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bookhunter
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO

Vivco1 writes:
I think she was in such a state of "game induced" shall we say, euphoria, that both things were happening, she was going to leave with him because that was part of the game now.


Vivian and Bentley (and the rest of you!),

So Hannah was in a state of game induced euphoria, Emmiline was drunk, Robbie was shell-shocked...what is Grace's excuse?!

Bentley, you mentioned the fog--in and out of their heads. I guess we are SUPPOSED to be in the dark about what EXACTLY happened. Grace's comments about history, and even Ms. Horton's comments in the author's notes, say that history is colored by perception, memory, time. _The Shifting Fog_ is a good title!

Maybe Robbie DID kill himself, Hannah died heartbroken and left Grace heartbroken. Or maybe Grace killed him to keep Hannah from leaving. Over the years Grace has constructed a different "memory" of how it happened. She hasn't told any one before, so she can't contradict herself.

Ann, bookhunter
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bookhunter
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO



goingeast wrote:
I still want to know if Teddy being gay was supposed to be a secret. Remember when Hannah said she "realized" something about him. That he was never interested in hers, at least not sexually, when they were first married? Perhaps this is why she turned to Robbie, for sexual satisfaction. Another clue I saw that Teddy might be gay was on p426 when he Hannahl lets us know how excited Teddy was about the Riverton renovation. Was it common for men rather than women at that time to be "enthusiastic...meeting with designers, debating teh merits of one fabric over another, delighting in the acquisition of an exact replica of the King's own hall stand?" In retrospect it seems rather cliche to me.




I haven't thought of this, goingeast! (Ann?) Teddy was really kind of a sympathetic character, to me. He seemed happy throughout the book, although we have a limited perspective on him. She does say that he doesn't seem interested, but I, at the time, didn't think it meant his interest was elsewhere!

Many folks in this discussion have guessed that he would have tried to limit Hannah's freedoms, punished her if he found out about an affair, even "get rid" of Robbie. It made me feel bad for poor ol' Teddy, because I don't see any evidence of his bad character except that his wife is unhappy. I don't blame Hannah's unhappiness on Teddy.

But maybe he WAS leading a secret life. He had his own version of The Game going on? He was headed down to the summer house for his own rendevous with Lord Gifford?

Maybe this is one of those author things where it is part of his backstory that never overtly comes out in the telling of the story--like Dumbledore.

Ann, bookhunter
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goingeast
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO

Bookhunter wrote:
But maybe he WAS leading a secret life. He had his own version of The Game going on? He was headed down to the summer house for his own rendevous with Lord Gifford?

Maybe this is one of those author things where it is part of his backstory that never overtly comes out in the telling of the story--like Dumbledore.

Ann, bookhunter




Actually it was on p.409 when Hannah is talking about Teddy that I first thought about it..."He's never been particularly interested...not even when we were first married...that I realized"

What did she realize if it was not that he is gay? No, I don't blame Teddy either, but if you're husband's not having sex with you, you're going to look for love in all the wrong places. Dontchathink? Were there clues that Dumbledore was gay? How silly.

Ann,goingeast
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vivico1
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO


goingeast wrote:
Bookhunter wrote:
But maybe he WAS leading a secret life. He had his own version of The Game going on? He was headed down to the summer house for his own rendevous with Lord Gifford?

Maybe this is one of those author things where it is part of his backstory that never overtly comes out in the telling of the story--like Dumbledore.

Ann, bookhunter




Actually it was on p.409 when Hannah is talking about Teddy that I first thought about it..."He's never been particularly interested...not even when we were first married...that I realized"

What did she realize if it was not that he is gay? No, I don't blame Teddy either, but if you're husband's not having sex with you, you're going to look for love in all the wrong places. Dontchathink? Were there clues that Dumbledore was gay? How silly.

