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Oldesq
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

C'mon with the level of scientific experience and knowledge Ginny had for procreativity, creating freaks and cross breeding this group never thought  of a turkey baster?  Is Ginny Hagar to Vivi's Sarah with all the tribes of Israel at stake?
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kbbg42
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

I found these chapters to be so revealing. I think that when Maude said Ginny ruined her life it was because Ginny was Autistic. In the beginning of the book Ginny had said that Maude used to throw parties and have people over for coffee. That Maude was very sociable and yet as time went on Maude became more isolated. Could the isolation have been due to the village peoples aversion to Ginny? It amazes me that Ginny shows no capacity to show her own emotions and has no ability at all to read other peoples emotions. There isn't a possibility that she could be a high functioning Down syndrome? That would explain her covered up baby photo and the aversion of the village people, especially back in the fifties. The rift with Vivian and Clive is easy, Vivian either thinks that Clive killed Maude or that Ginny did and he is covering for her. Vivian cared deeply for her mother and would never forgive him for putting Maude in harms way. As for the surrogacy I feel so sad. If Vivian grew up knowing there was mental retardation in Ginny how could she put her up to carrying her baby and I have to ask myself what will happen to the baby if it ends up being like Ginny. Will Vivian still want it or will she give it back to Ginny?If ginny is indeed mentally retarded how in the world could Vivian have left her alone for so long and what about Arthur? He seems to know that Ginny is not all there why hasn't he stepped in in all these years? He had to have felt something for Ginny after all those times they spent together. How could the two of them have left her alone for fifty years? 
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Oldesq
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

[ Edited ]
I just thought it was the old fashioned version of "you ruined my life" in 1937 (when Ginny was born) in that it is likely she was an unplanned pregnancy.  After all Clive was a "keen young chemist" enlisted by Maud's father who had a secret relationship with Maud (pp. 66-67, 171-172) the young girl of the Parisian balcony.  Maud was probably going to be the girl in the peacock dress who would travel the world rather than lying on the floor of the library morosely reading Ideal Home reeking of the stench of her own vomit and a nice amontillado. 
 
Alternatively, Ginny could be a product of incest between Maud and her father who immediately "retired lustily to one of his hunting grounds - Brazil- where he lived out the rest of his days in pursuit of rare butterflies and beautiful women. (p. 76)  Clive moved into his father-in-law's place (what place was that?). . . . Maud sometimes teased him, saying he'd married the attic and got her thrown in too . . . .  History would then be repeating itself when Ginny moves into the attic with Clive.  After all, they say art is a jealous mistress but the pursuit of art has nothing on the all-encompassing demand of this family business.  This theory could account for Maud's hatred of Ginny.  Is Ms. Adams setting us up for a nature versus nurture argument where Clive and Maud's goal was to overcome the circumstances of Ginny's birth?  Also, we know that this family's approach to sex is not the usual.


Message Edited by Oldesq on 03-10-2008 08:22 AM
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crazyasitsounds
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

I think the family is so insular that Arthur is able to see things the members of the family can't. He isn't trying to keep any secrets, nor is he sufficiently used to the family's oddities not to question them. At the same time, though, he seems to have enough tact not to inquire too much.

But Arthur has to know more than he lets on. Given Clive's & Arthur's appearance during Maud's assault, they must be less oblivious than Ginny thinks they are. What puzzles me is that neither (especially not Clive) wants to do anything about it, get involved, or try to help/sympathize with Ginny. Like Ginny noted, the whole thing seemed like a performance. This was the first time I really started to question what Ginny does & doesn't know about her own family. Vivi's telling Ginny that their parents were always protecting Ginny--not telling her the truth--made me wonder, too. I'm getting the sense that Ginny has some kind of autism or something. It really is difficult for her to relate to people emotionally, & the dramatic confrontations in her life all seem staged to her. It's like the stronger someone's emotions are, the less Ginny is able to relate to them.
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pheath
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

[ Edited ]

KxBurns wrote:


Chapter 15: In Remembrance of Pauline Abbey Clarke


-Maud's assault on Ginny was truly chilling, and Clive's intercession made it no less bizarre -- particularly when viewed through Ginny's eyes in which it has the strange air of a performance. Clive is not nearly as oblivious as Ginny believes, but now the question becomes, how much does Arthur know? What do you think?



Based on Arthur's observation of Ginny's bruises in Chapter 14, I think he knows a fair amount. Ginny's "I always have bruises" excuse was pretty weak.

Message Edited by pheath on 03-10-2008 07:32 AM
-Philip
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umlaut
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Chapter 14: Vivien's Day Out
-- The story has now taken a turn for the worse, it has now begun to sound a lot like a Soap Opera, which needs filler. This surrogate issue has been done so many times, that i was not at all surprise but sadden to see this author bring this up. I do have concluded this author (Adams) needs to seriously spend more time with her thoughts, friends or editor and refine her work. Over all the story sounded very promising with the sisters being apart for so long, however she has lost most of her touch as the book has progressed. This book will not be recommended.
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kmensing
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

"""But it does not explain how she could want such a person to carry a child for her."""
 
I agree with you.  I cannot get over the fact that we're given suggestions that there is some big secret as to why Ginny is the way she is, or maybe she was just born like this, but either way---we're to believe that there is definately something wrong with her.  If this is the case---why would they want Ginny to have a baby?  Clive breeds moths, he clearly is trying to breed the imperfect ones---the whole family knows this....which means they have some idea of genetics....so WHY, oh WHY does Vivi want Ginny to "breed" for her? 
 
I'm always begging for more information while reading this book.....
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DSaff
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

The story definitely picks up in these chapters. I really like Arthur. He seems to be the most human of all the characters in the book. But, like everyone else, he is willing to do things simply because Vivi wants them done. I think his desire to get to know Ginny was for both of them. The sex was a means to an end, but the walk and conversation were ways to get to know each other.

The picture of Vivi looking pregnant was probably setup because there was going to be a baby soon. She didn't want the world to know it wasn't hers, so she would have done things to look pregnant. As Ginny was looking through Vivi's purse, I kept thinking that she might find something incriminating. But, not so. Ginny was being curious.

Maud's attack on Ginny was horrible. I don't know what was worse, Maud hitting and kicking, or Ginny rolling into a ball and taking it. Her retreat mechanism almost got her killed! When Clive came in at the right moment, I knew that he knew about the alcohol and the beatings. It was just too convenient for him to be there at that moment. I'm not sure what to make of Clive ignoring Ginny, but found that very disconcerting. But, I wasn't surprised to find that Maud died the next day and that I suspect Clive of killing her.
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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ladytoad
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

I agree that Vivi probably set up the picture to make it look like she was pregnant, but isn't it interesting that she chose to put that picture in the brooch for posterity? Why not a different picture of her and Arthur, or just Arthur by himself?
 
I think the scene between Ginny and Arthur and the clinical way in which she thinks about them having a baby fits with her scientific way of thinking about everything. She is approaching this encounter in the same way she thinks about breeding the moths. Just another science experiment.
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no4daughter
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

I agree that Vivi is faking a pregnancy so that she NEVER has to spill the beans about who really gave birth.  Given the family's need to keep everything a secret, she probably won't tell the child either.   
 
I also agree with several others who believe that Clive pushed Maud down the stairs.  His breathing was heavy and he looked at the floor instead of at Ginny.  He again refused to look at Ginny when he told her of his retirement.   I wonder if something happened or was discussed earlier that day when they went out together (were they really on a "picnic" or did they just tell Ginny that) to make Clive want to kill her. 
 
Another time reference(p.150):  "...I always check it against both of my wristwatches to make sure they're all keeping time.  Right now they are in agreement:  its four-thirty in the afternoon, and Vivien's been out since five past one.  Three and a half hours since she left the house.. . "  Given Ginny's obsession with time, I found it odd that she didn't say it was 3 hours and 25 minutes since she left the house. 
 
I recall how I wondered about the "prejudice" that Ginny spoke of when they were expelled from school.  She speaks of it again when she says that(p.162): "I could tell from the way the children looked at me that they had been scared at bedtime, their eager imaginations fed with tales of the numinous qualities of my character.  But Arthur was an outsider and didn't come with prejudice."  Although Ginny may be odd, I wonder what sort of tales were told that would scare children or is this in Ginny's imagination?
 
It was clear to me after Clive tossed away the testtube that his rescue of Ginny was anything but a coincidence.  As mentioned by Vivi at one point, nothing that goes on in the house gets past Clive, even Ginny's pregnancy.  When Ginny tells Clive that she is pregnant he simply says, "Very good."
 
 
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Everyman
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16


Oldesq wrote:
C'mon with the level of scientific experience and knowledge Ginny had for procreativity, creating freaks and cross breeding this group never thought of a turkey baster? Is Ginny Hagar to Vivi's Sarah with all the tribes of Israel at stake?



I love you, Oldesq!
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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lcnh1
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

This is what I thought as well.  Nobody saw Ginny and Vivi together so Vivi could claim to her friends that she was pregnant.  This way no one would question her when a baby suddenly appeared.  Ginny led such an isolated life, no one probably would even know that she was pregnant.  Vivi could have the illusion that she was the biological mother and no one would know the difference.
 

Everyman wrote:
In the picture, Vivi appears visibly pregnant. We know this cannot happen due to circumstances described much earlier in the book, so how can this be? Maybe this is to cover up for the fact that Ginny plans to be a surrogate to Vivi for a child for Vivi and Arthur? Vivi could have constructed a makeshift "bump" to make it look like she was carrying a child while she and Arthur lived in London.

That's what I assumed, so they would have pictures to show the relatives and child to prove it was really Vivi's. We have to recall that this was probably in the 1950s, before surrogate parenting became at least somewhat acceptable. They probably felt it was still necessary to hide the reality.


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boo27
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Chapter 14 -
 
I wonder if Vivien knows the extent to which Ginny is spying on her?  Is that why she snuck out of the house?  Wouldn't common courtesty have compelled her to tell Ginny hey I'm going out for awhile?  I found that odd.  And also the conflict that I suspected in earlier chapters has come to light.  Ginny proclaims to be very happy that Vivi is back, yet when she knows that Vivi is not in the house she says the twisting anxiety that has wrung my stomach ever since her arrival has evaporated and now I'm overtaken by a delightful sense of relief and freedom. 
I think it was obvious from this chapter that Arthur had severe 2nd thoughts about enlisting Ginny as the surrogate and was only doing it under extreme pressure from Vivi.  Apparently he was right to be concerned, because we find out that she'd come to regard it as her and Vivi's baby, but not his.  Ginny also says in this chapter that I find it a struggle to understand the complexities of people I know best, let alone decipher those I don't. I've learned that it's futile to challenge anyone about why they say what they say or mean what they don't say.  Mostly I try to humor them, saying and doing what will please them most and hope it all becomes clear later.  Ginny had to have this characteristic all her life, so again, what was Vivi thinking asking Ginny to be her surrogate?  She had to have known that Ginny couldn't have grasped the complexity of it.
 
Chapter 15 -
 
This chapter proved me to that indeed, Ginny does have Asperberg's syndrome.  The fact that Maud keeps accusing her of ruining her life repeatedly leads me to believe as others have stated that maybe Maud had to maybe give something up because of Ginny?
 
Ginny also states I was proud that Clive had taught me to see the world around me without the blind ignorance with which most people must wander it.  Ginny only sees the world around her as pertains to insects.  There are aspects of her own family dynamic that she doesn't understand.
 
Something that made me feel really sad for Ginny was when she was walking with Arthur and he would hold the branches back and let her pass through them and her commenting that no one had ever shown her such courtesy before.  Lack of compassion in her family is truly astounding.  I think that little gesture showed to her by Arthur caused her to view him in a different light almost as a knight in shining armor coming to rescue her from the horrible daily "outbursts" by Maud.  And I believe that while Clive may have known to some degree what Maud was up to, Arthur made him face up to reality and Clive acted just in time.
 
Chapter 16 -
 
There is no doubt in my mind that Clive pushed Maud down the stairs.  They had one nice last date together and then he shoved her.  I believe that Vivi knows he murdered her and that's why she's so mad.  But I don't know if she know that Maud was beating Ginny.  I couldn't think she would want her baby's mother being beaten.  Clive acted guilty, the way he basically fled the house after Maud died. 
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LizzieAnn
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

I pretty much agree with your assessment.  He does seem to just stay out of the whole situation unless some kind of drastic action is needed.  I don't understand him.  Although my first instinct would be to call him apathetic, he's not.  He does seem to care about Maud - he just doesn't seem to want to care for Maud.
 


Everyman wrote:

When I read of Clive coming into the kitchen just at the necessary moment to save Ginny from probable serious injury, I hearkened back to Vivi's comment very early in the book that contrary to Ginny's sense the Clive was off in his little world, in fact Clive knew very well what was going in in the house. I can't remember the exact words, but recall the comment.

It seems to me that he does know, but that his commitment to his moth study is so all-consuming that he doesn't bother to act on what he knows until he finds it really necessary to pause his studies to attend to some human interaction issue.


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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LizzieAnn
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

I think it's basically because Vivien is desperate to have a child, and where else can she go.  This was before fertility clinics and surrogate moms.  The desire for a child can be so strong that people will do what they need to.  Perhaps also Vivi felt that Arthur would never have any feelings for someone like Ginny - that there would be no risk to her marriage.  After all, these two people had to actually come together physcially - it's not done like a clinic.


kmensing wrote:
 
"""But it does not explain how she could want such a person to carry a child for her."""
 
I agree with you.  I cannot get over the fact that we're given suggestions that there is some big secret as to why Ginny is the way she is, or maybe she was just born like this, but either way---we're to believe that there is definately something wrong with her.  If this is the case---why would they want Ginny to have a baby?  Clive breeds moths, he clearly is trying to breed the imperfect ones---the whole family knows this....which means they have some idea of genetics....so WHY, oh WHY does Vivi want Ginny to "breed" for her? 
 
I'm always begging for more information while reading this book.....



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: Chapters 14 through 16

14 - I find it strange that Ginny feels no shame in going through Vivi's purse but she wouldn't think of taking any safety pins from it. And also that Ginny seems very child like in her spying on Vivi.
I wonder about the photo that Ginny finds, is Vivi wearing a disguise to appear pregnant?
I find the whole ordeal regarding the surrogate appalling and wonder if any one else does. I am a child of the sixties although in the US and not in the UK but where their ideas that different from ours. Or was I just so sheltered or young not to know that this was readily done?
Speaking of the surrogate thing I find it strange (although at this point I shouldn't find anything at all about this family strange), that Ginny felt honored to do this and I also wonder why sex didn't hurt and how she thought of a bug during her's and Arthurs first session.
When Ginny smells sherry on Vivi I think we get a real glimpse of the terror that Ginny felt about Maud's drinking and abuse.

15 - I wonder at the statement that Ginny ruined Maud's life and wonder how or why she thinks so.
I am also wondering by this time just what Arthur thinks of this arrangement, he wants to get to know Ginny better and I can see trouble down the line but I can't see what yet.
It's obvious that Maud either suspects or has caught Ginny and Arthur in their "secret" and blames Ginny exclusively and I wonder why that is.
The attack of Ginny by Maud was terrifying to me and also was the interruption by Clive did he use his Brimstone failure to stop the attack, did he somehow know what was going on? And again Ginny blames herself for Maud's reaction.
I don't really know what Arthur knows yet this was a truly confusing chapter for me altogether.

16 - I do think that Clive had something to do with Maud's death either by accident or on purpose and his exodus immediately after Maud's death is what convinced me of that.
We are again exposed to the doctor's bizarre behavior towards Ginny and I can't wait to get to the bottom of this whole confusing situation.
I find that Ginny's reaction to Maud's death is contradictory in that she says she loves and misses her but feels no sorrow for her and has not shed a tear. And how Ginny still feel responsible for the whole thing.
In this chapter we have proof that the estate was left to both the girls, but the debts also. So depending on what was left will tell me weather Vivi has a right to come back after so long and question Ginny's handling of things.
I'm also having trouble with Vivi's reaction to Maud's death, why is she fighting with Clive and not talking to Ginny? Does she blame Ginny? And I'm wondering about her argument with the doctor.
We find out at the end that Ginny is pregnant and that Clive seems to think that's fine, did he know? There are so many unanswered questions in this book I hope that the author can put everything is perspective for me, but I'm having my doubts.
I don't know that the relationship between Ginny and Arthur has changed, they seemed to be becoming friends in the last chapter and I don't know that Arthur meant anything else by the hug, maybe it was just in Ginny's mind that it was more.

Deb
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Bonnie824
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

I think one reason there are more questions than answers and things seem quite confusing is that we are reading this from the POV of Ginny, who is at least mentally ill if not autistic. Every scene and every action from others is only interpreted as much as she would be able. Not a whole lot.
 
I actually found it quite amazing that a writer, who is I assume socially typical, could capture the thinking of someone who doesn't get the overall picture so well.
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mnotto
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

When Ginny finds the picture of Arthur and Vivien (pregnant) in Vivien's purse, she wonders "I don't know how on earth it could have been taken" (p.143).  Vivien was surely posing as pregnant so that she and Arthur could pass Ginny's child off as their own naturally-born baby.  This doesn't even occur to Ginny, even though Vivien was adamant that the surrogacy would be kept secret from everyone, including the child.   
 
Ginny also comments that she couldn't understand why Vivien thought Maud and Clive might be opposed to the idea of her being a surrogate mother for Vivi (p.144-145).  Well, if Ginny is suffering from some sort of mental illness, which it sounds like the majority of us readers are assuming, then of course, her parents would be opposed to something which she might not be emotionally capable of handling.  For me, when Vivien swears Ginny to secrecy, even from their parents, Vivien's character is cast in a very negative light.  It appears that she understands she is taking unfair advantage of Ginny, but does not care what the consequences might be in order to get something she desperately desires.
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Oldesq
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16



Bonnie824 wrote: (in part)

 
I actually found it quite amazing that a writer, who is I assume socially typical, could capture the thinking of someone who doesn't get the overall picture so well.


A really good example of that type of insight is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon who captures someone with pdd so well.
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DSaff
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16



ladytoad wrote:
I agree that Vivi probably set up the picture to make it look like she was pregnant, but isn't it interesting that she chose to put that picture in the brooch for posterity? Why not a different picture of her and Arthur, or just Arthur by himself?
I think the scene between Ginny and Arthur and the clinical way in which she thinks about them having a baby fits with her scientific way of thinking about everything. She is approaching this encounter in the same way she thinks about breeding the moths. Just another science experiment.





Good questions. Maybe she kept the picture there to remind her of happier times, or of something close to her heart. I can't wait to find out the answer to this one! I also agree on Ginny's clinical approach to sex. It's like she is just another moth.
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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