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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13 - CONTAINS SPOILER, INCIDENT FROM CHAPTER 14



Everyman wrote:
>Carmenere_lady wrote: Hey, don't forget Arthur! He seemed normal to me.

SPOILER WARNING -- THE FOLLOWING REFERS TO AN INCIDENT IN CHAPTER 14. IF YOU'VE ONLY GOTTEN THROUGH CHAPTER 13, STOP HERE, DON'T READ ON OR A MAJOR PLOT ELEMENT WILL BE SPOILED FOR YOU.



Sorry, but I can't consider anybody who would have sex repeatedly with his wife's sister in order to produce a baby to satisfy his wife to be normal. Maybe when you posted your comment you had only read through Chapter 13, and if so, fine. But if you've now read through Chapter 14, do you still consider Arthur normal?

My comment was solely for the thread pertaining to  chapters 10  through 13.  I was only commenting on this section even though I had started chapter 14. In this section,  Chapters 10 thru 13, Arthur seemed perfectly normal to me.  Any comments I have about the arrangement will be reserved for the next thread.
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Lildove3
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13 - CONTAINS SPOILER, INCIDENT FROM CHAPTER 14

Chapter 10.  too much talking about moths.
 
Chapter 11. maud is becoming more obcessive with drinking and physically abusive and Ginny's the enabler
 
chapter
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Lildove3
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13 - CONTAINS SPOILER, INCIDENT FROM CHAPTER 14

Chapter 12. Ginny is trying desparetly to spare Vivi the truth about Maud drinking.
 
Chapter 13.  Vivi really expects alot from Ginny..doesn't Vivi realize Ginny has mental issues ?
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



Carmenere_lady wrote:


READERJANE wrote:
The reference to the deswtruction of the local Brimstone population is a forshadowing of the destruction of the family's history that  has been Ginny engaged in as an adult. Ginny seems to have to have been engaged in battles of destruction all of her life. Ginny seems to be seeing the world, and all those around her as "changing in to something real". WHile change is not a bad thing in and of itself, Ginny defentely views chage as a threat.


I was thinking, wouldn't it really put Clive and Ginny over the edge if they found out that Bernard found a new way to do the experiment by using only say 10 moths rather than 50,000! Ugh!
 
I found these chapters incredibly sad.  Not only the memories of the past but the way Ginny is ruining what could have been a wonderful reunion of two sisters that had once been so close.  Snooping all over the house, looking out every lookout point.  Why doesn't she just start anew, catch up with Viv when she goes for a walk and such.  Tell Viv why she's walking around with a glass of milk, etc., Just sad. 


You raise an excellent issue -- it seems that many forces are preventing Ginny and Vivi from experiencing a true reunion.
 
What are some of the things, concrete or emotional, that are keeping them apart?
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dumlao_n
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

Chapter 10: Bernard’s Challenge

I can see how Ginny would hate to see her mother in the library knocked out from alcohol. Why does Clive not do anything? Is this something he knew about her? Although, he could be so into himself and his work that he does not see Maud as she is. Ginny feels responsible for Maud’s drinking and believes it is her duty to protect Maud from herself and everyone else. If Ginny was normal you would ask why would she feel responsible for something she cannot control? Ginny’s perception of self based on Maud “losing sight of herself” and “this Maud” taking over are two different personalities but in a way connected because Ginny feels the “real Maud” would hate to see herself as an alcoholic. The “real” Maud is always looking out for others.

Chapter 11: Arthur and the Cannibals

I agree with this statement by LizzieAnn “…the 2nd paragraph sent up a red flag to me. The promise that Maud made Ginny make - that Ginny would "hit over over the head rather than let her die a death like Vera's. She'd said, 'Ginny, I want to die quickly and with dignity. I want you to remember that." [page 114]
Ginny stating that Vivien is a visitor in the house now is odd. I know a child (should be) always welcome back into their childhood home where they were raised especially if the home was loving and supportive. I also think Ginny might be glad she has the house to herself and not to compete with Vivien anymore.
I see Ginny’s and Arthur’s relationship as slow processing. Ginny does not want it to be anything more than making a baby for her sister. Arthur wants to get to know Ginny, but she is not as interested in finding out about him. I find it interesting that Ginny and Arthur go into her room to have intercourse with her parents in the same house. Wouldn’t someone hear with an old house as their’s?
Why is Maud only abusive towards Ginny? Why does she feel she needs to hide it from Clive? I would think he would smell the alcohol on her breath and clothes. How can he not stop her and try to help her. I believe when this book took place situations such as abuse, alcoholism, or odd ball personalities might have been hushed in society and not dealt with. Maybe that is why the characters in the book do not want to help Maud from destroying her self and possibly Ginny.

Chapter 12: I Spy

I agree with LizzieAnn on her entry on this chapter. “The conversation between Ginny & Vivien regarding Maud's death is very interesting. Unfortunately, it's still all speculation and "she said - she said." Both sides can be understood - Ginny feels that Vivien is questioning because she doesn't know of Maud's alcoholism ... and Vivien is suspicious because she feels Ginny doesn't see things as they really are or conveniently forgets things. They each seem to have a version of "the truth" but I can't help but think that the real truth is an entirely different story. I think both of them are being deluded to some extent - by each other and by themselves.”
Also, the idea of Vivien wanting to open the cellar door is eerie to me. Why does she want to see the location of their mother’s death? I can understand Ginny wanting the cellar to be locked up and never to be opened again. I am not sure looking at something would give me closer to a relationship with someone in my family.

Chapter 13: The Ridge Walk

Ginny thinks she is aware of herself, but that is in her head only? Is what she calls her “best concentration” or “absence thing” as Vivien calls it part of her odd ball personality? Is blanking out and concentrating on something so hard common in people who have Autism or ACD?

Vivien is selfish. How can she know that Ginny wants to do it for her? Maybe Vivien feels Ginny owes it to her because of her fall from the bell tower as if she blames her fall or the fall (really is) Ginny’s fault for letting her fall. Ginny sees herself as needed and alive to be able to produce a child unlike her sister Vivien. She definitely thrives on the suffering of those around her.
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



dumlao_n wrote:
Chapter 10: Bernard’s Challenge

I can see how Ginny would hate to see her mother in the library knocked out from alcohol. Why does Clive not do anything? Is this something he knew about her? Although, he could be so into himself and his work that he does not see Maud as she is. Ginny feels responsible for Maud’s drinking and believes it is her duty to protect Maud from herself and everyone else. If Ginny was normal you would ask why would she feel responsible for something she cannot control? Ginny’s perception of self based on Maud “losing sight of herself” and “this Maud” taking over are two different personalities but in a way connected because Ginny feels the “real Maud” would hate to see herself as an alcoholic. The “real” Maud is always looking out for others.


I find the "this Maud" and "real Maud" troubling because it points to a tendency to separate a person's actions from the idealized version of that person. Makes me wonder if this Ginny is capable of doing things real Ginny wouldn't do?
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kiakar
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



thefamilymanager wrote:
As has been mentioned earlier in this discussion it seems strange that Vivi would ask Ginny to do this for her since Ginny seems to have some developmental problem EXCEPT we need to take in the time period of this request.  This is not the 80's or 90's or today.  This request was made in the 50's - 60's when surrogacy wasn't spoken.  I do however think it's a strange request but this is an extremely STRANGE family.  Although Vivi knows Ginny is not completely normal, she thinks this is the only way for her to have a biologically related child.  A sad, selfish thought but unfortunately I think she considers Ginny as somewhat an animal for this task. 
 
Just my two cents. :smileywink:
 
Lisa
 


That sounds just about right, Lisa. And some illnesses and defects were not known to be heritary back then,so Vivi couldn't have considered not doing it because of that. Only thing she thought about was family blood. She didn't want a stranger's child.
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kiakar
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13 - CONTAINS SPOILER, INCIDENT FROM CHAPTER 14



Lildove3 wrote:
Chapter 12. Ginny is trying desparetly to spare Vivi the truth about Maud drinking.
 
Chapter 13.  Vivi really expects alot from Ginny..doesn't Vivi realize Ginny has mental issues ?


It seems Vivi has always depended on Ginny for her livihood. Of course when she goes away, wonder who took care of her then.
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BookSavage
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



detailmuse wrote:
I thought these chapters felt different, too. The Ginny here seems different from both the child Ginny and the current-day Ginny -- both in the way she behaves and the way she narrates. (I wondered if these scenes were written at a different time than the rest?) There's humor -- hello, Everyman :smileyvery-happy: -- (pp119-20) and the tension between Maud and Ginny (pp122-4) is chilling!

carriele wrote:
After reading these latest chapters, I keep having one pressing thought.  To me, the Ginny of youth doesn't seem the same as the Ginny of today.  I'm not sure I can explain exactly what I mean but I'll give it a go.  Throughout earlier discussions online, there has been considerable speculation that Ginny has some sort of mental deficit/disorder.  In the chapters when she discusses her youth, she seems more together, if you will.  She has the frame of mind to properly prepare the house for Vivi's arrival; she is in cahoots with Maud on how to disguise Maud's alcoholism; she even locks Maud in the library when she is drunk in an effort to prevent problems.  In her work with Clive, she seems knowledgeable and bright.  She understands the scientific terms well and can articulate the processes that occur in great detail.  Finally, her relationship with Vivi seems different.  In these chapters, I got the sense that Ginny is looking out for Vivi's well-being more than the other way around.  Yet, in the present day, Ginny doesn't seem to be able to get her points across as clearly and she seems easily frustrated.  I recognize time changes people but I am just having some difficulty meshing the fact that the young and old Ginny are the same person.


I had a real problem with this section as well.  I have not found the story to have a great plot line and the one redeeming fact was the contemplation of the characters, and especially how I felt that Ginny was dealing with Aspergers.  Then I come to chapters ten and eleven especially, and am left wondering what happened to the Ginny that I have been reading about.  In these chapters she understands all the social cues, she even wants to make the conversation work between Clive and Arthur.  She knows how to go in and deal with Maud, and she even has the ability to make up an excuse on the spot for why she is on the floor picking up the books.  This just does not work with the Ginny that is in the first 9 chapters of this book.  There is a real disconnect here and I wonder why Adams so drastically changed the nature of Ginny.
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Everyman
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13 - CONTAINS SPOILER, INCIDENT FROM CHAPTER 14



kiakar wrote:
It seems Vivi has always depended on Ginny for her livihood. Of course when she goes away, wonder who took care of her then.

I seem to recall that during her study course, Clive had agreed to support her. After that, she worked for herself, and then of course she married Arthur.
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Everyman
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13


BookSavage wrote:
I had a real problem with this section as well. I have not found the story to have a great plot line and the one redeeming fact was the contemplation of the characters, and especially how I felt that Ginny was dealing with Aspergers. Then I come to chapters ten and eleven especially, and am left wondering what happened to the Ginny that I have been reading about. In these chapters she understands all the social cues, she even wants to make the conversation work between Clive and Arthur. She knows how to go in and deal with Maud, and she even has the ability to make up an excuse on the spot for why she is on the floor picking up the books. This just does not work with the Ginny that is in the first 9 chapters of this book. There is a real disconnect here and I wonder why Adams so drastically changed the nature of Ginny.



That's an excellent point. I hope you will ask this question of Adams when she joins us in a few days.
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niknak13
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

Ginny's behavior in these chapters does not seem consistent with her as a child or as the grown woman that has reunited with her sister.  Here she seems to be in control of everything and the rock of the family.  But, I had the impression in the early chapters that she had a "condition" that required her being protected or that made her very different.  She seems to be completely unaware of whatever this affliction may be.  Maybe this "condition" is altering her view of what was happening with Maud and Clive.  Maybe it is altering her view of how she is handling the situation.
The statement below from The Ridge Walk may be a hint that Ginny truly is suffering from a mental illness or another ailment that she has never been aware of.  She seems content with herself and her life -  she had mentioned previously about her successful career (which I am not convinced is what she claims it to be - how famous and esteemed she is in the scientific world) - but we have so many hints that she is different and it seems to be more than just the fact that she is "level-headed."  Maybe she was born unaware and she is blissfully ignortant. 
Also, Vivi wants Ginny to give birth to her child in this chapter, so whatever is ailing Ginny musn't be that much of a concern to Vivi either.  (I hope that made some sense here).  I hope that we do find out what Ginny's "condition" is and that we do not have to remain unaware.
 
I'm still VERY intrigued by all of these characters!!

KxBurns wrote:

Chapter 13: The Ridge Walk

-please discuss this statement by Ginny (it caps off the entire Fox Moth passage on pages 134-135, which I found fascinating!): "If you were born unaware, at least you'd be blissfully ignorant. It's not as if you're going to wake up one day and suddenly discover yourself."




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jodell7
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13

Hi Liz,
Chapter 10 
 I have to agree with you about the moths givng me the creeps.  It is the one thing that I don't like about the book.  It seems that the family has been disfunctional for some time.  I think Ginny is resentful to her sister for leaving her to cope with Maud.  She also felt whole when she was with her sister and now I think she feels abandoned.  I do think Vivi was the strong one.  I believe Maud takes her anger out on Ginny because she can get away with it.  She might even hold her responsible for what happened to Vivi as a child.
 
Chapter 11
  I agree with you that Clive can't be living in the house and not know that his wife is a serious drunk.  I think he knows exactly what's going on and chooses not to deal with it.
 
Chapter 12
I really don't think that Vivi knew her mother was a drunk.  She can't understand how a perfect person which is what she thought of her mother could die a tragic death by a mistake.  I think at this time, Ginny should of come clean.  She has so much guilt, it is eating her alive.
 
Chapter 13
I think in Ginny's situation, it never occurred to her that having children is important.  It is something that never crossed her own mind.  when the fall occurred, it was so long ago and probably not spoken of.
 
I also believe that Ginny has a terrible event that is locked away.  She definitly has a compulsive disorder that is stemming from some place.  I think she believes herself superior because that is how she copes.  I think her real self is locked away.
 
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13


thefamilymanager wrote:
As has been mentioned earlier in this discussion it seems strange that Vivi would ask Ginny to do this for her since Ginny seems to have some developmental problem EXCEPT we need to take in the time period of this request.  This is not the 80's or 90's or today.  This request was made in the 50's - 60's when surrogacy wasn't spoken.  I do however think it's a strange request but this is an extremely STRANGE family.  Although Vivi knows Ginny is not completely normal, she thinks this is the only way for her to have a biologically related child.  A sad, selfish thought but unfortunately I think she considers Ginny as somewhat an animal for this task. 
 
Just my two cents. :smileywink:
 
Lisa
 


kiakar wrote:
That sounds just about right, Lisa. And some illnesses and defects were not known to be heritary back then,so Vivi couldn't have considered not doing it because of that. Only thing she thought about was family blood. She didn't want a stranger's child.



This makes sense except that the entire family is knowledgable about and involved in research concerning the genetic/chemical makeup of moths and how these traits are passed down.  Vivi surely knows the basics of their research. 
 
Perhaps they do not see Ginny's "condition" (hate to call it that--her "uniquness"?) as genetic but a result of something else--a trauma or illness in infancy that we don't know about?
 
I wonder if Viv's request is not so much because she wants to have a baby, but because she wants to marry Arthur and knows it is something HE wants.
 
Ann, bookhunter
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KxBurns
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



bookhunter wrote:
 
I wonder if Viv's request is not so much because she wants to have a baby, but because she wants to marry Arthur and knows it is something HE wants.
 
Ann, bookhunter


Definitely a possibility!
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fordmg
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13: Maud



pigwidgeon wrote:
What a change with Maud! Loving with someone with a substance abuse problem presents it's own new set of issues and obstacles. I am convinced that Clive knows, but is in denial, or is at a point where he doesn't want to deal with it and leaves it to Ginny (how sad, but she is his assistant after all). When Clive tells Ginny to board up the north wing and says "it wasn't worth maintaining a wing that would never be used again"(133), I immediately thought this must also be his view of Maud. A deteriorating part of the house that should be left alone to crumble into nothingness. I think Maud has always been a social drinker, and once Vivi left, and Clive and Ginny retreated to the attic, she gradually poured more and more, until she had a real problem. It certainly explained her bizarre behavior on Clive and Ginny's return from the entomology conference. The loneliness was too much for Maud to handle. When they find her in the library, after ignoring her for 2 days, Clive just "tutted and walked out"(111). Clearly he is aware how bad the situation is, but does not have the emotional fortitude to deal with it. On page 108, Ginny describes how to prepare the moths for Bernard's challenge, and it reminded me of Maud, "we'd need to extract the compound, a fairly simple process of emulsifying the animal with a pestle and mortar and put the resulting slurry through a series of alcoholic distillations." I saw this as a metaphor for Maud being so emotionally beat up (mortar and pestle), and then trying to fill up the emotional void with alcohol.

Clive surly knows that Maud has an alcohol problelm.  He is self centered enough in his work to not care about anything else.  He doesn't know how to deal with Maud, and so just attends to his own business and ignores Maud.  How unfortunate that this abandonment is part of the reason that Maud turned to alcohol in the first place.
MG
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fordmg
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13: Mummy and Daddy!



pigwidgeon wrote:
I find it strange that, after all the discussion of the girls calling their parents by their first names, no one has yet mentioned that, on page 111, Ginny calls them Mummy and Daddy. At first I thought that the traumatic nature of finding Maud holed up, and intoxicated, in the library sparked a little regressive behavior, but then I remembered that she calls them by their first names from the earliest memories. What do you all make of this?

Actually that jumped right out at me also.  It was like Ginny letting go and reverting to early childhood.  I don't understand totally.  She doesn't stay in that mode.  She goes back to a first name after that incident.
MG
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fordmg
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



runnybabbit620 wrote:
 
 
I thought Ginny's decision to take care of her drunken mother a wrong decison.  Do they have AA in the UK?  I think that Ginny's enabling the addiction made things worse and, obviously, lead to Maud's death.
 



If they have AA now, I'm sure they didn't have it back when Maud was aflicted.
MG
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fordmg
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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 is why I don't really like to over analyze the early chapters.  They aren't enough to to know what the book is really about.  In the next pick (if there is one) I suggest that we fast forward through the intro chapters and get to the meat of the story sooner.
MG
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fordmg
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Re: Chapters 10 through 13



Sisters3 wrote:
What do you think of the constant rehashing by Maud of "Ginny ruining her life?"  I haven't found anything that has answered that for me.


Typical of alcoholics - they always blame someone else for their failures.  Ginny is actually helping Maud stay an alcoholic....thus she feels Ginny is the reason she became one.  Not true of course, but that is how Maud can push blame of her own actions off on someone else.
MG
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