as interesting....another 400 pages, I'm sure!
The story ended as it should...her story was about her life at Riverton....
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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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.


p.37 "She reached the doll's house and I noticed the tail of Emmeline's sash ribbon protruding from the stand."

Did Grace really deceive Miss Prince, or did she simply let the children get away with their prank?

Did it ever occur to Hannah that she never saw Grace practicing shorthand, even though Hannah did so for hours?

Hannah is not particularly observant in a number of ways, again reflecting this one way direction of knowledge.
"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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