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KxBurns
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THEMES: Family

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!

Family is of tremendous significance to the characters in The House at Riverton. Young Grace yearns for a family, while older Grace has conflicted feelings toward hers. Hannah appears to love her family but she also wishes to escape it.

In what ways does family influence the outlook and actions of the characters, for better or worse?

What statement, if any, is the author making about the bonds of sisterhood and parenthood?

Karen
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Read-n-Rider
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Re: THEMES: Family

I think Ms. Morton is telling us that the bonds of sisterhood are very, very strong. When it came down to the bottom line, both Grace and Hannah chose their sisters over the "loves of their lives"--no small thing, indeed. I don't have any sisters, and maybe that is why I found it not very believable when Grace, having just figured out who her father was, chose to stay with Hannah (as her maid, yet) rather than accept Alfred's long-wished-for marriage proposal. Hannah's ultimate decision on the night of the party was, of course, no less decisive, and Emmeline's covering for Hannah that night--telling Teddy that Robbie had shot himself--also showed the strength of the bond between them.

Joan
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Iulievich
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Re: THEMES: Family


Read-n-Rider wrote:
I don't have any sisters, and maybe that is why I found it not very believable when Grace, having just figured out who her father was, chose to stay with Hannah (as her maid, yet) rather than accept Alfred's long-wished-for marriage proposal.




Could there not be another related reason why Grace chose to stay with Hannah? Having just become convinced that Frederick Hartford, Lord Ashbury, master of Riverton was, in fact, her own father, might Grace not have felt that leaving the service of her half-sister would also cut her off from her own father? Would it matter that it was unlikelly in the extreme that Frederick would ever acknowledge her? After all, he KNEW! Might not that be enough in Grace's mind?

Consider adopted children who feel a need to find and meet their birth parents. Could there be something similar at work in Grace's life?
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an action but a habit." -Aristotle
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nperrin
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Re: THEMES: Family

I never got the impression that Grace was longing for a father before she found out Mr Frederick was her biological father, and I don't believe that affected her nearly as much as finding out that Hannah really was her sister. From the day she first set eyes on the Hartford children in the nursery, she wanted to be their sister, and she finally was. She doesn't seem to care that Mr Frederick already knows Grace is his daughter, but begins to suspect that Hannah knows they are sisters--even though there is no evidence of this and it is probably not the case.

I too found such strong bonds between sisters a little unbelievable at times, (and I have a sister), but in the end I can understand that it would be difficult to run off to happiness with the love of your life with the murder of a family member hanging over your head.
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wendyroba
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Re: THEMES: Family



nperrin wrote:
I never got the impression that Grace was longing for a father before she found out Mr Frederick was her biological father, and I don't believe that affected her nearly as much as finding out that Hannah really was her sister. From the day she first set eyes on the Hartford children in the nursery, she wanted to be their sister, and she finally was. She doesn't seem to care that Mr Frederick already knows Grace is his daughter, but begins to suspect that Hannah knows they are sisters--even though there is no evidence of this and it is probably not the case.

I too found such strong bonds between sisters a little unbelievable at times, (and I have a sister), but in the end I can understand that it would be difficult to run off to happiness with the love of your life with the murder of a family member hanging over your head.




I agree - I believe Grace's real desire was to have sisters (or a brother) to share her childhood with. She mentions feeling "alone" many times and she wants only to connect with the children. Later, when she discovers that she and Hannah are half-sisters, she is thrilled. She never considers approaching her father.
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Iulievich
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Re: THEMES: Family

[ Edited ]
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME

So much that we don't know and never will! Like the characters themselves, we are forced to assume, deduce, induce and generally puzzle things out without the luxury of any absolute confirmation or contradiction.

Although this is perhaps a little tangential, I am putting this post under this thread because this seems the most appropriate of the THEME threads.

Does the concept of "The Game" and its connection with the locket haunt anyone else as much as it does me?

It shows up as soon as we are introduced to the Hartford sisters and their brother. It is obviously of the greatest importance to Hannah, who dominates it and reacts with hostility when she thinks that David is bringing his friend Robbie -- an outsider -- into The Game.

Upon David's death, Hannah buries the box containing the physical mementoes of The Game. From the description, it sounds as if she were burying it in a place that she could later find, though she never (to our knowledge) recovers it. Before burying the box, Hannah retrieves one last game-script and hides it away inside her locket. Where does she bury the game? On the shores of the lake by the old boathouse! (Foreshadowing, anyone?)

Later on, while out for a ride that is contrived to throw her together with Teddy Luxton, the locket falls from her neck into the water, from which Teddy gallantly -- if somewhat clumsily -- retrieves it.

In a later scene, as Hannah is checking out her mother's wedding dress in preparation for marrying Teddy, Emmeline is arguing against Hannah marrying Teddy when Hannah casually asks her to hold the locket for a moment. When Hannah realizes that Emmeline is about to open the locket she grabs for it, but it is too late. Emmeline discovers the game-script hidden inside and with bitterness comes to understand that Hannah is holding onto The Game but has excluded her. I think that the open rift between Hannah and Emmeline dates from this moment.

Somewhere along the way -- perhaps as early as the secretarial courses, but certainly no later than her decision to marry Teddy -- Hannah has begun to play The Game in real life. She and David had played The Game of romance and adventure and had used Emmeline as supporting cast when they were children. Now Hannah is determined to live out that life in reality and she will do so by the back door (marrying Teddy) if she is blocked at the front door (by Frederick refusing his permission for her to reside in London and pursue a career of her own). In fact, the ease with which she accepts Frederick's dictum when he is known among his own children as something of a pushover may suggest that Hannah prefers a devious route over a direct one as being more in keeping with the spirit of The Game.

It appears that the beginning of Emmeline's wild and defiant behavior dates from about the time of her discovery of what was inside Hannah's locket. Emmeline is actualizing The Game on her own, independent of and in competition with Hannah.

When Robbie comes back into Hannah's life, it is because he has sought her out in order to fulfill an obligation -- a promise to David -- to return the game script that Hannah had given David when he left for the war. Hannah's first game partner was David. He is dead. She had hoped that Teddy Luxton would be her game partner, but she is disappointed and frustrated in that. Does Robbie represent the opportunity to resume The Game with a new partner? Events would certainly suggest so. The game script that Robbie returns is appropriately named "Crossing the Rubicon."

The tragic flaw in Hannah's playing of The Game is that she tends to overlook flaws in anyone whom she sees as a potential partner in playing it. First, she disregards the obvious signs that Teddy Luxton's only real interests are his family's business and his political career. That oversight will ruin her plans for travel and excitement. In Robbie she disregards the violent episode that she witnesses in London, where Robbie seems ready to kill a man with his bare hands after unrelenting loud noise triggers a reaction that today we would call Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. On the night of their planned escape, the serious flaw in Robbie that Hannah had chosen to disregard will result in his death and in the destruction of everything for Hannah.

Hannah plays The Game badly after all. Her efforts to bring it to life end in catastrophe for her, for Emmeline, for Robbie, and perhaps for poor old Teddy, too.

But before she goes to the boathouse, thinking that she has won it all, Hannah passes the torch. She passes it to Grace.

She leaves Grace (not Emmeline, for Hannah chose to exclude Emmeline from playing) the locket in which she kept her piece of The Game. Inside the locket she leaves Grace not a script for a make-believe game but a key to another hidden box that represents Grace's "ticket to a better life."

In the course of the rest of her life, Grace will raise her daughter Ruth -- who will be shielded from the truth of the locket. She will enjoy her grandson Marcus, who is now remote enough from the story that he does not require protection. She will attend university and become a Ph.D. She will become a woman of some reputation -- an archeologist who will travel and spend her time being the next best thing to a Sherlock Holmes-style detective. After his wife Lucy is gone, Grace will spend twenty years living -- without benefit of marriage -- to her first love, Alfred, who will apparently with equanimity take second place to her in her career.

Hannah failed at The Game and was broken by it. Grace, her half-sister and soul-sister, succeeded!

The quixotic dissatisfaction with life as it comes packaged was a characteristic of Frederick in both his personal life and his business life. Perhaps it is an inheritance. In the genes? Arising out of family interrelations? Grace, the illegitimate child who is not fully a part of the close family circle, gets it too. But unlike the others, she is able to carry it off.

Whaddaya think?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-13-2008 07:27 PM
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an action but a habit." -Aristotle
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bentley
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Re: THEMES: Family - MAJOR SPOILER

[ Edited ]

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!

Family is of tremendous significance to the characters in The House at Riverton. Young Grace yearns for a family, while older Grace has conflicted feelings toward hers. Hannah appears to love her family but she also wishes to escape it.

