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BookSavage
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



bookhunter wrote:

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.
 
Ann, bookhunter


Vivi has to go because she has ruined Ginny's perception of life.  Ginny feels like with the revelations made in these chapters that Vivi does not love her the way that she thought she did.  Ginny has always had this sense that they loved each other with a "twinlike" love, and now that is gone.
 
I do find it interesting that when Vivi is talking about the death of Maud, that she says that Clive just killed her because it was the most convenient way.  He refused to deal with her drinking and work with it, he instead just gets rid of her.  The apple does not fall far from the tree does it?
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BookSavage
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

The biggest problem that I had with these chapters was what I found to be a weakness in Adam's writing.  Let me see if I can get it presented in a way that makes sense.
 
First of all, we know that Ginny is an unreliable narrator.  We know that she presents things to us in a way that she percieves them and not in a way that is necessarily accurate to what actually happened. 
 
Second, when we read the description of Maud's death as told by Ginny, almost all of the people on this board had no doubt that Clive pushed or at least setup Maud's death.  It seemed apparent from Ginny's description of the scene that this was not an accident.
 
Third, when Vivi relates these same facts to Ginny, Ginny is completely taken aback by the accusations.  Therefore, I assume that she really does believe that Maud just fell down the stairs.
 
If all of the above statements are true, then I have a problem with the fact that Adams did not present Maud's death in a way that would match up better with Ginny's perception.  The only other possibility I have is that Ginny knew all along that Clive killed Maud, but that would mean that she was much more perceptive then what Adam's has portrayed her to be.  Either way I feel like this is a weakness in the novel.
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KxBurns
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

[ Edited ]


Carmenere_lady wrote:
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





I wonder if the statement you quoted perhaps the authorial voice weighing in? We should ask Poppy!  :smileyhappy:


Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-14-2008 12:14 PM
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Readingrat
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Well Ginny is certainly turning out to be her father's daughter isn't she?
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dewgirl
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19


bookhunter wrote:
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





Very well said, Ann. I agree, however, I was a little disappointed when Ginny retreated into her "place" and we realized that Vivi has told her the truth and we do not find out what that is. Ginny is just Ginny, quirks and all. Plus we are only seeing it from Ginny's perspective so it may be tainted.
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nfam
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

In these chapters we finally see that Ginny has not been giving us an accurate picture of the world. Clearly she is not an expert. At best she helped Clive collect specimens and control the conditions for pupation. I wonder what Clive thought about her view of the world. In that passage we also have a clear view that Ginny is more than capable of lying and knowing that she is.

I find the scene with the baby much more difficult. The way the conversation between Arthur and Vivi is written it sounds as though it were her baby. I'm still not convinced that Ginny carried the baby it could be like her view of herself as a scientist. I still can't imagine Arthur and Vivi using Ginny who is obviously mentally defective in some way to carry a child that they wanted to raise. To me, the risk of repeating Ginny's mental condition is too great.

Finally we see Ginny doing what she has probably done all along when people pressed her too hard. She's going to kill Vivi. I still see her as the giant caterpillar being taken care of by her family, fattening on them and they killing them all in one way or another. Ginny is a very scary lady.
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nfam
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I have to agree with Booksavage. The characterization in this novel is very weak. I don't think the author ever took the time to write a back story and as a result we get different pictures of the events as we move through the book. The writing is very weak. I guess the editor found the moths so attractive she missed the more obvious problems with the humans.
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Everyman
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

And the fact that she wasn't the expert she claims to be is perhaps exemplified by the need for Clive to leave such specific instructions on each cage or jar. If she had been an expert, she would have known all this and wouldn't need all the detailed instructions.

nfam wrote:
In these chapters we finally see that Ginny has not been giving us an accurate picture of the world. Clearly she is not an expert. At best she helped Clive collect specimens and control the conditions for pupation. I wonder what Clive thought about her view of the world. In that passage we also have a clear view that Ginny is more than capable of lying and knowing that she is.

I find the scene with the baby much more difficult. The way the conversation between Arthur and Vivi is written it sounds as though it were her baby. I'm still not convinced that Ginny carried the baby it could be like her view of herself as a scientist. I still can't imagine Arthur and Vivi using Ginny who is obviously mentally defective in some way to carry a child that they wanted to raise. To me, the risk of repeating Ginny's mental condition is too great.

Finally we see Ginny doing what she has probably done all along when people pressed her too hard. She's going to kill Vivi. I still see her as the giant caterpillar being taken care of by her family, fattening on them and they killing them all in one way or another. Ginny is a very scary lady.


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bookhunter
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



BookSavage wrote:
The biggest problem that I had with these chapters was what I found to be a weakness in Adam's writing.  Let me see if I can get it presented in a way that makes sense.
 
First of all, we know that Ginny is an unreliable narrator.  We know that she presents things to us in a way that she percieves them and not in a way that is necessarily accurate to what actually happened. 
 
