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Everyman
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



detailmuse wrote:
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:



Interesting observation.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19


runnybabbit620 wrote:
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.

But the bobble hat woman may be the only person who for years has genuinely cared about how Ginny was doing. Michael doesn't seem to care much other than that he can benefit from using her property. Ditto the guy whose name I forget who apparently cheats her on buying her furniture and even her fireplaces. The bobble hat lady has nothing to benefit from Ginny, but just comes by on her own time because she cares. And Vivi almost violently sends her away, so now nobody is left to care.
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bookhunter
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



Everyman wrote:

runnybabbit620 wrote:
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.

But the bobble hat woman may be the only person who for years has genuinely cared about how Ginny was doing. Michael doesn't seem to care much other than that he can benefit from using her property. Ditto the guy whose name I forget who apparently cheats her on buying her furniture and even her fireplaces. The bobble hat lady has nothing to benefit from Ginny, but just comes by on her own time because she cares. And Vivi almost violently sends her away, so now nobody is left to care.


Do you think Vivi cares? 
 
What do you think are Vivi's overall feelings towards Ginny?  She said Maud and Clive tried to protect her from the truth, but then she runs off the social worker who DOES seem to want to acknowledge that Ginny may need some assistance.  I can't figure her out.
 
Ann, bookhunter
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kmensing
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Ch 17

Is anyone else wondering why it was so easy for Ginny to follow Vivi to church. No mention of anxiety or panic attacks. Maybe she isn’t agoraphobic after all.

Ginny lies to make Clive believe she is carrying on his work. Years later he dies, yet Ginny doesn’t give us any insight as to how this affects her, if at all.

Ginny overhears the people in the church praying for her…..wonder why? And we learn that she doesn’t believe in God. Does this shock us?  I'm starting to think that Ginny may not have continued on with Clives work at all.

Why do you think Vivi doesn’t visit the baby’s grave?

Pg 205 “I think it’s your right to know the truth”---finally! Please tell us all the truth! But we end the chapter without any further clues. I get the impression that Ginny really wouldn’t mind the president from the entomological society visiting the house, which surprises me. I would think her anxieties and ocd issues would surface.

Ch 18

Social services tries to check in on Ginny, but Vivi turns their help away. I would think she’d want their help or at the very least their assessment.

The total sense of betrayal Ginny must have felt when Vivi announces that they all knew Maud was beating her. And if Vivi believed that Clive killed Maud--what sense does it make to tell Ginny she is also to blame?

Ch 19

I find Ginny’s memories of Samuel’s death devastating. Vivi’s reaction is shameful and am wondering why, if she thought there was something wrong with Ginny, would she have wanted Ginny to be a surrogate to begin with.

Will Ginny kill Vivi? Say it isn't so!!!!!  I want Ginny to be the innocent one!  LOL!  At this point, the suspense is killing me!

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kmensing
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

"""I wonder whether we'll ever find out"""
 
I'm actually keeping track---I have about a dozen unanswered questions so far.  I'm really holding out hope that they're all answered before the end of the story.
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Frank_n_beans
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



Everyman wrote:
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.





I thought that this metaphor could apply to either sister. Both Ginny and Vivi seem like parasites at different times in the novel...
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Frank_n_beans
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I've been wondering the same thing, kmensing. How could Vivi ask her sister to be a surrogate given her mental state?

Although, it's clear that Vivi believes that Ginny was coddled and protected too much..so maybe asking this of Ginny didn't seem like that much of a sacrifice to Vivi??
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renhair
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

On p. 196, Arthur describes the baby as wise and Ginny wanted to remember him that way to block out the purple.  I don't think that it was a maternal thing of remembering her lost child.  I don't think she had the capacity for that until much later - when Vivi walked past the grave without any acknowlegment.  I don't think Vivi every recognized the baby....not necessarily forgotten, but not ever acknowledged.  I don't believe that the baby was ever real to Vivi as he never lived.  Odd, as I have close friends who have miscarried and still rememberd the child, but Vivi didn't have that experience....that maternal tie.  ARthur was different.  He was a part of the child...from conception to birth to death. 
 
