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Jo6353
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Reading the descriptions of the furniture that was sold off was making me nauseous. I would be upset to come home and find them gone. Also, if Ginny was such a famous lepidopterist then why did she have to sell off the furniture to live? Jo
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LisaMM
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



Jo6353 wrote:
Reading the descriptions of the furniture that was sold off was making me nauseous. I would be upset to come home and find them gone. Also, if Ginny was such a famous lepidopterist then why did she have to sell off the furniture to live? Jo




You can be famous without being rich.
www.lisamm.wordpress.com
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momgee
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I thought that the teakettle was definitely a forboding  of something ominous, something Ginny will have to take off the boil so to speak  to make it stop. That sentence gave me chills.
Even when someone visits for more than a few days, everything starts out okay and then you feel like your routine is disturbed . You start to feel imposed upon and are anxious for them to leave. To someone like Ginny who is so obsessed with The Order of Things - having Vivi there will create a hardship to her mental well being. We will have to wait and see how she deals with it.
kaye

KxBurns wrote:

 

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


"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
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AmyEJ
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



KxBurns wrote:
I know the housekeeper Vera has been discussed in relation to why the family might have kept her around after letting go of most of the household staff. But I'm curious to hear what you think of the dramatic and grotesque metamorphosis that this character undergoes?

Vera's transformation is described vividly in Chapter 2:  "She had wiry gray hair, and she'd been alive so long that her body was slowly shrinking, except for her nose that grew instead and became slightly redder and more bulbous as time went by. Vivi said that Vera's nose was sucking the life out of the rest of her body for its own independent growth." (p. 11)

Of Vera's death, which Ginny recalls in Chapter 3, Maud tells her daughters, "…really she just slowly blew up and eventually burst" (p. 23).

How does this reflect the themes of the book so far? Specifically, does anything in the girls' (or Maud's) reaction to Vera and her death offer insight into their personalities?




Interesting questions.  I guess I hadn't really thought about the first question, that of her metamorphosis.  I was struck by the second point though:  Ginny's reaction to Vera's death.  Part of what I originally found interesting about Ginny's description of her mother's death--which was devoid of emotion or detail--was that  Ginny actually showed a bit of emotion about Vera, describing her as "[p]oor Vera" and adding that she had nightmares imagining what Vera's death "looked" like.  The fact that she (or Vivi) was interested in what Vera's death "looked like" is interesting, too.  It seems to fit Ginny's almost scientific approach to life, and I guess in this case, death. 
 
Maud's description likely does offer insight into her personality, I just haven't figured that out yet!  It's definitely a piece of the puzzle but I'm not sure where to stick it.  
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katknit
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



Everyman wrote:
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.




You know, I don't find it strange, really. This woman lives as a virtual recluse, and she never knew why Vivi left.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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katknit
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



blkeyesuzi wrote:


Everyman wrote:
dhaupt quoted: "The furniture has gone because I wanted it to, and I needed the money. It was my choice and that is that."

But was it really her choice? I come back to the question I asked earlier: were the house and contents left to her alone, and if so why, or were they left to both daughters which would mean Ginny had no right to sell the furniture off without Vivian's consent?




Come on...exactly how long does a person have to wait before it is decided that they don't care about the property? Isn't there a Statute of Limitations? I'd say that if someone has been away for half a century, they've given up their say in what happens to property they've abandoned. So far, it appears to me that Vivien has done absolutely nothing to keep up with her sister or make any attempt to help with upkeep on the property over 50 years.

If I lived in a home for 50 years and someone came strolling back after 50 years trying to call the shots, I'd be more than a little upset.





Me too!
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
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m3girl
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Comments on Ch 3:
 
Mention of Maud's death - the fall down the cellar stairs and how that changed their lives is quite a hook...and makes me wonder right from the start - did she fall down the stairs or was she pushed?
 
I also wonder what Ginny would have become if she would have followed Vi to the city....but then someone had to stay home with Clive and Maud and help with the moth projects, right?
 
The state of the house should not be much of a surprise to Vi - after all, how was Ginny to pay for the upkeep of a 59,000 square foot house that's >100 years old -- without a tremendous trust fund?  I don't blame Ginny for selling of the assets ... and closing up the house if that was all she could do....Vi left and seems to have never looked back so how could she justify her reaction?  Does she really have any say in the state of the home?
 
I too want to know why Vi came home?  What does she want?  What is she looking for?  Will they return to being friends?  Will Vi stay?  Lots of questions....makes me read on to the next chapter....
 
Susan
CAG
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CAG
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I see her as more of a recluse whose only connection to the world outside is by her lookout points, mainly to make sure no one is coming to disturb her. I do agree that Ginny believes the outward appearances to belie the true state of things. I find Ginny to be a very interesting character. 
CAG
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I agree that a house is filled with memories but she didn't sell those.

