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vivico1
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower


Everyman wrote:
I think that back in the 40s a family doctor was more of a generalist, and could well have taken on some responsibility for the mental as well as physical health of the children -- more a holistic approach to medicine, before the age of highly restrictive specialization. So I wasn't that surprised at his questions, and I'm not sure they required him to be a shrink.

noannie wrote:
I too wondered why the Dr. asked Ginny so many questions after Vivi's fall. She does not show any emotion at all and that is a scary sign in itself. I think the Dr. and the parents wondered if Ginny had a hand in her sister's accident. The old family estate is crumbling as is the family that lives there.
noannie






I think this doctor was most likely a shrink for Ginny. After all, remember psychoanalysis was at its height in the late 1800s and early 1900s. And Freud was in England during that time when his "talking therapy" was very big. That seems to be what this doctor is doing with her.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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LisaMM
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

It's interesting how so many are assuming that Ginny called her parents by their first names by her choice.. maybe the parents dictated what they wanted to be called. My sister in law has her children call her and my bro in law by their first names, because that is what she did in her childhood home. It might be a quirk of the parents.
www.lisamm.wordpress.com
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Amanda-Louise
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

I was so shocked when Maud implied Ginny's involvement in her sister's fall.  I actually had to put the book down and walk away for a bit it made me so sad.  I can't imagine making one of my children feel so accused and, presumably, horrible. 
 
But, Ginny's cool response to the horrific accident is rather curious.  I keep using that word - curious.  That's rather how I feel about the book at this point!
 
Amanda
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Thayer
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

Interesting that at this point, knowing so little about Vivi, the majority of us (myself included) consider her to be the "normal" sibling.
~~Dawn
Live the life you love ~ Love the life you live.
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Oldesq
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

Maybe falling off the edge here (or the bell tower) but some things struck me in this chapter.  For example:
  • the MAUD committee (1940- the year Vivi was born) was the British equivalent of the Manhattan project before the UK and US shared.
  • Vivi (sorry Vivico) reminds me of vivisection
  • In Finnish myth there are 9 sisters who work in a mill that basically run the world- a variant on the story has just two really large ones doing the same job (the maids that were let go were 2 of 9)(page 11)
  • has anyone decided what ANK means (other than the obvious monogram)? Reminds me of ankh- Egyptian symbol of life.
  • Several people have mentioned how at three Ginny may have been confused by the appearance of all the children- but I think both the girls are too precocious by half- they are able to plan to secret themselves in the Holm oak in case of invasion (9) and received candy from American Soldiers (13)- while both were very young during the war years- Vivi being at most 6 leading the charge.
  • lots of mention of poison, killing fluid (10), chemical bottles (5)- death abounds as well (7) slaughtering devices, family killing and pinning around the globe (10)
  • What is the deal with the toast- I like homemade jam but balancing as if my life depended on it? (14)
  • I like the description- "in the paneled hall, a large oak staircase pours majestically from the vaulted ceiling" (7)

I am enjoying this slightly off kilter read.

 

Oldesq

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DSaff
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



Everyman wrote:
Unless I missed it, I haven't seen anybody comment on something I highlighted on my first reading. On page 13, Ginny says "Vivian was from a fantastic world, definitely not the same one as mine."

I found that a very interesting comment. Did anybody else? What did it mean to you?


I think it goes back to the paragraph before it. Vivian was the dreamer, Ginny seems to be the more practical one. Although, the line about their turret being big enough for two small children to dream is interesting. I think Ginny lived through Vivian, hence the fantastic world. Just above your line we read,
     "We'd go there when Vivi wanted to plot her next adventure or scheme her next scheme. Just sometimes
      I'd offer her a little idea, and just sometimes, not often, she'd latch upon it to help her see through the
      puzzles in her head. And I'd feel ever so triumphant."
What made her feel triumphant? Was it that her sister took the suggestion, or was it that for a brief moment she was entering Vivian's world? Interesting thoughts.
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
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mnotto
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

That's really an interesting comment.  I assumed it was Ginny's choice to call or remember her Mother and Father by first name, but it could have how they preferred their children to call them.  The parents seem rather odd to begin with.  This is definitely not a "traditional" family.
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Charlottesweb1
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

I thought it interesting that when Vivien falls from the bell tower the mother turns on Ginny with such hatred and asks if she was responsible for the accident. I'm curious, where is all this anger towards Ginny stemming from? I think Ginny's lack of response to the accusations from her parents and the doctor that she caused the accident, a glimpse into her tortured soul. It seems Ginny likes to retreat either physically (A recluse in the familial home or emotionally by becoming numb and unresponsive as a coping skill.
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ELee
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



DSaff wrote:


Everyman wrote:
Unless I missed it, I haven't seen anybody comment on something I highlighted on my first reading. On page 13, Ginny says "Vivian was from a fantastic world, definitely not the same one as mine."

