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KxBurns
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PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

The introduction of this chapter provides a nice transition into Hannah's point-of-view. It's a savvy way for Morton to allow us into details of Hannah's life to which Grace would not have otherwise been privy.

Thus we learn that Hannah has made a temporary escape into a "secret world" with Robbie Hunter. It is The Game that brings him back into Hannah's life, and their affair is filled with the same kind of clandestine missions that characterized the childish diversion. Hannah seems to live out Robbie's comment that it is "Better to lose oneself in action than wither in despair" (p. 366).

Aside from the excitement of an illicit affair, what do you think motivates Hannah's relationship with Robbie?

Were you disappointed in Hannah's manipulation of Emmeline? Do you think she really believes Emmeline is not attached to Robbie, or does Hannah convince herself of that to minimize her guilt?

There are so many other things of note in this chapter. Here are a few:
- Deborah is a woman scorned, and I'm not sure she’s fully extracted her revenge
- Deborah believes servants are like children, but for the most part it is the servants who are the minders of their employers, isn't it?
- What is the significance of the title of Robbie's book of poetry, Progress and Disintegration?
- In the wake of their father's death, both Hannah and Emmeline are spiraling out of control. What is Grace's role, if any, in all this?
- Hannah refers to letting Robbie plan their "great escape" as a game. Maybe she has no intention of running away with him?

What did you think?

Karen
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vivico1
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

The one think I will say about this 50 page chapter is that it was probably the most well written one of the book. If Morton had stuck to this style throughout, I think I would have liked the whole book a lot better. This was a nearly full story within the book and the old Grace didnt pop in, in the middle of a page and then back out.

Hannah lets Robbie plan out their escape almost like the game because in many ways, if you look back over the book, for as much as Hannah may dream of this or that, she was, I believe, afraid to actually act on them because "there could be consequences". The game was much easier for Hannah to escape into than even the real life versions of the game. This isnt the first time, she did it at the dinner when she didnt tell her father what she wanted to do and let it go. She did it in quite frankly, learning shorthand. It was a game, it never went into a career and never would, but it was fun for her to play with. Hannah's games are much more dangerous than facing life head on and taking those consequences instead.
Vivian
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darma51
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

[ Edited ]
I too believed that Hannah's affair with Robbie was a way to play the game at first but then she developed feelings for him. Once her emotions were involved the affair became a way to escape. [Edited for spoilers by moderator]

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-14-2008 02:45 PM
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dhaupt
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

I think Hannah's affair with Robbie was partly because of the illicitness but also I think she felt she knew him because of his poetry.
I was very disappointed with Hannah's use of Emmeline, had she forgotten Emmeline's involvement with the film guy and how she responds to what she thinks of love? I had that foreboding feeling after reading this chapter.
I also get the feeling that Deborah will strike when we least expect it.
Grace's role in this is to simply act like a maid and help Hannah hide her "secrets" from the household.
At this point I don't think Hannah is really thinking of running away with Robbie.
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crazyasitsounds
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

I didn't particularly like the transition into Hannah's point of view. It was certainly necessary for her point of view to take over in order for us to know the details of Hannah & Robbie's relationship, but it made the usual older-woman-looking-back point of view seem almost gimmicky. It drew attention to the shortcomings of that perspective.

Hannah seemed selfish in this chapter. Not just because of the affair, but because she had to know that Emmeline was being led on. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the sisters' lives are now so different & they have little in common. Hannah disapproves of Emmeline's behavior, yet her own actions are just as immoral as her sister's. I think she's too wrapped up in all the fun she's having to realize that she's hurting Emmeline & Robbie. I do think she thinks of the affair as a game, something apart from her "real" life. I'm not sure she would actually be able to go through with leaving her husband--just like she couldn't go through with getting a job, for example.
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kiakar
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

I do feel Hannah was playing out the game, she would not have left Teddie. She was therefore a realist, knowing she could not have her lavish liftstyle without Teddie. Robbie was a distraction, she was a bored rich wife, with not enought to do. She only wanted to play, she did get caught up in her game, I think she really had feelings for Robbie, but not enought to give it up for her benefit. Hannah wanted what she wanted, but she wanted to know she had the lavish lifestyle waiting for her when she was done playing or whatever she wanted to do at the time.
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Tarri
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

Hannah yearns for a life of knowledge and adventure and instead she has found a life of four walls with her maid as her only confidant. I cannot imagine being Hannah. At least Grace has a purpose in life, to serve. Hannah has nothing. Her husband's family runs the household, tells her who she can and can't see, and what she can or cannot do with her days. The fact that Hannah is enthralled with Robbie and his life is not at all surprising.

