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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice



grapes 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?


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


Yes, I think it did happen. Bernard is a nasty old man. He knows the room is crowded. That makes him feel secure in his obscene actions. Just because Ginny still feels his hand touching her although he has removed his hand doesn't mean she is living in a pretend world. His hand being on her is so repugnant it leaves a lasting impression on her mind. If she were going to make up the situation, surely she would have chosen a handsome guy with whom to live out her fantasies. According to Ginny, Bernard is ugly.

Grapes




I don't disagree at all, grapes. But your comment that Ginny surely would have picked a more attractive person made me think of something -- we know from her work with moths and her initial fascination with the catepillar being devoured that she is attracted to the grotesque. I don't think this contradicts your point about the veracity of Ginny's account of the groping at all, but maybe it will have some relevance down the line?
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bookhunter
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I really do not want to come across as defending Bernard's lechery.  Bernard is an OLDER man and Ginny is a teenager, and therefore his actions really are inappropriate, for sure.  Ginny is in NO WAY at fault for Bernard's actions.
 
But consider that Ginny is a hormonal teenage girl, with a somewhat skewed sense of reality to begin with, sheltered in an eccentric home and girls' boarding school (OK, maybe all girls boarding schools are not always sheltering!), and according to her own descriptions, not a raving beauty herself.  She probably is just now discovering her own sexual feelings and not understanding them. 
 
But he makes a small inappropriate pass at a young girl by running his hand down her back and patting her bottom.  She doesn't respond and he drops it.  (How long that takes is up for debate!)  But he doesn't follow her to some dark closet and ravish her. 
 
I think the greater importance of the incident is how Ginny perceives it.  She just does not know what to make of it.  Again, she lacks the understanding of how to respond in a social situation--in particular one with a person of the opposite sex.  Perhaps her fansasy of being naked is her own physical hormones taking over and she goes to her "happy place" because she can't deal with the irrational thoughts sexual hormones bring into her head.
 
Interspersed with the conversation about "instinct" and whether moths choose to breed is kinda funny.  Both Bernard and Ginny experience that instinct, but react in different ways. 
 
What does that say about humans compared to moths or other animals?  Are we at the mercy of our instincts and chemical makeup?  (We have to ask that question in every chapter of the book!)
 
Ann, bookhunter
 
 
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Jaelin
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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


In this chapter I found interesting the quote ""It was then that I Understood the true position of my unchosen career."  This seems to sum up a lot in this chapter and the book so far.  Ginny sees Vivi as the "adventurer" when it would appear that she is.  In this time period women were not suppose to be in men's fields and were frowned upon.  We also see that since Maud made the comment about her following her father's footsteps she has been following along even though it would now appear that she wished she hadn't. 
 
In many ways Ginny and Clive are oblivious to Maud.  Maud was happy that they were going together to speak and yet when they got home they couldn't be bothered with the details or to take in what Maud had done for them.  Vivi's departure had left a void for Maud and we have know Idea what was happening since Ginny seems to be oblivious to the "normal" things that happen in life.
 
 
Jessee
That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed in profit.
~ Amos Bronson Alcott ~
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erina
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

"Maud said most of them ignored her too; they were weird about women, she said." pg 90 and then Ginny goes on to explain the groping of Bernard.  We really see the bitterness in Maud at this point.  She is resentful that there are no women in Clive's circle,  why then would she push Ginny into this? 
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niknak13
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I think the amount of science in this chapter gives us further insight into the type of father and husband that Clive was.  And I find it interesting that Ginny doesn't comment on the fact that Clive has those thoughts on the nature of love.  Whatever her "condition" may be, it could not have been aided by having a father that believes love is solely a chemical response.
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Lildove3
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

This is a very intriguing chapter... we have a close bond with father and daughter...we have an elderly man
who becomes quite frisky with Ginny (unless this is all made up in her mind?)...then we have Maud feeling sorry for herself because Vivi no longer resides at home... what a chapter I say.
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice



bookhunter wrote:
I really do not want to come across as defending Bernard's lechery.  Bernard is an OLDER man and Ginny is a teenager, and therefore his actions really are inappropriate, for sure.  Ginny is in NO WAY at fault for Bernard's actions.
 
But consider that Ginny is a hormonal teenage girl, with a somewhat skewed sense of reality to begin with, sheltered in an eccentric home and girls' boarding school (OK, maybe all girls boarding schools are not always sheltering!), and according to her own descriptions, not a raving beauty herself.  She probably is just now discovering her own sexual feelings and not understanding them. 
 
But he makes a small inappropriate pass at a young girl by running his hand down her back and patting her bottom.  She doesn't respond and he drops it.  (How long that takes is up for debate!)  But he doesn't follow her to some dark closet and ravish her. 
 
I think the greater importance of the incident is how Ginny perceives it.  She just does not know what to make of it.  Again, she lacks the understanding of how to respond in a social situation--in particular one with a person of the opposite sex.  Perhaps her fansasy of being naked is her own physical hormones taking over and she goes to her "happy place" because she can't deal with the irrational thoughts sexual hormones bring into her head.
 
Interspersed with the conversation about "instinct" and whether moths choose to breed is kinda funny.  Both Bernard and Ginny experience that instinct, but react in different ways. 
 
What does that say about humans compared to moths or other animals?  Are we at the mercy of our instincts and chemical makeup?  (We have to ask that question in every chapter of the book!)
 
Ann, bookhunter
 


This is a very valid point of view, Ann. Maud's acknowledgment of the difficulty faced by women in the field points to the fact that Bernard's unacceptable behavior was rather common. So it's really Ginny's response to the incident that is of greatest significance, and I think your interpretation is really insightful!
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bentley
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I think you are right Karen; what kind of a father was he? We only view the lepidopterist which may have been his identity as well. I think Clive liked to set himself up as the authority which balked/countered the others. I don't think that Ginny was attracted to Bernard; I believe it did happen and maybe she remembered other instances of being abused as well by the good doctor. When Vivian left she took her soul and her aliveness with her. It was liked she formed an allegiance with the outside world that Ginny could not fathom.
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dghobbs
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I agree with you, Philip, on: "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". Clive is an interesting character. We are likely to find out alot more about his impact on tha family. Doug
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lamorgan
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I felt the groping issue was totally in character with Ginny's OCD. Granted, the man did probably touch her, but then it overtook her thoughts and she obsessed about it -- even after he removed his hand.
Does Ginny remind anyone yet of Jack Nicholson's character in "As Good As It Gets?"
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Readingrat
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

[ Edited ]
At the end of the last chapter I was wondering if Clive had molested his daughters - based on how Vivien despised him. However Ginny's response to being groped (initially thinking that Bernard had simply forgotten that he had put his hand there) shows a level of innocence that probably would not have existed if Clive had been after both of the girls.

Message Edited by Readingrat on 03-12-2008 02:20 PM
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m3girl
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

Comments from Chapter 8:
 
We get an interesting perspective of Clive from Ginny's POV in this chapter.  I like the way she reveals the characters periodically and as needed....
 
I thought it was interesting how the audience tried to transfer human traits to the insects.  That got me thinking about how we interpret what our pets are thinking by doing much of the same thing.  Now the standard pet (cat or dog) would have a brain, etc and therefore would have some similar and learned reations....just got me thinking....
 
Clive might have been a smart scientist but he surely had no abilty to successfully argue his case - and therefore would never have gone far in the field.
 
I thought Bulburrow was an interesting name for the family estate.
 
I am not sure if Bernhard gropped her or not.  If he did she had an expected naive reaction and interpretation.  I would have called him on it....embarassed him ... but she was not the type to do that...so her reaction was in character.....  But we really don't know if his hand was ever near her behind....If he did what she said - gross!!!
 
She made an interesting comment on the differences between science and religion - still present today.
 
How could they have gone all the way to London and not stopped in to see Vi?  Does that even make sense?  I hope we learn this justification of this....why has Vi been sent away...and almost forgotten (by her father)?
 
Susan
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nfam
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I believe this encounter between Ginny and Bernard is very revealing. She was being groped, but couldn't deal with it, so she went into her secret barred place. This goes along with what I wrote about in the last chapter. Ginny was accustomed to going into her secret place when she was confronted by mental or physical abuse she couldn't understand or tolerate. I think more strongly that one of her parents, probably Maud had been abusing her.

Clive is a very interesting individual. He clearly has a problem with free will. If he believes in determinism for all lower species, I wonder where he really thinks free will comes into the decision making process. Does he actually believe that he has free will.

We also get a taste of Maud starting to have more than one glass of sherry. I think this drinking alone will come to play a part later. Ginny obviously doesn't want to drink with her, but Maud continues to drink by herself.

I think alcoholism and child abuse and at the basis of some of the problems in this dysfunctional family.

Nancy
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maude40
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I definitely think the groping incident happened. I got the feeling from what is said on page 93 ( "I closed my eyes so I could go to that place in my head where I would be able to keep calm as I slowly asphyxiated." ), that she has gone to "that" place before to get away from things happening to her. Yvonne
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Jo6353
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

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?

I was confused by this. At first it seemed as though it was actually happening but then everything was 'normal' again. I think if it actually happened it would have come up again. Otherwise it seemed to make no sense except to show that Ginny was not functioning on the same plane as those around her. Jo
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Jaelin
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

I actually liked the darker font....easier to read.....lol and yes shouting is all caps!
Jessee
That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed in profit.
~ Amos Bronson Alcott ~
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Jo6353
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice



Jaelin wrote:
I actually liked the darker font....easier to read.....lol and yes shouting is all caps!



I agree. A change in font is nice once in a while. After reading many posts they start to all blur together. A change in font brings your focus back. Jo
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Jaelin
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Re: Chapter 8: The Apprentice

Good point.  I never imagined there would be this many posts.  Then to be out for a week with migraines.  Trying to catch up is tough!
 
 
Jessee
That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed in profit.
~ Amos Bronson Alcott ~
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