I found that a very interesting comment. Did anybody else? What did it mean to you?


I think it goes back to the paragraph before it. Vivian was the dreamer, Ginny seems to be the more practical one. Although, the line about their turret being big enough for two small children to dream is interesting. I think Ginny lived through Vivian, hence the fantastic world. Just above your line we read,
     "We'd go there when Vivi wanted to plot her next adventure or scheme her next scheme. Just sometimes
      I'd offer her a little idea, and just sometimes, not often, she'd latch upon it to help her see through the
      puzzles in her head. And I'd feel ever so triumphant."
What made her feel triumphant? Was it that her sister took the suggestion, or was it that for a brief moment she was entering Vivian's world? Interesting thoughts.


To answer Everyman, I found that Ginny's comment about Vivian's being from a fantastic world seemed to be colored by Ginny's inability to comprehend her sister's viewpoint.  All of the normal results of an active childhood imagination that would be "play-acted" out (for you or me) are from "a fantastic world" and become "meticulously planning" lives from Ginny's perspective.  Granted, the sisters are not from the same "world", but I am suspicious of Ginny's confiding with the reader as though Vivien's take on life was more "fantastic" (altered?) than her own. 
 
As DSaff mentions, Ginny's helping Vivi to "see through the puzzles in her head" probably made her feel like she was making a useful contribution and was somehow sharing in the process, even though she didn't understand it.  At this point, since the narrator (Ginny) is articulating the viewpoint and enlisting the reader's confidence in relating her past, it would be natural to take her descriptions as fact.  But there has been significant enough doubt raised this early on, that I do not fully trust her version.
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BookWoman718
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

At this point in the reading I was feeling some frustration and annoyance with the self-reported clues to Ginny's personality and behavior.  As a woman only a few years younger than the sisters, I couldn't relate at all.  Ginny was sounding like someone in a somewhat doddering old age, which was at the same time belied by the coherence of her writing.  It sounded as if a novel of Victorian or earlier times had been clumsily moved to the latter part of the twentieth century.  The huge English country house, the fear of venturing outside, the poor bookish sister vs. the vivacious household darling, it all sounded a bit Austen-derivative rather than insightful about the active, involved women in their sixties who abound in the world today.  The whole idea of the three years younger sister being the leader was just unbelievable.  Oldest sisters are well known for their pride of place in the family  (as are oldest sons);  later achievments may lead to the younger overtaking the older's accomplishments, but in childhood?   And if there were something so 'wrong' with Ginny that she would willingly follow her little sister around, how is it that she has she been left to live by herself for 40 years?  Would not the parents have provided for her, the adored younger sister kept watch, or even the community have stepped in?   A more realistic Ginny - a woman apparently unmarried and content with her own counsel - would be haunting the library, subscribing to cable TV, taking long walks in the countryside, and ordering movies from Netflix. 
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runnybabbit620
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

We seem to Ginny, early on as an analytical, scientific-minded child (most likely with her emotions schooled that way from her parents, especially Clive?) and that Vivi allows her her only true access to a creative mindset as she labels her the normal, imaginitive child and that she lived in a fantastic world that was "definitely not the same one as mine".
 
The rich, detailed description of the house (and it's subsequent present state of falling to ruin) alternately thrills me of the grandeur and disappoints me in the lack of maintenance and upkeep as the four generations of the family seemed to have more care and concern with the family interest in lepidoptery than in the gem that they housed their craft. It seems that Maud has attempted her part in making the house somewhat more liveable and less of a moth museum by the "dozen framed photographs of our family that stood together on an occasional table alongside the back of the sofa in the drawing room."  Perhaps she is less obssessed with lepidoptery and more concerned with other pursuits?  If so, why have we no indication of any of her interests and only the interest of Clive and the previous generations of Kendals?
 
We read on to find Vivi finishing her toast in the bell tower while sitting on the ledge.  A daring and precipitous (most indeed so as indicated by later events described in the same chapter) undertaking by an imaginitive child who "spent hours meticulously planning her life--and mine".  You almost want to yell out as Vivi is startled by the martins that dart out from under the ledge that she drop the darned toast and hold on tight as toast will always be readily available.  I can only guess by Ginny's reaction that she must have been in a state of surprise by that of the sudden appearance of the martins and shock of seeing Vivi teetering precariously on the edge, so much so that she is incapable of coming to the sister's aid.  [This makes me think of a Pollyanna-type theme, falling from a high point of the house.]
 
It makes you wonder, with Vivi's fall from the bell tower, what could have happened if the iron balustrade had still been in place and not donated to the cause of the war.  Probably she would have died and not only lost the ability to have children.
 