If Hannah's manipulation of Emmeline was intentionally cruel, I could fault her. But I don't believe Hannah ever saw Emmeline as an adult with adult ideas and feelings.
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dhaupt
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

Kiakar wrote:
I do feel Hannah was playing out the game, she would not have left Teddie. She was therefore a realist, knowing she could not have her lavish liftstyle without Teddie. Robbie was a distraction, she was a bored rich wife, with not enought to do. She only wanted to play, she did get caught up in her game, I think she really had feelings for Robbie, but not enought to give it up for her benefit. Hannah wanted what she wanted, but she wanted to know she had the lavish lifestyle waiting for her when she was done playing or whatever she wanted to do at the time.
____________________________________

I don't think I can agree that Hannah only wanted a lavish lifestyle, she wanted more than anything to belong. She didn't need or want all of her lavish clothes, she gave a lot of them to Emmeline when she first visited #17 remember. She kept trying to get Teddy to talk to her about "important things" like politics. I think she really thought she could be a real part of Robbie's life not just arm candy. Now maybe she was naive, but not malicious.
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kiakar
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story



Tarri wrote:
Hannah yearns for a life of knowledge and adventure and instead she has found a life of four walls with her maid as her only confidant. I cannot imagine being Hannah. At least Grace has a purpose in life, to serve. Hannah has nothing. Her husband's family runs the household, tells her who she can and can't see, and what she can or cannot do with her days. The fact that Hannah is enthralled with Robbie and his life is not at all surprising.

If Hannah's manipulation of Emmeline was intentionally cruel, I could fault her. But I don't believe Hannah ever saw Emmeline as an adult with adult ideas and feelings.


....and she didnt act like an adult either. But hannah fell to realize that Emmeline was troubled in her mind about relationships.....
Hannah did fell to realize the way to gain her ambitions. It wasnt through someone elses life, she had to make it for herself alone. One of her mistakes, was trying to find pansys to get fulfillment out of her own life. She never stood alone, and tried.
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goingeast
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

I believe what propelled Hannah to indulge in an affair had to do with her father's tragedy. On p. 370...
"With news of her father's sudden death, Hannah felt as if her anchor had
been severed, as if she had been washed from safe waters and was at the
whim of tides she neither knew nor trusted...while Pa lived she had been
tied to something,to someone large and sturdy...she started to dream at
night of dark waters, leaking ships, relentless ocean waves...to dwell once
more upon the spiritualist's vision of darkness and death."

Here we see that her father's death was a turning point for her. She needed to fill the void that her father had left, and her husband was not going to foot the bill for that. She needed that anchor, someone "large and sturdy" to comfort her. Remember, Robbie is tghe only one to tell Hannah "I'm sorry about your father" (p. 375). Everyone else was proccupied with making money and politics (Teddy, Deborah, Simion). Hannah needed someone to talk to her about her feelings, especially regarding her father. She also needed someone to fulfill her sexual desires. Robbie gives Hannah the book Ulysses which is about a sexual relationship, knowing that Hannah is ripe for a full, sexual experience. They are soul mates. Teddy was never a lover to Hannah, in fact, I would venture to say he may even have been a closet homosexual (p.409)...
"But Teddy hasn't been adulterous...He's never been particularly interested,
not even when we were first married. It wasn't until I met you that I
realized..."
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story



goingeast wrote:
I believe what propelled Hannah to indulge in an affair had to do with her father's tragedy. On p. 370...
"With news of her father's sudden death, Hannah felt as if her anchor had
been severed, as if she had been washed from safe waters and was at the
whim of tides she neither knew nor trusted...while Pa lived she had been
tied to something,to someone large and sturdy...she started to dream at
night of dark waters, leaking ships, relentless ocean waves...to dwell once
more upon the spiritualist's vision of darkness and death."

Here we see that her father's death was a turning point for her. She needed to fill the void that her father had left, and her husband was not going to foot the bill for that. She needed that anchor, someone "large and sturdy" to comfort her. Remember, Robbie is tghe only one to tell Hannah "I'm sorry about your father" (p. 375). Everyone else was proccupied with making money and politics (Teddy, Deborah, Simion). Hannah needed someone to talk to her about her feelings, especially regarding her father. She also needed someone to fulfill her sexual desires. Robbie gives Hannah the book Ulysses which is about a sexual relationship, knowing that Hannah is ripe for a full, sexual experience. They are soul mates. Teddy was never a lover to Hannah, in fact, I would venture to say he may even have been a closet homosexual (p.409)...
"But Teddy hasn't been adulterous...He's never been particularly interested,
not even when we were first married. It wasn't until I met you that I
realized..."




I tend to agree with your assessment; but I also feel that Hannah would never have left Teddy (she craved respectability and a proper image more than anything as well as the lifestyle she had grown accustomed to having). Robbie though she loved him in her own way was a diversion. Robbie was her sexual partner while Teddy was her monetary one.
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goingeast
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

[ Edited ]

bentley wrote:


goingeast wrote:
I believe what propelled Hannah to indulge in an affair had to do with her father's tragedy. On p. 370...
"With news of her father's sudden death, Hannah felt as if her anchor had
been severed, as if she had been washed from safe waters and was at the
whim of tides she neither knew nor trusted...while Pa lived she had been
tied to something,to someone large and sturdy...she started to dream at
night of dark waters, leaking ships, relentless ocean waves...to dwell once
more upon the spiritualist's vision of darkness and death."

Here we see that her father's death was a turning point for her. She needed to fill the void that her father had left, and her husband was not going to foot the bill for that. She needed that anchor, someone "large and sturdy" to comfort her. Remember, Robbie is tghe only one to tell Hannah "I'm sorry about your father" (p. 375). Everyone else was proccupied with making money and politics (Teddy, Deborah, Simion). Hannah needed someone to talk to her about her feelings, especially regarding her father. She also needed someone to fulfill her sexual desires. Robbie gives Hannah the book Ulysses which is about a sexual relationship, knowing that Hannah is ripe for a full, sexual experience. They are soul mates. Teddy was never a lover to Hannah, in fact, I would venture to say he may even have been a closet homosexual (p.409)...
"But Teddy hasn't been adulterous...He's never been particularly interested,
not even when we were first married. It wasn't until I met you that I
realized..."




I tend to agree with your assessment; but I also feel that Hannah would never have left Teddy (she craved respectability and a proper image more than anything as well as the lifestyle she had grown accustomed to having). Robbie though she loved him in her own way was a diversion. Robbie was her sexual partner while Teddy was her monetary one.





[Edited by moderator for spoilers]

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-15-2008 02:14 PM
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

[ Edited ]

goingeast wrote:


bentley wrote:


goingeast wrote:
I believe what propelled Hannah to indulge in an affair had to do with her father's tragedy. On p. 370...
"With news of her father's sudden death, Hannah felt as if her anchor had
been severed, as if she had been washed from safe waters and was at the
whim of tides she neither knew nor trusted...while Pa lived she had been
tied to something,to someone large and sturdy...she started to dream at
night of dark waters, leaking ships, relentless ocean waves...to dwell once
more upon the spiritualist's vision of darkness and death."

Here we see that her father's death was a turning point for her. She needed to fill the void that her father had left, and her husband was not going to foot the bill for that. She needed that anchor, someone "large and sturdy" to comfort her. Remember, Robbie is tghe only one to tell Hannah "I'm sorry about your father" (p. 375). Everyone else was proccupied with making money and politics (Teddy, Deborah, Simion). Hannah needed someone to talk to her about her feelings, especially regarding her father. She also needed someone to fulfill her sexual desires. Robbie gives Hannah the book Ulysses which is about a sexual relationship, knowing that Hannah is ripe for a full, sexual experience. They are soul mates. Teddy was never a lover to Hannah, in fact, I would venture to say he may even have been a closet homosexual (p.409)...
"But Teddy hasn't been adulterous...He's never been particularly interested,
not even when we were first married. It wasn't until I met you that I
realized..."




I tend to agree with your assessment; but I also feel that Hannah would never have left Teddy (she craved respectability and a proper image more than anything as well as the lifestyle she had grown accustomed to having). Robbie though she loved him in her own way was a diversion. Robbie was her sexual partner while Teddy was her monetary one.





[Edited by moderator for spoilers]

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-15-2008 02:14 PM
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goingeast
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

[ Edited ]

bentley wrote:


goingeast wrote:


bentley wrote:


goingeast wrote:
I believe what propelled Hannah to indulge in an affair had to do with her father's tragedy. On p. 370...
"With news of her father's sudden death, Hannah felt as if her anchor had
been severed, as if she had been washed from safe waters and was at the
whim of tides she neither knew nor trusted...while Pa lived she had been
tied to something,to someone large and sturdy...she started to dream at
night of dark waters, leaking ships, relentless ocean waves...to dwell once
more upon the spiritualist's vision of darkness and death."

Here we see that her father's death was a turning point for her. She needed to fill the void that her father had left, and her husband was not going to foot the bill for that. She needed that anchor, someone "large and sturdy" to comfort her. Remember, Robbie is tghe only one to tell Hannah "I'm sorry about your father" (p. 375). Everyone else was proccupied with making money and politics (Teddy, Deborah, Simion). Hannah needed someone to talk to her about her feelings, especially regarding her father. She also needed someone to fulfill her sexual desires. Robbie gives Hannah the book Ulysses which is about a sexual relationship, knowing that Hannah is ripe for a full, sexual experience. They are soul mates. Teddy was never a lover to Hannah, in fact, I would venture to say he may even have been a closet homosexual (p.409)...
"But Teddy hasn't been adulterous...He's never been particularly interested,
not even when we were first married. It wasn't until I met you that I
realized..."




I tend to agree with your assessment; but I also feel that Hannah would never have left Teddy (she craved respectability and a proper image more than anything as well as the lifestyle she had grown accustomed to having). Robbie though she loved him in her own way was a diversion. Robbie was her sexual partner while Teddy was her monetary one.





[Edited by moderator for spoilers]

Message Edited by goingeast on 01-14-2008 04:40 PM

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-15-2008 02:15 PM
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

[ Edited ]

goingeast wrote:

bentley wrote:


goingeast wrote:


bentley wrote:


goingeast wrote:
I believe what propelled Hannah to indulge in an affair had to do with her father's tragedy. On p. 370...
"With news of her father's sudden death, Hannah felt as if her anchor had
been severed, as if she had been washed from safe waters and was at the
whim of tides she neither knew nor trusted...while Pa lived she had been
tied to something,to someone large and sturdy...she started to dream at
night of dark waters, leaking ships, relentless ocean waves...to dwell once
more upon the spiritualist's vision of darkness and death."

Here we see that her father's death was a turning point for her. She needed to fill the void that her father had left, and her husband was not going to foot the bill for that. She needed that anchor, someone "large and sturdy" to comfort her. Remember, Robbie is tghe only one to tell Hannah "I'm sorry about your father" (p. 375). Everyone else was proccupied with making money and politics (Teddy, Deborah, Simion). Hannah needed someone to talk to her about her feelings, especially regarding her father. She also needed someone to fulfill her sexual desires. Robbie gives Hannah the book Ulysses which is about a sexual relationship, knowing that Hannah is ripe for a full, sexual experience. They are soul mates. Teddy was never a lover to Hannah, in fact, I would venture to say he may even have been a closet homosexual (p.409)...
"But Teddy hasn't been adulterous...He's never been particularly interested,
not even when we were first married. It wasn't until I met you that I
realized..."




I tend to agree with your assessment; but I also feel that Hannah would never have left Teddy (she craved respectability and a proper image more than anything as well as the lifestyle she had grown accustomed to having). Robbie though she loved him in her own way was a diversion. Robbie was her sexual partner while Teddy was her monetary one.





[edited by moderator for spoilers]

Bentley

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-15-2008 02:20 PM
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goingeast
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

[ Edited ]
Bentley,

[edited by moderator for spoilers]

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-15-2008 02:21 PM
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GMorrison
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story



vivico1 wrote:
>Hannah lets Robbie plan out their escape almost like the game because in many ways, if you look back over the book, for as much as Hannah may dream of this or that, she was, I believe, afraid to actually act on them because "there could be consequences". The game was much easier for Hannah to escape into than even the real life versions of the game. This isnt the first time, she did it at the dinner when she didnt tell her father what she wanted to do and let it go. She did it in quite frankly, learning shorthand. It was a game, it never went into a career and never would, but it was fun for her to play with. Hannah's games are much more dangerous than facing life head on and taking those consequences instead.




Good points! I would never have made the connection between Hannah's decision not to put her shorthand training to use and the childhood games of fantasy in which she engaged.

I think there's also an aspect of irony in that while Hannah gives up on her secretarial ambitions because of its potential to reflect poorly on her husband, she still pursues an illicit affair, which strikes my modern sensibilities as much worse. Yet affairs do seem to be tolerated to a greater extent in their world, as long as they're unexposed and don't produce "embarrassing offspring"--as Deborah's reactions and Frederick and Mr. Hunter's pecadillos demonstrate.

I also have the feeling that on a subconscious level, Hannah participated in the adult version of the Game--her affair with Robbie--as a way of retaining closeness with her brother. After all, she met Robbie through him, Robbie was with him in the war, and it was The Game that drew them back into each other's orbits.
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GMorrison
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

[ Edited ]
((Cut))


[edited by moderator for spoilers]

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-15-2008 02:22 PM
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bentley
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

[ Edited ]

GMorrison wrote:
((Cut))


[edited by moderator for spoilers]
Message Edited by bentley on 01-15-2008 05:35 AM

Message Edited by KxBurns on 01-15-2008 02:23 PM
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AllieK
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Re: PART FOUR: Hannah's Story

You guys are talking about stuff (the lake incident) that hasn't happened by this chapter..That event doesn't come out til "The Tape", which is almost the end of the book!! I believe I am right about this...
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