Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Chapter 7: Breakfast

[ Edited ]

Three major questions are raised by this chapter and I have a feeling the answers are completely intertwined.

-Why is the past so dangerous, and such a burden to Ginny? What ghosts or secrets is she attempting to expurgate? Why does she feel relief watching Bobby remove "…not just our childhood and my life, but one and a half centuries of the Bulburrow epoch" (p. 76)?

-What is Vivi looking for?! (Alternately, is it possible that Vivi is just getting reaquainted with her childhood home but the idea of exploring the property is so foreign to Ginny that she assumes something else is going on?)

-How do you account for Vivi's bitterness toward Clive, and the sisters' radically different memories of their father? Ginny appears to chalk it up to jealousy; do you agree?


Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-05-2008 12:33 PM

Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-05-2008 06:41 PM

Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-05-2008 06:42 PM
Frequent Contributor
carriele
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

KxBurns wrote:

 

-What is Vivi looking for?! (Alternately, is it possible that Vivi is just getting reacquainted with her childhood home but the idea of exploring the property is so foreign to Ginny that she assumes something else is going on?)

-How do you account for Vivi's bitterness toward Clive, and the sisters' radically different memories of their father? Ginny appears to chalk it up to jealousy; do you agree?

 

________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I thought that Ginny was simply being paranoid about Vivi exploring the house.  I think Vivi is in a state of shock over how Ginny has gotten rid of all of the possessions of her ancestors.  I mean even the marble has been stripped.  This has to be disconcerting to someone who hasn't been around for 50 plus years no matter what Ginny's reasons. 

I do think it is interesting that Ginny kept all of Clive's things (he was married into the family), yet she got rid of all of Maud's things.  Who does Ginny feel resentment towards more, Maud or Vivi?  It seems to me she would have given some thought to her sister's feelings before getting rid of all Maud's things.

Finally, we learn in this chapter that Vivi left the house to go to London when she was still rather young.  It seems apparent that she felt the need to escape the house.  I am starting to think that she felt neglected in some way.  Perhaps, Clive and Maud did focus more energy on Ginny because they felt she needed their help more.  Maybe Vivi's resentment towards Clive is jealousy of the relationship he shared with Ginny. 

Some people have speculated that maybe Ginny pushed Vivi off the bell tower.  If so, maybe Vivi resents Clive because she feels as if he didn't protect her enough from Ginny?

Frequent Contributor
kbbg42
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

I found this chapter to be very revealing in the sisters relationships to their parents. First off Vivi too calls them Maude and Clive so it must have been the parents that wished to be called by their first names. Also telling was the fact that Ginny kept all of her fathers things and got rid of all her mother's. I have to ask myself what Maude did to create the distaste that Ginny has for her? Or is it guilt on Ginny's part? Did she in fact push Maude down the stairs and kill her? Could it have been an accidental push? I feel sorry for Vivi that she has nothing of her mothers. Yes she is partly to blame, if she had come to the house earlier she could have had somthing. She definatly waited too long but still... I also found her attitude to her father extraordinary as it was him "putting his foot down" that let her go away to secritarial school when she was younger. What greivences does she have against him?
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

My guess, but it's just that, is that Vivi isn't just exploring the house, but is indeed looking for something.

BTW, when Ginny talks about the second floor, whereas in the US the second floor is the first floor up from the ground floor, in England the ground floor is just that, the first floor is the floor above it, and the second floor is two stories up, what we in the US would call the third floor.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Frequent Contributor
kbbg42
Posts: 34
Registered: ‎02-01-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

Everyman, thank you very much for explaining about the floors. I did get confused when she was talking bout the second floor being the attic. I wondered to myself only two floors? I thought the house was larger than that.
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

On page 73 she says "It is difficult for me to explain to you..." Who does she thing the "you" is? For whom is she writing this? It was quite usual for 18th and 19th novelists to speak directly to the reader, but most modern first person narratives don't move out of the page and address the reader that way.