We also see here the beginning of a ?problem? with Maud on Page 16 when Clive leads her to the library to have a drink and calm her nerves and dispenses the Garvey's, the finest old amontillado, Mother's sherry.  (This also being one of the few times Maud is referred to as "Mother".)  Could this drink to calm the nerves with her favorite sherry be a foreshadowing of problems soon to arise due to the events that have just transpired?
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blondemom74037
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

I am curious about that Dr. It seems he has an unnatural interest in Ginny.
Judy
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Linda10
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Registered: ‎10-02-2007
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

There are already over 100 posts!  I'm so overwhelmed!  If I'm about to repeat something someone else has already posted, I apologize ahead of time.  But I feel I need to write something or else I'll only be reading posts all night long!
 
People have been talking about how awful it was for Maud to think that Ginny had something to do with her sister's fall from the bell tower.  I do agree with everyone in that regard.  However, I'm not so convinced that she did not.  When she starts playing "card games" with the doctor so he can perhaps analyze her state of mind, she seemed awfully cool to me.  I don't have any sisters.  But I don't think it matters in this case.  If my little brother had fallen from a bell tower, I would have been a basket case!  Has anyone else thought she was way too unemotional for such a circumstance?
 
Hmmm.  Must keep reading.
 
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CubbyVet
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

In this Chapter, I get the feeling that maybe Maud isn't Ginny's real mother (almost like maybe she is adopted or her stepmother).  I know that if I was a mother, I would have thought that Ginny was just stunned by what she had seen.  I also think that Maud and the doctor think that Ginny may be mentally unstable. 
 
They said on page 7 that Vivi had mood swings all of the time.  Ginny also says that if she wasn't there, she would have thought that Vivi might have killed herself.  From this, I am thinking that maybe Vivi was the one who was manic-depressive.
 
On page 15, Ginny says that she saw the "Entire Future" leave Vivi.  Do you think that means kids?  Or could it have been the day that Vivi lost he rinnocence and realized she could have gotten hurt?
 
Also, I noticed that Maud said something interesting on page 16.  She says "I thought we could be a normal family."  I found this very weird.  This is leading me more towards my step-family/adoptive parents to Ginny's theory.
 
I think that Ginny hay have been depressed as many teenagers are.  That's why she was so "unfeeling" about her sister.
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AnnieS
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

[ Edited ]
In response to EF Lee  (I don't know how to copy threads into threads)
 
I agree with you on this.  It struck me very odd that a house prominitly displaying achievements and accolades on the walls had Ginny's baby picture (is this the only one we are not sure) where she is covered up hardly showing does not seem to fit the environment. 
 
I also feel that the description of Bulburrow Court is cold and unemotional "Gatsby" like.  Full of old money, pretense and snobbery.  The fact that the children call their parents by their first names and that Ginny did not know Viv was her sister made me think that the parents are stand offish and cool towards her (Ginny).  Do they refer to each other as Mummy and Daddy or as Clive and Maude in Ginny's presence.  Is her detatchment made from her own accord or from her parents?     
 
I also wonder what was "wrong" with Ginny by the passage " One was of a young Maude and Clive embracing on a balcony in a foreign city, Paris perhaps, with the evening light behind them, eyes only for each other.  It must have been taken before the war, before I was born." 
 
Do Maude and Clive no longer have eyes for each other?  What happened during the war for that to change? or was she talking about the backdrop and not her parents?   
 
Annie


Message Edited by AnnieS on 03-03-2008 09:36 PM
JAZ
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JAZ
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

It was most unusual how Maud and Dr. Moyse implied that maybe Ginny had pushed Vivi off of the bell tower.  Ginny's view of the event makes the reader think that that could never be a possibility.  But in the back of your mind, it makes you wonder if Ginny has done something like that before.  And perhaps maybe there is something wrong with her.
 
Large, deteriorating houses in novels often go hand-in-hand with dark family secrets.
 
I thought that Ginny seeing the two sister's futures disappearing at the moment was a bit disturbing, which I loved.   
 
 
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Rosei
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

I feel horror only to think that Ginny could pushed Vivi off the bell tower.
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bichonlover1
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

Maybe I am just a worrier, but it concerns me about the Dr and his questions. I suspect he has an motive for his questioning and I am afraid I won't like the answer. He gives me a very uneasy feeling when he is questioning aboaut the accident in the bell tower.
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vivico1
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower


Rosei wrote:
I feel horror only to think that Ginny could pushed Vivi off the bell tower.



Hey, this Vivi would stay away for half a decade after that! lol
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



Thayer wrote:
Interesting that at this point, knowing so little about Vivi, the majority of us (myself included) consider her to be the "normal" sibling.


I hear what you are saying, Thayer, but is either one of them normal?
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