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



jlawrence77 wrote:
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


I asked this question on the last page. Where does it say that they are in their 60's? On page 23 it says that Vivi and Ginny were 21 and 24 the last time they saw each other. If they have been apart for 50 years shouldn't they have been 71 and 74? I wasn't sure if I might have missed something.

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jlawrence77
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

[ Edited ]
I don't think we know their exact age...since Vivi has been gone for "nearly 50 years" (this could mean 45 years!) then we can guestimate that they are in the mid 60s to early 70s.
 
Jenn

Wrighty wrote:


jlawrence77 wrote:
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


I asked this question on the last page. Where does it say that they are in their 60's? On page 23 it says that Vivi and Ginny were 21 and 24 the last time they saw each other. If they have been apart for 50 years shouldn't they have been 71 and 74? I wasn't sure if I might have missed something.






Message Edited by jlawrence77 on 03-06-2008 03:37 PM
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pigwidgeon
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture


Wrighty wrote:


jlawrence77 wrote:
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


I asked this question on the last page. Where does it say that they are in their 60's? On page 23 it says that Vivi and Ginny were 21 and 24 the last time they saw each other. If they have been apart for 50 years shouldn't they have been 71 and 74? I wasn't sure if I might have missed something.






On the first page it says "an absence of nearly fifty years" (emphasis added), and the first sentence of chapter 2, page 6, states that "Maud gave birth to Vivien, on 19 October 1940." So, assuming that the book takes place in the present day Vivi would be 67 (turning 68 later this year) and Ginny would be 70 or 71 (depending on when her birthday falls). Please correct me if my math, or methodology, is wrong. :smileyhappy:
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ELee
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



pigwidgeon wrote:

Wrighty wrote:

I asked this question on the last page. Where does it say that they are in their 60's? On page 23 it says that Vivi and Ginny were 21 and 24 the last time they saw each other. If they have been apart for 50 years shouldn't they have been 71 and 74? I wasn't sure if I might have missed something.




On the first page it says "an absence of nearly fifty years" (emphasis added), and the first sentence of chapter 2, page 6, states that "Maud gave birth to Vivien, on 19 October 1940." So, assuming that the book takes place in the present day Vivi would be 67 (turning 68 later this year) and Ginny would be 70 or 71 (depending on when her birthday falls). Please correct me if my math, or methodology, is wrong. :smileyhappy:

To clarify further, Vivien was "absent" from her home for nearly fifty years - it was not the last time Ginny saw her sister.  Vivi left home to go to London nearly fifty years ago, but she did see her family after that.
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



krenea1 wrote:
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."


You know, seeing these quotes in succession begs the question of why Ginny is afraid of Maud's "all-knowing eyes?"
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HannibalCat
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture


AnnieS wrote:
 
 

  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

 

 






Excellent thought, Annie. Ginny is an old person, even if her chronological age is not quite so old. As is evident in her own words "the more people you outlive, the more your life reads like a catalog of other people's deaths." If that ain't old thinking I don't know what is.
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HannibalCat
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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?





But - if Vivi did die from that fall, it could be exactly like GMorrison suggests and "The Sister" is a figment of Ginny's imagination and she is bringing her sister back to help her deal with her advancing age and decrepitude. Hmmm, didn't think of that until I read this post. Verrryyy Interesting!
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HannibalCat
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



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.




Age issue. On page 23, Ginny says that Vivi was 21 when Maud died and she left home. Ginny was 24. So 50 years later they are 71 and 74. They are old.
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dumlao_n
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Ginny seems to be the same little girl as an older woman even when Vivien comes to visit her. She never gained confidence in herself and seems to be scared of anything outside of her world that is in her house. With this in mind, she rarely leaves her house like Vivien did. Yet, when Vivien comes home to visit Vivien expects the house to be the same as she left it many years ago. She cannot accept things have changed and the family objects are gone. If the objects were so important wouldn't she have wanted to stay closer or come home to visit more often? She cares more about the objects than seeing her sister. What was the reason she never came home to visit until now? Why did she not want to see her family?

Also, when Vivien stays upstairs and claims that she fell asleep when she didn't shows there is something she is not willing to let go of. Then magically after she walks down the stairs Ginny and Vivien have fun and enjoy one another's company like nothing was wrong at all. A well written chapter.
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dumlao_n
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I realized I put chapters 3 and four together with my post. Oops.
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mnotto
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Ginny comes across as very child-like.  It's apparent that the furniture in the house was probably worth millions of dolloars and that she was swindeled/taken advantage of by Bobby.  Is this a result of old age/senility or is this just characteristic of her personna?  Does she not understand how valuable the furnishings were or does she just not care?  She certainly does not appear to have any attachment to "family heirlooms."   The reunion between Ginny and her sister seems very awkard to me although Binny thinks it "feels natural that she (Vivien) is back as we near the end of our lives (p. 35)..."
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nfam
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I find this chapter very disconcerting. Ginny is showing that she has a very difficult time dealing with other people. She feels like they are a club to which she doesn't belong. I have a feeling this lack of empathy is going to drive much of the conflict in the story. It's as though Ginny views life through a glass. What happens is seen, but doesn't affect her.

Vivi is a very real person. She's perceptive and open, a direct contrast to her sister. The tension is starting to build. The kettle suggests that things will get very much more uncomfortable before they get better.

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

I thought it was interesting that, after being gone 40 years, Vivi walks in and expects nothing to have changed. If she was truly concerned about "the furniture," why did she stay gone for so many years after her parents were dead?
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crazyasitsounds
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I didn't think of Ginny as a voyeur. I think it's just a natural response to living alone for so long. (My grandmother, who has lived alone & retired for over twenty-five years, does the same thing & looking out windows strikes me as a harmless way to pass the time.)

I couldn't believe how little Ginny cared about the house's state of disrepair. I'm not sure it has anything to do with the internal/external contrast, though. It seems like a coping mechanism, a way not to have to deal with the past or with other people.
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Wrighty
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ages

[ Edited ]

Wrighty wrote:

I asked this question on the last page. Where does it say that they are in their 60's? On page 23 it says that Vivi and Ginny were 21 and 24 the last time they saw each other. If they have been apart for 50 years shouldn't they have been 71 and 74? I wasn't sure if I might have missed something.


pigwidgeon wrote:

On the first page it says "an absence of nearly fifty years" (emphasis added), and the first sentence of chapter 2, page 6, states that "Maud gave birth to Vivien, on 19 October 1940." So, assuming that the book takes place in the present day Vivi would be 67 (turning 68 later this year) and Ginny would be 70 or 71 (depending on when her birthday falls). Please correct me if my math, or methodology, is wrong. :smileyhappy:


ELee wrote:

To clarify further, Vivien was "absent" from her home for nearly fifty years - it was not the last time Ginny saw her sister.  Vivi left home to go to London nearly fifty years ago, but she did see her family after that.


Thanks for the help. I forgot all about Vivi's birthday and I even wrote it down! It's not a big deal about their ages but it didn't make sense. It does say on page 23 "That was when Vivi left this house for the last time and she hasn't been back since....she was twenty-one when I last saw her,...I was twenty-four." If she saw family after that, Ginny wasn't one of them. But it says on the first page that Vivi is 67 and that was the part I missed when I was looking back for ages. :smileysurprised:

 


 




Message Edited by Wrighty on 03-08-2008 03:15 PM
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erina
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Re: ages

Does Vivi really expect to come back to a house she has not lived in for nearly 50 years to look exactly the same?  I was estranged from my grandparents for many years and I admit that the first time I went back to their house I expected it to look as it did when I was a child.  We move on with our lives and expect them (Ginny in this case) to be stuck in the past as if nothing has changed. 
 
I was struck by Ginny's quote on pg. 33 "Is it really necessary to record your life in order to make it worthwhile or commendable?"  "We all know we're a mere fleck in the tremendous universal cycle of energy..."  Wow, spoken like a scientist.  Is it really validating your life by having family heirlooms and photos around? Perhaps if they were not at the end of their line she would feel differently. 
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pigwidgeon
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Re: what you leave behind


erina wrote:
I was struck by Ginny's quote on pg. 33 "Is it really necessary to record your life in order to make it worthwhile or commendable?" "We all know we're a mere fleck in the tremendous universal cycle of energy..." Wow, spoken like a scientist. Is it really validating your life by having family heirlooms and photos around? Perhaps if they were not at the end of their line she would feel differently.




erina:
I like your point! There is a difference, in my mind, about the value of something old if it has a relevance to your own life. Where Ginny and Vivi are the last in the family, where does the "stuff" go when they are gone? Ginny says a nice profit for the government (or something like that), or the trash heap, I'd guess. Why not use the things that your family has left to you in the way that brings YOU the most happiness. For some, like Vivi, that would be sharing a life with these objects, until the the end of life, and then "who cares". For others, like Ginny, selling them off and using the money for more practical endeavors (like heat), or feeling the catharsis of ridding the house of "clutter" (subjective) is the more preferable route. I think Ginny may have felt different, had she had someone to take on the house and it's contents after her demise. Thanks for bringing that up. :smileyhappy:
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womanryter
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

What stood out for me is Vivien's assessment of the house.  She seems quite snooty and was acting more like a real estate agent and antiquities dealer than a woman who simply wanted to come home.
 
But I think that's natural.  She apparently had a very well-to-do life and to see her family home in such disrepair after 50 years, she probably doesn't even want to sleep there.  She did spend a lot of time looking through the house.  Her list of items that were gone was quite extensive.  She has quite a good memory.
 
Ginny may have been getting scammed a bit on the value of what she sold, but she also doesn't have many needs.  She certainly isn't spending above her means, she seems to only need money to keep the house afloat and food on her table.  A big house filled with "stuff" doesn't comfort her, it stifles her, so selling items off has allowed her to breathe easier figuratively and literally.
 
Maybe I related too much with the character - I was the 5th generation to grow up in my family home.  My parents are in the process of selling it.  Sure I'd love to keep all the great antique furniture including the enormous maple rolltop desk that my great-great grandfather used to sit at.  I'd love to keep looking out the stained glass window upstairs.  I'd love to be able to buy the house and restore it to what it once was, but it's not a realistic concept.  It's quite something to be in the upperpart of an old house that has a lot of history and be able to watch the "modern world" outside without being seen.  The 4-year old homes across the street and the well-to-do families that can afford the half million dollars for them is in large contrast to this historic home that is still standing after 140 years - the quality just isn't in today's homes.
 
I do believe I relate to Ginny, and she may come across as a little 'off', but she's quite happy with her life, it seems, even if it is rather lonely.  She stayed in the home probably for no other reason that she was the only one left - and for Viv to come in and start judging Ginny's decisions after having been out of touch for so long, i can understand how it rankles Ginny.
 
The intense belly laughs that the sisters shared was fantastic.  I also think it was a case of nerves on both their parts.  Probably the last real connection they'll have.  I'm curious to see if the rest of the book is about their conflict and differences of opinion in regard to the house.
 
I'm also wondering if the house was left to both of them, or just to Ginny.  Was it an inheritance?  Or did Ginny purchase it?  Regardless, Viv hasn't been around at all, so she's really not in a position to criticize.  She seems upset because there's nothing for HER to sell.  Anyone can say they would have been able to handle a situation better, after the fact.
 
About the dog - I'm with Ginny again on her reaction.  I don't understand owners of little 'ankle biter' dogs.  So I think I'd react the same way if I was told he was going to die soon.  I wouldn't know whether to feign sadness or let my joy show.  :smileyhappy:
 
(I love animals, grew up with many of them, but feel that if you're going to own a dog, own one that actually is the size of one!)
 
-Lisa
Lisa Haselton

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

I'm not too sure Ginny was really lonely. I think if that were truly the case, she would have glommed onto the social worker with the pamphlets just to have someone to talk to. The Bobble hatted one.
kaye
"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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thefamilymanager
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Poor Ginny.... Poor Vivi.  On one hand Ginny isn't attached to anything except the moths and the lab stuff.  On the other hand poor Vivi as she is very attached to all the things in the house. They are such opposites..... Not a happy medium by either it seems in a way.  Also..... it seems Vivi is attached to her dog but Ginny could care less about any living creature.  Seems somewhat a running theme of the book with the dichotomy. Ginny also not attched to things but attached to the past where Vivi has moved on but attached to things from the past.
 
Lisa
 
LMD

- if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! - Dorothy - Wizard of OZ
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