Ann,goingeast


You know, when David brought Robbie to the house and by the way the talked to each other, and about each other, I wondered if they had something going on. Later, when the older woman, was talking to Teddy's father about Teddy being a man in his mid 30s and not married, people will talk and his father coming to his defense saying, there is nothing wrong with Teddy that way and if there was something about him (cant remember his exact words but refering to lifestyle or sexual preference) that he would know about it. She was saying that as another way to get him on it about getting Teddy married to Hannah. I thought, well nothing changes, if a guy isnt married or hasnt been by his 30s we still "assume". Then further on, when we know Robbie was going to be coming back, I actually wondered if those two would hook up then. That didnt play out tho lol but from things said, it could have gone that direction. I dont know if Teddy is gay, sounds like it in some ways, but seemed like it with Robbie and David too. Guess someone could ask the author if either man was gay in her mind as she wrote this.
Vivian
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dhaupt
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO



bookhunter wrote:


goingeast wrote:
I still want to know if Teddy being gay was supposed to be a secret. Remember when Hannah said she "realized" something about him. That he was never interested in hers, at least not sexually, when they were first married? Perhaps this is why she turned to Robbie, for sexual satisfaction. Another clue I saw that Teddy might be gay was on p426 when he Hannahl lets us know how excited Teddy was about the Riverton renovation. Was it common for men rather than women at that time to be "enthusiastic...meeting with designers, debating teh merits of one fabric over another, delighting in the acquisition of an exact replica of the King's own hall stand?" In retrospect it seems rather cliche to me.




I haven't thought of this, goingeast! (Ann?) Teddy was really kind of a sympathetic character, to me. He seemed happy throughout the book, although we have a limited perspective on him. She does say that he doesn't seem interested, but I, at the time, didn't think it meant his interest was elsewhere!

Many folks in this discussion have guessed that he would have tried to limit Hannah's freedoms, punished her if he found out about an affair, even "get rid" of Robbie. It made me feel bad for poor ol' Teddy, because I don't see any evidence of his bad character except that his wife is unhappy. I don't blame Hannah's unhappiness on Teddy.

But maybe he WAS leading a secret life. He had his own version of The Game going on? He was headed down to the summer house for his own rendevous with Lord Gifford?

Maybe this is one of those author things where it is part of his backstory that never overtly comes out in the telling of the story--like Dumbledore.

Ann, bookhunter




You know the author of this book left us a lot of room to formulate our own opinions/endings to a lot of what was going on. I never thought of Teddy in this context but who's to say that's not what Ms. Morton thought. Would be a good question for her in that thread.

Debbie
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bookhunter
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO



goingeast wrote:
Bookhunter wrote:
But maybe he WAS leading a secret life. He had his own version of The Game going on? He was headed down to the summer house for his own rendevous with Lord Gifford?

Maybe this is one of those author things where it is part of his backstory that never overtly comes out in the telling of the story--like Dumbledore.

Ann, bookhunter




Actually it was on p.409 when Hannah is talking about Teddy that I first thought about it..."He's never been particularly interested...not even when we were first married...that I realized"

What did she realize if it was not that he is gay? No, I don't blame Teddy either, but if you're husband's not having sex with you, you're going to look for love in all the wrong places. Dontchathink? Were there clues that Dumbledore was gay? How silly.

Ann,goingeast




What Hannah realizes is how wonderful sex can be with someone you care about, I gathered. And she says this in the context of Teddy never committing adultery, so if he has been sleeping around with ANYone Hannah doesn't know it.

Vivian makes a good point about his being older when he got married.

These are all just little hints, and, really, are kind of falling into stereotypes, but it is an interesting idea. He would not have been able to fulfill Hannah's needs physically or emotionally if he were gay.

So why WAS he so happy all the time? Maybe he DID have a lover that he kept very well hidden.

Ann, bookhunter
PS I sent you a private message about the off topic Dumbledore
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO


bookhunter wrote:
Vivco1 writes:
I think she was in such a state of "game induced" shall we say, euphoria, that both things were happening, she was going to leave with him because that was part of the game now.