Outside the church was interesting to me....made me wonder what happened that turned Ginny from church or was it just her scientific mind that wouldn't let her accept the concept of a greater being????
 
I believe the lunch was definitely to call Ginny's bluff....no question in my mind.

KxBurns wrote:

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?

 

 



Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-11-2008 02:31 PM


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renhair
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Really didn't like that....it felt a bit like a bait and switch.  I know it's supposted to keep us reading, but I found it extremely frustrating!

Everyman wrote:
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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renhair
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

My exact question when I read that passage.  It's possible that she's someone from their youth.  Vivi does say something about Eileen living in the house that her mother had.  Nonetheless, she kind of came out of nowhere and there didn't seem to be any real framework or purpose...

Everyman wrote:
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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pigwidgeon
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

When Ginny said, "Our family has had an intense distrust, a fear even, of social workers. I heard Maud complain more than once that they were meddlesome people, though I can't think she had many dealing with them... She was also most vociferously opposed to the new lunatic asylums that were opened in the fifties, which she said social workers had helped fill with misfits just after the war"(210), I had a couple thoughts. Ginny definitely has some sort of mental or emotional problems, and there had been pressure in the past to commit Ginny. Also, I though that there must have been some sort mental illness that ran in Maud's family, as the family almost "feared" social workers. They must have been prowling around for generations! It also shows how much Ginny doesn't know, as she thinks Maud must not have had many dealings with social workers, yet she has heard Maud speak of them on more than one occasion, and the family's reaction is so "intense".

On page 214, Ginny says that "If you ask me, these leaflets are too quick to label people". What would Ginny have thought of this group as we were reading the first few chapters? We still don't have a true "diagnosis" of what is different about Ginny. From this comment, I think we won't have a concrete "label" at the end of the story.

"Suddenly I can see how dangerous such secrets can be. You keep them to protect people, but in the end they are even more destructive."(219) THIS, I believe, is the moral of the story. How sad that it took Ginny this long to figure that out. Had she learned this before Maud's downward spiral, she may have asked her family for help, and I think, that had she asked (and put them all on the spot), they would have answered.

In chapter 18, Ginny hears from Vivi, the words that will change her forever, "I fell out with Clive because in the end the bastard went for the most convenient solution. He pushed her down those steps to stop her from beating you. Because she nearly killed you, because she probably would have killed you. But he didn't have the patience or the time to sort out her drinking. He discarded her as if she was a specimen he didn't need anymore."(221) I think, in this novel anyway, truer words have never been spoken. Sadly, Ginny realized that everyone (including Arthur) knew that Maud was beating her, and did NOTHING! How must she have felt, knowing for certain that her family had let her down for so long? Disappointed isn't a strong enough word, betrayed maybe? I think the thing about this particular truth from Vivi, is that she actually "spoke Ginny's language". She used metaphors that Ginny could relate to and understand. This (relating life to moth work)is exactly how Ginny needed to hear this information for it to truly be heard. I believe this is a big part of what sends Ginny a-kilter in the next chapter.
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detailmuse
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Considering Vivi's (non-)reaction at the baby's birth and death, and her (non-)reaction at the baby's gravesite -- what explains her carrying the photo of her "pregnant" self with her ex-husband? Was it just a reminder of better times?
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pigwidgeon
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I know many of you have said that you found NO humor in this book, and these are a few chapters with some dark subject matter. Just a few things I found funny to lighten up the mood a bit (comic relief if you will).

"'And why do you want her?' Vivien asks loudly, as if to make clear that she won't enter into covert whispering with Social Services."(211) Wouldn't want anyone catching you, watch your back! :smileyhappy:

"Like Mr. Bernardo-remember? He was often caught fishing in his underpants. Someone would just take him home again and point to the wardrobe-"(215) The lack of punctuation is disconcerting to me: Was he fishing, in his underpants (with a pole and a line and a hook and some water)? or fishing in his underpants (far less humorous, but you don't want people doing that in public either)? I'm pulling for the first option. PLEASE! Punctuation makes a big difference......

I hope everyone is balancing out this darkly themed material with some comedy (I recommend Steve Martin, he's my fav) :smileyvery-happy:
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detailmuse
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

It was also in those early chapters that we saw the ever-present chemicals in the car. When I saw the chemicals again in Ch.19, it made me wonder if Ginny had some early brain damage from chemical exposure -- damage to the social/behavioral centers, not intellectual.

pigwidgeon wrote:
On page 214, Ginny says that "If you ask me, these leaflets are too quick to label people". What would Ginny have thought of this group as we were reading the first few chapters? We still don't have a true "diagnosis" of what is different about Ginny. From this comment, I think we won't have a concrete "label" at the end of the story.


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pheath
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Chapter 17: A Prayer

I find the account of Vivi's behavior with respect to the birth and death of Samuel strange, but I wonder if we have some reliability issues with the narrator to factor in? Other than when she is quoted, we do not have any insight from Vivi herself. That is one of the limitations of a first person narrative. I would like to have had insight on this from Vivi's point of view. I do think that passing Samuel's grave is consistent with how Ginny says she reacted at the time of his birth and death.

Chapter 18: The Bobble-Hat Woman and the Leaflets

I do think that Vivi's version of the events is closer to the truth; however, she wasn't there either. It does seem to fit better with her highly confrontational return and visit with Clive after Maud's death. I think that both her reaction then and her telling of the events to Ginny now strongly reflect the division of sides in this family of four. She was furious with Clive for killing Maud, and now she is here to wound Ginny, who she relates to Clive, after all these years - that's my theory anyway.

Chapter 19: The Moth Hunter

Given that we are fairly certain that Ginny had some form of mental illness, I think that the revelation in the previous chapter was truly a catastrophic moment for her. It would be difficult for a "normal" person, but we see at the end of the chapter that she has chosen how she is going to channel the tempest of emotions that Vivi unleashed. I found it very hard to put the book down after this chapter.
-Philip
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mntdew
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

[ Edited ]


kmensing wrote:
"""I wonder whether we'll ever find out"""
 
I'm actually keeping track---I have about a dozen unanswered questions so far.  I'm really holding out hope that they're all answered before the end of the story.


Every chapter leads to more & more questions - we're running out of pages to have them all answered!  How frustrating!


Message Edited by mntdew on 03-11-2008 09:34 PM
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pheath
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Ok, here's a theory. Vivi initially suspected Ginny of being the one to push Maud. Could it be that she does this because Ginny actually did push her off of the bell tower? Could it further be the case that Vivi has returned now for the purpose of bringing Ginny's world crashing down with the truth out of revenge for the childhood "crime"? I'm not 100% sold on this, but I thought it would be interesting to put out for discussion.
-Philip
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Everyman
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I have been collecting my unanswered questions, too. Unless there is a pretty major Agatha-Christie style "all iis revealed" session at the end, I don't see how they can all get answered. But we'll see.

But if they aren't, I'm sure going to post my list to Poppy and ask her for the answers! Hope others do the same.

>

kmensing wrote:
"""I wonder whether we'll ever find out"""
I'm actually keeping track---I have about a dozen unanswered questions so far. I'm really holding out hope that they're all answered before the end of the story.



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I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Everyman
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

That's a really great question. She had the locket and picture there forty or so years after the baby's death andher divorce from Arthur. Why?


detailmuse wrote:
Considering Vivi's (non-)reaction at the baby's birth and death, and her (non-)reaction at the baby's gravesite -- what explains her carrying the photo of her "pregnant" self with her ex-husband? Was it just a reminder of better times?



_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
CAG
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CAG
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I do like your observation-"Ginny is emerging from a cocoon that has surrounded her since birth." I think you are right on.
 
I think Vivi did forget the baby or at least tried to as the whole thing must have been an uncomfortable situation for her and her husband at the time. I see her as thinking/feeling the baby died and let me go about my life as if nothing happened-it would be the easiest road out of this unfortunate event. I think Ginny's response to Samuel's death is only because of her bitterness to Vivi. I don't think Ginny felt much of anything at the time the baby died-she may have seen it as a sort of clinical experience.

psujulie wrote:


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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