Second, when we read the description of Maud's death as told by Ginny, almost all of the people on this board had no doubt that Clive pushed or at least setup Maud's death.  It seemed apparent from Ginny's description of the scene that this was not an accident.
 
Third, when Vivi relates these same facts to Ginny, Ginny is completely taken aback by the accusations.  Therefore, I assume that she really does believe that Maud just fell down the stairs.
 
If all of the above statements are true, then I have a problem with the fact that Adams did not present Maud's death in a way that would match up better with Ginny's perception.  The only other possibility I have is that Ginny knew all along that Clive killed Maud, but that would mean that she was much more perceptive then what Adam's has portrayed her to be.  Either way I feel like this is a weakness in the novel.



BookSavage, I think that by the time we got to Maud's death we were pretty much aware that Ginny is an unreliable narrator, like you said.  So when we read her description of what happened, we automatically questioned her perception of it.  WE could see past her description and tell that there was probably more to the story, but Ginny could not.  Clive told her Maud fell down the stairs and Ginny did not question it.  The skepticism of us readers is heightened, I think, by the fact that we are discussing and analyzing as we go along.
 
But I wonder what Ms. Adams intent was?  Did she want us to think as Ginny thought--that Maud fell?  or did she want us to suspect that Ginny was wrong?  If we are accepting Ginny's view, then we would be sympathetic with her when Vivi confronts her with "the truth."  But since we were suspicious all along, we are more sympathetic with Vivi, maybe.
 
Ann, bookhunter
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bookhunter
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19





Carmenere_lady wrote:
...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:
...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


KxBurns wrote:
I wonder if the statement you quoted perhaps the authorial voice weighing in? We should ask Poppy!  :smileyhappy:



That would be OK with me--I just hope it is not the author speaking when Clive tells the lecture audience that we have no purpose in life and are directed only by chemical reactions!:smileysurprised:
 
Ann, bookhunter
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bookhunter
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

One of my favorite scenes in the book is Ginny walking up to the attic and into the lab.  Reading the descriptions of all the old musty cages with the decay and aging of the attic made me sneeze!  Can you imagine the smell?
 
Just like Ginny's memories that were as neat and specific as all Clive's notes, the attic is destroyed by the passage of time--the roof is falling in and everything is decaying.  The "truth" has moved out and now Ginny has bats in her belfry!
 
I know books do not always transate well into movies, and this one with Ginny's first person narration would be especially difficult, but I sure would like to see that one part filmed!  And the movie should include the backflash to the working lab, complete with all the crunching and munching sounds of emerging moths!
 
Ann, bookhunter
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grapes
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I have just finished chapter 19. This chapter is really upsetting. Knowing that Ginny is going to use her scientific knowlege to murder Vivi is insupportable, cruel and monstrous. Like any cunning murderer she lists the reasons why she has the "right" to take a life. To Ginny, I think, she is going to kill Vivi with the Cyanide because Vivi didn't love her son. She thinks of Vivi as selfish. This gives her the right to erase a life from the earth. What a sick woman!! What I want to know is for how many years did Ginny hate her sister? From the very beginning? I say yes.
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Jaelin
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

Chapter 17

 

Many things begin to change in the lives of Vivi and Ginny.  Arthur wants a child and loves that child.  Vivi who, at least as far as we know, was never really involved with the Pregnancy didn’t have the connection that Ginny and Arthur did so she would not have had the connection that they did.  Does this absolve her for forgetting a child that would have been hers?  Does she feel that if she can ignore the child that maybe she can forget Arthur as well?  They did divorce not long after.  Did Maud’s death on top of the Pregnancy  and then death of the child push Vivi along another path that Ginny doesn’t tell us about? 

 

Clive is now really out of the picture at this point.  Ginny as I mentioned in my other post for Chapter 14-16 finally got to get away from the profession that had been chosen for her not by her.  That she may or may not have continued in research is up in the air.  She may have continued for a while to make ends meet and to make her mark as he did though I can’t see her continuing on in the field very extensively since she doesn’t go to ask Clive for any advice on her research.  Did she just cut him out of her life because she wondered if he had anything to do with Maud’s death or because she was feeling guilty that she had helped Maud conceal it from Clive? 

 

Ginny approaches the world from a practical and logical point of view.  The ants do what needs to be done to survive even if they are “pushed” from an outside source.  Ginny does the same thing.  She looks at what is going on around her and tries to act accordingly.  This may seems weird to others but to her appears normal.  She wants to make everything right and can’t seem to see someone’s point of view since it is so similar to someone else’s. 

 

Ginny seems to think that everyone knows about her that she doesn’t need to add anything to a conversation.  Yet Eileen doesn’t have a clue about Ginny’s profession or accolades.

 

Chapter 18

 

Ginny thinks that Vivi is crazy and that none of this could have happened the way it did.  That Vivi knew everything was something that  Ginny never conceived of.  As I mentioned above she looked at things from a certain point of view and that Vivi now turned that view upside down she didn’t know what to think.  She was shocked that someone could or would tell her that she was wrong on her view.  That everyone knew was something that  was not acceptable to her and I think she feels that Vivi has had to much time to work things out and see begins to resent her sister.  The only way for her to think is to escape in the only way she knows how, into herself.

 

Chapter 19

I agree with you.  Ginny finally seems to begin to grow and see things as they were suppose to be.  She see’s Samuel as a part of her and in doing so begins to mourn.  She, I think, even begins to mourn Clive and Maud and this is where she begins to wonder what she could have done differently.

 

As I have been saying all along I think that Ginny is very, very smart.  She can remember the poisons as if it were yesterday right along with all her memories of incidents that happened over 50 years ago.  This does not strike me as person who has a “mental” condition of any kind.  That they thought she did may show that they did not how to act around someone who was “gifted” or a genius.  They may have thought that she had a mental disorder because she could out think them.

 

You can begin to see by the end of this chapter where Ginny is going and even if she is very smart you begin to see that the information that Vivi has told her has finally sent her over the edge.  The view that she had of the world that she had has changed and she can’t handle that change.  I think that this is more to do with the way the family dealt with Ginny.  Had they treated her more like a person with intelligence and not like a baby she may have turned out differently.

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That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed in profit.
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Jennd1
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

I don't think Vivi could have just forgotten her baby. My bet is that Ginny and Vivi both blocked out their memories of the pregnancy and Samuel as a way for them to cope. I think Ginny's anger with Vivi brings the memories back to Ginny and she finally understands what Arthur was trying to tell her all those years ago. Perhaps she was so wrapped up in her own feelings at the time that she truly did not understand him at the time.

Jenn D
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Lildove3
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19

To sum up 17-19 It was very strange chapters...in 17 it clearly states Vivi only seen Ginny only twice through
the whole pregnancy..which I found that a  very cold feeling and also when Vivi ignored thebaby's grave site.
 
In chapter 18...it was about time Ginny told Vivi off...Vivi was so cold to most of the family members,including
to Ginny...after all she did the ultimate thing for her..which was to have a child and Ginny treated her like a nobody.
 
In chapter 19..You kind of known Ginny was gong to do something...of course it didn't become obvious
until the last two pages of the chapter, what her intentions could lead up to.
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BookSavage
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



grapes wrote:
I have just finished chapter 19. This chapter is really upsetting. Knowing that Ginny is going to use her scientific knowlege to murder Vivi is insupportable, cruel and monstrous. Like any cunning murderer she lists the reasons why she has the "right" to take a life. To Ginny, I think, she is going to kill Vivi with the Cyanide because Vivi didn't love her son. She thinks of Vivi as selfish. This gives her the right to erase a life from the earth. What a sick woman!! What I want to know is for how many years did Ginny hate her sister? From the very beginning? I say yes.



I am really bothered by the though that Ginny hated Vivi from the very beginning.  I don't see any evidence for that anywhere in the novel, and despite having an unreliable narrator we got evidence for most things in some way or another.  I really believe that Ginny did not start disliking Vivi until she found out that Vivi did not love her.  I have a real problem with changing Ginny from someone with a mental condition to someone who hates.  If you have ever been around children with mental conditions you know that the world revolves around them loving other people and expecting other people to love them.
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fordmg
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



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 thought it was Arthur who described the baby as wise.  They Ginny latched on to that.

MG

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KxBurns
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



bookhunter wrote:
One of my favorite scenes in the book is Ginny walking up to the attic and into the lab.  Reading the descriptions of all the old musty cages with the decay and aging of the attic made me sneeze!  Can you imagine the smell?
 
Just like Ginny's memories that were as neat and specific as all Clive's notes, the attic is destroyed by the passage of time--the roof is falling in and everything is decaying.  The "truth" has moved out and now Ginny has bats in her belfry!
 
I know books do not always transate well into movies, and this one with Ginny's first person narration would be especially difficult, but I sure would like to see that one part filmed!  And the movie should include the backflash to the working lab, complete with all the crunching and munching sounds of emerging moths!
 
Ann, bookhunter


Great comparison between the attic and the state of Ginny's mind! And how chilling that the resources (both the poison and the cold-blooded logical thinking) are there when Ginny needs them.
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fordmg
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



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.

Yes, I feel cheated.  There is no closure with this book.
MG
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KxBurns
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Re: Sunday: Chapters 17 through 19



fordmg wrote:


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.

Yes, I feel cheated.  There is no closure with this book.
MG


I'm being contrarian here, but is there really anything Vivi could have told us -- a name that she could have put to Ginny's condition -- that would have surprised us? I think we already have it pretty well figured out. Maybe the most illuminating thing is that Ginny drowns her out by retreating to her special place, thereby confirming what we've known all along about her mental state. It's sort of a "show, don't tell" moment, isn't it?
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