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

[ Edited ]
On page 25, Ms. Adams writes, "Perhaps it's true that time is slowed by a quicker heartbeat." I just liked that quote, I think we've all had that feeling when we are nervous, excited, and waiting for something.

Further down on the same page, Ginny thinks about Vivi as she watches her from the window "It is easy to imagine what she can see, but what memories does every window of each room stir in her? What emotions do the dark gray haunting stones bring, or the enormous quoins at the base of the house, each made from a solid piece of granite, the almighty foundation stones of our lives, holding up for generations the framework of our ancestry?" Hey Ginny, that's a good question! Isn't it strange that Ginny describes the two sisters as inseparable, and doing everything together (not to mention sharing secrets), and Ginny can't imagine what her younger sister may be remembering? Curious!....

When Ginny FINALLY answers the door, she and Vivi have a moment reminiscent of their childhood. Ginny thinks "When we were young I'd instinctively wait, even a split second, to judge her mood. She'd make the first comment, suggest the first move, and I'm irritated to find myself once again waiting to divine her reaction, as if the intervening years have just slipped away." (p. 28) And Ginny does follow her sister's lead by laughing. Would she have started laughing had Vivi not? I don't think so. She's also irritated this time, not quite so passively following along with Vivi's moods. This is truly a different Ginny than the one from memories. Surely the sisters' relationship will be quite different?
This reminds me of a previous discussion of Vivi's temper and mood swings. We know that Ginny was the "follower" in their relationship, but why did she have to "judge her mood"? That sounds far more serious than just going along with Vivi's idea of fun. Could Vivi have some sort of emotional problem? (it's not hard to believe in a environment like Clive and Maude fostered)

Ginny also suggests that "Perhaps she's (Vivi) slightly doo-lally - our own father went demented much younger than this. I try to reassure her, as I used to when we were little. I always enjoyed comforting her." (p.33) I find it interesting that she was the one comforting Vivi and that there are definitely mental, emotional, or cognitive disorders present in their immediate family. I hope we will learn more about what happened to Clive. Maybe it had to do with Maude's death?

Message Edited by pigwidgeon on 03-04-2008 07:53 PM
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blkeyesuzi
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



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.
Suzi

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



sbrinkley wrote:
i don't think ginny really sold the furniture for money at this time. from what am getting from the book it seems like she didn't want any part of the furniture that it was more of a disturbence then anything, it belong to her family and it seems like vivi had more of a connection to the mother and father and the furniture ment more to her.



But Jenny had to live and its been said there was very little money.
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture



dghobbs wrote:
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


yes, Doug. I think you are on the right track by the view we have had so far.
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SweetReaderMA
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I agree that she seems to be more of a voyeur. I think she is on the inside looking outside and doesn't really have any desire to be a part of that outside world. She has Michael as her link to the outside and she doesn't even go to the doctor's office when she isn't feeling well but instead relies on the flyers that someone drops off in her mail to diagnose her illnesses. The fact that she seems to avoid going to the doctor's kind of reinforces my suspicion about their being something that may have happened between her and Dr. Mosey.

The other thing that stood out in this chapter for me was how unemotional Ginny seems. When Vivien finally arrives the passage says "Ginny...," she says warmly. "Vivi...," I reply, finding myself mimicking her tone. Ginny had me believing that she cared about her sister when they were younger and that she was looking forward to Vivien's visit to the house even though she was nervous about it too. I don't understand why she had to mimick the warmth.
These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice... and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart. ~Gilbert Highet
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FrankieD
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

It's all just "stuff" and a lot of people have too much of it anyway. After being away for so long, and apparantly not having any involvement in the affairs of the household over her years away...why should Vivi have any say in where the stuff was? It certainly was Ginny's right to do what was best for her own survival as well as the survival of the estate.
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 3: dog lovers

Really nice find and connection, pigwidgeon.

pigwidgeon wrote:

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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paula_02912
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Karen, I found this chapter to be very interesting...we get to delve more deeply into the psyche of Ginny's character and notice the contrast between her and Vivi...I got the sense the Vivi was "wealthy" since she arrived in a chauffered vehicle and to contrast that with the state of the home she grew up in makes it that much more important to realize the differences between these two sisters...Ginny's description of Vivi is filled with colour, lightness and in some senses happiness versus her own description, which in some ways reflect the description of the house as described through Vivi's eyes...I also noted how much Ginny is surprised that Vivi looked so much like Maude, which I sort of expected because up until this point she was described as a miniature version of her thus far...I was a little taken aback by the cold greeting she gave to Vivi when she finally opened the door...it was as if she was greeting a stranger, well I guess after such a long separation Vivi was a stranger...you could sense that Ginny reverted back to her own behavior when they were children, that of an unemotional child; lifeless, while Vivi is still full of life...which she indicates in her suddenly breaking down into giggles, just like she did when they were younger...
 
The most important passage to me, however, is on page 29 where Ginny says, "I'm aware for the first time that part of me went missing a long time ago, that without [Vivi] I'd become a different person and I 've just had a taste of who I used to be or even what I might have become had she been there."
 
This passage is a very poignant one in the sense that it seems that when Vivi left, Ginny "died". Vivi was her "life" and in coming back she has brought Ginny back to life...reminiscent of the passage at the end of chapter two talking about Vivi losing the ability to give life as a result of her fall from the bell tower...
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Paula R.

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

Me too. I want to know if she did marry, have children, have a career.

LizzieAnn wrote:
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???





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

I forgot to add this...I also thought it was interesting how Ginny is speculating that Vivi might have some psychological problems, which seems to run in the family (p.33)...this speculation puts a different spin on the type of character Vivi was at the opening of the novel...made me wonder why Ginny would think that...does this view tie into the fact that Vivi was always an emotional child and that Ginny had to "take care of/watch her" whenever she went anywhere?
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

pigwidgeon wrote: Could Vivi have some sort of emotional problem? (it's not hard to believe in a environment like Clive and Maude fostered). .. Ginny also suggests that "Perhaps she's (Vivi) slightly doo-lally - our own father went demented much younger than this.

How did I miss that comment? Nice find. I assume we'll eventually find out what happened to Clive. But it makes one wonder how that might connect up with two other things: one, Maud's comment about being a normal family, and two, whether whatever condition Ginny has was partly hereditary.
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivian, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

dordavis33 wrote: "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... "
 
 
I like your reading...In a previous discussion, I think it was chapter 2, someone mentioned that the house represented Ginny...I agree with statement and because of this idea, I feel that selling off the furniture means more than just trying to let go of the past...continuing with the argument that the house is Ginny, the selling of the furniture would take on a different meaning...we know that she does not like herself and she describes herself in very much the same way she describes the house she grew up in...getting rid of the furniture is in essence getting rid of parts of herself that she is not happy with...I guess getting rid of the parts of herself that she can't come to terms with...at first glance, when Vivi looks at the house, we see a solid structure and recognize the grandeur it once had, but when we get inside, she notices how empty it is on the inside...could this emptiness be a reflection of how Ginny feels on the inside...now that Vivi is there, the house will now become "full" again...she did buy furniture, at least for her room...will she continue to fill the house with a new legacy...in turn filling Ginny up with life...does this make sense to anyone?
 
Could the closing off of part of the house be symbolic of aspects of Ginny that she does not reflect on at all? She doesn't even look at herself in the mirror...is that one way of her closing off part of herself, just like the house?
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Paula R.

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

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paula_02912
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

GMorrison wrote: "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 very interesting theory...Ginny=Vivi, which kinds of fits nicely with my theory that Vivi is Ginny's life...if as we keep reading we find that Vivi is really a fictitious character, representative of the more adventurous side of Ginny, then it would put a totally different spin on the tone of the novel as well as reliability of the narrator...very interesting indeed...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

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

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

Ginny seems to have gleaned most of her information about the "outside world" from leaflets: "it keeps me in touch with at least some of what's going on in the world"...
Any thoughts on that?
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paula_02912
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Karen wrote: "This is a fascinating theory, but then the book would not really be about sisters at all, would it?"
 
Karen, that's a good question, but the book is called The Sister, implying that it is about one person...if Ginny does have a psychological problem...at one point I thought she was a little schizophrenic...then it would make sense that she believes that Vivi does exist...could be she has multiple personality disorder...one never knows until we get to the end right? It would interesting to see as we keep going...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

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

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

Everyman wrote: "
Sure it would. The two sisters of multiple personality disorder. Two people living in one body."
 
Everyman, I should have kept reading the posts before commenting...I suggested practically the same thing you did...
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Paula R.

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

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


paula_02912 wrote:
Everyman, I should have kept reading the posts before commenting...I suggested practically the same thing you did...

You know what they say: great minds run in the same gutter. :smileyhappy:
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

I find it interesting that on page 24 Ginny feels she is the stronger of the two sisters.  "She's coming back because she needs me now.  After all, I'm her older sister."
 
Does Ginny feel she will "be in charge" of how the new relationship unfolds.
 
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Lildove3
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

Actually there was very little mention of the dog..the main vein  in this chapter was the selling of
the family furniture...which highly upseted Vivi. As for determining Ginny's personality...I think she
became esentric at a very young age, along with possibility of autism. Ginny was an intervert even as
a child.
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dewgirl
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Re: Chapter 3: Vivien, a Small Dog, and the Missing Furniture

ELee wrote: Ginny seems to have gleaned most of her information about the "outside world" from leaflets: "it keeps me in touch with at least some of what's going on in the world". Any thoughts on that?


I think that Ginny is a recluse in her home and does not want to go to the "outside world." Perhaps she has been inside so long that she doesn't know how to react with others. That could be a social disorder. On p. 23, Ginny says "I don't venture out much anymore." But she does like to be a voyeur, as Karen mentioned, and watch what is going on in the outside world from her "strategic lookouts." She wants to know what is going on but only from the protection of her house.
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