Vivian and Bentley (and the rest of you!),

So Hannah was in a state of game induced euphoria, Emmiline was drunk, Robbie was shell-shocked...what is Grace's excuse?!

Bentley, you mentioned the fog--in and out of their heads. I guess we are SUPPOSED to be in the dark about what EXACTLY happened. Grace's comments about history, and even Ms. Horton's comments in the author's notes, say that history is colored by perception, memory, time. _The Shifting Fog_ is a good title!

Maybe Robbie DID kill himself, Hannah died heartbroken and left Grace heartbroken. Or maybe Grace killed him to keep Hannah from leaving. Over the years Grace has constructed a different "memory" of how it happened. She hasn't told any one before, so she can't contradict herself.

Ann, bookhunter


Ann? lol did we upset you? I love that exclamation mark on the end of, And the rest of you! lol :smileywink: Grace's excuse? I dont think she needs one for not knowing how to read the note, she does for lying about the fact that she could to begin with. But for me, as far as what happened down at the lake, the only thing she did at that point that kind of ticked me off, was continue to be the observer and watch it all happen. She didnt run to help the woman she supposedly loved as her sister. She just stayed hidden. (granted there wasnt much any of these women could do but what they did I guess) Hannah did something, then Emmie did something to help Hannah. Grace just watched. I don't think what we are told at the end, what happened down there, was clouded by time or her memory. I think that memory was ingrained in her at this point and better than her short term memory. I think it happened as it says it happened. We have what iffed the first of this book to death. This I am not what iffing again lol. Too draining and just makes a fair book even more convoluted. :smileywink:
Vivian
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Re: THEMES: Secrets



Iulievich wrote:
I'm having either an epiphany or a neural meltdown!

Why does Grace tell Marcus the story when she has concealed it from Ruth all of her life?

I will ignore the reasons why she did not tell Ruth and cut straight to the chase.

Grace sees herself as the last of the Hartfords.

She knows that her own mortality is about to overwhelm her. She will not be around much longer. The secret of her own lineage will die with her if she does not tell somebody.

I think that she wants in her own way to perpetuate the Hartford bloodline and to cement her own place in it by telling Marcus how it is that he himself is descended from the Lords Ashbury.

On a darker and uglier note, she wants him to be the ONLY descendant. I am afraid that this may be if not the entire reason then at least a factor in her determination that Ursula -- Hannah's great grandaughter -- will remain in ignorance.

Is Grace, in the end, actually triumphing over Hannah?

Or am I just losing my mind completely? Do I need to go back to reading Justinian's Flea?

Message Edited by Iulievich on 01-14-2008 06:40 PM



This is a fascinating theory! But I'm thinking back to "Riverton Revisited," and I can't recall anything Grace said or thought or felt (as reported in the narrative) that indicated proprietary feelings toward the place. She feels sentimental, yes; but not proprietary, as I think she would if her motives were as you say.

I'm going to mull this over, though...
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO

Bookhunter, Peppermill, I am so enjoying the debate you're having over Grace's culpability versus Hannah's. Good stuff! I think the issue of guilt is one of the central questions raised by the book, and it's epitomized by this debate :smileyhappy:

Karen
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO


bentley wrote:
[snip] Hannah was not an inspiring character. What she said about her husband was very true about her. Both of them also tried to break away from family domination and failed. Frankly, they deserved each other.

Did she and Robbie also deserve each other? And if so, why?
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO

Maybe Robbie did kill himself, eh? Now that's a very interesting idea!

And either Grace is lying about it for some reason (maybe she was secretly in love with Robbie herself, and is lying to protect his memory as a wronged man instead of a suicide), or over the course of sixty years she has constructed a memory of something that didn't happen, which is far from impossible and would fit in with the comments about the ambiguities of history.

bookhunter wrote:
Vivco1 writes:
I think she was in such a state of "game induced" shall we say, euphoria, that both things were happening, she was going to leave with him because that was part of the game now.


Vivian and Bentley (and the rest of you!),

So Hannah was in a state of game induced euphoria, Emmiline was drunk, Robbie was shell-shocked...what is Grace's excuse?!

