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dghobbs
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

It does seem that neither sister has children - there are no heirs. We know why Vivi doesn't...so why none for ginny? To be found out later in the book I hope...:smileyhappy:doug
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dghobbs
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



LisaMM wrote:
The most curious thing to me in this chapter is the attention paid to Ginny by the doctor and the veiled accusation of Maud that Ginny had something to do with the fall. Why would they think that? Do they think she has some kind of evil intent toward her sister? Do they think she has some sort of mental illness? It's curious.




I wondered the same thing. I thought perhaps it was simply that they sensed some sibling rivalry...:smileyhappy:doug
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dghobbs
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



vivico1 wrote:

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.




I also had the impression that the Doctor was a psychiatrist. There was something about the way he spoke that seemed off, if he were Family Doctor. :smileyhappy:Doug
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Peppermill
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower


pheath wrote: I have to admit being a bit surprised that this premise could be made interesting too! However, I thought the book was a great read, and it is built around Lepidoptery and a dysfunctional family. Perhaps it's that latter that made the former more interesting...
Remember that Nabokov (Lolita et al) was a famed lepidopterist.
"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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Peppermill
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower


ELee wrote:
...With reference to the growing oddness of Ginny and her noted obsession with time, the description of one of Maud's family photos is very interesting.

"Then there was the one of me as a baby, wrapped up so you can't actually see any of me at all, Maud and Clive holding up the package between them next to the sundial on the top terrace."
Ginny is all wrapped up (like a cocoon), showing nothing that defines her identity. She is a "package" (rather than a person) between them and they are positioned next to a sundial (timepiece).
Thanks for these observations! I had missed the parallels.
"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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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



dhaupt wrote:


lcnh1 wrote:
I wonder if Ginny's unemotional response to Vivi's fall is more Ginny's recollection of the events 50+ years later rather than her actual response at the time. 
 
I somewhat had the impression with the conversation between Ginny's parents that Vivi might have been the more favored child by Maud.  That might have played into why Maud was so upset and seemed to almost accuse Ginny of pushing Vivi.


Good point I never thought of it like but I should have, especially since Ginny doesn't seem all there, so maybe her remembering isn't all there either.

I actually got the opposite impression -- that Ginny's feelings about and memory of the event have intensified over time. As she recalls the moment of Vivi's fall, she says that it has been "replayed a thousand times since in my nightmares" and that the sound of the bell echoing "gave to me a resounding significance, a lifetime of noise..." (p.14). This moment seems to have haunted her for the rest of her life.
 
So, is there anything in a close reading of Ginny's account of the fall that might lead us to either exonerate her or believe her guilty? One thing that stands out for me is her use of the word "Peculiarly" to preface the statement that Vivi survived. I would have used "miraculously" or "thankfully" but the word peculiarly is really devoid of emotion...
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KxBurns
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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 agree that Dr. Moyse was likely more of a g.p. rather than strictly a psychologist/psychiatrist. On page 16, Ginny mentions several medical conditions he cured for the family, her own uncured warts being the exception. She also says he was "the most trusted member of the outside world" to the family. Again, a distinction is being made between the outside world and Bulburrow Court. I think this implies a skepticism of the so-called ouside world that Ginny may very well have absorbed from her parents. And yet this does not jibe with the idea of them opening their home to evacuees for three years...
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pigwidgeon
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Re: Chapter 2: psychiatrists and sociopaths


kbbg42 wrote:
The impression that I got of Ginny from the Bell Tower chapter is that she is a budding sociopath. With her inability to express emotions her inability to "connect" with her family. The way she calls her parents Maude and Clive. Did you notice when the Doctor asked where her mother was Ginny answered "Maude is upstairs"? Also the Doctor's questioning of her and his "interest" in her. Could the Doctor be a Psychiatrist? Remember he couldn't cure her warts,Clive had to freeze them off with the liquid nitrogen.



tapestry100 wrote:
Somebody else earlier in the thread mentioned that maybe she is a sociopath, and I would tend to think the same thing. What appears to be a lack of or disconnection of emotions, the doctor's apparent knowledge of prior events... It just makes me feel like there is a lot more to Ginny's story that we won't know until Vivi brings it to her attention. I think she has remembered things her way, or rewritten them, to make it easier for her own mind to deal with.


I like the idea that Dr. Moyse is working with Ginny more as a psychologist would, as opposed to a family doctor, though I think the truth of the matter is that he is mainly the family doctor with SOME psychological training. On pg.16 we are told that the doctor "had cured three of our evacuees of diphtheria, nursed Vivi and me (Ginny) through whooping-cough, and devised a potion for Clive's gout."

Though Ginny seems very in control of her emotions, I can't agree with the speculation that it comes from sociopathy. People with Antisocial Personality Disorder (the American Psychiatric Association's current name for the disorder commonly referred to as sociopathy) don't feel remorse or guilt, and would have no need to change their recollections to "make it easier for her own mind to deal with". They are also often categorized as manipulative, charming, or even arrogant.

As a reference the American Psychiatric Association's 1994 "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" requires 3 or more of the following be present to consider antisocial personality disorder:

1. Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest.
2. Deceitfulness, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
3. Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
4. Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
5. Reckless disregard for safety of self or others
6. Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honour financial obligations
7. Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.

This does not sound like Ginny to me.... Then again, we are only on chapter 2. :smileywink:
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dhaupt
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

>I actually got the opposite impression -- that Ginny's feelings about and memory of the event have intensified over time. As she recalls the moment of Vivi's fall, she says that it has been "replayed a thousand times since in my nightmares" and that the sound of the bell echoing "gave to me a resounding significance, a lifetime of noise..." (p.14). This moment seems to have haunted her for the rest of her life.
 
So, is there anything in a close reading of Ginny's account of the fall that might lead us to either exonerate her or believe her guilty? One thing that stands out for me is her use of the word "Peculiarly" to preface the statement that Vivi survived. I would have used "miraculously" or "thankfully" but the word peculiarly is really devoid of emotion...





Karen,
I think maybe she thinks she can remember it better than when it happened but I don't know if I really believe that. And even if I question her memory it's all we have at the moment to recall the fall and she recalled it that because of some birds that got startled and in turn startled Vivi she fell. So I'm only going on the information I have.

Deb
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ELee
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



KxBurns wrote:

Ginny's feelings about and memory of the event have intensified over time. As she recalls the moment of Vivi's fall, she says that it has been "replayed a thousand times since in my nightmares" and that the sound of the bell echoing "gave to me a resounding significance, a lifetime of noise..." (p.14). This moment seems to have haunted her for the rest of her life.


I would agree that the repetition of these memories overtime intensifies the experience for her.  Ginny's short-term responses to things seem to be very conditioned and formulaic.  As we can see by the description of her thought processes, she is not capable of making a quick response and spends time thinking about what to do.  Ultimately, too much time passes by and she decides its better to be non-responsive (with Maude after the accident) or reacts in a way that she has learned "works" to stop further involvement (with the doctor).

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pigwidgeon
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Re: Chapter 2: Bulburrow Court


ELee wrote:
Here is a picture of a Victorian folly castle, which is how Poppy Adams describes Bulburrow court in her letter.



Just wanted to thank ELee for the great photo! If you haven't had a look, click on the link...
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pigwidgeon
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Re: Chapter 2: Ginny, Vivi, and Maude

[ Edited ]
sorry, I hit enter by mistake.. I'll re-post

Message Edited by pigwidgeon on 03-04-2008 03:40 PM
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



MSaff wrote:


vivico1 wrote:
He better be a shrink or some mental health doctor, or get this strange guy out of there lol.

I agree. He isn't presented in a light that seems trustworthy.
 
Mike


That's true - he is presented in a way that makes us uncomfortable with him, but that could be because we see him through Ginny's eyes. Ginny is suspicious of him and we have to wonder if it is because she recognizes that he suspects her of something of which she is in fact guilty, or because she feels she's being silently accused of something and she is innocent? Or maybe she is genuinely confused by his questions.
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



dhaupt wrote:
>I actually got the opposite impression -- that Ginny's feelings about and memory of the event have intensified over time. As she recalls the moment of Vivi's fall, she says that it has been "replayed a thousand times since in my nightmares" and that the sound of the bell echoing "gave to me a resounding significance, a lifetime of noise..." (p.14). This moment seems to have haunted her for the rest of her life.
 
So, is there anything in a close reading of Ginny's account of the fall that might lead us to either exonerate her or believe her guilty? One thing that stands out for me is her use of the word "Peculiarly" to preface the statement that Vivi survived. I would have used "miraculously" or "thankfully" but the word peculiarly is really devoid of emotion...





Karen,
I think maybe she thinks she can remember it better than when it happened but I don't know if I really believe that. And even if I question her memory it's all we have at the moment to recall the fall and she recalled it that because of some birds that got startled and in turn startled Vivi she fell. So I'm only going on the information I have.

Deb

Good point Deb -- whatever recollection of the event has been intensified over time is still her own perception which may or may not be accurate.
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detailmuse
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

I was glad to see the story's date and location confirmed in Ch. 2. But I agree, it doesn't feel like 2007 (or flashbacks back to the 40's) ... which makes it more intriguing.


BookWoman718 wrote:
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. 



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Peppermill
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

Our "unemotional" Ginny is at it again. Thanks,tgem!

tgem wrote:
KxBurns wrote (in part):
The description of Bulburrow Court is wonderful and paints such a dramatic image of the estate in my mind. It seems that the house – both the physical structure and its contents – constitutes something of a shrine to this family, and that both the structure and the family are in a state of deterioration.

There was a lot of information about the house in this chapter. I really enjoyed the following: "The way we got around a diminishing staff was an evolving fluidity in the volume of the house throughout the year, a constant expansion and contraction like a lung. In the most bitter winter weeks, we'd lock up the extremities and retreat to the inner sanctum, huddling in the heart of the building..." (p12) Giving the house human body parts, suggests that it is also one of the characters in this book.

Despite the beautiful descriptions of the estate grounds and and it's buildings, the narrator, who is now identified as Ginny, uses this description of the house: "The walls leached the desires and fears of those who had peopled it." (p8) The house is given feelings. Ginny sees it as "a claustrophobic tribute to one dynasty." (p8)...


"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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detailmuse
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

Yes, devoid of emotion ... like an observer, a scientist.
 
For me, it didn't hint at regret, merely curiosity.


KxBurns wrote:

 One thing that stands out for me is her use of the word "Peculiarly" to preface the statement that Vivi survived. I would have used "miraculously" or "thankfully" but the word peculiarly is really devoid of emotion...



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pigwidgeon
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Re: Chapter 2: Ginny, Vivi, and Maude


lcnh1 wrote:
I somewhat had the impression with the conversation between Ginny's parents that Vivi might have been the more favored child by Maud. That might have played into why Maud was so upset and seemed to almost accuse Ginny of pushing Vivi.


I sort of had that impression myself. It is sad, but on occasion, some parents favor a child that is similar to themselves, over another child who is more "their own person".



vivico1 wrote:
The quote mentioned about "I actually saw her Entire Future give the struggle.......I felt my own future reduced to a dead vacuum, a mere biological process", intrigued me ...
I wonder how Vivi feels, to be the younger one, but the one who Maud seems to put in charge of Ginny? Always making sure they are together, always making sure Vivi is with her. Could be something interesting there, as to why Vivi would leave the place for such a long time and Ginny become this recluse.

This quote that vivico1 brings to our attention is an interesting one. Can we parallel Ginny's reaction to Vivi's leaving, to her reaction when Vivi fell off the bell tower?
"I actually saw her Entire Future give the struggle.......I felt my own future reduced to a dead vacuum, a mere biological process"
Doesn't it seem, in these 2 short chapters, that this IS what Ginny's life has become?



blkeyesuzi wrote:
Ginny is quiet and unemotional.

Vivi suffers from mood swings and has a bad temper leading to often fighting with her mother. Running away is a normal function for her and Ginny has to go find her. She is also impulsive, an action which caused her fall from the bell tower. Vivi seems to have a vivid imagination, perhaps suffering from racing thoughts. Maybe Bipolar disorder? It's interesting that Ginny eludes to the idea that Vivi could have thrown herself from the bell tower had Ginny not seen the accident for herself.

Maude pushes Vivi and Ginny together. It's as if she is trying to protect them. But who is protecting who? Is Vivi protecting Ginny or is Ginny protecting Vivi?

I think I have to agree with blkeyesuzi on this one. It seems to me that Vivi's mood swings and bad temper are just as concerning as Ginny's reserved emotions and stoicism.
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pigwidgeon
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower



detailmuse wrote:
Yes, devoid of emotion ... like an observer, a scientist.
For me, it didn't hint at regret, merely curiosity.


KxBurns wrote:

One thing that stands out for me is her use of the word "Peculiarly" to preface the statement that Vivi survived. I would have used "miraculously" or "thankfully" but the word peculiarly is really devoid of emotion...








Great observation detailmuse! :smileyhappy: I think the scientific nature of Ginny, modeled after Clive, gets overlooked sometimes (by people like me).
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detailmuse
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Re: Chapter 2: The Bell Tower

[ Edited ]
Speaking of Vivi never having children -- it's common knowledge that ovaries produce eggs, but I was surprised (p21) that Vivi, a schoolgirl (or anyone, really, in the 1940s or '50s) knew that all undeveloped eggs of a lifetime are present in the ovaries at birth.

Jeanie0522 wrote:
I also think it is curious how we know now that Vivi will never have children.



Message Edited by detailmuse on 03-04-2008 04:08 PM
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