Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Contributor
phyl
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎12-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The House as a Character

The house is a strong character as a house is in many novels including the recent Atonement and the older classic The Yellow Wallpaper. I also find myself remembering Upstairs, Downstairs (PBS) during my reading.
Frequent Contributor
Katelyn
Posts: 311
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The House as a Character

I think looking at the house as a character is an interesting approach. Houses are very human in a sense -- they bear the traces of our living in them (the abrasion of use, design choices that reflect both personal and cultural preferences and usages). What I think is interesting is how the house has "outlived" many of the people that inhabited it - Emmeline and David died at a very young age; many others led long lives but passed away also, yet the house endures.

When Graces visits the house it is interesting that overgrown vines wrap up the side of the house and in the kitchen the old fixtures have been replaced with modern ones that transform that which has been otherwise preserved. The past lives in the present, but not in the same sense as it once did. It is transfigured as is Grace herself, who looks out eyes that have the wisdom of many decades of experience; she experiences both the aged Grace she now is and the young girl that moved within the house.

The house provides a great anchor for the story, a stage set with a changing cast of characters.
Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The House as a Character

Please provide some help on the house as a character that is almost destroyed and then is restored. Is there symbolism Ms. Morton intends?

Two views: 1) restoration that eventually leads to being a museum (or a "dig"; after all, Grace become an archaeologist, following all those Sherlock-Holmes-like clues amidst vanished cultures).
2) the struggle for control (English -- Scots -- I can't find the text I want to cite right now -- Vivian/Karen had a discussion about it on one of the threads on this board -- can't find that either! Or Hartfords -- Luxton?) (In our day, Samuel Huntington?)

Others??
"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
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The House as a Character



phyl wrote:
The house is a strong character as a house is in many novels including the recent Atonement and the older classic The Yellow Wallpaper. I also find myself remembering Upstairs, Downstairs (PBS) during my reading.




Yes, a house is a character. Its where the living and breathing characters live and breathe. Live, love, destroy, cry, die and on every wall there are handprints of all distinctions of these living and breathing characters. When a author spends alot of time with a house as a character, it makes your imagination go wild with wonders. What a table must have looked like. Did the floors squeak as they meandered all over the house. Were the stairs wood or carpet? I do love books about houses as characters.
Frequent Contributor
flyjo9
Posts: 140
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The House as a Character



kiakar wrote:


phyl wrote:
The house is a strong character as a house is in many novels including the recent Atonement and the older classic The Yellow Wallpaper. I also find myself remembering Upstairs, Downstairs (PBS) during my reading.




Yes, a house is a character. Its where the living and breathing characters live and breathe. Live, love, destroy, cry, die and on every wall there are handprints of all distinctions of these living and breathing characters. When a author spends alot of time with a house as a character, it makes your imagination go wild with wonders. What a table must have looked like. Did the floors squeak as they meandered all over the house. Were the stairs wood or carpet? I do love books about houses as characters.


I certainly agree, Kiakar. For me, althoough I am a late entrant to this book review, the house immediately drew me into its very soul , if such is possible-LOL. every nook and cranny, everry room and the contents (furniture, bric a brac, paintings, books, etc.). I heard the house whisper and cry and laugh. I heard the creaks on the stairs, smelled the wonderful aromas of Mrs. Townsend's cooking. The library was an especially interessting place for me as was the Nursery, both so full of history-secrets, passions, sorrows,joys. I longed to enter that place and live there a while, explore and discover. and feel the life within. Joan
Wordsmith
kiakar
Posts: 3,435
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The House as a Character



flyjo9 wrote:


kiakar wrote:


phyl wrote:
The house is a strong character as a house is in many novels including the recent Atonement and the older classic The Yellow Wallpaper. I also find myself remembering Upstairs, Downstairs (PBS) during my reading.




Yes, a house is a character. Its where the living and breathing characters live and breathe. Live, love, destroy, cry, die and on every wall there are handprints of all distinctions of these living and breathing characters. When a author spends alot of time with a house as a character, it makes your imagination go wild with wonders. What a table must have looked like. Did the floors squeak as they meandered all over the house. Were the stairs wood or carpet? I do love books about houses as characters.


I certainly agree, Kiakar. For me, althoough I am a late entrant to this book review, the house immediately drew me into its very soul , if such is possible-LOL. every nook and cranny, everry room and the contents (furniture, bric a brac, paintings, books, etc.). I heard the house whisper and cry and laugh. I heard the creaks on the stairs, smelled the wonderful aromas of Mrs. Townsend's cooking. The library was an especially interessting place for me as was the Nursery, both so full of history-secrets, passions, sorrows,joys. I longed to enter that place and live there a while, explore and discover. and feel the life within. Joan




Thanks for your postjoan, I love what you wrote. I do love houses in books.
Frequent Contributor
carriele
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The House as a Character

[ Edited ]
I feel that the house was a main character in the book. Early on, we get details about how the nursery looked and the differences between the upstairs and the downstairs. We also get a very detailed account of the room in which Grace is to stay. I got the impression that the author gave us these details so that we could feel a connection between the house itself and the characters in the book.

Also, I thought it was interesting that the look and feel of the house changes as its' occupants change as well. I'm not necessarily referring to decor but the overall atmosphere within the house itself.

I believe the house is an integral element within the book and cannot be overlooked.

Carrie E.

Message Edited by carriele on 01-31-2008 03:12 PM
Contributor
audrey1999
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The House as a Character

I also think it is interesting how the house goes into decline which is echoed in the decline of the family as a whole. As a character, I enjoyed the role the house played within the family and as a foil to specific characters in the book.
Users Online
Currently online: 50 members 277 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: