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KxBurns
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THEMES: Characters

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
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nperrin
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Re: THEMES: Characters

Myself, I would have liked to have learned more about Alfred. Grace loves him but we never really get close. The fact that Grace ended up with him in the end for twenty years made me even more hungry to know him. What is Grace's life partner like? This is someone she knew both before and after the events of the story, and a wrenching life change like that usually makes it impossible to continue relationships from people that knew you when. How did the two of them end up coping with his war experiences in the end, especially considering how badly this went for Hannah and Robbie?
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Tasses
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Re: THEMES: Characters

I was particularly impressed with the character development of Grace. She is shown with all of her warts, her baggage from childhood, her poor decisions, etc... Yet, she had such a vivid voice when she merely told her tale. She didn't get overly sentimental or even try to explain her actions that often. I can't even say that I liked her.

I additionally see Hannah as another character we weren't necessarily meant to like or dislike. This is exceptionally hard for a writer to accomplish. Writers have the tendency to paint their characters as good or bad. Both Hannah and Grace were multi-layered (as humans tend to be). Writers generally want us to like at least one of their characters and I didn't really like any of them. The same thing happened with "Heir To The Glimmering World" for me. There comes a point when character development is so well done that one must find out what happens (of course it helps to also have a good plot).

When an author gets me to invest in their character, I'll deal with long wording, or poor plot devices, cheesy cliches even... But if I can't feel the character, I'm done.
See all my reviews at: Reading Rumpus and Many A Quaint & Curious Volume
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paula_02912
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Re: THEMES: Characters

Karen wrote: "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 liked all the characters in the novel, even Lady Clementine and Mr. Luxton's wife, even though they were both disparaging characters...I think that all the characters were representative of different aspects of the human psyche...The only character that I would have liked to see develop a little more is Katie...she ended up marrying someone and getting out of the subservient role, but I would have liked to know more about her and why her character was written the way she was. My favorite character throughout this whole book was actually Hannah. I loved her character because in the end she demonstrate her humanness...as a child she challenged "authority" and societal constructs, but as she grew up she realized that her outspokenness would get her no where...her character rolled with the punches, enabling her to adapt to any given situation...I think that the actions she took was realistic. My least favorite character was Deborah. I really hated the way she treated Hannah, but her character was essential to the plot...her actions helped to drive the conflict making the story much more believable...
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Katelyn
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Re: THEMES: Characters

Paula, Hannah was also one of my favorite characters. I was actually surprised as to how outspoken she was for the time she was living in.


I also wondered about Katie. When Grace tells her story she doesn't hide the fact that she as well as the others looked down upon Katie a bit (saying that she didn't mind anyone relegated to a status beneath her as certainly the stations that were considered above her were well populated). Katie was meant I think to gain our sympathy. Who she was really like (how she experienced the world / her inner life) remains another secret -- one that will remain forever hidden.

I think it is interesting that this character has a name similar to the author. I think this shows that the author has sympathy for Katie even thought the author is a very cwell respected and not in a similar position. In a sense we are all Katie anytime we are misinterpreted and slighted out of snobby social usages.


I agree Deborah was very annoying, but a great foil for Hannah as you imply...






paula_02912 wrote:
Karen wrote: "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 liked all the characters in the novel, even Lady Clementine and Mr. Luxton's wife, even though they were both disparaging characters...I think that all the characters were representative of different aspects of the human psyche...The only character that I would have liked to see develop a little more is Katie...she ended up marrying someone and getting out of the subservient role, but I would have liked to know more about her and why her character was written the way she was. My favorite character throughout this whole book was actually Hannah. I loved her character because in the end she demonstrate her humanness...as a child she challenged "authority" and societal constructs, but as she grew up she realized that her outspokenness would get her no where...her character rolled with the punches, enabling her to adapt to any given situation...I think that the actions she took was realistic. My least favorite character was Deborah. I really hated the way she treated Hannah, but her character was essential to the plot...her actions helped to drive the conflict making the story much more believable...


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Librarian
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Re: THEMES: Characters

I have to say that I admire Hannah. I felt bad that she married Teddy and it wasn't what she expected. I liked her ideas and her generosity toward Grace. It took character to turn the gun on the danger of Robbie to protect Emmeline.
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juliejon
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Re: THEMES: Characters

I sort of ponder the various characters in the book...some make their debut and continue to be developed, sometimes changing like looking at an object from many different viewpoints but, the ones that intrigue me the most are those that seem to flit in and out of the story like brief whispers. I recall Grace being given the old photograph of the "family" taken in front of Riverton where she speaks of seeing Robbie only as a shadow in the background, not fully formed. Many of the characters never seem to be "fully formed" yet, isn't that what gives the story its soul....the whisper of character, the shadow of truth?
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dhaupt
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Re: THEMES: Characters

I loved the way Ms. Morton developed all her characters. My opinion of Sylvia went from a loving caretaker to a woman that would compromise her ward for a man. I felt sorry for Frederick. The only two characters I would have liked to perhaps be developed a bit more were the relationship between Grace and Ruth. I liked Grace all through the book and thought her a strong woman that had to make difficult decisions in her life.
I think that they would be best further developed in a sequel where Ursula and Marcus are sitting by a fire sipping wine...(I know they are related but I think they are distant enough)
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Bonnie824
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Re: THEMES: Characters

I was intrigued by Frederick. By his lost potential. He seemed to be a thoughtful man with so much to offer. But being raised in the environment he was, not fitting in, having cold parents who didn't appreciate him, then having his businesses fail, his wife die, and his children die or become estranged.
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Everyman
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Re: THEMES: Characters

I had a different take on Frederick. I found him an unpleasant man for several reasons. First, I never like parents who openly favor one child over another. Second, he had no business pushing his ego-driven desire to be a businessman (when he clearly had no aptitude for it) to the point of squandering the family money. That was selfishness to an extreme. Third, yes, the death of his wife was tragic, but come on, man, get over it. When you have children you have an obligation to live as happy and positive a life as possible.

I couldn't even feel very sorry for him, since his troubles were mostly of his own making.


Bonnie824 wrote:
I was intrigued by Frederick. By his lost potential. He seemed to be a thoughtful man with so much to offer. But being raised in the environment he was, not fitting in, having cold parents who didn't appreciate him, then having his businesses fail, his wife die, and his children die or become estranged.


_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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IBIS
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Re: THEMES: Characters



Everyman wrote:
I found him an unpleasant man ....I couldn't even feel very sorry for him, since his troubles were mostly of his own making.




I agree totally with your take on Frederick. He was a man who I found to be miserably hard-hearted...especialy when it came to his children (both legitimate and illegitimate). I found his treatment of Grace and his abandonment of Grace's mother as cold, very very cold.

What infuriated me the most about him was his conscious choice to alienate himself from both David and Hannah. He alienated himself from David because he did not agree to him joining the service. What misery to live with after David died. Then alienating himself from Hannah once she decided to go against his wishes and marry Teddy.

For a man whose children grew up without a mother's care, he should have made more of an effort to be emotionally accessible to his children. Children will always make decisions that parents will not agree with. But removing your love and companionship is extremely hard-hearted.

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IBIS

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bookhunter
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Re: THEMES: Characters/Teddy

SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED!!!


What do you all think of Teddy?

Over in the secrets thread there has been speculation that he was gay, but even beyond that, what do y'all think? To me, he is the character that is the most misunderstood!

I don't think he is mean or overbearing towards Hannah, or that he misrepresented him self. When they met, he seemed to be a perfect "match" (if there COULD be) for Hannah. He shows affection towards her like kissing her on the top of her head, speaks kindly to her, encourages her in "wifely" things...He is clueless to her discontent, but is that totally his fault? There were probably clues he could have picked up on, but I don't think Hannah ever expressed her desires.

He could have been disappointed that his dreams didn't work out like Frederick and Hannah, but he seems to plug along and seems fine working with his father. Overall, he gives the impression of being satisfied whith what life has dealt him. that is an admirable quality to me.

(But then again...maybe that was because he had a secret lover that was keeping him happy!)

Ann, bookhunter
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kiakar
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Re: THEMES: Characters/Teddy



bookhunter wrote:
SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED!!!


What do you all think of Teddy?

Over in the secrets thread there has been speculation that he was gay, but even beyond that, what do y'all think? To me, he is the character that is the most misunderstood!

I don't think he is mean or overbearing towards Hannah, or that he misrepresented him self. When they met, he seemed to be a perfect "match" (if there COULD be) for Hannah. He shows affection towards her like kissing her on the top of her head, speaks kindly to her, encourages her in "wifely" things...He is clueless to her discontent, but is that totally his fault? There were probably clues he could have picked up on, but I don't think Hannah ever expressed her desires.

He could have been disappointed that his dreams didn't work out like Frederick and Hannah, but he seems to plug along and seems fine working with his father. Overall, he gives the impression of being satisfied whith what life has dealt him. that is an admirable quality to me.

(But then again...maybe that was because he had a secret lover that was keeping him happy!)