We aren't told why she is writing this, whether she just started writing when Vivi decided to come home or whether she has been recording events of her life prior to this, or what her intent or purpose is. But it's interesting that here she reaches out to whomever she thinks her reader is to be and says it's hard to explain to us. It struck me as a bit incongruous, and not explained.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Contributor
boo27
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎01-27-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

I too, find it strange that Vivi holds such animosity towards her father.  What could he have done to have her view hin in such a negative light?  Or was she just simply jealous because he understood Ginny better because they shared so much of the same interests?
 
Ginny strikes me as someone who isn't at all comfortable in her own skin, let alone in the presence of other people even including family members.  I think perhaps Maud and Clive must have sensed some of this and overcompensated in their attentions to Ginny, leaving Vivi feeling excluded and ignored.  But why Vivi views Clive in such a unfavorable light and Maud the opposite, I have no idea.  And Ginny seems to view her parents the exact opposite.  Interesting.
 
Has anyone else noticed that Ginny is constantly saying that she is happy to have Vivi home, yet her actions and anxiety say the exact opposite.
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

I thought that Ginny was simply being paranoid about Vivi exploring the house.

My belief that Vivi is actually looking for something, not just exploring the house, is supported, at least a bit, by the comments on page 81 that "something scrapes along the floor," which isn't her footsteps which Ginny also hears separately, but apparently is something Vivi moved, by the thud of a book landing on the floor (how does Ginny know it's a book???), but more scrapes. It appears, if Ginny is an accurate recorder, that Vivi is indeed moving things around, lifting books, which implies she is indeed looking for something, not just exploring.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Contributor
AnnaB
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎12-31-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

I believe that ViVi is looking for something in the house.  Perhaps the "real" reason that she returned after all those years.  She seems anxious that nothing of Maud's has been saved.  I still find it curious that both sisters refer to their parents by their first names.  Ginny seems very suffocated by the past, including the contents of the house.  It is interesting how different a view two siblings can have of the same parent (Clive).  Interesting too that Clive was the one to encourage Vivi to go to London... 
Frequent Contributor
LizzieAnn
Posts: 2,344
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

I think too that Vivien is looking for something specific.  I also think she's extremely appalled by what has happened in the house - the fact that Ginny allowed it to be torn up so.  Imagine, even taking out the hearthstones. 
 
There has to be something that has made Ginny want to block and and dispose of the past so strongly. 


Everyman wrote:

My guess, but it's just that, is that Vivi isn't just exploring the house, but is indeed looking for something.

BTW, when Ginny talks about the second floor, whereas in the US the second floor is the first floor up from the ground floor, in England the ground floor is just that, the first floor is the floor above it, and the second floor is two stories up, what we in the US would call the third floor.


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
Frequent Contributor
lcnh1
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎01-31-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

This was a very interesting chapter to me.  Ginny is very obsessive when describing Vivi's search through the house.  I don't have the book in front of me but I think she describes Vivi as infecting the house.  I found the use of the word Infecting to be harsh - almost as if Vivi is a disease or something like that.
 
This chapter also set up for me the fact that the sisters do have different views of their parents and their childhood.  We get Vivi's first impressions of her parents (told by Ginny's description of their conversation though).  It made me wonder how Vivi viewed their mother and her death.
 
I didn't question why Ginny sold the furniture, her mother belongings, etc.  If her rationale for selling the pieces was for living expenses, then she was selling the items of the most tangible value.  I thought that things the she kept of Clive's were more the items she needed for studying moths.  Ginny valued the collection that Clive and she had built up.  These were the things that had value to her.
Frequent Contributor
LizzieAnn
Posts: 2,344
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

There are several things that popped out from this chapter:
The Ginny considers Vivien to be an "infection" in the house for having disturbed her order.
 
That Vivien seems to be searching for something.
 
