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Everyman
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Did you inadvertently mix up Ginny and Vivian in this post?

darma51 wrote:
I so totally agree with you, these chapters read like a soap opera. Viv exhibits the traits of a classic "enabler" who lives in an alcoholic nightmare. She is a "battered daughter" so suffers the effects of domestic violence. She is trying to take care of so many people in so many different ways it's a wonder she doesn't have a nervous breakdown! or does she? Ginny is totally selfish in all of this. She doesn't want to live there anymore, she doesn't visit - yet she calls and riles up Maud, she wants Viv to have her baby, it's all about Ginny.



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detailmuse
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

All of it pre-meditated on Clive's part, imo. A (seemingly lovely) picnic -- though on a still-wintry Good Friday; Clive couldn't afford to wait for better weather? He prepared the lunch himself, which I assumed included something to drug her (to accentuate her alcohol), then pushed her down the steps. But as Everyman says, how could he be sure she'd die? And Oldesq makes me think Clive didn't just drug Maud, he poisoned (killed) her -- then laid her body in the cellar.

Oldesq wrote:

Everyman wrote:
I saw the picnic the same way. A last pleasant time together, a good-bye, letting her go with a good memory of a nice time together. The picnic was apparently so atypical that I couldn't see its connection with the death as a random event. They seemed to me to be interconnected.

And why would he be so sure that a fall down the cellar stairs would kill her? After all, Vivi survived a worse fall than that. And drunks are much more relaxed in their bodies and often survive accidents that would kill sober people who tense up and make things worse.

I agree with your assessment of the picnic- a "last meal" as it were.  However, I wondered if Clive indeed stayed at the top of the stair.  To me, there is some suggestion in the text that Maud was posed, "She was lying perfectly still on her back, her hands and legs splayed out wide to the sides, like a child acting dead."  (p. 171)  I wondered if Clive "helped" Maud at the picnic and then posed her at the foot of the stairs.  This theory gains some measure by Clive's heavy breathing and Ginny becoming "light headed" from the vapor emanating from Maud.

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bookhunter
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16



detailmuse wrote:
All of it pre-meditated on Clive's part, imo. A (seemingly lovely) picnic -- though on a still-wintry Good Friday; Clive couldn't afford to wait for better weather? He prepared the lunch himself, which I assumed included something to drug her (to accentuate her alcohol), then pushed her down the steps. But as Everyman says, how could he be sure she'd die? And Oldesq makes me think Clive didn't just drug Maud, he poisoned (killed) her -- then laid her body in the cellar.

Oldesq wrote:

Everyman wrote:
I saw the picnic the same way. A last pleasant time together, a good-bye, letting her go with a good memory of a nice time together. The picnic was apparently so atypical that I couldn't see its connection with the death as a random event. They seemed to me to be interconnected.

And why would he be so sure that a fall down the cellar stairs would kill her? After all, Vivi survived a worse fall than that. And drunks are much more relaxed in their bodies and often survive accidents that would kill sober people who tense up and make things worse.

I agree with your assessment of the picnic- a "last meal" as it were.  However, I wondered if Clive indeed stayed at the top of the stair.  To me, there is some suggestion in the text that Maud was posed, "She was lying perfectly still on her back, her hands and legs splayed out wide to the sides, like a child acting dead."  (p. 171)  I wondered if Clive "helped" Maud at the picnic and then posed her at the foot of the stairs.  This theory gains some measure by Clive's heavy breathing and Ginny becoming "light headed" from the vapor emanating from Maud.



Clive has notebooks and letters all prepared for his leaving the house and retiring.  He has obviously been planning ahead to LEAVE, timing it with the publication of his research.  How convenient for Maud to die at just the right time.
 
Ann, bookhunter
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bookhunter
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Maud's death being on Good Friday could signify that her death was a sacrifice.  Butterflies are symbols of resurrection and new life in Christianity.  Her death opens doors for Clive and Ginny both to lead new and different lives like Michael did after the death of his mother.  Ginny is no longer bound in this secret conspiracy with Maud, and she is no longer bound in her "unchosen career" as Clive's assistant.  She can metamorph into a new creature.
 
But then again, these aren't butterflies we are dealing with--they are moths.
 
Ann, bookhunter
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nhawkinsII
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

[ Edited ]
 
 
The more of the story I read the more intrigued I was by Ginny's thoughts.  It was amazing to be privy to her thoughts and viewpoints...And then to think OK...there may be real life situations like this...
 
That old say "Perception is reality" really rings true with this story...and it has made me think...
 
Nancy


Message Edited by nhawkinsII on 03-11-2008 05:03 PM
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Everyman
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Somebody, I forget who, suggested that Clive had actually poisoned Maud (maybe in the wine or other alcoholic beverage at the picnic? She "reeked of alcohol" according to Ginny) and laid her out at the bottom of the stairs.

This suggestion seems supported by two things First, when people fall down stairs, how likely is it that they would lie out splayed at the bottom, neatly, like a child playing dead? Second, how come there is no mention at all of blood? Shouldn't there be at least some blood?

Anther possibility is that Ginny pushed her just as she had pushed Vivi, and Clive is getting out of the house as quickly as he can so he doesn't become pushee number 3. Hmmm?
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Everyman
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Wow. Neat post. Certainly the mention that it was Good Friday has to have some sort of meaning; that's not the kind of detail an author would put into their book unless it meant something.

bookhunter wrote:
Maud's death being on Good Friday could signify that her death was a sacrifice. Butterflies are symbols of resurrection and new life in Christianity. Her death opens doors for Clive and Ginny both to lead new and different lives like Michael did after the death of his mother. Ginny is no longer bound in this secret conspiracy with Maud, and she is no longer bound in her "unchosen career" as Clive's assistant. She can metamorph into a new creature.
But then again, these aren't butterflies we are dealing with--they are moths.
Ann, bookhunter



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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

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.
 
 
Hi, I brought this post over from the Chapter 10 thru 13 thread because I really wanted to address the arrangement between Ginny, Viv and Arthur.  Well, Arthur does seem alot like other redblooded, young men I've heard about.  Given the opportunity to bed someone other than your wife with your wife's consent is like a dream come true for some men.  Not everyone of course. But consider that Arthur was doing this for a purpose, either to make his wife happy and give her a child she is not physically able to produce or give himself an heir.  Both circumstances have his wife's blessing.  In fact she planned everything.  So I would have to say yes, I still consider Arthur to be a normal guy.  Likeable, considerate and congenial in fact.  But, I'll continue reading he still may change within the next group of chapters.  ;o)
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


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bookhunter
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16



Carmenere_lady wrote:
...  Well, Arthur does seem alot like other redblooded, young men I've heard about.  Given the opportunity to bed someone other than your wife with your wife's consent is like a dream come true for some men.  Not everyone of course. But consider that Arthur was doing this for a purpose, either to make his wife happy and give her a child she is not physically able to produce or give himself an heir.  Both circumstances have his wife's blessing.  In fact she planned everything.  So I would have to say yes, I still consider Arthur to be a normal guy.  Likeable, considerate and congenial in fact.  But, I'll continue reading he still may change within the next group of chapters.  ;o)


I think this would be a big cause of the division between Ginny and Vivi.  Vivi thought it would be an easy solution to her problem, but the reality of her husband having sex with her sister was really more than she could handle.  Maybe she didn't see Ginny throughout the pregnancy because she didn't want the visual reminder of what she had done.
 
Ann, bookhunter
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Carmenere_lady
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16



bookhunter wrote:


Carmenere_lady wrote:
...  Well, Arthur does seem alot like other redblooded, young men I've heard about.  Given the opportunity to bed someone other than your wife with your wife's consent is like a dream come true for some men.  Not everyone of course. But consider that Arthur was doing this for a purpose, either to make his wife happy and give her a child she is not physically able to produce or give himself an heir.  Both circumstances have his wife's blessing.  In fact she planned everything.  So I would have to say yes, I still consider Arthur to be a normal guy.  Likeable, considerate and congenial in fact.  But, I'll continue reading he still may change within the next group of chapters.  ;o)


I think this would be a big cause of the division between Ginny and Vivi.  Vivi thought it would be an easy solution to her problem, but the reality of her husband having sex with her sister was really more than she could handle.  Maybe she didn't see Ginny throughout the pregnancy because she didn't want the visual reminder of what she had done.
 
Ann, bookhunter


Yes Ann, I totally agree with you.  And this is even before a baby is born.  So this is a good starting point where the dominoes could begin to fall like a snake (paraphrased).  More problems may arise later as to how and where the child is raised etc. etc.
Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
CAG
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CAG
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Thank you for the link. I found it pretty interesting and really do think it is a strong possibility regarding Ginny. There was some information on this link that suggested Asperger's could be a passed on from the father, usually showing less severe symptoms-maybe that explains Clive too.

Choisya wrote:
Asperger's syndrome certainly seems to fit some of Ginny's behaviour:-
 
 


CAG wrote:
I think Clive knew what was going on between Maude and Ginny but not the degree of physical abuse. Maybe it was easier for him to let Ginny take care of his wife when she was drinking. I think Maude told Ginny she ruined her life because of Ginny's conditiion (my personal opinion is she has Aspergers syndrom) and I think both Maude and Clive felt they wanted to hide her condition as much as possible. They seem like a strange pair to begin with and Ginny may have made the family feel even more odd. Perhaps Maude had to give up something she wanted to do with her life in order to take care a child who wasn't quite "normal".
 
I am wondering more now if Ginny didn't push her sister.
 
I am not sure if Clive is responsible for Maude's death. I






CAG
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

Chapter 14: Vivien's Day Out

-well, there is plenty of evidence of Ginny's idiosyncrasies to pick apart here (especially in her ransacking of the handbag). Have at it if you wish!

-evidence of Vivi's own pregnancy is a much a mystery to Ginny as it is to us. Any theories?...

-as far as the surrogacy is concerned, isn't it really odd that Ginny's professed motive for agreeing is "securing that everlasting kinship with Vivi" (p. 144) since they're already kin?

-I get the impression that Arthur is better able to perceive Ginny's limitations than her own family, especially in light of the comment on page 149 about his accidentally having pointed out a deformity. He seems aware of things that nobody else in the family will acknowledge.

-Ginny's reaction to getting a whiff of sherry from Vivi again brings up the imagery of a parasite: "The smell unleashes a little remnant of fear and unease that burrows its way out onto the skin of my arms…" (p. 151).


The first thing that I was not prepared for was that when Vivian asked Ginny to have the baby that she was suggesting that Arthur physically have sex with her. I guess I was thinking of artificial insemination and other such advances. Well so much for that. I found it odd that Ginny did not have the modesty that Arthur had and was so matter of fact. It was telling to me that Ginny stated that having sex did not hurt her at all like Vivian told her it would. Are we to possibly assume that Ginny was not a virgin and had been molested when she was younger or had had other sexual liaisons. I found it hard to believe that she would not have felt some awkwardness or even a slight discomfort if she were a virgin. I thought it was interesting how Arthur talked with her before and spoke his words very slowly making Ginny wonder why; she thought did Arthur think that she was an idiot. I wondered then what Vivian had told Arthur about Ginny or any condition that she might have. It seemed that he knew something. He also noticed the bruises which were on Ginny's body.

When Ginny sneaks into Vivian's bag there is a lot going on there. Her propensity for neatness and structure; the visual effect the lining had on Ginny's eyesight and mental state, the keys - she does not understand why Vivian has these, the brooch (very odd possession to carry with you); and the fact that she has to work hard to make it messy enough.

The smell of sherry reminds Ginny too much of the old memories of her mother and fear creeps up on the skin of her arm. Why is Vivian there: to try to take back what is hers and to somehow hoodwink Ginny. Has Vivian become the parasite or much worse.
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bentley
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Re: Chapter 15

Chapter 15: In Remembrance of Pauline Abbey Clarke

-it is telling that Ginny makes the comparison between herself and Michael. What do you see as the similarities and the differences between the two?

-how does Pauline Abbey Clarke, of the chapter's title, relate to the story of Ginny and her family?

-at the beginning of the chapter it seems like Arthur wants to get to know Ginny better but she would prefer to keep the relationship impersonal; by the end (still the same day, though) Ginny has come to think they are alike in many ways. This, combined with her reference to the possible baby as "my child" (p. 160), signals trouble ahead.

-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?

The chapter begins with an interesting quote: "Maude said she planted the creeper- because it was my namesake - Virginia. She said she liked the idea of me creeping all over the house forever, and I remembered she laughed a lot because I asked her what she meant by that and she said that I shouldn't be so serious about everything." I could take this comment a number of ways. To me she singled out Virginia to be the one who stayed around and took care of her and the house forever; like a live in caretaker and that she knew something which would mean that Ginny would never have a normal life outside of the house.

Why and how did Ginny ruin Maude's life? That is still a mystery but this was the insult that came out the most. She had also learned from Maude how to lock herself in a place in her head where she could go and not hear. How is that for developing your daughter's social and coping skills. One diabolical family.

Clive saved Ginny and was the reason that Ginny's body was not broken with the skillet. Clive knew what was going on all along and was not that obtuse. In fact, it appeared that Arthur was in on the performance too. Everybody seemed to know all.

I also found it very strange that Ginny did not want to get to know Arthur better or develop a friendship while having sex with him; she thought that having sex without any feelings at all suited her better.
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bentley
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Re: Chapter 16

Chapter 16: A Nuclear Test and Titus

-Maud dies on Good Friday. Do you think she was sacrificed by Clive to spare Ginny?

-why was Dr. Moyse really called in? What do you think is the source of Vivi's rage and the rift between her and Clive?

-Ginny again describes the scene when Vivi arrives as having a theatricality about it. Is this because she's distancing herself emotionally from the events as she watches? Is there another reason?

-check out the picture of the Emperor Titus on this page. Remind you of anything?

-Ginny is pregnant, and her relationship with Arthur has clearly changed. What is it that Arthur and Ginny seek in one another? Who is at fault for this betrayal?


What would strike anybody is the lack of grief that Clive is exhibiting. Ginny calls for the ambulance and then is told to call Doctor Moyse (why nobody knows)..but Clive had a method to his madness. He told Ginny that he had unlocked the cellar door. Now why did he do that?

We can see that Ginny is surprised that she cannot show any emotion at all about her mother's death/accident/or murder.

Clive's plans seemed to be well drawn out and it is a wonder that Ginny could not see that. Once Maud was out of the way; so were his plans solidifying and he was moving to a retirement home. It would be interesting to know what Clive had drawn up and if the will had different directives in it in terms of Ginny and Vivian. What was Vivian upset about. And what did the doctor mean that Maud would have understood. Something happened in the study and nobody is telling Ginny.

I do not see any picture of the Emperor Titus: what or who is it supposed to remind us of?
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carriele
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Re: Chapter 16



bentley wrote:

I do not see any picture of the Emperor Titus: what or who is it supposed to remind us of?


Somewhere on one of these threads, a link to the wikipedia for the Emperor Titus was placed.  I believe this is the link: 
 
Maybe someone else can rememeber where the specific discussion to the Emperor Titus was located?
 
Carrie E. 
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BookSavage
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16



niknak13 wrote:


no4daughter wrote:
 
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."
 
 



I also think that Clive either pushed Maud down the stairs or at least aided in her fall by directing her to that doorway.  He was too organized with the details of the estate and his move.  And I am sure that he knew Maud was hurting Ginny.  I think that the testtube was his "prop" to rush in and save her.  Unless I missed something, I don't think that we are told that anyone (besides Clive) saw the tube glowing.  I don't think that it contained his research and that is why he had no problem tossing it in the sink and why Arthur made sure that he ran the water to wash it out.  They didn't want Ginny to discover what it wasn't and to ask questions.
 
I also agree that the picture of Vivi and Arthur was just a photo of the couple with Vivi faking her pregnancy so everyone (especially the child) would be convinced the baby was really hers.
 
What I am dreading is that I am pretty sure that the pregnancy goes wrong or that the child dies.  I suppose it could even be as an adult that Arthur's child dies, but I am sure he or she is no longer alive.  Earlier in the book when Ginny is talking about selling the furniture and contents of the home she mentions that Ginny and Vivi are the end of the line.  There isn't anymore family.  pg. 33 "She thinks there's a legacy to continue, poor woman, but it's all over now.  Vivien and I are the end of the line, there is no future generation."


I couldn't have stated my summary of the events any better.  Others may not agree but I had no doubt after reading the chapters that Clive killed Maude.  I felt when he through the test tube in the sink that there was something not right and then his pushing Maude finished it for me.  My last thought was that, wow, how caring Clive was for Maude all the way to the end, that he didn't just kill her but took her out for an enjoyable day first.  What a disconnect there was between these two events.
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BookSavage
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16



Oldesq wrote:


Everyman wrote:


I saw the picnic the same way. A last pleasant time together, a good-bye, letting her go with a good memory of a nice time together. The picnic was apparently so atypical that I couldn't see its connection with the death as a random event. They seemed to me to be interconnected.

What I can't forgive is Clive sending Ginny down the stairs to see whether Maud was really dead. How could a parent do that to a child?

And why would he be so sure that a fall down the cellar stairs would kill her? After all, Vivi survived a worse fall than that. And drunks are much more relaxed in their bodies and often survive accidents that would kill sober people who tense up and make things worse.

I agree with your assessment of the picnic- a "last meal" as it were.  However, I wondered if Clive indeed stayed at the top of the stair.  To me, there is some suggestion in the text that Maud was posed, "She was lying perfectly still on her back, her hands and legs splayed out wide to the sides, like a child acting dead."  (p. 171)  I wondered if Clive "helped" Maud at the picnic and then posed her at the foot of the stairs.  This theory gains some measure by Clive's heavy breathing and Ginny becoming "light headed" from the vapor emanating from Maud.  Of course, this method of disposal still doesn't excuse Clive from sending Ginny down the steps to "check" on Maud. 


Very good points about the way Maud is layed out.  My thought at this point was how fitting it was for this family and especially for Clive and Ginny that their "specimen" should be layed out so perfectly, just like a moth in a case.
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BookSavage
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

For me these chapters also returned the feeling that Ginny has Asperger's Syndrom.  Her lack of emotions, her singular focus on this, her not having the need to make the relationship with Arthur more personal and a variety of other factors reinforces this idea.
 
bentley said: We can see that Ginny is surprised that she cannot show any emotion at all about her mother's death/accident/or murder.
I think this once again goes back to her autism.  Remember at the beginning of the book she tries to make the right face about Vivi's dog, and can't.  I think the same thing is going on here, she is aware that she should feel some emotion, but she is not sure what or how to express that emotion.
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maryfrancesa
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16

I too believe that Clive knew about Maud's drinking, how could he not.  I cannot imagine why both Ginny and him had to play such a game as acting like everything was okay.  Maybe beyween the two of them they could have handled Maud better.  I agree that when I read the chapter that Maud died I believe that Clive may have assisted in this.    Later on we see that Clive wants to commit himself in an assisted living place.  Was he aware that his mind was going and that he made the "sacrifice to take both himself and maud out of the picture so that Ginny could be free.  I wonder what he thought about the pregnancy.
I don't think we learned anything about the Clive, Maud and Vi relationship.
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bentley
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Re: Chapters 14 through 16



BookSavage wrote:
For me these chapters also returned the feeling that Ginny has Asperger's Syndrom.  Her lack of emotions, her singular focus on this, her not having the need to make the relationship with Arthur more personal and a variety of other factors reinforces this idea.
 
bentley said: We can see that Ginny is surprised that she cannot show any emotion at all about her mother's death/accident/or murder.
I think this once again goes back to her autism.  Remember at the beginning of the book she tries to make the right face about Vivi's dog, and can't.  I think the same thing is going on here, she is aware that she should feel some emotion, but she is not sure what or how to express that emotion.






That is true; she did not seem to like the dog at all and dogs usually try to be friendly. Maybe because it was connected to Vivian. Also, she has made some comment about dog owners.
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