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dordavis33
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivian, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

In reference to the furniture.

Ginny appears to have no problem with selling the selling family heirlooms, and I'm not sure if she would have cared one way or the other if she was being ripped off or not. I think her parting with these items piece by piece may have also been her way of letting go of not just the past but a past she has never really been able to come to terms with. Ginny and her sister experienced two very different childhoods in the sense that Vivi wanted to hold onto the things that made their family who they were; but Ginny, on the other hand, seemed almost relieved to be letting go of these things. She only wanted to the basic necessities to live. She even closed off parts of the house, in which she never visited again. Ginny was, more or less, a prisoner (or maybe victim) of her past and letting go brought her some type of control. Control which would possibly ebb and flow once her sister returned...
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detailmuse
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I so agree! The sisters seem much older than their stated ages of 67 and 70; the setting feels like the 1800s. Yet the story is narrated -- in present tense -- in 2007. (Vivi was born in 1940 and she's come home at age 67.) This time-and-age disconnect is the hardest part of the story so far for me to "suspend my disbelief" about.

vivico1 wrote:

AnnieS wrote:
Vivico1 wrote: This is something that is bugging me. I mean, heck they are both just in their 60s, but yeah Poppy writes them like they are near 80, can barely get around physically and all gnarled up with arthritis. Not everyone in their 60s is falling apart, geesh. I keep trying to reconcile how they are described to their ages, but also as mentioned to the time period of the 1960s. There is a lot of distortion here and it may not all be the character's view.

 
I still think its a distorted view of them physically in their 60s, in the 1960s or so. Or people age faster in England. And its not just how Ginny is seeing them, their actual physical descriptions are old. I just keep seeing 70-80 year olds, not women in their 60s.


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pigwidgeon
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Re: Chapter 3: what is life all about?


KxBurns wrote:
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?



I have to say that I agree with Ginny on this principal. I don't think that your life has to be recorded, or particularly noteworthy to be "worthwhile or commendable". Life is not about things, or even achievements. Life is about relationships. Your relationship to yourself, your family and friends, and even strangers. When nothing else is left, the ties and stories you have written within the mind of another are what lives on. When all is said and done, which is sadder "oh poo, I was never famous!" or "I wish I spent more time talking with those I love."?

This is what the book is about. The relationship between two sisters, how it became what it is, and where it is going from here. The sad part is, Ginny and Vivi have had relatively little time to form an adult relationship. What will they do with the time they have left?

On another note, which may sound contradictory, personal affects and heirlooms have their own historical quality. Old objects, whether personally significant to you or not, have a story within, almost a life of their own. I have an extreme fondness for old objects, for this reason. So, I don't think it is necessary to have "things" to make your life worthwhile, but sometimes sharing your life with objects with "tales-to-tell" makes it a little more interesting.
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mwinasu
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I think Vivi left because  she was afraid that she was going to have to take care of Ginny.   I also wonder if there was something unusual about Ginny's physical appearence.  The story about her getting expelled from school makes me think that there is something about her that is obvious to anyone who looks at her.  I hate trying to analyze a story I haven't read yet.
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detailmuse
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I wonder about disfigurement too, especially from the passages about how Ginny's lower lip hung out. There were a couple posts in the Ch.1 thread about a photo where Ginny was wrapped up as in a cocoon. I don't remember reading that (could someone name the page?) but I wondered if it was to conceal Ginny's face for the photo?

mwinasu wrote:
I also wonder if there was something unusual about Ginny's physical appearence.  The story about her getting expelled from school makes me think that there is something about her that is obvious to anyone who looks at her.



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



vivico1 wrote:

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???


Well, it did take some time but I did manage to sell that sofa I had. My life is complete!




Oh no!! ...and how many times do you check your watch? hmmmmm ;-)
Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
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pigwidgeon
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Re: Chapter 3: dog lovers

[ Edited ]

CubbyVet wrote:
On page 29, I found it interesting that Ginny finds dog owners "loud, meddlesome people, who invariably love their dogs in an unhygienic sort of way." I also think that Ginny doesn't want to be loved unconditionally, like dog owners are loved by their pets.


