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grapes
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



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 missed this part too. Who is Eileen? Is she Vivi's friend, or is she Ginny's childhood friend? Her sudden visit confused me. I don't remember her being mentioned earlier. Neither do I feel much explanation is given in the present chapter about her. I didn't know how to feel about her. Her name leaves a big question mark in my mind.
 
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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.

I don't see why Vivi is so rude with the woman. She is volunteering her time. The bobble hatted lady knows more about Ginny's living conditions than Vivi. She quickly says that the house isn't centrally heated. She fears that Ginny might have gone without heating during the cold months. I only see deep concern.
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



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.

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!



 
Ginny following Vivi to church and hiding behind her in the grassy area seems really weird to me. 
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



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.


 
Sometimes Ginny's behavior seems very bizarre. At other times, her inner thoughts seem very intelligent and insightful. Do others feel this way?
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19




renhair wrote:
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




I think the sight of the baby, the coloring, knowing it was stillborn, sent Vivi in to shock. She really, really did want a baby. Wanting a child so badly and seeing the baby die like that just totally freaked her out. At that moment the pain was too much. I think she detached herself. She decided to put the whole baby episode behind her. The memory was just too painful.
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



grapes wrote:


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.

I don't see why Vivi is so rude with the woman. She is volunteering her time. The bobble hatted lady knows more about Ginny's living conditions than Vivi. She quickly says that the house isn't centrally heated. She fears that Ginny might have gone without heating during the cold months. I only see deep concern.
 
Grapes



I think Vivi's reaction is normal.  In my experience with friends and relatives who have a special needs family member, the family tries to find a balance between advocating for that person and what ever he/she needs, and "being normal," or protecting the person from the outside world. 
 
One minute Vivi is trying to make Ginny see that her perspecive on events is abnormal and that she has some sort of "condition", and the next protecting her from an "outsider" who is, in Vivi's view, meddling in a family concern.
 
On 217 Vivi says "I can protect you from other people but not from the truth."
 
Ann, bookhunter
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



grapes wrote:


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.


 
Sometimes Ginny's behavior seems very bizarre. At other times, her inner thoughts seem very intelligent and insightful. Do others feel this way?
 
Grapes




Grapes, you have hit on one of the things I LOVE about the book--the difference between Ginny's thoughts that we are able to see and the actual words she speaks to the rest of the world.  We see an articulate and thoughtful person, but what Vivi sees and hears is completely different.
 
The way Ms. Adams has written it, the switch back and forth between what we see in Ginny's head and what the rest of the world sees is very subtle and that is why it takes us so long into the book to decide that something is not quite right with Ginny.  And we still don't know WHAT is not quite right!
 
Look at, for example, Eileen's visit and put yourself in Eileen's shoes. (p 197-202ish)  She thinks Eileen must be deaf, so she is speaking slowly and loudly, thumping her chest.  What a hoot!  Then she drifts off in thought, staring at the marble fireplace just over Eileen's shoulder.  Eileen probably thought she was staring right at her the whole time.  When Vivi leaves, according to Ginny they are comfortable in the silence with each other, but Eileen is OBVIOUSLY not!
 
Throughout the whole book I was chuckling at this disconnect between Ginny as we know her and Ginny as the world must see her.  It was funny to me right up until she picked up that bottle of cyanide. 
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Ann 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, I think that Vivi does care, but it's not necessarily about Ginny's living situation or her health for that matter...she really feels that Ginny needs to know the truth about herself and maybe some of the things that happened as she grew up...I remember Vivi saying something similar in Ginny's recollection of thier childhood "adventures"...I can't remember what page or chapter though...I think it was in Chapters 10-13m somewhere...Vivi always felt that Maud and Clive protected Ginny too much, even having her become Ginny's caretaker as a child...now that I have read more, I believe that Vivi needed to be there to make sure Ginny didn't get hurt or anything else rather than Ginny, being the oldest, taking care of Vivi...it made me just wonder what exactly were they protecting Ginny from...we suspect that maybe there might be something wrong with her physical appearance or she has a mental disability, but the answer is never really clear...on the other hand, the social worker does care because it is her job to do so...yes, she volunteers her time to do this, but I don't think that she would have willingly gone to visit Ginny if she was not working as the social worker...it seemed like Ginny was a social outcast; no one visited her and she visited no one...what are your thoughts on this?
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



bookhunter wrote:


grapes wrote:
 
I don't see why Vivi is so rude with the woman. She is volunteering her time. The bobble hatted lady knows more about Ginny's living conditions than Vivi. She quickly says that the house isn't centrally heated. She fears that Ginny might have gone without heating during the cold months. I only see deep concern.
 
Grapes



I think Vivi's reaction is normal.  In my experience with friends and relatives who have a special needs family member, the family tries to find a balance between advocating for that person and what ever he/she needs, and "being normal," or protecting the person from the outside world. 
 
One minute Vivi is trying to make Ginny see that her perspecive on events is abnormal and that she has some sort of "condition", and the next protecting her from an "outsider" who is, in Vivi's view, meddling in a family concern.
 
On 217 Vivi says "I can protect you from other people but not from the truth."
 
Ann, bookhunter


Think you hit it on the head, Ann -- well-put  :smileyhappy:
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



grapes wrote:
Sometimes Ginny's behavior seems very bizarre. At other times, her inner thoughts seem very intelligent and insightful. Do others feel this way?

