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Distinguished Correspondent
Thayer
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: THEMES: Characters

Maybe Robbie's motivation is simply "to belong" to this family in any vein possible? His association begins with David and continues with both sisters. He, at some level, needs to feel a part of this circle.
~~Dawn
Live the life you love ~ Love the life you live.
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pabonn
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Registered: ‎12-22-2007
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Re: THEMES: Characters



KxBurns wrote:
THEMES threads are for open discussion of themes throughout the entirety of the book. If you're worried about stumbling across spoilers, read no further!

What did you think of the various characters in the novel? Were some particularly well-developed? Were there characters you would have enjoyed seeing developed more fully? Who did you like best or least and why?

Karen




I love the staff. I feel they are reminscent of the staff in "Remains of the Day". I am about a third of the way through and am pretty engrossed. Gracie is a wonderful narrator. Thanks for the opportunity to read this book.
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Novanglus
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Registered: ‎09-22-2007
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Re: THEMES: Characters



Iulievich wrote:

KxBurns wrote:
Secondly, I would respectfully but profoundly disagree that, as you characterize Ms. Morton's thinking, “the horrors of war are utterly unimaginable and unknowable to everyone excepting those who experienced them, there's really no point in trying to recreate it. To do so would defeat the point.”

The horrors of war have been repeatedly and effectively documented. To name any books at all on the subject is to slight the hundreds of others available, but I offer Jonathan Bastable’s Voices from Stalingrad and Antony Beevor’s Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-'43, There are literally hundreds of memoirs and histories covering everything from the Somme to Somalia; from the Chinese Long March through the Rape of Nanking, to Hue and My Lai 4; from the Soviet Terror Famine of 1932-33 through the Holocaust, Mao’s Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, and the Killing Fields of Cambodia; from Moscow and Smolensk through Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kiev, Kursk, and back to Berlin; from the Battle of Britain through Dieppe, Normandy, the Falaise Gap, the Battle of the Bulge, the Bridge at Remagen and on and on.

The century just ended was fully equipped with both photography and cinematography, and much of the best (or worst) has been repeatedly assembled into documentaries like that of the History Channel on World War I or the BBC’s masterpiece “The World at War.” Popular motion pictures have successfully evoked the realities of warfare from All Quiet on the Western Front to Twelve O'Clock High to The Blue Max to the opening battle scene of Gladiator to Enemy at the Gates for those who have both the stomach for it and the empathy.




I have to disagree with you here. While I do feel there is a reason in trying to recreate it, it is not pointless to make the attempt, I do not feel you can truly know what it is like unless you have lived it. In the same way someone who has never lost a child can know what it is like to have lost one. It is good that these films exist to make people think and try to imagine it and try to understand it. The realities of warfare that are evoked in film may demonstrate what horrors other may have witness, I do not think that can replicate the effect of living under these conditions for 24 hours a day for two, three, or four years

One of the things not mention is how long R.S. Hunter served in the trenches. Did he come home the same time David dies, or was here there straight on till the last day? If he served straight to the end of the war, that would have been 3+ years of gas attacks, artillery, battles with 100,000 casualties on a single day, officers who were sending men into a meat grinder.

One of the things I caught, and I do not know if this what the author was intentionally referring to, is that at the time they enlisted England in the early stages of the war would let all the men from one area enlist as a single unit. Then in major battles you could have an entire town's men wiped out. When they enlisted in and went out with the Saffron Boys, I thought for sure every that was the end of all of them. I was very surprised when Alfred came home. The other thing is that during this war Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was something new, there was no treatment for it. People where just expected to get along. When I think of Robbie Hunter having witnessed that sort of slaughter, having done god knows what to have survived, I can imagine, when his surroundings get loud and violent, certain instincts take over.
Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write. -John Adams
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Novanglus
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Registered: ‎09-22-2007
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Re: THEMES: Characters

I think I may be the only one to say this, but I enjoyed how Deb was written. Not to say that I liked her, just the opposite, I hated her. Her interference, her conniving. But that she was brought to life well enough to make me hate her is commendable.

One of the things I actually enjoyed the most about all the tragedy that seems to befall every single one of the characters is that it seems to represent the end of and age. I have heard some historians say that World War I is one of those defining moments that splits everything into the time before it, and everything after. You can see in Part 1 the innocence of the early 20th century. Then after the war all the tragedy that everyone faces feels like a representation into the decline of an entire Victorian culture, as the characters lives are falling apart, you can see the boundaries of the old ways falling as well.
Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write. -John Adams
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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: THEMES: Characters

I think there was a reference to Alfred being in a hospital. He came home but none of the staff could see him, his address was a hospital. They wondered what was going on and finally decided that his job was confidential. Actually, I believe he was being treated.
MG

Novanglus said:
One of the things I caught, and I do not know if this what the author was intentionally referring to, is that at the time they enlisted England in the early stages of the war would let all the men from one area enlist as a single unit. Then in major battles you could have an entire town's men wiped out. When they enlisted in and went out with the Saffron Boys, I thought for sure every that was the end of all of them. I was very surprised when Alfred came home. The other thing is that during this war Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was something new, there was no treatment for it. People where just expected to get along. When I think of Robbie Hunter having witnessed that sort of slaughter, having done god knows what to have survived, I can imagine, when his surroundings get loud and violent, certain instincts take over.
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Novanglus
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎09-22-2007
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Re: THEMES: Characters



fordmg wrote:
I think there was a reference to Alfred being in a hospital. He came home but none of the staff could see him, his address was a hospital. They wondered what was going on and finally decided that his job was confidential. Actually, I believe he was being treated.
MG

Novanglus said:
One of the things I caught, and I do not know if this what the author was intentionally referring to, is that at the time they enlisted England in the early stages of the war would let all the men from one area enlist as a single unit. Then in major battles you could have an entire town's men wiped out. When they enlisted in and went out with the Saffron Boys, I thought for sure every that was the end of all of them. I was very surprised when Alfred came home. The other thing is that during this war Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was something new, there was no treatment for it. People where just expected to get along. When I think of Robbie Hunter having witnessed that sort of slaughter, having done god knows what to have survived, I can imagine, when his surroundings get loud and violent, certain instincts take over.




I was referring to Robbie Hunter's time on the front line's.
Let us tenderly and kindly cherish therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak, and write. -John Adams
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