I don't know if I can agree with Ginny's assessment of dog owners, and I don't know if she can either. Maybe Ginny doesn't include herself in this statement (as she is a "former" dog owner now). If you recall in chapter 2 an Great Dane named Basil is mentioned a few times. On one occasion, when Ginny is in the library just before Dr. Moyse arrives, Basil "rested his chin on my lap, his jowls cold and wet from lapping at his water bowl. From this position his eyes, atop his head like an alligator's, gazed at me, blinking and steady, imploring me, I imagined, just to be happy. I stroked his head and his tail started to bash the window-seat in appreciation, steady like a metronome."(18) This hardly sounds like someone who doesn't want the love of their pet. And, if you have a slobbery dog or maybe just passed one on the street, the kind of drool that comes from a dogs mouth after a nice drink of water is hardly what most "non-dog-people" would call hygienic. (just as a note: I have very large, very drooly dogs, so I am definitely biased in favor of dogs :smileyhappy: )

Message Edited by pigwidgeon on 03-04-2008 06:48 PM
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dordavis33
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I'm really beginning to wonder just how correct Ginny's perception of her and her sister's relationship was as children. If they were so inseparable, why did Vivi leave for nearly fifty years without so much as a visit every now and then. How close were they really? In Ginny's mind they were inseparable, but Vivi's long absence clearly states otherwise.
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ELee
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



detailmuse wrote:
I wonder about disfigurement too, especially from the passages about how Ginny's lower lip hung out. There were a couple posts in the Ch.1 thread about a photo where Ginny was wrapped up as in a cocoon. I don't remember reading that (could someone name the page?) but I wondered if it was to conceal Ginny's face for the photo?

mwinasu wrote:
I also wonder if there was something unusual about Ginny's physical appearence.  The story about her getting expelled from school makes me think that there is something about her that is obvious to anyone who looks at her.


 
Ginny's description of herself as having "broader cheeks and softer, rounded nose" and lips that were "too wide and full" with "the bottom one too heavy, curving down a little to reveal a glimpse of the inside" made me think that she was "different looking" enough to cause people to notice and children to tease her when she was young.  There are often physical characteristics that accompany hereditary problems, so I'm thinking this may be relevant to having her parents initially suspect something might be wrong and her being ostracized at the school.
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blkeyesuzi
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I thought it was interesting to note that Viv has a lap dog. It seemed to me almost as if the dog might replace the child she could never have. Simon had virtually become an extension of herself. By carrying him around constantly, Viv had made Simon accustomed to being jostled and handled continuously. Sadly, he was coming to the end of his life.

Ginny's reaction to Simon was very interesting. Though she doesn't care for dogs, she made a face as someone would to a baby. It was as if she knew Simon's significance to Viv. Viv's reaction to that was very telling...was she hurt? reminded she didn't have a child? or did she just think it was ridiculous for Ginny to try so hard? I couldn't tell.
Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
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pigwidgeon
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture


gosox wrote:
I found Ginny's comment that "the more people you outlive, the more your life read[s] like a catalog of other people's deaths" (23) particularly poignant. Having talked to several people about the aging process, her comment certainly rings true. It is also interesting that she uses the word "catalog" when you consider it is a word that also relates to Vivi's actions with cataloging the furniture missing. She also mentions that she last saw Vivi when she was 24 and Vivi was 21, while in the beginning of the book she says that Vivi was now 67 and had been absent from the house for 50 years. I am curious to know more about those 4 years.

gosox:

I see the "cataloging" also as a descriptor of Ginny's acts of cataloging the moths, and moth related research. Cataloging is a very detailed, specific, and scientific word to me.

Also, I wouldn't worry too much about the "missing years". The sentence you're thinking of states that "She's finally coming home, at sixty-seven years old, after an absence of nearly fifty years." (p. 3, emphasis added)

swamplover wrote:
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."

swamplover:

I wonder about this also. Ginny speaks, in the second chapter, about Vivi's arguments with Maude, and her mood swings. It is certainly worth keeping an eye on....
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ELee
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

In the Chapter 1 discussion thread, there were some comments about Ginny's statement that hers was a "childhood in perfect balance".  I think in this chapter we see that perhaps that feeling could be attributed to her relationship with her sister more than anyone else.  Recalling that Vivien used to make her mother laugh, Ginny thinks
 
"I'm aware for the first time that part of me went missing a long time ago, that without her [Vivien] I'd become a different person and I've just had a taste of who I used to be or even what I might become, had she been there."
 