Bentley, you mentioned the fog--in and out of their heads. I guess we are SUPPOSED to be in the dark about what EXACTLY happened. Grace's comments about history, and even Ms. Horton's comments in the author's notes, say that history is colored by perception, memory, time. _The Shifting Fog_ is a good title!

Maybe Robbie DID kill himself, Hannah died heartbroken and left Grace heartbroken. Or maybe Grace killed him to keep Hannah from leaving. Over the years Grace has constructed a different "memory" of how it happened. She hasn't told any one before, so she can't contradict herself.

Ann, bookhunter


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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO

The Bookhunter wrote: "She was able to run around England, spend Hannah's money, become a renowned archaeologist, when all the while she should have been in jail for withholding information? Hmmmm." {ed.}

Ann -- Strong gutted character, huh, to have been the illicit daughter of a house maid and the second son of the manor, a dreamy, idealistic man who one day was to have a "hunting accident." Wonder what message that has about the role of genes?

Your hypothesis about Grace being Robbie's killer is interesting, in this (unreliable) first person narration account. So far, I'm like Vivian and am tabling that scenario. But, except for the bloody dresses and apparent presence of the weapon, I will admit there is a bit of fog on the scene, which I did actually go back and re-read several days ago when I was uncertain just who had done what to whom and when (pp. 459-467).
"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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bentley
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO


Everyman wrote:

bentley wrote:
[snip] Hannah was not an inspiring character. What she said about her husband was very true about her. Both of them also tried to break away from family domination and failed. Frankly, they deserved each other.

Did she and Robbie also deserve each other? And if so, why?




Everyman, I stated that Hannah and Teddy deserved each other. With them I really believe that was a marriage made in heaven (lol). I think they and their family circumstances were alike in many ways (although there are some major differences - the Hartfords did not have a lovely Deborah to contend with).

In some ways, Robbie and Hannah did as well. I think they are both unstable. They committed adultery with each other. If someone will do it with you, I believe they are capable of doing it to you. I think though that Robbie did honestly love Hannah though Hannah was his lifeline. Without her, I believe he would not have wanted to live on. They were both needy and they were both manipulative. They both knew how to use people and rationalize their methods and the reasons why they continued to do it. They both did not see any moral reasons to stop doing what made them feel good or what gave them satisfaction. If it felt good and they wanted to do it, how ridiculous for anyone to think that they would stop or rethink their actions. They both did not care who got hurt; they lived in the present logically and illogically didn't plan a solid future or work through the difficulties together facing an inevitable divorce for Hannah and facing the music together. What was Robbie's book of poems - Progress and Disintegration?

I do think that Robbie is more likeable and more sympathetic than Hannah is because he did serve in the war (he did risk his life and he was suffering from war related trauma). What was Hannah suffering from: overindulgence, lethargy, idleness, self satisfaction, whimsical thinking, too much time on her hands?

I do not want to be hard on any of the characters. At certain points in the novel I did have some sympathy for Frederick, the elder Lord Hartford and his son (both who passed away early on), Jemima, and even Emmeline; but Hannah was made of sterner stuff and seemed to direct the play action of everyone around her. I think that she and Robbie dealt with dreams and poetic thought; but both were not terribly action oriented or future oriented.

Anyways, that is my two cents regarding any similarities.

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Iulievich
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Re: THEMES: Secrets

We all seem to be almost too certain that the great secret that Grace was protecting was what happened by the lake. Does she ever actually say that? Perhaps someone else remembers. I have put the book aside now and am forced to rely on memory.

In other words, we know that what happened by the lake was a great secret. Are we sure that it is the one that Grace is most interested in preserving?

If she does not actually say that this is her secret, are there other possibilities? Grace is as complex a character as any of them, and we know only the broadest outlines of how her life has unfolded over the more than seventy years since 1924. If we can debate what Grace's reasons were, why not consider that we have missed which of the several secrets that remain concealed was the one she was most interested in?