In what ways does family influence the outlook and actions of the characters, for better or worse?

What statement, if any, is the author making about the bonds of sisterhood and parenthood?

Karen




There is an old saying that "blood is thicker than water" and that saying was played out in spades with the choices that were made by our heroines and their counterparts. Hannah chose Emmeline over Robbie; Grace chose service to Hannah over Alfred; Deborah lauded her family ties as being more important than those she could have fostered with Hannah; Deborah also indicated that her ties with her family were different than the ones that Hannah had acquired though marriage. Hannah's marital choice was made for the betterment of herself but was also in the best monetary interests of her family (even though her father did not want her to make that sacrifice). Frederick wanted to save the family home resulting in his own demise and his emotional emptiness. He sacrificed his true love (Grace's mother) and his life's happiness for his family and the choices made by his own mother and father. Because Grace did not have a father around; she found that this deficit adversely influenced her life. I believe this created the constant raw tension between herself and her own mother. She was not even able to accept and to give love to a man because of this and her misguided loyalties (ex. Alfred). She developed a coldness, a sort of repressed outlook and kept her distance even with her own daughter; but in the end (after she allowed herself to grow and to feel) she valued most highly the relationship that she had with a single family member (her grandson). Marcus was cherished most of all.

We can try to escape our past and our family. But the root cause of our behaviors always have their genesis in our early home life, our parents and our environment and they play themselves out repeatedly in the records of our lives.

Bentley

Message Edited by bentley on 01-13-2008 09:03 PM
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Iulievich
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Re: THEMES: Family

[ Edited ]

Iulievich wrote:
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME

She will become a woman of some reputation -- an archeologist who will travel and spend her time being the next best thing to a Sherlock Holmes-style detective.



I feel silly quoting my own post, but I have just realized that on p. 32 of the ARC, when Grace first encounters the Hartford children in the nursery, Emmeline and Hannah have a conversation about Hannah's desire to become ... an archeologist!

On p. 182, when Ursula questions Grace as to why she chose archaeology, Grace's reaction to the question is that the answer is so complicated that she could only answer, "I had an epiphany." She goes on to give Ursula a reasonably credible answer that says nothing about Hannah but is also no nearly so complcated as what Grace indicates the real answer is.

Straws in the wind perhaps, but I do not think that Ms. Morton put these seeming irrelevancies there idly or by accident.

Grace has successfully lived out Hannah's fantasies. Or were they just similarly appealing to the two young women from such different status in life?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-14-2008 01:04 AM
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an action but a habit." -Aristotle
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bentley
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Re: THEMES: Family



Iulievich wrote:

Iulievich wrote:
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME

She will become a woman of some reputation -- an archeologist who will travel and spend her time being the next best thing to a Sherlock Holmes-style detective.



I feel silly quoting my own post, but I have just realized that on p. 32 of the ARC, when Grace first encounters the Hartford children in the nursery, Emmeline and Hannah have a conversation about Hannah's desire to become ... an archeologist!

On p. 182, when Ursula questions Grace as to why she chose archaeology, Grace's reaction to the question is that the answer is so complicated that she could only answer, "I had an epiphany." She goes on to give Ursula a reasonably credible answer that says nothing about Hannah but is also no nearly so complcated as what Grace indicates the real answer is.

Straws in the wind perhaps, but I do not think that Ms. Morton put these seeming irrelevancies there idly or by accident.

Grace has successfully lived out Hannah's fantasies. Or were they just similarly appealing to the two young women from such different status in life?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-14-2008 01:04 AM




Yes, it does seem that way. Maybe she feels that the key in the locket and what Hannah's shorthand letter said gave her the license to do just that (maybe oddly enough honoring her memory).

Bentley
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wendyroba
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Re: THEMES: Family

THOUGHTS ON THE GAME:

Thanks for bringing this up. It is an important narrative part of the book. In fact, early in the book Grace refers to The Game and implies that the end of the story would have been different if not for The Game.

And in the end, Hannah is DEFINITELY playing a game...and Emmeline's rage stems from being excluded (remember the rules? Only three may play...and Hannah has substituted Grace for Emmeline and Robbie for David.
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dhaupt
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Re: THEMES: Family

Perhaps if Grace had a more loving family she wouldn't have tried to find one somewhere else.
I think the ties of sisterhood is very strong in the book, who did Hannah choose at the end to protect and in turn Emmeline protected Hannah.
I don't think the author made very good statement about parenthood either from the point of the Hartfords or Grace's mother, or daughter.
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kiakar
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Re: THEMES: Family



Iulievich wrote:
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME

So much that we don't know and never will! Like the characters themselves, we are forced to assume, deduce, induce and generally puzzle things out without the luxury of any absolute confirmation or contradiction.

Although this is perhaps a little tangential, I am putting this post under this thread because this seems the most appropriate of the THEME threads.

Does the concept of "The Game" and its connection with the locket haunt anyone else as much as it does me?

It shows up as soon as we are introduced to the Hartford sisters and their brother. It is obviously of the greatest importance to Hannah, who dominates it and reacts with hostility when she thinks that David is bringing his friend Robbie -- an outsider -- into The Game.

Upon David's death, Hannah buries the box containing the physical mementoes of The Game. From the description, it sounds as if she were burying it in a place that she could later find, though she never (to our knowledge) recovers it. Before burying the box, Hannah retrieves one last game-script and hides it away inside her locket. Where does she bury the game? On the shores of the lake by the old boathouse! (Foreshadowing, anyone?)

Later on, while out for a ride that is contrived to throw her together with Teddy Luxton, the locket falls from her neck into the water, from which Teddy gallantly -- if somewhat clumsily -- retrieves it.

In a later scene, as Hannah is checking out her mother's wedding dress in preparation for marrying Teddy, Emmeline is arguing against Hannah marrying Teddy when Hannah casually asks her to hold the locket for a moment. When Hannah realizes that Emmeline is about to open the locket she grabs for it, but it is too late. Emmeline discovers the game-script hidden inside and with bitterness comes to understand that Hannah is holding onto The Game but has excluded her. I think that the open rift between Hannah and Emmeline dates from this moment.

Somewhere along the way -- perhaps as early as the secretarial courses, but certainly no later than her decision to marry Teddy -- Hannah has begun to play The Game in real life. She and David had played The Game of romance and adventure and had used Emmeline as supporting cast when they were children. Now Hannah is determined to live out that life in reality and she will do so by the back door (marrying Teddy) if she is blocked at the front door (by Frederick refusing his permission for her to reside in London and pursue a career of her own). In fact, the ease with which she accepts Frederick's dictum when he is known among his own children as something of a pushover may suggest that Hannah prefers a devious route over a direct one as being more in keeping with the spirit of The Game.

It appears that the beginning of Emmeline's wild and defiant behavior dates from about the time of her discovery of what was inside Hannah's locket. Emmeline is actualizing The Game on her own, independent of and in competition with Hannah.

When Robbie comes back into Hannah's life, it is because he has sought her out in order to fulfill an obligation -- a promise to David -- to return the game script that Hannah had given David when he left for the war. Hannah's first game partner was David. He is dead. She had hoped that Teddy Luxton would be her game partner, but she is disappointed and frustrated in that. Does Robbie represent the opportunity to resume The Game with a new partner? Events would certainly suggest so. The game script that Robbie returns is appropriately named "Crossing the Rubicon."

The tragic flaw in Hannah's playing of The Game is that she tends to overlook flaws in anyone whom she sees as a potential partner in playing it. First, she disregards the obvious signs that Teddy Luxton's only real interests are his family's business and his political career. That oversight will ruin her plans for travel and excitement. In Robbie she disregards the violent episode that she witnesses in London, where Robbie seems ready to kill a man with his bare hands after unrelenting loud noise triggers a reaction that today we would call Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. On the night of their planned escape, the serious flaw in Robbie that Hannah had chosen to disregard will result in his death and in the destruction of everything for Hannah.

Hannah plays The Game badly after all. Her efforts to bring it to life end in catastrophe for her, for Emmeline, for Robbie, and perhaps for poor old Teddy, too.

But before she goes to the boathouse, thinking that she has won it all, Hannah passes the torch. She passes it to Grace.

She leaves Grace (not Emmeline, for Hannah chose to exclude Emmeline from playing) the locket in which she kept her piece of The Game. Inside the locket she leaves Grace not a script for a make-believe game but a key to another hidden box that represents Grace's "ticket to a better life."

