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blkeyesuzi
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

[ Edited ]

renhair wrote:
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.







I felt the same way...as if the author didn't want to commit to anything. This book has done nothing to answer a single question. I'm not asking to be spoon fed, just to enjoy a satisfying read.

Message Edited by blkeyesuzi on 03-11-2008 08:29 PM
Suzi

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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

SO many good questions, kmensing...

kmensing wrote:

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.

(SNIP!)

My thoughts on your questions:
 
I don't think she has panic attacks, or agoraphobia.  She has been outside before, and been to conferences with Clive.  I think it is the social interaction and social cues she has problems with.
 
Ginny only does what Ginny is TOLD to do.  Ginny only feels what Ginny is TOLD to feel.  She doesn't continue Clive's work because she really can't.  She was just his assistant.  She makes up things to tell him on the few times she goes to visit.
 
I think she doesn't believe in God because Clive didn't.  I am assuming that, based on his comments at the conference--arguing that we are only the sum of our chemical parts or something like that.  If someone along the way had taken her to church and told her to believe in God, she would have.  She spent all her time with clive, so he was the greatest influence on her thinking.
 
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KxBurns
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



renhair wrote:
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?




I think she's just a friend Vivi made at the pub...  
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



kmensing wrote:

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?


It is really ironic to me that Vivi turns away the social service worker who wants to acknowledge that Ginny probably NEEDS help.  Vivi tells Ginny it is time she learn the truth about her shortcomings, but certainly doesn't want some SOCIAL WORKER telling her that!  Keep it all in the family!
 
 
And I wonder if it is really "betrayal" that Ginny feels.  I think it is more that Vivi has upset her ordered way of thinking.  Ginny had it all worked out in her head how it had happened, and now Vivi comes along and spoils that picture.  That is what throws Ginny into turmoil, I think.
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



KxBurns wrote:


renhair wrote:
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?




I think she's just a friend Vivi made at the pub...



Did I miss a pub visit? When did this happen?
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



kmensing wrote:

...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!



This is heartbreaking to me, too!  I want to sympathize with Ginny and enjoy her unique outlook on her life.  If she is going to kill Vivi, then I can't feel that way. 
 
And I do not fully understand why she wants to kill Vivi.  I guess that Vivi has upset her ordered, rational perception of Maud's death and Clive's part in it. 
 
I have really tried to look at her life through her eyes, and have understood everything up to this point.  Why does Vivi have to go?  It seems that it is because Vivi did not grieve over the death of Samuel and Ginny thought she should have.  But that doesn't make sense.
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



bookhunter wrote:
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


I think Vivi is dealing with warring emotions. On the one hand, I think she cares about Ginny and genuinely feels the instinct to protect her. At this point in the book, I'm starting to assume that the family never knew for sure what was wrong with Ginny so the desire to protect her from the prying of someone from Social Services makes sense to me.
 
On the other hand, her frustration with Ginny's condition might be understandable if you figure that she does not have a good understanding of her sister's "peculiarities" and might very well just chalk Ginny's oddness up to a willful refusal to participate fully in the world. I mean, both women were raised in this dysfunctional family.
 
Her suggestion that Ginny take a share of the blame for Maud's death is pretty strange, though. I can only interpret it as the result of a lifelong resentment toward Ginny for what Vivi probably perceived as getting away with everything. We still don't know why they got kicked out of school or how much Viv knows about Ginny and Arthur's attachment to each other... I see lots of places for resentment to fester!   
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



renhair wrote:
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.




I kinda feel like we have been given such an intimate look at how Ginny thinks that we don't need to hear what ever Vivi might say.  Do we really need a label?  I have struggled with this through the whole book. 
 
As a group we have all speculated on a wide range of problems she might have, but is that really right for us to do that?
 
Asperger's Syndrome was not recognized until the 80s or 90s as a part of the autistic spectrum, and autism itself was not very widespread at the time Ginny was growing up.  Even OCD or other type disorders are not really recognized until recent years.  So even if that is what we might "label" her today, it might not be what Dr. Moyse would have called it in the 40s and 50s. 
 
Early on in the book when I was reading people saying "WHAT is going on here?" I thought we might benefit from knowing more about a diagnosis for Ginny, but now I am not so sure it would really make a difference in how we read the story.
 
Ginny was just Ginny.  Her perspective on her life was what it was--no matter what label we put on it.  Why do we all want someone else to put a a label on it so badly?
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



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.


Me too, pigwidgeon!
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



pheath wrote:
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.


We know that Ginny tunes out the world at times and "plays statues" so it could be that she pushed Vivi without  remembering it.  But it seems to me that everything Ginny has done has followed some sort of "ginny" version of logic.  If that is so, why would she have pushed Vivi off the bell tower?
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



Everyman wrote:
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?





Or maybe it means that Vivi didn't really forget about the baby like Ginny thinks she has.  Vivi remembers and still grieves, but Ginny doesn't perceive it that way.
 
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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 agree -- I don't think we should take Ginny's reading of Vivi's demeanor and emotions at the grave as fact. Maybe Vivi became better at masking her emotions behind a blank face than Ginny thought she was? Or maybe Vivi really just feels dead inside when she thinks about the baby; something went numb inside of her in the delivery room and she just cannot deal with it. I don't think that indicates a lack of love for the baby.
 
When you think about it, it's almost pointless sometimes to try to guess someone's feelings from their outward demeanor... There are so many reasons why this might not work in any given instance. Do you think the story reinforces or subverts the idea that you can really know what someone thinks or feels if they don't want you to?
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



Everyman wrote:


KxBurns wrote:


renhair wrote:
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?




I think she's just a friend Vivi made at the pub...



Did I miss a pub visit? When did this happen?


Ginny is inept at socialization, and we are being told the story from her perspective.  Eileen could be a friend Vivi made in their youth that Ginny didn't connect with.  Vivi was a lot more "social" than Ginny was.
 
Or she may be someone Vivi just met.  Remember, Everyman, that when Vivi came home that night she smelled of alcohol?  I guess we can assume she had been to a pub.
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

KxBurns wrote:

Chapter 17: A Prayer

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

No, I don't think Vivi forgot about the baby, but I do think she purposely walked past his grave. I believe that once the baby was born imperfect, Vivi simply wrote him off. That is why she did not want to hold the   "purple baby". I also believe that after Ginny could no longer help her, she wrote her off too. I also believe the only reason Vivi returned was to try and make Ginny see that her whole life has been a lie. Ginny was never a famous lepodoptrist. She has never published anything.She didn't publish anything with Clive, and we know she didn't publish anything after Clive left. Ginny never refers to any of her studies. Only Clive's. She was simply led to believe she was doing something to have a purpose. This is why Maude became upset with her. Ginny had a bond with Clive that Maude could never share. When Clive and Ginny do their "studies", it makes Maude feel like Ginny has stolen Clive away. And Maude knows that Ginny will never leave.

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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

With chapter 17  I found it strange that Vi did not mourn Samuel.  We did not glimpse very much about the relationship between Ginny and Vi.  Did Vi see Ginny alot doing the pregnancy, I don't think so.  Was Vi jealous of the relationship between Ginny and her husband.  It seemed that the only one who really cared about the baby was VI husband.
As to the lunch, I am not sure of what Vi motive was.  I guess we all know that she did not think much about the moths and all the research Ginny and Clive did.  She may have been jealous of their relationship, but I think that she left by then and did nott come back home much.  Maybe she thinks something is wrong with Ginny I know she stated they were are wrong about you and wanted to shake Ginny up to come ti her senses.  (stop following Vi around, OCT's maybe)
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



DSaff wrote:
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!

I think one of the reason's Ginny doesn't hold him is the promise she made to both Vivi and Arthur that she wouldn't think of the baby as her's.  As we can see in the quote above, there were definitely strong feelings for him, but Ginny is one to keep her promises, just as she does for her mom.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



bookhunter wrote:

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


I think Vivi feels that she's Ginny's protector, just as Ginny feels that she is Vivi's protector...I don't know how much love is in those feelings, but they both want to save the other.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



Frank_n_beans wrote:
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??


I think Vivi asked because of Ginny's mental state.  The family has tended to believe that she doesn't have emotions and who better to be a surrogate than someone who one doesn't think will get attached.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



bookhunter wrote:


renhair wrote:
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.




I kinda feel like we have been given such an intimate look at how Ginny thinks that we don't need to hear what ever Vivi might say. Do we really need a label? I have struggled with this through the whole book.
As a group we have all speculated on a wide range of problems she might have, but is that really right for us to do that?
Asperger's Syndrome was not recognized until the 80s or 90s as a part of the autistic spectrum, and autism itself was not very widespread at the time Ginny was growing up. Even OCD or other type disorders are not really recognized until recent years. So even if that is what we might "label" her today, it might not be what Dr. Moyse would have called it in the 40s and 50s.
Early on in the book when I was reading people saying "WHAT is going on here?" I thought we might benefit from knowing more about a diagnosis for Ginny, but now I am not so sure it would really make a difference in how we read the story.
Ginny was just Ginny. Her perspective on her life was what it was--no matter what label we put on it. Why do we all want someone else to put a a label on it so badly?
Ann, bookhunter



I think it might at least be helpful to know what the family thought her problem was. Obviously Vivi has her ideas, since she tells Ginny, though we don't hear it because Ginny blanks it out. But clearly the family had discussed it, and presumably Dr. Moyse had some idea which he presumably shared at least with Maud and Clive and maybe they with Vivi. I would like at least to know what Vivi would have said the problem was.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



renhair wrote:
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?

Yeah, she kind of came out of nowhere...



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