That Ginny's views of Clive and Vivi's are vastly different.  I found it interesting when Vivi said that Clive could "smell a rat in the pantry from the lab."
 
The conversation Ginny has with her parents regarding Vivi's future, and her parents reactions & positions.
 
Vivien seems to have some bitterness towards Clive
 
That Ginny seems to have obliterated all existence of Maud by not having kept any of her things - only Clive's.  Vivien seems to want something, anything at all, of her mother.
 
Ginny seems to have felt superior to Vivien in the flashback:  Ginny knew what she was going to do with her life because Maud had decreed it so, but Maud hadn't done so for Vivien. 
 
Ginny seems to feel superior - that while their parents seemed to say that Vivien would be fine, it was in fact, she (Ginny) who was fine - Maud & Clive had gotten it backwards.  It's similar to the boast Ginny made earlier about how famous she was. 
 
Ginny is wondering what Vivi's ulterior motive/hidden agenda is.
 
How Ginny thinks Vivien secretly snuck up to the attic instead of the fact that she may have just went up one set of stairs instead of another.  Paranoid?
 
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

Ginny has closed up the other rooms and not entered them for forty years. They must be inches deep in dust and filth, spiders and other insects, almost certainly mice or rats. But Vivian hops into them, has her apparently new furniture delivered, and goes apparently happily to bed without any indication that she had had to a scrap of cleaning up. Would any other 70 year old woman who was obviously used to the better things of life (chauffeured limousine, always carefully made up, etc.) endure going into rooms that had been closed and emptied (and presumably unheated and uncleaned) for forty years?

Doesn't ring true for me.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Frequent Contributor
cocospals
Posts: 115
Registered: ‎12-25-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

I got the distinct impresssion that Vivi was definitely looking for something in the house, why else would she be "sneaking" around.  To re-acquant oneself with their home, it would be more of a wandering, maybe a "wow I forgot how large this house is, I am going to wander around if that is Ok with you?". It was too sneaky for me.
 
I think the feelings toward their father are different due to jealousy on Vivi's part and admiration, maybe even gratefulness, on Ginny's part.  Clive gave Ginny a path to follow in the study of the moths whereas Vivi does not seem to have a path in life. At least not now...maybe further on in the book.
Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there - John Wooden
Contributor
boo27
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎01-27-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

I am looking forward to the explanation of Vivi's statement about Clive being able to "smell a rat in the pantry from the lab".
 
I am wondering if the fact that Ginny is so insecure that she is making the superior statements, i.e. she'll be fine, how famous she is in her line of work, etc to boost her self esteem.
 
Vivi could just be exploring her house, after all she has been gone for 50 years, but to Ginny it would automatically seem suspicioius because that behavior is totally foreign to Ginny.  She can't understand why someone would want to explore the whole house.  After all, she didn't even go and see what furniture Bobby had taken away to sell.  And it seems that any behavior Ginney herself doesn't understand she assigns ulterior motives to.
Frequent Contributor
LizzieAnn
Posts: 2,344
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

That's an aspect I hadn't considered - the state of Vivi's rooms when she first arrived.   If they had been closed off for that long, it would take some time to make them inhabitable again.


Everyman wrote:

Ginny has closed up the other rooms and not entered them for forty years. They must be inches deep in dust and filth, spiders and other insects, almost certainly mice or rats. But Vivian hops into them, has her apparently new furniture delivered, and goes apparently happily to bed without any indication that she had had to a scrap of cleaning up. Would any other 70 year old woman who was obviously used to the better things of life (chauffeured limousine, always carefully made up, etc.) endure going into rooms that had been closed and emptied (and presumably unheated and uncleaned) for forty years?

Doesn't ring true for me.


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast

Ginny says in this chapter "All I can say is that it feels reassuring to know that the rooms are empty". But I find it odd that she doesn't even know what he's taking or what's left. I think we get a feel of how Ginny really feels about Vivi being home when she says "Vivien is somewhere deep within the bowels of the house infecting it". Ginny lets us know that the year they were expelled Vivi makes it known how unhappy at home she was. I found it very strange listening from Ginny's point of view that Vivi thought her parents only listened to Ginny. Like we talked about in the other thread each of us remembers things differently. And how Ginny thought Vivi was the one out of sorts when she makes the statement "I was the one who was fine and Vivien the one who always in some sort of quandary". I was surprised to find out that Clive had the last word on sending Vivi to London. But then I never thought there might have been an case of incest between him and Ginny like what was brought up in the last chapter thread. If he was abusing Ginny then he would want to get rid of Vivien. But I just don't see that. I hope I'm not wrong.
I think Vivi was jealous of Ginny's relationship with her parents and in particular Clive.

Deb
Frequent Contributor
MsMorninglight
Posts: 80
Registered: ‎01-21-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast



KxBurns wrote:

-What is Vivi looking for?! (Alternately, is it possible that Vivi is just getting reaquainted with her childhood home but the idea of exploring the property is so foreign to Ginny that she assumes something else is going on?)

 

-How do you account for Vivi's bitterness toward Clive, and the sisters' radically different memories of their father? Ginny appears to chalk it up to jealousy; do you agree?




I do think it's odd that rather than talking to Vivian about her movements around that house, that Ginny feels the need to spy on her.  I did chuckle at her glass of milk prop though!   But, it sounded more like something a child would do rather than a grown woman.
 
I'm not sure about Vivi's bitterness towards Clive, but in this chapter, you do sense again, that Ginny was Clive's favorite & Vivian was Maud's. 
 
And how do we account for the fact that when Vivian asks if there is anything left of Maude, Ginny says no?  Why would she have nothing left of her mothers?  But, wait, wasn't "Belinda's Pot" Maud's??



"Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind." - Henry James
Frequent Contributor
AnnieS
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎01-29-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast



carriele wrote:

KxBurns wrote:

 

-What is Vivi looking for?! (Alternately, is it possible that Vivi is just getting reacquainted with her childhood home but the idea of exploring the property is so foreign to Ginny that she assumes something else is going on?)

-How do you account for Vivi's bitterness toward Clive, and the sisters' radically different memories of their father? Ginny appears to chalk it up to jealousy; do you agree?

 

________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I do think it is interesting that Ginny kept all of Clive's things (he was married into the family), yet she got rid of all of Maud's things.  Who does Ginny feel resentment towards more, Maud or Vivi?  It seems to me she would have given some thought to her sister's feelings before getting rid of all Maud's things.


Did Vivi care about Ginny for the past 20 years?  Not even to check in?  Vivi 's got brass. 

 
Frequent Contributor
AnnieS
Posts: 25
Registered: ‎01-29-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Chapter 7: Tea and Toast



dhaupt wrote:
 I was surprised to find out that Clive had the last word on sending Vivi to London. But then I never thought there might have been an case of incest between him and Ginny like what was brought up in the last chapter thread. If he was abusing Ginny then he would want to get rid of Vivien. But I just don't see that. I hope I'm not wrong.
I think Vivi was jealous of Ginny's relationship with her parents and in particular Clive.

Deb

I keep going back to "normal"  I truly believe that Ginny has a disability, whether it be asperger's a type of autism, down's , being realted to "Monk"  - whatever siblings sometimes get pushed aside.  I believe Maude tried to make her family to appear "normal" Vivi didn't need the extra encouragement because she was beautiful and normal (up to her accident from the bell tower, meaning she would not be able to have children) Clive was not into the society perception.  Maude lived for it.  I believe Maude had the refugees because people of status were suppose to do something like that.  It was something people would remember her doing.  Rather that she mothered the "freak"
Vivi was jealous and Ginny being simple minded thought she was in a better off position because she was told what she was going to do. 
Users Online
Currently online: 4 members 440 guests
Please welcome our newest community members: