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m3girl
Posts: 194
Registered: ‎03-02-2007
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

Here are some comment from Ch 10-13 - based on my notes taken while reading....
 
Chapter 10:
 
I am not real sure what the point is of the challenge.  And why they were so eager to comply with his request.
I am surprised that Clive didn't insist that Ginny get an education before she became his assistant - perhaps it was due to ego or chauvanism or selfishness....or was it because of something with Ginny???
She laces in some more of those teaser lines that I like so much ...
Where has Maud been?  It is understandable that she would get bored with Vi gone and Ginny and Clive so engrossed with the moth challenge.  So she starts drinking because her family has 'abandoned' her?  Doesnt she have any friends in town?  Doesn't she have any interests?  Does alcoholism run in her side of the family?  At first I felt bad for her - but not when she started yelling...and getting abusive.  I believe that people's actions when drunk often represent their inner feelings and opinions perhaps not vocalized while sober.  Poor Ginny.
 
Chapter 11:
Big news about Vi's boyfriend Arthur!  When Ginny became Maud's accomplice (aka enabler) helping cover up her drinking and disorderly conduct I just knew that was no doubt Maud's death sentence.  Come on this was not the dark ages - there were ways to deal with alcoholics even back then - helping them beat the addiction....why Ginny agreed to cover it up from the rest of the family is a big question.
It must have been strange with Vi back - as a visitor - reinforcing that once she left she was never coming back.
The story of the insect cannibals was interesting and if true - amazing.  I am still wondering why she chose moths as the subject of their obsession...
When Ginny confesses that she almost enjoys the secret she shares with Maud - and the intimacy it brought them I was amazed...that is rather wharped and very sad!
Was Maud really oblivious of her attacks (see earler comment about drunks)...if she was why did she stop when Clive was around?  Still it is a surprise that Clive didn't figure out something was wrong - shame on him.  And if he did know - a bigger shame on him for doing nothing.  And why didn't Ginny just tell her father and ask for help?
 
Chapter 12:
I would like to know more about these different memories of their father - I have learned some from later chapters and look forward to some more answers along the way...I wonder what Vi really knows about how Maud died that day.....who pushed her?  At first I thought maybe it was an accident and Ginny pushed her in defense.....
Ginny is so loyal to Maud and her memory - so forgiving for all of the verbal and physical abuse - when she was drunk and sober.  she is also so very nice to her sister.....doesn't seem to be justified.
 
Chapter 13:
So, Ginny enables Maud's addiction and refuses help when it is offered by a neighbor - I might understand avoiding the shame by accepting help from a neighbor but don't understand why that would not have prompted her from going to her father...Was she afraid of what Clive would do to her or Maud?
When they started closing up portions of the house that were not being used - Clive's comment about it not being worth it to maintain a wing that would never be used again - how would he know that???
Perhaps the metaphor of the moths - hibernation when they are almost dead and then ressurrection into a moth / butterfly is like her relationship with her sister - dead all those years Vi is away and then coming back to life when she returns...
When Vi asks Ginny to have a baby for her and Arthur - I anticipated it yet was still surprised.  Ginny is always the one the family leans on...father with the research assistance, Maud with the drinking and Vi for support and now even more...and Ginny steps up while sacrificing her own life.....
 
Susan
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katefrias
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎01-02-2008
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

A few things I wanted to comment on -
Though we don't see an acknowledgement of Maud's drinking by Clive, it doesn't mean that he is unaware.  It seems in keeping with his personality as it has been laid out thus far that he might not tackle personal issues head on. 
I found myself both sympathizing with and horrified by Ginny in her complicity with Maud - On one hand, clearly she felt such responsibility to help and protect her mother, on the other, she is clearly a little disturbingly happy about the prospect of being in on this secret.  I agree with previous comments that she enjoys and thrives off the suffering of others.
I was unsurprised by Vivi's request for Ginny to bear her child.  I am still unclear on the nature of Ginny's personality and her deficits (if any).  The "absence" episode made me wonder more abou this.  If there is indeed something mentally or emotionally wrong with her, it seems wrong to me that Vivi would even make this request of her sister. 
I was intrigued by the confrontation over Maud's death - I had taken Ginny's story at face value, but Vivi's comment "I think that depends on who is able to see things as they really are." made me think that there must be much more to the story than we're currently aware of.
 
 
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dordavis33
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎12-19-2007
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

Chapter 12: I Spy

I'm trying to stay away from the mindset that Ginny is mentally off-balanced. Her sister is home and now she is spying on the woman. Why does Ginny need to know her sister's exact whereabouts? It is almost like she still sees her sister as a visitor and not a long lost sister finally returning home.

Then the two get into a verbal exchange over their mother's death. Vivi is implying that there is far more than meets the eyes on Maud's 'accidental' death whereas Ginny is trying to protect her sister from the truth. Makes you wonder which one of them is deluded or is it both of them??
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nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

To me, the central idea from these chapters is that of cannibalism. Arthur asks why the moth is separated from his fellows and is told that he is a cannibal. Further, Ginny tells Arthur that you can "just tell" by looking at the larva that he is a cannibal. I think this is Ginny. She's a cannibal eating her family in bits and pieces.

All the other scenes show Ginny in the process of destruction of the family. First there is Maud's alcoholism, then the relationship between Ginny and Vivi over Arthur. I find the whole business about the baby preposterous. I know people use surrogate mothers, but this seems a bit extreme, particularly if Vivi realizes that Ginny has some sort of genetic abnormality. I'd be more inclined to think that Arthur took advantage of her.

We see more evidence that Ginny is an emotional vampire in the scene where she and Vivi have been expelled. She feels through other people and becomes part of them when they are in pain. Altogether a very unappealing character.

I can't help but get the feeling that the author doesn't know her characters. She is trying to make a mystery with extremely think rationale and her characters keep changing, not in the predictable, or even surprising ways of a well plotted book, but rather twisting in the wind of the author's inexperience.
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Jennd1
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎01-28-2008
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

I love all the comments I am seeing, so many things I didn't notice when I read,but I see them all clearly as they have been mentioned. I think Clive is just very self absorbed. He gets so caught up in his work and distinguishing himself that he looses site of the rest of the world. I think he knows about Maude's drinking on some level but he does not want to acknowledge it. I think that is a somewhat normal response. Often we don't want to see the not so great things about our loved ones. I think Ginny sees it as her responsibility to take care of her parents since she did not marry and have a family of her own and Vivi did, or at least wanted to. I think Vivi always wanted to be a mother and therefore her inability to have a child was very hard on her and she looked for a solution to her problem in a logical place. Her sisters child would not be biologically hers, but it would be as close as she could get. As far as Ginny's illness or reclusiveness I think it is important to note that these issues grow gradually and we are seeing them full blown at the start of the novel,but most likely they grew gradually over time.

Jenn D
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



Jennd1 wrote:
I love all the comments I am seeing, so many things I didn't notice when I read,but I see them all clearly as they have been mentioned. I think Clive is just very self absorbed. He gets so caught up in his work and distinguishing himself that he looses site of the rest of the world. I think he knows about Maude's drinking on some level but he does not want to acknowledge it. I think that is a somewhat normal response. Often we don't want to see the not so great things about our loved ones. I think Ginny sees it as her responsibility to take care of her parents since she did not marry and have a family of her own and Vivi did, or at least wanted to. I think Vivi always wanted to be a mother and therefore her inability to have a child was very hard on her and she looked for a solution to her problem in a logical place. Her sisters child would not be biologically hers, but it would be as close as she could get. As far as Ginny's illness or reclusiveness I think it is important to note that these issues grow gradually and we are seeing them full blown at the start of the novel,but most likely they grew gradually over time.