In the course of the rest of her life, Grace will raise her daughter Ruth -- who will be shielded from the truth of the locket. She will enjoy her grandson Marcus, who is now remote enough from the story that he does not require protection. She will attend university and become a Ph.D. She will become a woman of some reputation -- an archeologist who will travel and spend her time being the next best thing to a Sherlock Holmes-style detective. After his wife Lucy is gone, Grace will spend twenty years living -- without benefit of marriage -- to her first love, Alfred, who will apparently with equanimity take second place to her in her career.

Hannah failed at The Game and was broken by it. Grace, her half-sister and soul-sister, succeeded!

The quixotic dissatisfaction with life as it comes packaged was a characteristic of Frederick in both his personal life and his business life. Perhaps it is an inheritance. In the genes? Arising out of family interrelations? Grace, the illegitimate child who is not fully a part of the close family circle, gets it too. But unlike the others, she is able to carry it off.

Whaddaya think?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-13-2008 07:27 PM




This tells all so well! Thanks for your thoughfulness. Iulievich.
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carol08
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Re: THEMES: Family

The deep class differences between Grace and Hannah were brought alive to me on page 420-421 in the ARC. While they are packing to return to Riverton, Hannah mentions that she thought Grace and Alfred had been close. Grace denies it and feels "the hot sting of a thousand needles in my skin." Hannah wonders why she thought otherwise and Grace replies, "I couldn't say ma'am."

Sisters by blood, definitely. But there is no doubt that on a day-to-day basis, Grace is Hannah's servant, not her sister. In spite of her long-felt desire for Hannah to be her sister, there is no two-way closeness nor intimacy of feelings and emotions. Grace knows much about Hannah. Hannah hardly knows Grace at all. And although Grace gave up her love for Alfred for Hannah, I suspect that Hannah would never have made any significant sacrifice for Grace as she did for Emmeline.
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ELee
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Re: THEMES: Family

[ Edited ]

carol08 wrote:
But there is no doubt that on a day-to-day basis, Grace is Hannah's servant, not her sister. In spite of her long-felt desire for Hannah to be her sister, there is no two-way closeness nor intimacy of feelings and emotions. Grace knows much about Hannah. Hannah hardly knows Grace at all. And although Grace gave up her love for Alfred for Hannah, I suspect that Hannah would never have made any significant sacrifice for Grace as she did for Emmeline.




Do you think, then, that after carrying the burden of the Hartford's secrets for the remainder of her life, Grace is finally "balancing the scales"?

Message Edited by ELee on 01-14-2008 08:24 PM
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BookWoman718
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Re: THEMES: Family

I don't think 'balancing the scales' is Grace's motivation for finally telling the story. It seems more that she feels some guilt for her part, however inadvertent, in what happened, and perhaps also for going along with hiding the truth, that Robbie's death was not a suicide. The secrets are more the Hartford family's than hers, but she wasn't spying, she thought she was trying to save Hannah's life. The secrets were thrust on her by circumstances; she didn't try to tease them out. I'm not sure how torn I would be to reveal all in the same circumstances. The truth would have hurt even more people - Robbie's memory besmirched as someone who had an affair with a married woman and was stopped in the act of attempting to kill her sister; Hannah, the married woman who fired the gun that killed him; the sister, already a darling of the tabloids who carried the gun and threated to kill the others; Teddy, the rest of the household. Who really would have gained by having the whole sad tale spread over the newspapers? So I think, yes, Grace kept their secret. But I don't think it was such a terrible burden to do it 'for them' that she would have felt the need for scale balancing. Just the closure of telling her most beloved soulmate, her grandson, one of the key stories of her life.
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bookhunter
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Re: THEMES: Family

I also thought of the expression "blood is thicker than water" while reading this book. Even though they have differences, in the end Hannah chose Emmeline over Robby. Someone above says Emmeline is her one true love in life, and I agree--not Robby.

Isn't it ironic that with a theme of "blood is thicker than water" running through the book that hemophaelia also plays a role in the events?

Ann, bookhunter
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goingeast
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Re: THEMES: Family



bentley wrote:


Iulievich wrote:

Iulievich wrote:
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME

She will become a woman of some reputation -- an archeologist who will travel and spend her time being the next best thing to a Sherlock Holmes-style detective.



I feel silly quoting my own post, but I have just realized that on p. 32 of the ARC, when Grace first encounters the Hartford children in the nursery, Emmeline and Hannah have a conversation about Hannah's desire to become ... an archeologist!

On p. 182, when Ursula questions Grace as to why she chose archaeology, Grace's reaction to the question is that the answer is so complicated that she could only answer, "I had an epiphany." She goes on to give Ursula a reasonably credible answer that says nothing about Hannah but is also no nearly so complcated as what Grace indicates the real answer is.

Straws in the wind perhaps, but I do not think that Ms. Morton put these seeming irrelevancies there idly or by accident.

Grace has successfully lived out Hannah's fantasies. Or were they just similarly appealing to the two young women from such different status in life?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-14-2008 01:04 AM




Yes, it does seem that way. Maybe she feels that the key in the locket and what Hannah's shorthand letter said gave her the license to do just that (maybe oddly enough honoring her memory).

Bentley





Bentley,

I really must agree with you. I only felt that Grace became an archeologist because she felt she had to do it for Hannah. It was partly because of her guilt that she felt compelled to use the money living out Hannah's dreams. Perhaps, though, it is also because they may be half-sisters and shared the same desires? After all, Grace did enjoy mystery novels and archeology is surrounded with mystery.
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bookhunter
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Re: THEMES: Family



Iulievich wrote:
...Hannah failed at The Game and was broken by it. Grace, her half-sister and soul-sister, succeeded!

The quixotic dissatisfaction with life as it comes packaged was a characteristic of Frederick in both his personal life and his business life. Perhaps it is an inheritance. In the genes? Arising out of family interrelations? Grace, the illegitimate child who is not fully a part of the close family circle, gets it too. But unlike the others, she is able to carry it off.

Whaddaya think?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-13-2008 07:27 PM




But WHY is Grace able to carry it off? What did she have that the others didn't? Or did not have that they all DID have?

Was it opportunity to make a change, maybe? She had the right timing of birth--a time when societal changes made it possible for her to divorce, attend college, have a career?

Or does she have some character trait (that I just don't see)which enables her to rise above this dissatisfaction?

Ann, bookhunter
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bentley
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Re: THEMES: Family



goingeast wrote:


bentley wrote:


Iulievich wrote:

Iulievich wrote:
THOUGHTS ON THE GAME

She will become a woman of some reputation -- an archeologist who will travel and spend her time being the next best thing to a Sherlock Holmes-style detective.



I feel silly quoting my own post, but I have just realized that on p. 32 of the ARC, when Grace first encounters the Hartford children in the nursery, Emmeline and Hannah have a conversation about Hannah's desire to become ... an archeologist!

On p. 182, when Ursula questions Grace as to why she chose archaeology, Grace's reaction to the question is that the answer is so complicated that she could only answer, "I had an epiphany." She goes on to give Ursula a reasonably credible answer that says nothing about Hannah but is also no nearly so complcated as what Grace indicates the real answer is.

Straws in the wind perhaps, but I do not think that Ms. Morton put these seeming irrelevancies there idly or by accident.

Grace has successfully lived out Hannah's fantasies. Or were they just similarly appealing to the two young women from such different status in life?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-14-2008 01:04 AM




Yes, it does seem that way. Maybe she feels that the key in the locket and what Hannah's shorthand letter said gave her the license to do just that (maybe oddly enough honoring her memory).

Bentley





Bentley,

I really must agree with you. I only felt that Grace became an archeologist because she felt she had to do it for Hannah. It was partly because of her guilt that she felt compelled to use the money living out Hannah's dreams. Perhaps, though, it is also because they may be half-sisters and shared the same desires? After all, Grace did enjoy mystery novels and archeology is surrounded with mystery.




That is true Goingeast.
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nperrin
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Re: THEMES: Family



bookhunter wrote:


But WHY is Grace able to carry it off? What did she have that the others didn't? Or did not have that they all DID have?

Was it opportunity to make a change, maybe? She had the right timing of birth--a time when societal changes made it possible for her to divorce, attend college, have a career?

Or does she have some character trait (that I just don't see)which enables her to rise above this dissatisfaction?

Ann, bookhunter




My impression is that Grace only managed this because she spent the first part of her life in service to people who made these mistakes. Until she was in her twenties, she did not think of herself at all. She lived for the Hartfords, especially Hannah. She spent years watching the family disintegrate and did not begin living her own life until she had learned from the mistakes the others made and absorbed that knowledge and matured through it. The Game that would actually destroy the lives of the Hartfords destroyed Grace's life too--but only her life in service to them. Once that happened she still had her own life to go back to and start fresh with.
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