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DSaff
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



Countrygirl wrote:
It seems like her and the house and falling apart and she just dose not care. It sounds like the house is falling down around it self. She is going to have explain to Viven why this happen and why she has let things go.
She just seems to live in cave away from world. She seems to be living in anther time and with her sister showing up she is going to brought back to the now.





It could be that she doesn't care about the house and herself because she is alone. Her "I don't care" attitude could be a coping mechanism for having no one around to love her.
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I got the impression Vivi was more concerned that Ginny had been taken advantage of - that Ginny had let go of some valuable items for less than their value.  With everything in such decay, perhaps she believes that the money might have saved their home as well as the fact that if everything was sold at top value, less of their family's items would have been sold.
 


DSaff wrote:

I totally agree with you about the agenda. I don't trust Vivien, and am not quite sure why. But, she is on a mission. After presumably not checking on her sister for many years, she is surprised at the state of the house? She seems more concerned about the missing "stuff" than about her sister.


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

It makes me curious as to the goals that she's not revealed to us yet.
 


Everyman wrote:

I was struck by a phrase on page 34: "Now that I'm self-sufficient, now that I've achieved my own goals n life..."

Egad. This spinster life hiding behind curtains, gnarled up, never going out, seeing almost nobody, a recluse who h as to sell the family furniture for spending money, no family except a sister she hasn't seen for fifty years -- this is accomplishing her goals in life?

Who on earth sets that kind of goals for themselves???


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

It could also be a symptom of her lack of feelings.  Yet when Ginny commented that she sold the furniture because she needed the money & that's that, it struck me that she acted as a child would.  A "So There!" moment - usually followed by the child sticking out his/her tongue.  I sometimes feel catches of Ginny speaking as both an adult and as a child.


DSaff wrote:

It could be that she doesn't care about the house and herself because she is alone. Her "I don't care" attitude could be a coping mechanism for having no one around to love her.


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I agree with those of you who have mentioned the possibility that Ginny suffers from aspergers or some other form of autism. She certainly has difficulty picking up on social and emotional cues. What I found particularly glaring about the scene with the dog was that Ginny does not say that she tries to make a face she would make if she were indeed interested in the dog, but that she tries to form the expression that other people would make at a baby. 
 
She struggles to feign affection for the dog, yes, but even more than that, she struggles to make a face that corresponds to the sentiment she is trying to convey. And then she marvels at her mother's ability to make "the right faces at the right times."
 
There is definitely something amiss.
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GMorrison
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



kmensing wrote:
I'm still wondering what caused Ginny to be emotionally trapped in this house.  Is it a phobia & if so what caused it.  Some people become homebound by choice too. 





This dovetails very nicely with the theory that Ginny and Vivi are one person. Perhaps Vivi was the genuine expression of Ginny's personality: the one that wanted to escape the weird parents, make friends, have normal interests, act out; while the Ginny half was the one who stayed on in the house due to controlling and overprotective parents. One could make an argument with the single person theory that this means Ginny might actually have fallen from the bell tower--the frantic scramble to save the toast instead of herself would fit in with her OCD tendencies, and a traumatic near death experience at her age could certainly have resulted in psychological damage (hence Dr. Moyse's visits).

Ginny certainly seems to feel that she's in the twilight era of her life. So perhaps "Vivi's" return, with her pet, her driver, cellphone, affluent lifestyle, and her concern "normal" things like appearance, finances, and material possessions is symbolic of Ginny's imagining what her life could have been like had she managed to break free of her parents and assert her real personality.
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture


LizzieAnn wrote:
I got the impression Vivi was more concerned that Ginny had been taken advantage of - that Ginny had let go of some valuable items for less than their value.  With everything in such decay, perhaps she believes that the money might have saved their home as well as the fact that if everything was sold at top value, less of their family's items would have been sold.

I think you all make some very valid points about the missing furniture and Vivi's response.
 
My take on it is that Vivi's reasons for getting upset are threefold: because the items held sentimental value to her and she never expected them to be gone (it's not just furntiure but photos that have disappeared); because of their monetary and historical value (we have already read about the family's excessive pride); and also because the circumstances of their removal from the home reveal that Ginny is vulnerable and has probably been taken advantage of.
 
Concern for her sister may have been Vivi's reason for returning home in the first place and the missing furniture could signal to her that she is already too late to protect her?
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ladytoad
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Those are some very good points, Karen.
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture


AnnieS wrote:

It is true that they seem older than other people in their 60's.  But Ginny is living in an "old" world.  Her mind as we have all stated does not seem "up" to the time past or present.  It is distorted, much like I believe her memory is.  Viv is a bit in time with cell phone and such, but her injury could have weathered her body over time as well.  Both older single women set in their ways made from themselves and their past. 

I believe that the author is using their physical ailments to also show an emotional aging.  Viv is looking for something, I believe it is to hold her past together, to reconcile maybe with it, her sister or herself before she or the other passes.  Ginny is looking to forget it, not looking into her reflection, not to remember the truth.  She did not reach out to her sister but as she says "  After all, she left all those years ago and she invited herself back" 

Annie


Totally agree with you -- Ginny is a woman who has deliberately retreated from the world and I would be more surprised if she was in step with the times.
 