The book almost never spells out the deeper motivations of its characters. We get a chronicle of events unfolding in the herky-jerky manner that we would if we stepped into an ongoing conversation in which we were previously uninvolved, but we are left to deduce and imply as best we can what people knew, when they knew it, whether what they "knew" was really true, or what motivated them to do the things that they did.
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Peppermill
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Re: THEMES: Secrets


Iulievich wrote:
...In other words, we know that what happened by the lake was a great secret. Are we sure that it is the one that Grace is most interested in preserving?


I like that question. Any proposals what might be and why?
"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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goingeast
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Re: THEMES: Secrets

I have one theory. Right before the gun goes off Hannah looks Between Emmeline and Robbie. Perhaps she pointed the gun and shot without aiming at either one specifically. After all, are we to believe that a woman without gun experience was able to point and shoot so accurately? Or perhaps, she may even have tried to shoot Hannah, missed and got Robbie. I never understood why she would aim for his head and kill him rather than just stop him. It still doesn't make sense.
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bentley
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Re: THEMES: Secrets



goingeast wrote:
I have one theory. Right before the gun goes off Hannah looks Between Emmeline and Robbie. Perhaps she pointed the gun and shot without aiming at either one specifically. After all, are we to believe that a woman without gun experience was able to point and shoot so accurately? Or perhaps, she may even have tried to shoot Hannah, missed and got Robbie. I never understood why she would aim for his head and kill him rather than just stop him. It still doesn't make sense.




Actually when the discussion of guns etc came up previously in the novel, Hannah had mentioned that all of the Hartford women were very comfortable with guns and shooting. Maybe they went on hunts, etc.

Yes, I agree with you..she shot to kill. To silence the subject.

Bentley
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Re: THEMES: Secrets



Peppermill wrote:

Iulievich wrote:
...In other words, we know that what happened by the lake was a great secret. Are we sure that it is the one that Grace is most interested in preserving?


I like that question. Any proposals what might be and why?






Could Grace want to make sure no one realizes that Hannah's baby's father is really Robbie not Teddy? Could that be the secret Grace wants to preserve the most?
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paula_02912
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Re: THEMES: Secrets

goingeastr wrote: "I have one theory. Right before the gun goes off Hannah looks Between Emmeline and Robbie. Perhaps she pointed the gun and shot without aiming at either one specifically. After all, are we to believe that a woman without gun experience was able to point and shoot so accurately? Or perhaps, she may even have tried to shoot Hannah, missed and got Robbie. I never understood why she would aim for his head and kill him rather than just stop him. It still doesn't make sense."

goingeast, wasn't it mentioned somewhere in the book that Hannah knew how to shoot? I forget what page it is...so she was knowledgeable about guns...I seem to recall that she bragged about how good a shot she was too...does anyone else remember this? You could be right in thinking that she really wanted to shoot Emmeline, but as you pointed out, she did aim at Robbie's head, which to me indicated that she knew her way around guns...
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Re: THEMES: Secrets -- DEFINITELY SPOILER INFO



bentley wrote:
I do think that Robbie is more likeable and more sympathetic than Hannah is because he did serve in the war (he did risk his life and he was suffering from war related trauma). What was Hannah suffering from: overindulgence, lethargy, idleness, self satisfaction, whimsical thinking, too much time on her hands?

I do not want to be hard on any of the characters. At certain points in the novel I did have some sympathy for Frederick, the elder Lord Hartford and his son (both who passed away early on), Jemima, and even Emmeline; but Hannah was made of sterner stuff and seemed to direct the play action of everyone around her. I think that she and Robbie dealt with dreams and poetic thought; but both were not terribly action oriented or future oriented.

Anyways, that is my two cents regarding any similarities.

Bentley



I agree. Hannah has such a strong intellect and a fierce spirit. It bothered me that she wasn't able to muster the courage to really be independent. Even marrying Teddy was an attempt to get the independence she craved in an easier way than by defying her family.
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