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KxBurns
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Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

[ Edited ]

Chapter 17: A Prayer

 

-how would you say the pregnancy changed the dynamic between Ginny, Vivi and Arthur? What about the baby's death? Why do you think Ginny described the baby as wise (p. 197)? Do you believe Vivi really forgot about her baby, and if so, why?

 

-I found the entire scene of Ginny eavesdropping outside the church beautifully written (pages 189 to 192) and I think the part about the ants especially illuminates Ginny's view of the world.

 

-we come to find out that Ginny misled Clive (and us?) about her research, and also that she did not visit him for eight years before his death! How does this confirm or refute some of our thoughts about her personality? Her prominence is cast in further doubt by Eileen's visit and Ginny's subsequent conversation with Vivi. Do you think the lunch Vivi proposes is an attempt to call Ginny's bluff?

 

-Dr. Moyse seems to have been up to just what we suspected. Isn't there some validity to Ginny's point about the granny being both happy and sad? Or, is she missing the point?

 

 

Chapter 18: The Bobble-Hat Woman and the Leaflets

 

-I was spellbound by this chapter, as Ginny and Vivi finally have the conversation we have been waiting for them to have. In your opinion, is Vivi's version of events more likely to be accurate? How does it change our feelings about Vivi (if at all)? What did you make of her intentions to have Ginny take some responsibility for Maud's death?

 

 

Chapter 19: The Moth Hunter

 

-just when it seems like maybe Ginny is gaining new clarity, she goes off the deep end! I do like her observation that if the baby had lived "it was hers; if it died, it was for me to mourn" (p. 232). But it's striking that her mourning of Samuel seems to develop only in response to her new bitterness toward Vivi.

 

-from Ginny's description of the lab -- which looks as if she and Clive have simply adjourned for lunch -- I'm guessing that she probably has not worked there at all since Clive left. But she sure remembers about all those poisons!...

 

 

*As you might have guessed, we'll be discussing Chapter 20 with the rest of "Monday." I apologize for the confusion – the T.O.C. I was looking at when I drew up the schedule was a little off.

However, since I'm sure you're anxious to get into it, I will post the "Monday" thread (so, chapters 20-22) tomorrow, a day early.



Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-11-2008 02:31 PM
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niknak13
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

[ Edited ]


KxBurns wrote:

Chapter 17: A Prayer

- Do you believe Vivi really forgot about her baby, and if so, why?

-Dr. Moyse seems to have been up to just what we suspected. Isn't there some validity to Ginny's point about the granny being both happy and sad? Or, is she missing the point?

Chapter 19: The Moth Hunter

-just when it seems like maybe Ginny is gaining new clarity, she goes off the deep end! I do like her observation that if the baby had lived "it was hers; if it died, it was for me to mourn" (p. 232). But it's striking that her mourning of Samuel seems to develop only in response to her new bitterness toward Vivi.  


I can't imagine that Vivi would forget about the baby.  It appears that Dr. Moyse was evaluating Ginny's ability to read and determine emotion with the card game.  Her confusion with the granny may be showing that she is lacking in that social skill.  So, it may be that Ginny was misreading Vivi's reaction (or lack of) to Samuel's grave.  It could also be that Vivi remembers the baby, but it is too painful and it also led to her disconnecting from her sister and from Arthur.
 
I do think that the proposed lunch is a way to further open Ginny's eyes to the fact that all is not how she sees it. 
 
I find it interesting that we finally get the most emotion out of Ginny when she has been "awakened" to the "truth" about herself (vaguely) and the events of Maud's death.  I am immediately reminded of a thought that Ginny had on pg. 135 "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." 
 
I think that Ginny is doing just that.  Vivi has revealed things to Ginny and she is discovering the pain of the possibility that Vivi may not love her unconditionally as Ginny has loved her, along with the pain of Samuel dying. 
 
Ginny is emerging from a cocoon that has surrounded her since birth.


Message Edited by niknak13 on 03-11-2008 02:55 PM
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psujulie
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



niknak13 wrote:


KxBurns wrote:

Chapter 17: A Prayer

- Do you believe Vivi really forgot about her baby, and if so, why?

-Dr. Moyse seems to have been up to just what we suspected. Isn't there some validity to Ginny's point about the granny being both happy and sad? Or, is she missing the point?

Chapter 19: The Moth Hunter

-just when it seems like maybe Ginny is gaining new clarity, she goes off the deep end! I do like her observation that if the baby had lived "it was hers; if it died, it was for me to mourn" (p. 232). But it's striking that her mourning of Samuel seems to develop only in response to her new bitterness toward Vivi.  


I can't imagine that Vivi would forget about the baby.  It appears that Dr. Moyse was evaluating Ginny's ability to read and determine emotion with the card game.  Her confusion with the granny may be showing that she is lacking in that social skill.  So, it may be that Ginny was misreading Vivi's reaction (or lack of) to Samuel's grave.  It could also be that Vivi remembers the baby, but it is too painful and it also led to her disconnecting from her sister and from Arthur.
 
I do think that the proposed lunch is a way to further open Ginny's eyes to the fact that all is not how she sees it. 
 
I find it interesting that we finally get the most emotion out of Ginny when she has been "awakened" to the "truth" about herself (vaguely) and the events of Maud's death.  I am immediately reminded of a thought that Ginny had on pg. 135 "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." 
 
I think that Ginny is doing just that.  Vivi has revealed things to Ginny and she is discovering the pain of the possibility that Vivi may not love her unconditionally as Ginny has loved her, along with the pain of Samuel dying. 
 
Ginny is emerging from a cocoon that has surrounded her since birth.


Message Edited by niknak13 on 03-11-2008 02:55 PM

I thought the exact same thing about the quote on
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psujulie
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

[ Edited ]


niknak13 wrote:


KxBurns wrote:

Chapter 17: A Prayer

- Do you believe Vivi really forgot about her baby, and if so, why?

-Dr. Moyse seems to have been up to just what we suspected. Isn't there some validity to Ginny's point about the granny being both happy and sad? Or, is she missing the point?

Chapter 19: The Moth Hunter

-just when it seems like maybe Ginny is gaining new clarity, she goes off the deep end! I do like her observation that if the baby had lived "it was hers; if it died, it was for me to mourn" (p. 232). But it's striking that her mourning of Samuel seems to develop only in response to her new bitterness toward Vivi.  


I can't imagine that Vivi would forget about the baby.  It appears that Dr. Moyse was evaluating Ginny's ability to read and determine emotion with the card game.  Her confusion with the granny may be showing that she is lacking in that social skill.  So, it may be that Ginny was misreading Vivi's reaction (or lack of) to Samuel's grave.  It could also be that Vivi remembers the baby, but it is too painful and it also led to her disconnecting from her sister and from Arthur.
 
I do think that the proposed lunch is a way to further open Ginny's eyes to the fact that all is not how she sees it. 
 
I find it interesting that we finally get the most emotion out of Ginny when she has been "awakened" to the "truth" about herself (vaguely) and the events of Maud's death.  I am immediately reminded of a thought that Ginny had on pg. 135 "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." 
 
I think that Ginny is doing just that.  Vivi has revealed things to Ginny and she is discovering the pain of the possibility that Vivi may not love her unconditionally as Ginny has loved her, along with the pain of Samuel dying. 
 
Ginny is emerging from a cocoon that has surrounded her since birth.


Message Edited by niknak13 on 03-11-2008 02:55 PM

I thought the exact same thing about the quote on pg.135!


Message Edited by psujulie on 03-11-2008 04:24 PM
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dhaupt
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

17 - I found it strange that Vivi only visited Ginny twice during the pregnancy and I feel that Arthur and Ginny became closer maybe than they should have. And I thought how strange must Vivi's and Arthur's marriage be that this would have transpired.
Even though Clive's supervisor said it was best I was surprised that Ginny stopped visiting Clive and didn't see him for the five years before his death.
I was very sad about Ginny and Arthur's baby dying but I'm afraid I'm still wondering if some of this is in Ginny's mind when I see Vivi ignore Samuel's grave.

18- We learn in this chapter that Vivi thinks Maud was murdered by Clive and I think she's given Ginny something to think about because she realizes that she never saw her fall. And typical of this totally dysfunctional family that everybody knew about Maud's drinking and Ginny's abuse but no one did anything about it except maybe discuss it behind Ginny's back. And how like Ginny to go hide inside herself when Vivi confronts her about the whole thing.

19 - this chapter made Ginny see how selfish Vivi is, she rethinks her life, thinks a lot about Arthur and Samuel and Clive.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



dhaupt wrote:
17 - I found it strange that Vivi only visited Ginny twice during the pregnancy and I feel that Arthur and Ginny became closer maybe than they should have. And I thought how strange must Vivi's and Arthur's marriage be that this would have transpired.
Even though Clive's supervisor said it was best I was surprised that Ginny stopped visiting Clive and didn't see him for the five years before his death.
I was very sad about Ginny and Arthur's baby dying but I'm afraid I'm still wondering if some of this is in Ginny's mind when I see Vivi ignore Samuel's grave.

18- We learn in this chapter that Vivi thinks Maud was murdered by Clive and I think she's given Ginny something to think about because she realizes that she never saw her fall. And typical of this totally dysfunctional family that everybody knew about Maud's drinking and Ginny's abuse but no one did anything about it except maybe discuss it behind Ginny's back. And how like Ginny to go hide inside herself when Vivi confronts her about the whole thing.

19 - this chapter made Ginny see how selfish Vivi is, she rethinks her life, thinks a lot about Arthur and Samuel and Clive.


I agree with your takes on these chapters.  I think it was crazy for Vivi to be able to walk right past that grave and not even flinch.  It was terrible how everyone knew about Maud's issues and held it from Ginny, yet watched her get beat, and then expect her to move on after her death.  How an you justify holding that sort of infromation, especially since she was being bombarded with the burden of knowing solitarily.  I mean I think if they would have spoken up about Maud, then maybe she would have lived longer, maybe that baby would have had a chance, and maybe Ginny would have had less of a burden on her shoulders.  They tried so hard to shelter her, they smothered her to insanity, and when Vivi finally tried to brign her outta the straight jacket, she snapped, her mirror shattered, and she ...well I read the rest of the book.
 
I wasnt too thrilled over the book, but it had me going for a while.  The book reminds me of the movie Identity, in some respects.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



dhaupt wrote:
...Even though Clive's supervisor said it was best I was surprised that Ginny stopped visiting Clive and didn't see him for the five years before his death.
I was very sad about Ginny and Arthur's baby dying but I'm afraid I'm still wondering if some of this is in Ginny's mind when I see Vivi ignore Samuel's grave.


In a previous thread Karen said something about Ginny's inability to keep something in her mind unless it was right there in front of her.  Dhaupt made me think of that in this comment about not visiting Clive.  For Ginny, it was "out of sight, out of mind."  She didn't mourn when Maud died, either.
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I found the death of the baby to be very powerful. Vivi doesn't want to hold the "purple" boy, Ginny doesn't because "I didn't think of him as mine," but Arthur holds the baby past his death. What a poignant moment! "Okay. So, I'll hold you," says Arthur. I don't know why Samuel was called wise other than that he was small and dying. By the time we get to chapter 19, I felt the explosion coming. I was crying over this passage on page 233:
"I stare out of the laboratory window into the silver darkness and suddenly
I feel him there, even though he's been there all along. I think of the flints
and the still mound of earth and I want to go back and, like a wild woman,
desperately paw at the ground, dig him up and hold him, just hold his lonely
bones, claim him, own him, be his mother, all because his real mother was too
selfish to have him."
It seemed that for the first time, Ginny realized that she had also let Samuel down. But, the anger she felt for her sister was incredible!
DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Just a quick observation- the meeting with Eileen (p. 207) reminded me of the meeting with the professional nurse in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams- is Tuesday Blanche Du Bois off to the asylum day for Ginny? 
 
I also think Ginny's scientific contribution was about as meaningful to the world of lepidoptery as when I let my kids "make" brownies when they were little.  Especially given Ginny's claims of knowledge- methinks the lady doth protest too much. (p. 234). 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

These three chapters just made me sad.  Sad for Ginny who lost her entire family in just a short time and who is so cut off from reality that when her baby dies she is unable to know how she should feel without someone telling her.  Sad for Ginny because her entire family knew she was being horribly abused and they did nothing except talk about it until it was too late.  Sad for Vivi because I think she spent the last 50 years angry, sad, confused, jealous, and hurt. 
 
The talk/confrontation was spellbinding.  You would think that in the years since Maud's death that Ginny would have questioned the speed at which her life changed, but it seems that whatever her issues are allowed her to go through her life worry free. 
 
Even after reading the confrontation several times, I still don't understand Vivi.  I'm glad that I am here so I can read all the opinions/interpretations. 
 
I have questioned rather Ginny was really the renowned scientist that she seemed to think she was.  I guess the condition of the lab answers my question. 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I (heart) Arthur.
 
I think he had the baby with Ginny because Vivi insisted. He's a minor character, but he's the only sympathetic character in the novel. (Altho I'm still holding out hope for Dr. Moyse! :smileyvery-happy: )

DSaff wrote:
Arthur holds the baby past his death. What a poignant moment! "Okay. So, I'll hold you," says Arthur.

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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

It's the next morning at the beginning of Ch.17 -- am I the only reader who's disappointed that we didn't see anything of the sisters together through Saturday evening? They must have eaten, they must have chatted. The novel's "frame" of reunited sisters seems to be just a facade for telling the family backstory. :smileymad:
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



Tarri wrote:
These three chapters just made me sad.  Sad for Ginny who lost her entire family in just a short time and who is so cut off from reality that when her baby dies she is unable to know how she should feel without someone telling her. 


This is a good description of Ginny's emotional shortcomings.  She just doesn't know how to respond emotionally to anything until she is TOLD how to feel.  I think even her emotional responses in those middle chapters that seem out of character for her--like feeling sad for Maud in the study--is because she senses that is how she is SUPPOSED to respond more than being a genuine response.  She feels guilty because Maud told her she was guilty.
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Just when we're about to hear Vivi tell Ginny exactly what was her mental problem, Ginny goes into her private place and we don't hear what Vivi says. So now we're sure that there was something wrong all along, but we still have no idea exactly what. I wonder whether we'll ever find out.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Chapter 17--
 
I began to wonder here if Ginny even really had a passion for lepidoptery that would match, or even come close to, Clive's.  A few chapters ago, I noticed that she wouldn't mention the study or that she was even studying to begin with.  Her admission on p.188  really made me wonder when she said "In the end it was easier to just say I had.  I pretend to apply for the grants and then, naturally, I had to say I'd won some and was getting along with the research."  Did Clive's absence extinquish her passion for the study and the motivation to get the studies completed?
 
She knows it's what he wants to hear from her.  The study's going fine, the grants are rolling in, her papers are getting recognition, etc.  But is she really doing any studies?  I doubt it.  Why does she stay away so long?  I think it is because he has been diagnosed with acute dementia, so she probably figures he's not going to remember her visits anyway. 
 
My grandmother had passing thoughts about extending the duration of time between her visits with my grandfather after he had been in the nursing home for a while and was starting to develop dementia even worse than the parkinson's could ever have done to him.  The difference between Ginny and my grandmother is that my grandmother still visited every week.  She knew that there were times he was sharper than others, but, because she loved him and he was still her husband, she visited him just as frequently as he had come to expect in the past.
 
Chapter 18--
 
I found the story of the bobble hat woman completely hilarious.  Now that Vivi is there to (finally) answer the door, she finds out who this woman is more than the leaflets she leaves are able to do.  I couldn't stop laughing as Vivi gives her attitude for stopping by on a Sunday to "check in".  Then, when Vivi slams the door in the lady's face.  I wanted to applaud Vivi for her brass.  For Ginny, that will mean that the bobble hat woman will visit less/if at all.
 
I find it interesting the turn of discussion that leads to them talking about Clive.  (From being "barmy"/eccentric to more like an, oh, by the way, didn't our father turn barmy?)  And, the whole time, Ginny thinks that Vivi is talking in riddles.  Maybe if Ginny listened to what Vivi had to say and asked provoking questions to help understand the situation more, then maybe Vivi wouldn't get as visibly upset as she does on pp. 216 & 217.
 
She goes on to say "I'm not listening to her rant because I don't want to.  I'm trying to work out what might have happened in Clive's head...to lead to his dementia."
 
You can tell she's shutting Vivi off from further discussion, but I wonder if Ginny ever thought to herself that if Clive developed dementia, could she?  And did she have dementia?  Or worse, was it in the family to murder?
 
Chapter 19-- 
 

I like that the mound for the shallow grave Ginny and Arthur dug that was left after burying Samuel still exists to this day.  This seems an everlasting tribute to Samuel, more so than the lovingly-made headstone could ever do justice.

 

I refer to my above mention (for Chapter 17) of wondering if Ginny had abandoned studies when Clive checked himself into the senior center.  It's just sad to see it's heartwrenching state of disrepair.  It seems to me that, when Clive left, Ginny locked up the room as if to preserve the times/memories spent studying this field with her father.

 

I find it creepy that she is going through her poisons one at a time, remarking on the killing capacity of each one.  Makes me wonder if Ginny has any future plans for the remaining poison or if it will be at all effective for whatever she plans to do with it? 

 

Maybe Ginny will take up her studies as her passion for the study seems to be renewed, or is it just the "threat" of having members of the society show up and her being sorely unprepared that causes the renewal of interest?

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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Ginny is emerging from a cocoon that has surrounded her since birth.

But is she really?

Because when she is threatened with what's outside the cocoon, sher goes off into her private space, which is her real cocoon.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I think Ginny finding the butterfly larva being tended unknowingly by the ants and diverting their attention from what they should be doing, and ultimately dining off of them after they have done their work to be very important to Adams's message, but I'm not quite sure how.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

dhaupt wrote: 18- We learn in this chapter that Vivi thinks Maud was murdered by Clive and I think she's given Ginny something to think about because she realizes that she never saw her fall. And typical of this totally dysfunctional family that everybody knew about Maud's drinking and Ginny's abuse but no one did anything about it except maybe discuss it behind Ginny's back.

Which seems to contradict, doesn't it?, Vivi's contention that everybody was protecting Ginny all the time? Where was her protection from this abuse?
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Who is Eileen anyhow, and did she show up earlier in the story and I missed it? How does Vivi know her after nearly fifty years away from the house?
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



Tarri wrote:
These three chapters just made me sad. Sad for Ginny who lost her entire family in just a short time ...

Is it any wonder that she retreated into the house never to emerge?
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