Jenn D

Great point, Jenn. I don't find it strange that Ginny seemed so highly functioning in her youth because I assume that whatever is wrong with her has been exacerbated over the many years she's been alone. And I believe we're getting a glimpse of the events that caused her to go from how she was as a young woman to how she is in the present day.
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maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

I love the descriptions (pages108-110) of collecting the Brimstones for study. That was so interesting. I love the story and science combination. How unusual to be doing this kind of research and not be in a university setting. Yvonne
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maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

I think it was Everyman who said that there were no funny lines in this book. I found one I think is very funny on page 111. "The Hoover was on its side under the window as if it had dashed out of its cupboard in the hall in an  independent attempt to help but at the last moment had keeled over in horror at the sight of it all." Even though the situation with Maud is sad this line helps to break up the darkness of the story. Yvonne
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maude40
Posts: 357
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

Vivi is slinking about exploring all alone trying to be secretive and then there's Ginny right on her tail like a bloodhound picking up the scent. What a pair they are.  It should be interesting to see why Vivi doesn't ask Ginny to join her. Yvonne
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lamorgan
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎01-19-2007
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

Chapter 10: Bernard's Challenge
 
I had a college professor who did a similar thing with me. She gave me an F on a test when I knew the answers were correct. I even compared my paper with others and couldn't understand the grade. I met with her and she told me, "I expect more from you." Perhaps, in a way, that was what Bernard was doing ... challenging Clive to go that extra mile. Clive seemed to always be studying the same thing over and over. Bernard may have felt Clive was in a rut and thought up a scheme to motivate him.
 
Chapter 11: Arthur and the Cannibals
 
- The family may have been "testing" Arthur to see if he would fit in with them.
 
- The violence Maud is beginning to exhibit toward Ginny is horrifying. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Ginny is suddenly protective of Maud. Although she doesn't approve of her drinking, she takes part in it by providing it for her whenever she asks.
 
Chapter 12: I Spy
 
Again, it becomes obvious that no one is willing to believe Ginny's account of another "accident" in the family. Vivi automatically assumes Ginny pushed her mother down the stairs. Is Vivi recalling something from her own fall from the bell tower?
 
Chapter 13: The Ridge Walk
 
- I don't believe for one minute that Clive doesn't know about Maud's drinking or her abuse of Ginny. Clive has chosen, in my opinion, to pretend ignorance. He is being totally unfair to Ginny. This is his daughter, yet he has opted not to protect her from his wife.
 
- Ginny seems to be relating to the Fox Moth and how she may prefer not to know all she does ... about her mother's drinking or about her sister's controlling treatment of her.
 
- Often, people with a poor self-image enjoy thinking about the sufferings of others. As children, Vivi was always thrown in her face as the one who could take care of her and Vivi fell right into that role. Perhaps Ginny thinks she can finally be the "elder" sister through Vivi's suffering.
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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



maude40 wrote:
Vivi is slinking about exploring all alone trying to be secretive and then there's Ginny right on her tail like a bloodhound picking up the scent. What a pair they are.  It should be interesting to see why Vivi doesn't ask Ginny to join her. Yvonne



Why should Vivi ask Ginny to join her - Ginny has lived there all her life.  She doesn't need to explore.
MG
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dghobbs
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



kbbg42 wrote:
After reading these chapters I felt that I had really been so off the mark when in the earlier chapters I had thought that Ginny was a sociopath. To me these chapters really showed off just how naive and innocent she really is. She has become an enabler to each member of her family. I feel that Clive does know of Maudes drinking, he just doesn't want to deal with it. Maude is so lonely and depressed that she drinks more and more, but why is that? Why hasn't she turned to the life in the village? She used to give and go to parties, she used to go to church what happened that secluded her from the village people? I find Vivi to be more and more selfish. I truly feel that Ginny is autistic, tho high functioning, especially with the way she zones out, Vivi must know her sister isn't normal so how can she ask her to do this for her when Ginny might not even understand what she is agreeing to? Selfish all three of them, Clive, Vivi and Maude too.





I agree that Ginny is naive and innocent - not a part of the "real" world. :smileyhappy:doug
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jdwilbur
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎12-11-2007
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



nfam wrote:
To me, the central idea from these chapters is that of cannibalism...[snip]...Further, Ginny tells Arthur that you can "just tell" by looking at the larva that he is a cannibal. I think this is Ginny. She's a cannibal eating her family in bits and pieces.




nfam: a really fabulous insight. The cannibalism chapter was really well placed, and plucked a nerve with me, even though I didn't fully connect all the threads.




I can't help but get the feeling that the author doesn't know her characters. She is trying to make a mystery with extremely think rationale and her characters keep changing, not in the predictable, or even surprising ways of a well plotted book, but rather twisting in the wind of the author's inexperience.




so true! I found a lot of Ginny's characterization mystifying - sometimes she's kind and funny, and other times she's sinister and morbid. I chalked up the variations to the author's continuous reveal of her mental imbalance, but the back-and-forth could be as much a failing on the author's part as an intentional device used to maintain the air of mystery. I was never entirely convinced that we were supposed to view things through Ginny's eyes as they were (as she described them), or as we would if we were outside the situation. Eventually I found all this enshroudment to be tiring.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



dghobbs wrote:


kbbg42 wrote:
After reading these chapters I felt that I had really been so off the mark when in the earlier chapters I had thought that Ginny was a sociopath. To me these chapters really showed off just how naive and innocent she really is. She has become an enabler to each member of her family. I feel that Clive does know of Maudes drinking, he just doesn't want to deal with it. Maude is so lonely and depressed that she drinks more and more, but why is that? Why hasn't she turned to the life in the village? She used to give and go to parties, she used to go to church what happened that secluded her from the village people? I find Vivi to be more and more selfish. I truly feel that Ginny is autistic, tho high functioning, especially with the way she zones out, Vivi must know her sister isn't normal so how can she ask her to do this for her when Ginny might not even understand what she is agreeing to? Selfish all three of them, Clive, Vivi and Maude too.





I agree that Ginny is naive and innocent - not a part of the "real" world. :smileyhappy:doug

I like this idea. She is certainly far removed, both literally and figuratively, from the real world. Do you guys think Ginny's naivete is a result of her upbringing or her nature (or both)? Does her innocence protect her from life or does it make her more vulnerable?
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dghobbs
Posts: 133
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



KxBurns wrote:


dghobbs wrote:


kbbg42 wrote:
After reading these chapters I felt that I had really been so off the mark when in the earlier chapters I had thought that Ginny was a sociopath. To me these chapters really showed off just how naive and innocent she really is. She has become an enabler to each member of her family. I feel that Clive does know of Maudes drinking, he just doesn't want to deal with it. Maude is so lonely and depressed that she drinks more and more, but why is that? Why hasn't she turned to the life in the village? She used to give and go to parties, she used to go to church what happened that secluded her from the village people? I find Vivi to be more and more selfish. I truly feel that Ginny is autistic, tho high functioning, especially with the way she zones out, Vivi must know her sister isn't normal so how can she ask her to do this for her when Ginny might not even understand what she is agreeing to? Selfish all three of them, Clive, Vivi and Maude too.





I agree that Ginny is naive and innocent - not a part of the "real" world. :smileyhappy:doug

I like this idea. She is certainly far removed, both literally and figuratively, from the real world. Do you guys think Ginny's naivete is a result of her upbringing or her nature (or both)? Does her innocence protect her from life or does it make her more vulnerable?





I think that naivete must be from both upbringing and nature. For and Adult, if you have a naive nature upbringing can overcome it and likewise if you don't have a naive nature, even with an insular upbringing you are likely to overcome it in adulthood.

I think that ginny allows herself to be withdrawn from life as a form of protection - it does make her more vulnerable when/if she needs to interact with society...:smileyhappy:Doug
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jclay26
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

I have had a hard time reading this book. It is much different than the other books that have been a part of this program. It is hard with all the technical verbage used to separate the story from trying to decipher what they are talking about. However, I keep going back to it and continue to read it. I am spellbound by Ginny because I cannot figure her out. I realized that she must be somewhat detached because she called her parents by their first name. She seems a bit OCD, but it seems to be more than that. Has any one else had trouble reading through this book because of all the technical terms used?
What you have to do...is trust your own story. Get the hell out of the way and let it tell itself. - Tim O'Brien; The Things They Carried
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sbrinkley
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎10-02-2007
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

 
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