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KxBurns
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Chapter 8: The Apprentice

[ Edited ]

As if in response to the questions raised about Clive in the previous chapter, here we get a glimpse of Clive as seen through the eyes of his apprentice, Ginny. It jumps out at me that we only ever view Clive as a lepidopterist, never as a father. Perhaps if we saw things through Vivi's eyes the view would be dramatically different...

 

I thought the debate between Clive and his professional peers was captivating, as it brings up questions of free will, determinism, intent, and self-awareness. These appear to be major themes in this book and I think we will eventually be asked to form our own opinion about how great a role these principles play in the lives of the characters.   

 

Yet again the reliability of our narrator is called into question by her account of the groping she endures at the hands of Bernard. Ginny herself doubts her perceptions: "Yet I'd still felt his hand there when I saw it wasn't. When had he taken it away? Had it been there at all? I was a little hot and very confused" (p. 97). What is your take on this encounter? Did it happen at all?

 

Although we only get a short vignette of family life at the end of the chapter, do you get a sense of how things have changed for Ginny and for the household since Vivi's departure?



Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-05-2008 12:36 PM
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pheath
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice


KxBurns wrote:


As if in response to the questions raised about Clive in the previous chapter, here we get a glimpse of Clive as seen through the eyes of his apprentice, Ginny. It jumps out at me that we only ever view Clive as a lepidopterist, never as a father. Perhaps if we saw things through Vivi's eyes the view would be dramatically different...



I thought the debate between Clive and his professional peers was captivating, as it brings up questions of free will, determinism, intent, and self-awareness. These appear to be major themes in this book and I think we will eventually be asked to form our own opinion about how great a role these principles play in the lives of the characters.



Yet again the reliability of our narrator is called into question by her account of the groping she endures at the hands of Bernard. Ginny herself doubts her perceptions: "Yet I'd still felt his hand there when I saw it wasn't. When had he taken it away? Had it been there at all? I was a little hot and very confused" (p. 97). What is your take on this encounter? Did it happen at all?



Although we only get a short vignette of family life at the end of the chapter, do you get a sense of how things have changed for Ginny and for the household since Vivi's departure?



Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-05-2008 12:36 PM




I think that the perception and/or reality of Clive as purely a lepidopterist is a source of a lot of the dysfunction in this family. I got the impression that the parenting responsibilities were essentially left to Maud to carry out, and that this in turn created an imbalance in all of the relationships in the family.

I think that we can add paranoid schizophrenia to our list of possible disorders that Ginny has based on her report of this incident. I was inclined to believe that none of it ever happened and that it is the figment of an unstable imagination.

Vivi's departure really upset the balance of the family. Maud seems to be the one left with the biggest vacuum to fill. Ginny and Clive have each other based on Ginny's chosen "fate". How will Maud fill the void?
-Philip
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carriele
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice



KxBurns wrote:  

 

Yet again the reliability of our narrator is called into question by her account of the groping she endures at the hands of Bernard. Ginny herself doubts her perceptions: "Yet I'd still felt his hand there when I saw it wasn't. When had he taken it away? Had it been there at all? I was a little hot and very confused" (p. 97). What is your take on this encounter? Did it happen at all?

Although we only get a short vignette of family life at the end of the chapter, do you get a sense of how things have changed for Ginny and for the household since Vivi's departure?

Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-05-2008 12:36 PM



I couldn't help but think that the groping by Bernard never occurred at all.  When I read  the account, it seemed odd to me.  Whether it happened or not, I think it was a sign of just how vulnerable Ginny felt in social situations and how unsure of herself she truly is. 
 
The only other thing that stood out to me was Clive's account on human love.  I find it interesting that he reduces it to a biochemical or mechanical process. 
 
Carrie E. 
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice


carriele wrote:
I couldn't help but think that the groping by Bernard never occurred at all.

I tend to agree, though I could be persuaded otherwise.

Perhaps as the only woman in the room she naturally felt herself not only a bit out of place, but a sexual anomaly and perhaps objectification?

At any rate, it was definitely weird. And so far unexplained.
_______________
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BookWoman718
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I tend to think the groping did happen - although the event is now so far in the past that the question of how long it lasted may be valid.   What is more interesting to me is that readers assume that because Ginny is judged to be a non-credible witness in other matters, she is non-credible in this event as well.   What does that say about the vulnerability of institutionalized women, elderly forgetful women, young children of both sexes, and others we, who feel we have a firm grip on 'reality', tend to dismiss as tellers of tall tales?   I think men in the era of Ginny's youth were very cavalier about taking liberties with young women who were seen as inferior in position, e.g., secretaries, office workers, nurses, servants.   Often resting in the assumption that the women would be too embarassed to speak up, as Ginny was.  
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cocospals
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I don't know, I may have missed something, but I do not really get any "father" feelings out of Clive. I find him cold and sterile and wrapped up in his little world. As far as the groping incident, I do believe  that Ginny believes it happened.
Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there - John Wooden
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice



carriele wrote:


KxBurns wrote:  

 

Yet again the reliability of our narrator is called into question by her account of the groping she endures at the hands of Bernard. Ginny herself doubts her perceptions: "Yet I'd still felt his hand there when I saw it wasn't. When had he taken it away? Had it been there at all? I was a little hot and very confused" (p. 97). What is your take on this encounter? Did it happen at all?

Although we only get a short vignette of family life at the end of the chapter, do you get a sense of how things have changed for Ginny and for the household since Vivi's departure?

Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-05-2008 12:36 PM



I couldn't help but think that the groping by Bernard never occurred at all.  When I read  the account, it seemed odd to me.  Whether it happened or not, I think it was a sign of just how vulnerable Ginny felt in social situations and how unsure of herself she truly is. 
 