As far as her physical frailty is concerned, I think ladytoad is right on target here:
 
"...rheumatoid arthritis can strike people when they are young, so this condition may not be related to their ages. Also, I think it's clear that Ginny's actions and opinions are colored by the fact that she never leaves home, so although I agree her behavior would be odd for most people of her age/generation, it seems clear Ginny is not 'most people.'"

 
I would also add that Ginny is living in the country, and has purposely isolated herself from human interaction as well as medical care (evidenced by her seeking medical information from the social services pamplets that get dropped off at the house). I think this isolation is quite reasonably reflected in both her cultural and physical "oldness."
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



GMorrison wrote:


kmensing wrote:
I'm still wondering what caused Ginny to be emotionally trapped in this house.  Is it a phobia & if so what caused it.  Some people become homebound by choice too. 



This dovetails very nicely with the theory that Ginny and Vivi are one person. Perhaps Vivi was the genuine expression of Ginny's personality: the one that wanted to escape the weird parents, make friends, have normal interests, act out; while the Ginny half was the one who stayed on in the house due to controlling and overprotective parents. One could make an argument with the single person theory that this means Ginny might actually have fallen from the bell tower--the frantic scramble to save the toast instead of herself would fit in with her OCD tendencies, and a traumatic near death experience at her age could certainly have resulted in psychological damage (hence Dr. Moyse's visits).

Ginny certainly seems to feel that she's in the twilight era of her life. So perhaps "Vivi's" return, with her pet, her driver, cellphone, affluent lifestyle, and her concern "normal" things like appearance, finances, and material possessions is symbolic of Ginny's imagining what her life could have been like had she managed to break free of her parents and assert her real personality.

This is a fascinating theory, but then the book would not really be about sisters at all, would it?
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maryfrancesa
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I agree with what you said.  I think that Vi came back for a reason, was there something hidden that she was looking for.  I find it alittle strange that she shows up after all this time and does not really stay withh Ginny but goes looking at everything.  Maybe they could have "toured" the house together and remebers certain aspects of their memories and shared them. 
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BookSavage
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



swamplover wrote:


sriensche wrote:
gosox wrote:
 
. . . Although I am no expert on the condition, does anyone else think that Ginny might exhibit some symptons of Asperger's/autism?
 
Wondered the same thing.  Some of her actions are more than OCD, and her complete lack of emotional ties led me to think there is more to Ginny than just an eccentric reclusive woman.  However if there is something "different" about her how could her sister leave her completely alone and cut off for so many years?


Asperger's Syndrom (AS) was my first thought too.  I have a very close friend who has AS; his wife and two sons also have it.  Beacuse he had to help his sons navigate the school system, he read everything he could about it, and in the process came to understand a lot about himself.  We have talked about AS and his and his famly member's issues.  He said he does not have the same emotional reactions as most people but has learned appropriate behavior/reactions from reading, etc. and then applies what he has learned.  This seems to be what Ginny tried to do with the dog and making the face people make when they see a baby.  There are other places where I see her make this same kind of attempt to act in appropriate ways.  Selling the furniture without any consideration of the financial or sentimental value fits right in with these types of issues.
 
On another point - I wonder whether Vivi had something to do with Maude's death.  "That was when Vivi left this house for the last time and she hasn't been back since."  Was she in prison or in an institution for some of that time?  Or did she know that Ginny was responsible and she left in fear for her own life?  Is that why she didn't check up on her sister?
 

 


I actually consulted with my wife about this.  She worked with special needs children for a good while, and many of them were autism cases.  I described Ginny's actions and reactions and she very much agree that Ginny sounded like a classic case of someone with AS.  I think this is a great way to approach her character, and gives better insight into the novel.  I just wonder if the Poppy Adams intended this to be the case.
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dghobbs
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I thought Vivi was very upset about the sale of the furniture - perhaps there were some pieces that she wanted. I also think that this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems the sisters have had and will have in the reset of the novel. :smileyhappy:doug
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cocospals
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

[ Edited ]
Since I can't figure out how to respond to a specific posting (help????), I am responding to Blondemom74037's post about the furniture.  I wonder if  Ginny sold off the furniture because she really couldn't care less about the material things or she is wiping away some memories. I get the feeling that Ginny is one of these people who doesn't need much, doesn't need the material things and if they are just sitting there collecting dust, then get rid of them.


Message Edited by COCOSPALS on 03-04-2008 01:00 PM
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dghobbs
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



Carmenere_lady wrote:
I thought the author is trying to make Ginny look like the odd one while Viv sounds fun loving and vivacious so that we sympathize with her. But perhaps it's just to pull us into a trap and the opposite may turn out to be true.
In regards to the furniture though, why hadn't Vivien kept in touch w/her sister. Check on her health and well being etc. She could have taken a more active role, then again maybe she tried to, remember Ginny didn't like visitors.





I like the way you think! I hadn't thought of the possibility that the author may pull a switch on us from Ginny being the "problem sister" to Vivi being the issue. :smileyhappy:doug
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LisaMM
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



Everyman wrote:
Speculation on the comments quoted below: did Vivian leave because in fact Ginny did ush her off the bell tower, and she believed that Ginny had pushed Maud down the cellar stairs, so Vivian left because she realized that Ginny was truly dangerous and feared that Ginny would try again to push her to her death?


LisaMM wrote:
CubbyVet wrote:
I also thought Maud's death occurence was sort of odd. Was it just a coincidence that Maud died while falling down the stairs while Ginny was there or did Ginny have something to do with it? And if Ginny had something to do with it, does that mean she also had something to do with Vivi's fall?>>


I had to go reread the section about Maud's death after reading your post. It doesn't say that Ginny was there. Maybe she was, but it doesn't say that, unless I missed it somewhere.

From pg. 23 "But it was Maud's death that had the biggest impact on our lives. It was pain-free, although probably not as dignified as she'd have liked. She tripped down the cellar steps. But afterwards our lives changed direction forever. That was when Vivi left our house for the last time and she hasn't been back since. "





Maybe Maud didn't want Vivien to leave, but once she was dead it no longer mattered. I don't think we can assume Vivien left because she thought Maud was pushed.
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dhaupt
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

>Maybe Maud didn't want Vivien to leave, but once she was dead it no longer mattered. I don't think we can assume Vivien left because she thought Maud was pushed.




I agree LisaMM I don't think we can assume anything yet there's a lot of book left

deb
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Thayer
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I found the first paragraph of this chapter to be very telling as to Ginny's personality. She says "I think of the house as my ship, myself as its captain, and here I'm at the helm in charge of its course and direction."  She states that she "feels in control in this captain's post," She later alludes to being at the helm of a ship with "Bulburrow Court at the helm of the village, the central control tower from which the rest can be monitored and directed."     Why all of the allusions to control? What or whom is being directed?
~~Dawn
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reddoglady
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

interesting theory that they are one and the same person --:smileysurprised:
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Jaelin
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



KxBurns wrote:

I found it so interesting that Ginny describes her various lookout posts in the beginning of this chapter. In my mind, she is going from simply a recluse to more of a voyeur. Did you get that same feeling?

 

The scene of the reunion/Vivi’s arrival is both touching and a little disconcerting. I think, more than anything, it highlights the discrepancy between the perception of things from the outside versus one’s perceptions from the inside. I think it’s fairly obvious that in surveying the house and her sister, Vivi is dismayed by what she finds. And while Ginny seems to be somewhat aware of the decay of the estate and her own disheveled appearance, she believes these outward appearances to belie the true state of things. Do you agree?

 

The contradiction between external and internal is also highlighted in Ginny’s description of the physical differences between the sisters: “My emotions weren’t played out on my face like hers… Such refinement was not well equipped to shield a disturbance rising beneath it, and every one of Vivi’s emotions would come to the surface and give itself away… but a thousand thoughts and feelings could be buried unnoticed within my broader cheeks and softer rounded nose…” (p. 27).

 

This chapter also brings up the issue of permanence and the passage of time. In Vivi’s distress over the fact that Ginny has sold off most of the family’s heirlooms, she says, “Our family might not have happened, there was no point to its existing for the last two hundred years if it’s got nothing to show for itself” (p. 33). In response, Ginny thinks “Is it really necessary to record and log your life in order to have made it worthwhile or commendable?” (p. 33-34). With whom do you agree?

 

While there are some moments of warmth between Ginny and Vivi, I think the chapter ends on an ominous note. As Ginny is reflecting on how “devoted and inseparable” she and Vivi are, the kettle begins to scream “at full steam, shrill and desperate,” which I interpret as a metaphor for the fact that the tension between the sisters is building to a boiling point.

 

What in this chapter caught your attention?

 

Karen



Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-03-2008 07:44 PM

 

In some ways I agree that she is a voyeur and in others a recluse.  She appears to me as someone who really doesn't care about the outside world though she knows that she does have to live in it. 

 

I think that Ginny is one who doesn't use the normal indicators that most people use to "read" a person or object.  She seems to have a very peculiar way of looking at things.

 

The one thing that I found interesting in this chapter is that when Vivi first arrives and Ginny greets her they end up laughing and by the end of the chapter they are having an argument.  I found this rather intriguing that Vivi wasn't even home for an hour and already they are disagreeing about something.  I know that I can get really irritated with my twin sister about things though I don't think that I have every had a disagreement that quickly.  It normally takes a little longer...haha!

What the argument is about is also interesting.  I found myself wondering with furniture that was as old as it was why she would have to sell that much of it.  I found that Viv's argument that one or two of the paintings or other furniture pieces would have sufficed to cover her living costs a good one.  This makes me wonder if Ginny doesn't really know the price of the items in the house since she is a recluse or she just doesn't care and wanted it gone to be rid of some bad memories. 

 


Jessee
That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed in profit.
~ Amos Bronson Alcott ~
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