Yes. And I'm not sure whether Ms. Adams does this intentionally to indicate that there are multiple sides to Ginny, that she can drift between madness and apparent normalcy, or whether it's a weakness in Adams's writing that she lets Ginny drift into and out of character.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



SleightGirl wrote:


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.




Not only the promise kept Ginny from holding Samuel, but having her "special" place to escape to. Her emotional closure has opened now!
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



Everyman wrote:


grapes wrote:
Sometimes Ginny's behavior seems very bizarre. At other times, her inner thoughts seem very intelligent and insightful. Do others feel this way?

Yes. And I'm not sure whether Ms. Adams does this intentionally to indicate that there are multiple sides to Ginny, that she can drift between madness and apparent normalcy, or whether it's a weakness in Adams's writing that she lets Ginny drift into and out of character.




I think it is intentional. I would be ironic indeed to write about such methodical characters in an accidental way.
-Philip
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



Tarri wrote:
Although I have questioned this throughout the book, these chapters really make me wonder why Vivi is home. Did she come back to make everyone aware of Ginny's mental illness so that Ginny is institutionalized and Vivi can sell the home? Ginny said that she has had offers on the property, it stands to reason that Vivi would be approached also. Did she come back to push Ginny over the edge? Why else would she invite Eileen to the house? Does Vivi love Ginny or hate her?





I think these questions are so hard to answer partially because of the fact that we're stuck with Ginny's narration. We have spent a lot of time talking about how she has difficulty reading other people (even Vivi--look at how she throws herself into every opportunity for closeness, even when it makes her feel uncomfortable), and I think part of the effect of that difficulty on the novel is precisely this uncertainity--we can look at the way others behave and speculate, but ultimately we have to deduce more on our own because Ginny can only contextualize people and events on her own terms--terms very different from those we generally expect.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Chapter 17

I think that the pregnancy changed the dynamic of Ginny,Vivi, and Arthur because now Ginny is going to use Vivi's husband, Arthur, to make the baby that wasn't possible for Vivi to accomplish. I think that the power is in Ginny's court but not sure she realized it. I don't think that Vivi forgot her baby but instead chose to ignore the baby because she distanced herself from it the minute she knew it wouldn't survive so it wasn't hers.

I was very shocked to find out that she didn't visit her father for 8 years because it seemed like she really was close to him. My thinking is that maybe subconsciously she knew that it was possible he had killed Maud so she couldn't bring herself to go see him.


Chapter 18
I think that the right view is somewhere in the middle. Each has their reasons for giving us their view and wanting us to not judge them harshly. I don't understand how Vivi can hold Ginny responsible since if Ginny is actually mentally impaired then it's not her fault she was born this way.

Chapter 19

Ginny's observation about the life and death of the baby and Vivi's feelings about it seemed to be on target since Vivi never even stopped at the grave of the baby or held him before he died.
These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. From each of them goes out its own voice... and just as the touch of a button on our set will fill the room with music, so by taking down one of these volumes and opening it, one can call into range the voice of a man far distant in time and space, and hear him speaking to us, mind to mind, heart to heart. ~Gilbert Highet
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

All I can add is that in chapter 18 when Vivi was going to reveal more about Ginny and Ginny ran to her mind room and blocked her out I was so frustrated I wanted to cry!!!
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



Everyman wrote:
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.


Thanks for sharing that observation, Everyman.  It really shed a lot of light on the importance of what I originally thought was a throw away character.
Lynda

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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I got a chuckle from this quote on page 215 and I think this is a perfect time to comment on it.  As Ginny looks at her newly delivered selection of senior leaflets including one on Alzheimer's Disease she comments to herself :  "It's obvious no one ever really knows and that they should leave people alone to become old, not tag them with all sorts of mental illnesses."  For better or worse, it appears Ginny would agree with you Ann!  Sometimes, though, I think some people feel more comfortable with something concrete.  As for me, I just wanted to see how Ginny's "ways" would play out at the end.

bookhunter wrote:
 
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



Lynda

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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.


I cannot buy into the theory that Ginny pushed Vivi off the tower.  Although Ginny is not a reliable narrator at all, I still look at what she says on page 227.  I really think despite her problems, that she truly loved each member of her family.
 
"once I thought of a school girl who loved her sister in a way that was inexplicable, twinlike, a visceral connection standing in a wall of solid granite that a lifetime of elements and abuse couldn't scratch. But now I see the granite crumble before my eyes . . . letting out a little puff of steam that was once a driven bond of unshakable love."
 
"I resent Vivien for shattering my illusions, not only of my parents and my life but of her, for making me question her, her love, her loyalty, everything she has ever told me."
 
I believe when Vivi makes Ginny question whether or not her unmoveable love was reciprocated that is just too much to for Ginny to handle.  But as a child and even as an adult, Ginny loves Vivi way too much to do her any harm.
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Chapter 18
                 I think that we get a better insight into Vivi's outlook on what transpired at least with Maud's death.  I always knew that she should have been somewhat aware of the state of the hosue with her husband being there. 
 
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



KxBurns wrote:

I don't think we have any evidence to show that Vivi had Ginny prayed for in church. This is a small community and where probably everyone knows that the woman who occupies the largest house in town, whose mother was once the center of the community and frequently opened the doors of their home to others, is a total recluse. That is reason enough for me to assume that the congregation itself has chosen to pray for Ginny and has probably been doing so for some time.


I agree with you 100%.  There is no evidence that this church has not been praying for Ginny every since Clive died.  If they are aware of her condition and that she is living on her own, it would not be unusual at all for them to mention her on a regular basis.
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