I think she felt that Vivien completed her. 
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Reading page 26, I am wondering what kind of person, when their sister comes home after nearly fifty years away, watches her car arrives, watches he walk up to the front of the house, and still hides behind her window, waits to go down to the front door, then waits inside the door rubbing her watch band while the sister waits outside, and only then finally opens the door.

And when she sees Vivian standing back a few paces from the door, Ginny's instinctive response isn't that she's looking to see whether anybody is looking out a window, or stepping back to look at the house, but is stepping back so that Ginny can get a fuller view of her.

Weird.
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



KxBurns wrote:


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?



Sure it would. The two sisters of multiple personality disorder. Two people living in one body.
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blkeyesuzi
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



Laurabairn wrote:
I had the same reaction! Funny how Ginny didn't save a thing of Maud's, but she saved all of Clive's moth and collecting things. She says so to Vivi as if this was consolation, but it seems to be all she values from their childhood. Are her memories so awful she just want to get rid of everything or she has so little attachment to anything that was Maud's that she doesn't give it a thought?
Poppy Adams is doing a good job of making us curious and asking questions about these too. I'm hoping the
things that seem out of character for the times(child of the 60's) or her perceptions of the women as elderly(though they are only in their 60's) are plot elements that foreshadow things to be told. So I hold high hopes that the next few chapters will reveal the secrets that have made Ginny either a very odd women (and why) or a person with an inaccuarate sense of reality and the story is far different that we have been lead to believe. Either way it should be an interesting tale!





Yes, she saved the teapot. It had belonged to Maud.
Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
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vivico1
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture


blkeyesuzi wrote:


vivico1 wrote:

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???


Well, it did take some time but I did manage to sell that sofa I had. My life is complete!




Oh no!! ...and how many times do you check your watch? hmmmmm ;-)


Depends, which watch? LOL :smileywink: No, I only have one, but i wear it ALL the time.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



Thayer wrote:
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?



Nice comment. Indeed, who are "the rest"?

But also, I recall that in their youth, Vivian was the leader, the in control one, and Ginny the follower. At least in the house, Ginny feels herself in control.

Are we setting up for a conflict between the currently-feeling-in-control Ginny and the traditionally-in-control Vivian? Who will wind up being the dominant figure in the new household??
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blkeyesuzi
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

There are lots of speculations of Ginny pushing Maud down the stairs though it is nowhere in the chapter that Ginny was anywhere nearby. Interestingly, Vivien is the one who argued constantly with her mother...perhaps she threw her down the stairs????? MWAAAAAHHHHHAAAAAAAA

Vivien DID leave immediately after the accident......

(I haven't read past chapter 5, so this is purely speculation and it means nothing)
Just playing devil's advocate here.
Suzi

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. " --John Burroughs
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vivico1
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture


blkeyesuzi wrote:
There are lots of speculations of Ginny pushing Maud down the stairs though it is nowhere in the chapter that Ginny was anywhere nearby. Interestingly, Vivien is the one who argued constantly with her mother...perhaps she threw her down the stairs????? MWAAAAAHHHHHAAAAAAAA

Vivien DID leave immediately after the accident......

(I haven't read past chapter 5, so this is purely speculation and it means nothing)
Just playing devil's advocate here.


Kind of a "Hey Maud? Remember when I fell out of the bell tower and you were more worried about Ginny? You never asked me how it felt. Here ya go, it felt kinda like this!!" kinda of thing?? LOL :smileywink:
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 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



blkeyesuzi wrote:


Laurabairn wrote:
I had the same reaction! Funny how Ginny didn't save a thing of Maud's, but she saved all of Clive's moth and collecting things. She says so to Vivi as if this was consolation, but it seems to be all she values from their childhood. Are her memories so awful she just want to get rid of everything or she has so little attachment to anything that was Maud's that she doesn't give it a thought?
Poppy Adams is doing a good job of making us curious and asking questions about these too. I'm hoping the
things that seem out of character for the times(child of the 60's) or her perceptions of the women as elderly(though they are only in their 60's) are plot elements that foreshadow things to be told. So I hold high hopes that the next few chapters will reveal the secrets that have made Ginny either a very odd women (and why) or a person with an inaccuarate sense of reality and the story is far different that we have been lead to believe. Either way it should be an interesting tale!





Yes, she saved the teapot. It had belonged to Maud.


This goes into Chapter 4, but it was not really Maud's. It was Belinda's.
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