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dragonfly33
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Registered: ‎02-05-2008
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

wow!  That was very well put.  I didn't even think of that scenero.  That would be something.  I am also wondering,  it there something emotionally or mentally wrong with Ginny?  Her parents treat her different but why?
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot



pigwidgeon wrote:
Our discussion seems to be lacking in the area of Belinda's teapot. So strange that it was important, and telling, enough to be the chapter title, yet we haven't had much to say at this point. What does this particular pot have to do with the storyline, and why is our attention brought to it in the chapter title?

In the beginning of the chapter, Ginny prepares the tea using a particular process. But, goes on to say "To be honest, I have no idea why the china must be warmed or whether the tea really does taste better for it, but it's those little tenets your mother teaches you from an early age, which her mother instilled in her at a similar age, that become the most difficult to let go of in old age."(pg. 37) Clearly, one of the reasons the pot itself is brought up is to give Ginny a pathway to discuss Maud's character. We learn that Maud received the pot as a thank you for her help and support in some matter, which Ginny doesn't know or doesn't remember. We get to hear about how "Maud was a near-flawless woman"(37), which many of you have already commented on, and more of Ginny's feelings about her mother's deeds and personality.

The more telling aspect, for me, is her idea of being taught things at a young age, and having them stick with you through your entire life. We all know that this is true. Sure, we can consciously make an effort to change some of the things we may no longer agree with, but it is strange how some quirks continue to endure. This particular thought of Ginny's is so amazingly telling of her mindset. She clearly admits here, that she has gone on her whole life doing the things she was taught, or groomed, to do, by her parents, though she doesn't know why exactly she must do them, or even what changes in the end result because of her actions.


Pigwidgeon, you've provided a great interpretation of Belinda's pot. Perhaps Ginny's method for making tea sheds light on her use of the escaping technique that Maud taught her as a child. It could point to her continued reliance on a method that is ultimately of little benefit to her? Or a sign that she will soon be open to trying a different way of coping?
 
Does anyone else have a different take on Belinda's pot?
hlw
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hlw
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

Not to change the focus, but I love this passage at the beginning of the chapter:
 
To be honest, I have no idea why the china must be warmed or whether the tea really does taste better for it, but it's those little tenets your mother teaches you from an early age, which her mother instilled in her at a similiar age, that become the most difficult to let go in old age
 
I find I identify with this questioning of 'learned' behaviors... why do I do the things I do? 
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot



krb2g wrote:
I hadn't realized it until I read the two messages below, but the times that Ginny directly addresses the reader unnerve me a little bit--here's a woman who has severe social anxiety, who can barely look the people she meets in the eye, narrating a personal story to a group of people she will never and can never meet. That in itself is not so remarkable (you could have a stream-of-consciousness first person that ostensibly never leaves the "narrator's" head, or a first person narrative with the conceit of being a personal journal as ways to get around a shy first person narrator telling various personal bits of their life), but when Ginny so directly addresses the reader--"as you can imagine" (38), I feel like the veil is being lifted and I'm seeing something I shouldn't behind the scenes. If Ginny is so socially awkward (and we've seen nothing to indicate that she's not genuinely shy/distressed by people/etc), then why on earth does the novel seem to indicate that Ginny has a sense that she's telling the story to someone or for someone?


To me, it reads like Ginny is addressing an imaginary audience or talking to herself...
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ELee
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Registered: ‎10-26-2006
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot - SPOILER WARNING



KxBurns wrote:
Does anyone else have a different take on Belinda's pot?

pigwidgeon wrote:

"The more telling aspect, for me, is her idea of being taught things at a young age, and having them stick with you through your entire life. We all know that this is true. Sure, we can consciously make an effort to change some of the things we may no longer agree with, but it is strange how some quirks continue to endure. This particular thought of Ginny's is so amazingly telling of her mindset. She clearly admits here, that she has gone on her whole life doing the things she was taught, or groomed, to do, by her parents, though she doesn't know why exactly she must do them, or even what changes in the end result because of her actions."

pigwidgeon,
your post was very thought provoking.  To learn something at an early age, something that we don't exactly understand the reason for that is repeated far into the end of our lives, brought me to the idea of ritual.  I think rituals can be behaviors that are so far engrained in us that they almost become instinctual.  And the mystery of why we perform rituals is usually based on preservation of faith.  My spoiler is from Chapter 5, where Ginny describes the moth. They have a "universal character: there are no individuals"; they react "in a predictable and replicable way"; "preprogrammed robots, unable to learn from experience".  In other words, a lot like faith.  Faith is universal and denies any "individual" claims.  It is predictable and replicable in that it moves in a positive way toward a uniting goal.  It is preprogrammed and "unable to learn from experience" in that our belief often supercedes the reality of things that we know to be logical or practical.  There is comfort in its repitition and familiarity.  And sometimes danger in departing from it.     
 
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Laurel
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot



KxBurns wrote:


krb2g wrote:
I hadn't realized it until I read the two messages below, but the times that Ginny directly addresses the reader unnerve me a little bit--here's a woman who has severe social anxiety, who can barely look the people she meets in the eye, narrating a personal story to a group of people she will never and can never meet. That in itself is not so remarkable (you could have a stream-of-consciousness first person that ostensibly never leaves the "narrator's" head, or a first person narrative with the conceit of being a personal journal as ways to get around a shy first person narrator telling various personal bits of their life), but when Ginny so directly addresses the reader--"as you can imagine" (38), I feel like the veil is being lifted and I'm seeing something I shouldn't behind the scenes. If Ginny is so socially awkward (and we've seen nothing to indicate that she's not genuinely shy/distressed by people/etc), then why on earth does the novel seem to indicate that Ginny has a sense that she's telling the story to someone or for someone?


To me, it reads like Ginny is addressing an imaginary audience or talking to herself...





Right. Some people--most people--will say things on paper that they would never say face to face. That's one reason it is important to read over what one writes and perhaps let it stew a while.
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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paula_02912
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

tgem wrote: "Paula R. : I look forward to your insightful posts."
 
Thank you tgem...after posting, some times, I feel like I am way off base...I thank you for validating my thoughts...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

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

Author Unknown
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lamorgan
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

I've noticed that Ginny's and Vivi's roles as sisters seem to be reversed. Ginny is the elder sister, yet she comes across as dependent on Vivi. She waits for her to give the orders, so to speak, and follows her lead without question.
Now that Vivi is back, does Ginny perhaps fear she will fall back into that pattern once again? Indeed, she has 40 years of being on her own and controlling her own life. She may be afraid that she will lose what self-identity she has found.
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crazyasitsounds
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

I can't blame Vivi for ignoring Ginny at school; any middle-school girl would have done the same thing. Now, though, I feel like I want to blame Vivi for the distance in her relationship with Ginny. Maybe it's because the novel is written from Ginny's perspective, but it seems as though Vivi isn't even trying to understand Ginny. I guess it's hard to tell what their relationship is like (& even harder for each of them to tell how much the other has changed) after having been apart for so long.

I don't think Maud is the immediate source of Ginny's social problems. Ginny's trouble fitting in may have something to do with the way she was raised, but I think she was unpopular at school even before Maud got involved.
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nfam
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

The passage Karen cited bothered my also. Ginny was obviously a poorly adjusted child and she carried that characteristic through into adulthood. I think it's particularly interesting that she sees Maud and Vivi as so much the same sort of person (almost in her mind the same person when she sees how much Vivi looks like Maud.)

Ginny is obviously a very maladjusted person. Perhaps Maud was responsible for some of that, teaching her how to go inside herself, but from the previous chapters, I don't think the maladjustment started there. I think she's jealous of the differences between herself and her sister and mother. I wonder what form this jealousy will take. It makes you wonder if she really was responsible for the accident on the tower.

Nancy
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erina
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot



GMorrison wrote:

KxBurns wrote:


One passage in this chapter stood out to me as being particularly significant. From page 39:


 


“I’ll tell you a strange old thing that I’d never have predicted. I can feel the start of mine and Vivien’s relationship re-forming again, but – and this is what is odd – it’s in exactly the same way it was half a century ago as if we’ve not matured at all, as if our childhood is flooding in and scrabbling to catch up with our old age: Here I am again, leaving the decision with her, waiting for her to judge whether our little altercation over the furniture is over and to resume our reunion. Vivien sets the rules and the boundaries, she takes the risks, and I’m there waiting for her if she needs me. I’d almost forgotten that it was my role.”


 





Interesting that you pulled this quote out, as it absolutely jumped out at me--so much so that I even remembered the page number and made a note to comment on that section. I personally wonder whether there isn't more to this. I know it's extremely premature speculation, but I have to wonder if Vivi didn't actually die when she fell off the roof, and if her return isn't being imagined by a lonely, senile Ginny. (Think something along the lines of The Others or Surrender.) My suspicions have only been deepened by Maud's "training" of Ginny to "take refuge" (I'd say withdraw) deep within herself instead of confronting and dealing with her problems.

And there you have it, folks! My pet theory 39 pages into the novel:-)

GMorrison

What a twist in plot  It makes sense so far especially with Maud telling Ginny how to go to the place in your head when you are teased.  I can't imagine any parent teaching their child this.  I can't see sitting down with my son and saying, Ok, now there is a special place you can go to when you are being teased...how odd.
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thefamilymanager
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

This chapter was particularly interesting because it sheds more light on Ginny.  In the chapter where Vivi dies, Maude assumes Ginny "did something" to her sister.  I questioned this from the beginning.  Now we see where Maude treats the girls VERY differently.  Ginny clings to past memories and ways of doing things.  Vivi seems to want to try everything that's new and different. 
 
I think Maude fully expected Vivi to "take care of Ginny" when she sent them to school.  It seems that there is something behind Ginny's behavior that we haven't discovered yet.  Her odd ways of doing things, i.e. the tea.  Her disconnect from the outside world is another odd fact. Although unfathomable, it seems Maude felt Ginny "going to a place in her head" was the only way for Ginny to cope with her own maladies (whatever those are).
 
 
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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MelissaW
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

I believe that Vivi left when she did because she was afraid that if she didn't leave then, she would never get the chance.  All of her life up to that point, she had been in some way responsible for Ginny, even when she was very young.  We know that she was supposed to look after Ginny at boarding school, even though she didn't.
 
I think that Vivi was upset about Ginny selling the furniture because it was a connection to her past.  Even though there were children to leave the furniture to, to Vivi, selling the furniture made it seem as if they and their ancestors had never existed.  I also think that she feels a bit guilty because she had to know that Ginny was not capable of handling money and now that she is seeing everything that has been sold, she is feeling guilty that she didn't do a better job of protecting her parents legacy to her and Ginny.
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Bearsstar
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

I'm so glad that I wasn't alone in the feeling that Vivi died when she fell off the roof and Ginny has gone inside herself and these are "dreams" of her and her sister.  Something has to have happened when they were children for Ginny to have retreated so far away from the outside world
Jeanne G aka Bearsstar
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bentley
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

I found the sentence: "To be honest, I have no idea why the china must be warmed or whether the tea really does taste better for it, but it's those little tenets your mother teaches you from an early age, which her mother instilled in her at a similar age, that becomes the most difficult to let go of in old age." Ginny seems to be talking of the family rituals; the things you learn which somehow must be passed on and never detoured from. Folks even forget why.

I think Vivian distanced herself from Ginny and didn't care enough about helping her. She was very much into herself as she still seems to be. I wonder why Maud waited to send them to school; didn't she realize that Ginny needed to form her friendships young like Vivian. To me for Maud it was all about Vivian. She seemed to intrude herself into Ginny's life and I think exacerbated her daughter's differences socially making her feel isolated and content in that isolation.

Ginny was the older but seemed to be the disappointment for Maud; while for her mother Vivian was the kindred spirit; the one she laughed with. The same bonding did not appear to have taken place with Ginny and her mother. Maybe Maud was preparing Ginny to be the one to stay behind and take care of the house and her. She was the moth while Vivian was the beautiful butterfly full of life.
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Readingrat
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

My only thought in this chapter was based on my idea that Maud is not Ginny's mother. So now I'm wondering if Belinda was Ginny's mother instead of Maud.
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Rosei
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

"[...] Vivien sets the rules and the boundaries, she takes the risks, and I’m there waiting for her if she needs me. I’d almost forgotten that it was my role.” (p.39)
 
That called my attention so much. There´s really something very different in the way Ginny takes her own role in that family. She seems a Vivi's "keeper" and a kind of protector more than her sister. Here we discover more about the sisters' relationship. I love this chapter!
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Rosei
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot



bentley wrote:
Ginny was the older but seemed to be the disappointment for Maud; while for her mother Vivian was the kindred spirit; the one she laughed with. The same bonding did not appear to have taken place with Ginny and her mother. Maybe Maud was preparing Ginny to be the one to stay behind and take care of the house and her. She was the moth while Vivian was the beautiful butterfly full of life.

You make a great insight in your comment, bentley. I like the final sentence and agree with you. That explains a little bit the chapter about moths life cicle. Moths are quite often hidden and butterflies have a free life, flying around. I think Ginny went inside herself more after Vivi's accident and, well, she thought that it was the thing to be done, since Maud gives total independence to Vivi.
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ezraSid
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Registered: ‎12-16-2007
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Re: Chapter 4: Belinda's Pot

It does seem a strange relationship.  I was surprised that Ginny is so bowled over by her sister.  I wonder why in all her life she never came out of the shell she hides in.  Worse now that she is so reclusive, painfully so.  Her reaction to looking the driver in the eye is quite telling.  So sad that she feels so intimidated and so fearful.  She can't muster the courage to even call up to her sister that the tea is ready.  This story is just starting and yet I feel pulled into it, so many questions in my head. 
~Grace~
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