Ann, bookhunter




Usually there has to be something waiting at the other end besides Daddy. But some men are workaholics and maybe he loved his banking job so much that that was all that mattered to him. Hannah was his wife, and no rumors or anything should float around them so he was content with his life. And there are things such as low sex drive in some men.
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rstjm4
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Re: THEMES: Characters

I actually liked all the characters in the book. I felt the most sorry for Emmeline. She was sort of left behind and was a bit naive about life. She didn't really fit in to her family, I wonder if this is the result of her mother dying in birth or something else? I felt bad for her at the end.
I ilked all the other characters as well. I think that author developed them very well and that we learn enough about them to keep the story going. I would have liked to have known more about Alfred, but since he and Grace didn't get together till the end it wouldn't have really fit with the story.
We never really learned much about the Lord and his wife or the Major and his wife, but I don't think we were supposed to. It would have made the story more complicated and they really didn't play that large a part.
Overall, I really enjoyed the differnt characters, and their development.
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kiakar
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Re: THEMES: Characters

I liked all the characters in the book also. I thought they all had a deserving place in the story. Those with less empahis of course, still enhanced the story of the rest of the characters a great deal I thought. Grace was portrayed so wonderful, I could see her going up and down the stairway or rushing home to see her Mother on leaves. I had a vision of Frederick, a big, clumsy man but with some hint of being hamdsome. Yes, I think all the descriptive characters were described ever so well and those less described still held their place in the novel. Great job!
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kiakar
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Re: THEMES: Characters

Emmeline I think portrayed who she was supposed to portray. The girl that was left out of it all. She wasn't noticed by any of the family except in passing. She only received attention when she initated it. The novel was primarily about the secrets of the family members but Emmeline was keeping a secret that was yet to harm her in a pernment way. She yearned for someone to care for her and love her.
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kiakar
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Re: THEMES: Characters



dhaupt wrote:
I loved the way Ms. Morton developed all her characters. My opinion of Sylvia went from a loving caretaker to a woman that would compromise her ward for a man. I felt sorry for Frederick. The only two characters I would have liked to perhaps be developed a bit more were the relationship between Grace and Ruth. I liked Grace all through the book and thought her a strong woman that had to make difficult decisions in her life.
I think that they would be best further developed in a sequel where Ursula and Marcus are sitting by a fire sipping wine...(I know they are related but I think they are distant enough)





Ruth's part in the story was to emphisize that she was worried about her son that was missing. Even though he was the love of Grace's life, Ruth was also very concern about him. She eased up on her tensions at the end, when she told Grace, Marcus had gotten in touch with her. It could have been an interesting story if it played out with Ruth harboring anger over the way Grace ignored her childhood and so forth. but it never focused on her. I think Ruth was just an convenient front to show the affection Grace had for Marcus but did not show Ruth. I think at the time, she was scared of loving Ruth the way she does with Marcus. Maybe Ruth really understood this.
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kiakar
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Re: THEMES: Characters



nperrin wrote:
Myself, I would have liked to have learned more about Alfred. Grace loves him but we never really get close. The fact that Grace ended up with him in the end for twenty years made me even more hungry to know him. What is Grace's life partner like? This is someone she knew both before and after the events of the story, and a wrenching life change like that usually makes it impossible to continue relationships from people that knew you when. How did the two of them end up coping with his war experiences in the end, especially considering how badly this went for Hannah and Robbie?




I did like the fact that they had a potential relationship earlier, And it was a delightful surprise when we discovered they had a life together after all. I loved that part.
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kiakar
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Re: THEMES: Characters



juliejon wrote:
I sort of ponder the various characters in the book...some make their debut and continue to be developed, sometimes changing like looking at an object from many different viewpoints but, the ones that intrigue me the most are those that seem to flit in and out of the story like brief whispers. I recall Grace being given the old photograph of the "family" taken in front of Riverton where she speaks of seeing Robbie only as a shadow in the background, not fully formed. Many of the characters never seem to be "fully formed" yet, isn't that what gives the story its soul....the whisper of character, the shadow of truth?




Yes, I liked that too.
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kiakar
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Re: THEMES: Characters



Bonnie824 wrote:
I was intrigued by Frederick. By his lost potential. He seemed to be a thoughtful man with so much to offer. But being raised in the environment he was, not fitting in, having cold parents who didn't appreciate him, then having his businesses fail, his wife die, and his children die or become estranged.




yes, in a way I felt sorry for him too, but you know, you have to see it, all of these things, well most of them, he played out and did to himself.Couldn't he have changed from being a cold and distant man? After marrying, did he love his wife, could he have discovered the way to love someone and then been a better father. Oh well, this is the way the story goes. But its fun to wonder.....
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