But if I'm at all typical, many -- perhaps most -- memories of childhood are tied up with things, eve more so than with people.
_______________
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Besides the fact that Ginny says she is getting rid of the clutter of old things, she is also using the proceeds to live on. She couldn't figure out how to work a bank account, so she went to the barter system.

This is what she says, yes. But is it credible that a woman who was a renowned scientist, write papers, got grants, and did all the things she claimed to have done, couldn't figure out how to open a bank account or write checks?
_______________
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



fordmg wrote:
Yes Everyman, I don't feel old at 60. My friends are all still working and active. Poppy doesn't seem to have a good handle on generations.

Which is not unusual for one of her age. I don't know how old she actually is, but she's just had a baby, so she is certainly at least a generation younger than we are. To someone in the 20s and 30s, particularly if their parents are in their 50s or so, 67 and 70 probably do seem pretty ancient. But as we know, we're still young at heart, though slightly older in other places.
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krb2g
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



LisaMM wrote:

You can be famous without being rich.




Especially if you're an academic. I am more curious about her isolation in relation to her fame as a lepidopterist--sure we've all heard of recluse scholars who sit at home and think of brilliant theories, but in the sciences especially, wouldn't she have needed help--and if that's the case, mightn't she have a past student or two that she had grown friendly to, who might stop in and make sure she was still alive and healthy and all that?
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paula_02912
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

LyndaSue wrote: " I've been thinking about this since we learned the title of the book and my very long reach is that there is another sister.  The sister we haven't heard about yet. Any thoughts about that possibility?"
 
LyndaSue, if this is the case, then it puts a whole new spin on not only the title but also the plot and the relationship between Vivi and Ginny...interesting to see if this possibility becomes a reality...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

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

[ Edited ]
I'm holding out hope that the sisters' decrepitude (esp. Ginny's) is intentional rather than from authorial ignorance. Hopefully an editor or writer's group would have addressed it otherwise?

Everyman wrote:


fordmg wrote:
Yes Everyman, I don't feel old at 60. My friends are all still working and active. Poppy doesn't seem to have a good handle on generations.
Which is not unusual for one of her age. I don't know how old she actually is, but she's just had a baby, so she is certainly at least a generation younger than we are. To someone in the 20s and 30s, particularly if their parents are in their 50s or so, 67 and 70 probably do seem pretty ancient. But as we know, we're still young at heart, though slightly older in other places.



Message Edited by detailmuse on 03-05-2008 10:17 PM
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krenea1
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

In this chapter I see a pattern of accidents. I wonder if there is something to this.
 
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. "
 
Pg. 26 - "I pull back into the shadows before she spots me, but as I do, it strikes me that I have seen a ghost. Maud."
 
"I feel like a little girl again. I do not dare look out the window now for fear that I will meet Maud's all-knowing eyes."
 
Pg. 32 - "(To tell you the truth, Bobby had said he didn't want it, but now I'm glad. Jake was Vivi's pig when she was about six and she was so upset when he died (of unnatural causes) that Clive had his head mounted for her so she could see that he was smiling happily when he died.)
 
Does anyone else agree with this? It's kind of creepy along with her distant attitude towards what we would consider normal things in life and how she copes
Karen Renea

Curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back
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luvstoshop
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I found this chapter an interesting illustration of the family dynamic.  How easily, even after all this time, they sort of fell into the parts they played in the family.  Vivien immediately overshadows her sister, just as we've been led to believe happened while they were young.  She comes in after all this time criticizes and making assumptions, of course thinking that she is always right.
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jlawrence77
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I thought it was interesting that she had no problem getting rid of all the priceless furniture, but she decided to keep all the clocks!  This once again shows how important time is to Ginny.
 
Jenn
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jlawrence77
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Vivico 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"
 
On page 24, Ginny states that she has rheumatoid arthritis, which is a disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints and the muscles around the joints.  A friend of mine, who is in her 40s, has this disease.  She lives in constant pain. So the description of at least Ginny's pain and physical condition is correct.
 
Jenn
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jlawrence77
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



COCOSPALS wrote:
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

Ginny  states that Vivi "thinks there's a legacy to continue, poor woman, but it's all over now.  Vivien and I are the end of the line, there is no future generation.  It [furniture] would have been split up and sold off after our deaths, free money for the government, if it hadn't been sold already." (pg. 33).  Therefore, think she is purely selling the furniture for the money, money that she can use/enjoy while she is living.
 
Jenn
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dragonfly33
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

oh! I didn't think of Vivi looking for something.  I remember about her being so mad,  All I thougt was where were you Vivi to say don't give this away I want it.  I am very anxious to see why she left. 
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