The only other thing that stood out to me was Clive's account on human love.  I find it interesting that he reduces it to a biochemical or mechanical process. 
 
Carrie E. 


I believe the groping happened also. When she said she believed his hand was still there when it wasn't.
She was still stunned that he had done this and it suddenly may have paralyzed her movements. She probably still felt the intrusion long after it was done to her. An assault does not go away in a second it takes to do one.
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kiakar
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice



COCOSPALS wrote:
I don't know, I may have missed something, but I do not really get any "father" feelings out of Clive. I find him cold and sterile and wrapped up in his little world. As far as the groping incident, I do believe  that Ginny believes it happened.


I never saw much fatherly love out of Clive either. It was always about what he was doing or what he wanted. He made over Vivi only because she helped him with his projects.
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

The chapter left me a little off-kilter.  First, there was a bit too much science for me.
 
The incident with Bernard Cartwright was downright weird.  Ginny not being able to decide if she was being fondled or not?  That's too hard to believe.  She tries to rationalize it.  More importantly, she doesn't move away even though she feels uncomfortable.  She doesn't even realize he's moved away until she sees him in front of her, after that woozy feeling she has. 
 
I can't help but wonder if she didn't imagine it, especially when I remember Vivi's earlier comment about Ginny having "dreams" about the doctor. 
 
I also felt bad for Maud at the end of the chapter when Clive & Ginny just shut her out - she's like a third wheel. 
Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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dhaupt
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

Clive reminds me of a few academics/scientists I know - very one dimensional. I thought his theory about love being a chemical reaction very interesting and gives us a little more insight in to his persona. I guess that goes along with him calling himself a reductionist.
I thought the "groping" incident very strange, did it happen or did she imagine it. Again I find at times Ginny very lucid like when she realizes she will encounter many problems in her field being a woman.
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kbbg42
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

In one of the earlier chapters Clive had said that it was the flawed or imperfect specimens that interested him the most, that showed why a moth was a moth. Could this be carried on to Ginny? Is she the flawed specimen and is that why she is encouraged to become his apprentice?
 
The fondeling episode was definatly weird I really don't know what to believe. Hopefully there will be more written about this Bernard charecture.
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LisaMM
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice



Everyman wrote:

carriele wrote:
I couldn't help but think that the groping by Bernard never occurred at all.

I tend to agree, though I could be persuaded otherwise.

Perhaps as the only woman in the room she naturally felt herself not only a bit out of place, but a sexual anomaly and perhaps objectification?

At any rate, it was definitely weird. And so far unexplained.




Oh, I think the groping occurred. I think Ginny just went to her mental "happy place" that Maud taught her to use as a coping mechanism, and didn't realize when the groping actually stopped until she opened her eyes.

I was able to conjure up such a vivid mental picture of Bernard from the description. How she described him as a truly ugly man with tiny features, and how she "winced as a fine mist of spittle engulfed my face" when he laughed. Blech.
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MsMorninglight
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

Hm, Ginny's and Maud's conversation at the end of the chapter about Ginny being the only woman in a "men only sphere" may say more about if the groping really happened or not.  Back in that era, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.  Perhaps this was Mr. Cartwright's version of the casting couch?
 
How about Clive's opinion on emotion as "merely the symptom caused by a particular chemical being released into your brain and central nervous system, which, in turn, acts on other parts of the brain to elicit this feeling."  Wow, try growing up with a father that thinks that love is just a chemical reaction in the body.. no wonder Ginny is odd. :smileysurprised:



"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
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

Maybe Cartwright gave her a quick grope, and in her mind she magnified it?


MsMorninglight wrote:
Hm, Ginny's and Maud's conversation at the end of the chapter about Ginny being the only woman in a "men only sphere" may say more about if the groping really happened or not.  Back in that era, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.  Perhaps this was Mr. Cartwright's version of the casting couch?


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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no4daughter
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

This was my least favorite chapter so far becuase I felt that there was too much science that didn't really add much to the story so far.
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noannie
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I think the incident with the groping did happen and it made Ginny very uncomfortable. As far as Clive being a family man we did not get a glimpse of that. We knew him working with Ginny and the moths but neglecting Maud and Vivi. It was a very strange family unit.
 
noannie
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psujulie
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I think he probably did grope Ginny, but I think we're seeing a blur between reality and fantasy on her part. Ginny wasn't that old when she began working with her father (and I'm pretty sure that she wasn't very experience with the opposite sex), so it might have been very traumatic for her to be touched. In the back of my mind, I keep wondering why she was seeing a doctor -- were there any signs of abuse?
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Everyman
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

LisaMM wrote: >Oh, I think the groping occurred. I think Ginny just went to her mental "happy place" that Maud taught her to use as a coping mechanism, and didn't realize when the groping actually stopped until she opened her eyes.

And how do you explain, then, "All of a sudden I was naked. Bernard was a dog full of instinct...then I closed ny eyes so I could go into that place..." She says she didn't go to the place until after she felt herself naked. The order is wrong.
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LisaMM
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice



Everyman wrote:
LisaMM wrote: >Oh, I think the groping occurred. I think Ginny just went to her mental "happy place" that Maud taught her to use as a coping mechanism, and didn't realize when the groping actually stopped until she opened her eyes.

And how do you explain, then, "All of a sudden I was naked. Bernard was a dog full of instinct...then I closed ny eyes so I could go into that place..." She says she didn't go to the place until after she felt herself naked. The order is wrong.




Shoot, now I have to re-read it. LOL
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CAG
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I agree. Clive does seem cold and unemotional to me, set apart by his choice from the rest of the family and unaware of any problems within the family. I agree and do think Ginny believes the groping incident did happen.
CAG
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