Reply
Frequent Contributor
pigwidgeon
Posts: 293
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: The Monster, the Thief and Pupal Soup


JaneM wrote:
I have been tantalized by the suggestion that Ginny and Vivi might be a split personality. Consider that their true names are Virginia and Vivian, which start with the same two letters. Also, if Ginny has never married and so far shows no interest in any social life, she might be the "virgin" side, while Vivian, who is out in the world might be the "vivacious" side, (from the Latin vivere - to live).



Like you, I have become more and more interested in this suggestion as time goes on. A very interesting point you make JaneM! I also can't help but think the whole "package deal" scenario of the two getting kicked out of school supports the split personality theory. Maybe "pilfering bananas" was an excuse expel her from school. It's hard to tell, because it's all seen through the eyes of Ginny. If you re-read the section about the expulsion, keeping the split personality theory in mind, the use of "we" and "us" seems so implied. The things the adults say to Ginny, have the quality of being something an adult might say to a child, whom they know has some sort of difficulty, without being insulting.

I don't know that what I just wrote makes sense (the way I intended it anyway), without quoting practically a whole page left and right. Maybe if we had a separate thread for theories, I wouldn't feel as bad completely dissecting one bit, and quoting to support. I'm still not completely sold on this theory, but until we know whether it is relevant or not, it is fun to speculate and make a case, since it could fit. I just don't want to take up so much space and put all sorts of ideas out there if it's just going to clutter the board, and distract from analytical discussion.
Frequent Contributor
pigwidgeon
Posts: 293
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: The Monster, the Thief and Pupal Soup


AnnieS wrote: I believe the author goes into such detail with this because Ginny has a handicap. After her birth Clive buried himself into research to understand it. He is fascinated to know why things work and how they go wrong. He has affection for Ginny (kisses her forehead after Vivi falls), he teaches her about moths. Ginny is treated with politeness and excessive accolades to make her feel special. I believe she is told not only to convince her, but the person who is saying it need to be convinced as well and speaking it out loud will make it so. She is discarded by the school once Vivi is expelled - the "package deal" Maude is outraged because one of her children was told she was a package deal (which I would have been too) but I believe Maude is more upset with the perception that her family is not normal.



AnnieS: What a beautifully formed thought! That would explain the difference between the Maud and Clive in the "pre-Ginny" photo, and the parents she came to know.
Frequent Contributor
pigwidgeon
Posts: 293
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: Moths -- p. 54


swamplover wrote: For those bothered by the caterpillar incident, note that predation of the pupal or larval stage is extremely common in the insect world. And while I have never actually seen the insects emerge (drat!), I have seen the end product of predation in a Black Swallowtail Butterfly chrysalis, for instance. It's a very clever adaptation to ensure survival of the next generation. I often called my children in when they were young to observe some phase of metamorphosis (the formation of the chrysalis is truly amazing even after you have watched it a hundred times) and would certainly not have hesitated to point out the caterpillar event if I chanced to see it happening. Lots of things in the natural world seem strange, weird, horrific or disgusting - until you realize that they are, in fact, well . . . natural.


swamplover: It's great to hear people speak passionately about subjects they have interest in. Obviously, you are a nature lover! :smileyhappy:
Contributor
jlawrence77
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎01-28-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: The Monster, the Thief and Pupal Soup

I too wonder about Clive's obsession with breeding the perfect freak have anything to do with what is wrong with Ginny.  What if she was one of his "subjects?"
 
Jenn

vivico1 wrote:

KxBurns wrote:

Finally, I really enjoyed that we learn more about Clive and his professional endeavors in this chapter. I found it significant that Clive is most interested in studying nature’s imperfections and that, to do so, he “concentrated on breeding the perfect freak” (p. 55). Do you think Clive’s obsession with making a scientific discovery of his own blinds him to the cruelty of his methods? Or do you agree that the moth’s lack of individuality and awareness (which lead to an absence of conscious choice…) make it the perfect specimen for such studies?



Karen



Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-03-2008 07:51 PM


Karen, when you put in parenthesis, that line - he “concentrated on breeding the perfect freak”-, I didn't think about it this way when I read it, but reading that alone gave me the sick feeling of, is that a metaphor for what he has breed in his own family, in Ginny. I would hope thats a push of description, cause I dont want to think of her or anyone that way, no matter their problems but it stood out here. I think how he can do things in his scientific field like he does here, emotionless, almost as robotish as he sees the moths, is what we are seeing in Ginny and how she handles life. That could get scary. That could be scary already if they are having her checked by a doctor for proper emotions and things. Maybe its not the moth's lives so much that compare to the girls, as much as what we are starting to see here, as to why the talk about them, and thats more about how clive approaches them, the study of them. His, methodology may be Ginny's way of life.

Also, I don't know if a moth makes choices based on anything but biological urges, I doubt it. To go beyond that, almost to me implies a soul. Aside from that, I had a college psych professor once, who said he would never do research, he said, do you know why we do so much to rats, put them through so much? Someone said, because of the physioligical similarities in reactions. He said WRONG, its because a rat can't scream OH GOD HELP ME, STOP! That totally gave me the shivers.


Contributor
jlawrence77
Posts: 17
Registered: ‎01-28-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: Moths -- p. 54

I agree....it's not an actual equation.  The author doesn't want to put too much science in the book, it still needs to be interesting and understandable by a broad audience.
 
Jenn


GMorrison wrote:


Peppermill wrote:
Incidentally, so far I am unimpressed with the science as presented. The algebraic expression/equation on p. 54 seems worse than useless -- there is absolutely no discussion of the meanings assigned to the variables (beyond being constituents of the moth). I am going to need further discussion before some of the descriptions become plausible -- I haven't been able to verify them with short, limited web searches.




I don't think the equation was supposed to mean anything--rather, it was just a shorthand way for Ginny to convey her father's belief that everything can be reduced to static components. Ginny was trying to explain to the reader that her father believed that, if he could discover what x, y, and z were, he could manufacture a moth in a test tube, and that his view of life and nature are completely mechanistic. Questions of "soul" or "chi" or "lifeforce" or whatever play no part in it.

Thanks for the links, by the way!


Frequent Contributor
pigwidgeon
Posts: 293
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: pupal soup - it's what's for dinner (kidding, that's gross)

[ Edited ]

jlawrence77 wrote:I agree....it's not an actual equation. The author doesn't want to put too much science in the book, it still needs to be interesting and understandable by a broad audience.


I find the informative and science-y parts just as interesting as the plot of the story. Then again, I am a mainly non-fiction reader. Was anyone else amazed and surprised by the concept of the "pupal soup"? I don't know much, if anything (other than what I've read in this book so far), about lepidoptery. I just think it is amazing that there is a point in a moth's life that it goes from a fully formed insect -to a liquid- to a different fully formed insect. So creepy, and yet, so cool!

Message Edited by pigwidgeon on 03-06-2008 04:25 PM
Frequent Contributor
ELee
Posts: 418
Registered: ‎10-26-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: pupal soup - Frankenpillar



pigwidgeon wrote:

I find the informative and science-y parts just as interesting as the plot of the story. Then again, I am a mainly non-fiction reader. Was anyone else amazed and surprised by the concept of the "pupal soup"? I don't know much, if anything (other than what I've read in this book so far), about lepidoptery. I just think it is amazing that there is a point in a moth's life that it goes from a fully formed insect -to a liquid- to a different fully formed insect. So creepy, and yet, so cool!

Message Edited by pigwidgeon on 03-06-2008 04:25 PM

I'm with you.  This is very high on my list of intriguing things that I learned from this novel.
Contributor
mntdew
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: The Monster, the Thief and Pupal Soup

I agree with those who have commented on all th emoth info in this chapter.  For me it takes away too much from the story.  If/when it comes more into play further in the story, I will probably have to go back & reread for it to make sense.  Any suggestions?
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: pupal soup - it's what's for dinner (kidding, that's gross)



pigwidgeon wrote:

I find the informative and science-y parts just as interesting as the plot of the story. Then again, I am a mainly non-fiction reader. Was anyone else amazed and surprised by the concept of the "pupal soup"? I don't know much, if anything (other than what I've read in this book so far), about lepidoptery. I just think it is amazing that there is a point in a moth's life that it goes from a fully formed insect -to a liquid- to a different fully formed insect. So creepy, and yet, so cool!

Message Edited by pigwidgeon on 03-06-2008 04:25 PM

I agree and I think Clive's obsession with decoding the specific elements of pupal soup lends even greater credence to the idea that his interest in moths is somehow driven by whatever is wrong with Ginny. In pupal soup, he thinks he can "discover the secret codes of inheritance and genetics" (p. 55).
Contributor
mntdew
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: The Monster, the Thief and Pupal Soup



Lilsis wrote:
I've also been trying to play "catch up" with these posts since I've been out of town...I don't think it is possible to read them all, so I'm also just going to Jump in at this point.
 
It is interesting to me how everyone is dissecting each paragraph in the book, trying to find some reason behind each and every word. I found myself sort of doing the same as I was reading the first 5 chapters, but to be totally honest my feelings at the end of chapter 5 were:
 
Enough with the moths...I sure hope all this somehow is going to tie in with the relationship between the 2 sisters. (Either that or the author's previous writing experience lends its self more to the scientific aspect than a novel.) I was really hoping to get more insight on the relationship between the sisters and why Vivi is back, why Ginny is so weird, and what happened to them in their youth that has brought them to this point so late in their lives. Yes, I do see signs of mental illness, but who wouldn't be warped with a childhood that seemed to focus more on moths than on raising decent children.
 
My feelings by the end of chapter 5 bordered on disappointment and left me wondering if I really wanted to continue with the book. Since I jumped in reading the moment I got my book, I put it down at the end of chapter 5 and decided I would read no more until after the 3rd of March. As I now have time to return to this book, I can only hope it gets better and that we can now finish with the science textbook about moths and get on with the story of the two sisters.
 
From the few posts I've read here on the discussion threads, I realize my simple thoughts on the book will not be favorable, people will think I should delve more into the symbolism of every word in the book. (Did anyone else pick up on Ginny's dad making her watch the caterpillar being eaten alive by maggots, but Vera also "blew up slowly and eventually burst" only her death was hidden from the sisters.) But come on, there have got to be others out there who were looking forward to a novel about the relationship between 2 sisters, not a text about moths. I only hope it gets better from here on out.


Message Edited by Lilsis on 03-05-2008 07:14 AM

I agree with most of what you had to say.  I also am having a difficult time with every little thing being analyzed and definitely all of the info regarding the moths but.....I am really getting into the story, especially in moving past these first few chapters.  Hang in there and take out of the experience whatever you are looking for.  One of the reasons we are all here right?
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: The Monster, the Thief and Pupal Soup

In re-reading the end of this chapter, I was struck by this: "...where just one was insignificant, it was the whole that mattered." I think we're on the right path in scrutinizing the family dynamic for clues as to what is really going on here...
Contributor
mntdew
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎01-26-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: pupal soup - Frankenpillar

Interesting? Maybe, but if the hope is for this to be mainstream novel, I feel the combination of the moths on the cover & a potential buyer paging through before purchasing and seeing all the references to lepidoptery etc...would possibly be a turnoff.  I know it would have been to me.  There are just to many books out there to choose from.


ELee wrote:


pigwidgeon wrote:

I find the informative and science-y parts just as interesting as the plot of the story. Then again, I am a mainly non-fiction reader. Was anyone else amazed and surprised by the concept of the "pupal soup"? I don't know much, if anything (other than what I've read in this book so far), about lepidoptery. I just think it is amazing that there is a point in a moth's life that it goes from a fully formed insect -to a liquid- to a different fully formed insect. So creepy, and yet, so cool!

Message Edited by pigwidgeon on 03-06-2008 04:25 PM

I'm with you.  This is very high on my list of intriguing things that I learned from this novel.



Frequent Contributor
mrsvaljones
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎12-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: pupal soup

I am truly enjoying this book from so many different perspectives. I have finally went back to college and am enrolled in an anthropology course. Pages 53 thru 56 illustrates what we are currently discussing in class and I am so happy to see these little tidbit of science thrown into a novel of fiction. I am so excited to keep reading this book and look forward to many more great features. I can not praise the author enough for writing so well and giving enough scientific information to inform the reader but not overwhelm them. A++++++++
Valerie Jones
"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams..." -Dr. Seuss
Inspired Contributor
Jo6353
Posts: 683
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: The Monster, the Thief and Pupal Soup



Frank_n_beans wrote:


CathieS wrote:

What I can't help wondering about was why they were a package deal, both when they were brought into the school and with the expulsion. I wasn't sure if Ginny really did something and her sister took the heat for it, maybe Ginny doesn't remember or that Ginny's problems are bigger than we know and that's why it was a package deal


I also thought this was really interesting, Cathie. It seems as though Ginny has additional problems or challenges that everyone else is aware of except for her...



...and us. Jo
Contributor
KiimC_8741
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎02-04-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: Moths -- p. 54

Everyman wrote:
 
I agree -- I had no idea why she had bothered to quote a formula which had no meaning, other perhaps than to try to make the science look impressive -- a Potemkin science, as it were. But since the science isn't the point of the book (at least so far), I'm not as concerned as you are. But then, I'm not a scientist either!
 
I didn't see it as an actual formula rather that Clive was trying to create a formula that this plus this plus that would make up a moth like a + b+ c = d
 
Scribe
Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: Moths -- p. 54



KiimC_8741 wrote:
Everyman wrote:
I agree -- I had no idea why she had bothered to quote a formula which had no meaning, other perhaps than to try to make the science look impressive -- a Potemkin science, as it were. But since the science isn't the point of the book (at least so far), I'm not as concerned as you are. But then, I'm not a scientist either!
I didn't see it as an actual formula rather that Clive was trying to create a formula that this plus this plus that would make up a moth like a + b+ c = d





Exactly. It's just an illustration of the point.
"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
Frequent Contributor
lamorgan
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎01-19-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: The Monster, the Thief and Pupal Soup

Again, Ginny seems to be a natural follower. Is there a reason for this? Perhaps she is mentally challenged ... not to the point where she cannot take care of herself but where she needs to have someone direct her.
For example, people in that situation are often best at jobs that require simple repetition. Isn't that what Ginny is doing while helping Clive with his research? This may also explain why Clive is so interested in "breeding the perfect freak." Could he see Ginny that way?
Frequent Contributor
paula_02912
Posts: 492
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: pupal soup - it's what's for dinner (kidding, that's gross)

Karen wrote: "I agree and I think Clive's obsession with decoding the specific elements of pupal soup lends even greater credence to the idea that his interest in moths is somehow driven by whatever is wrong with Ginny. In pupal soup, he thinks he can "discover the secret codes of inheritance and genetics" (p. 55)."
 
I agree with this reading...I feel that his infatuation with making the discovery is definitely linked with him trying to find out what is "wrong" with Ginny (moth), which will in turn enable him to understand Vivi (beautiful)...remember he strives to learn what makes perfection based on studying the imperfect...could Vivi be the moth and Ginny be the butterfly?
Peace and love,
Paula R.

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

Author Unknown
Frequent Contributor
crazyasitsounds
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: The Monster, the Thief and Pupal Soup

I was fascinated by the monster moth, too, but I have no idea what it was supposed to represent.

I can relate to Ginny's interpretation of her passivity. In some ways, it's easier to take life as it comes & accept what happens as what's supposed to happen. In other ways, though, that's not a good thing.

There must have been something else to Vivi's expulsion. & it must have been something big if it got Ginny expelled, too.
Inspired Correspondent
nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 5: The Monster, the Thief and Pupal Soup

I found the description of Clive's obsession fascinating. He focuses on freaks and one can't help but feel that in some way Ginny is a freak. I felt the expulsion was very significant. Why did both girls have to go. It appears that Ginny is only tolerated in some situations because of Vivi. I hope we learn more about it.

I thought the metaphor of the giant caterpillar was meant to suggest that this was what had happened in the family. A bad seed had been sewn and they ripped themselves apart. I think this is actually alluded to by Ginny in the first four chapters.

Nancy
Users Online
Currently online:14 members 309 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: