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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today

But she does know what happened on the Bell Tower, and are we sure we got the full story there?

renhair wrote:
Something you said here just cleared things up for me.....this is why we don't get all the answers. Ginny doesn't have them and she's the one telling us the story. It would be extremely odd for another narrator to come in now with a "What Ginny didn't tell you" chapter.....
Perfectly clear to me now, and in fact, I think it makes me like the book more....

pa1822 wrote:
I don't necessarily agree that Ginny is an unsatisfactory narrator. Maybe instead we are only meant to witness events as filtered through the mind of someone with some kind of mental deficiency. We aren't told what the deficiency is, or other facts we would like to know, because Ginny herself doesn't know, or ackowledge them.
To me, it is interesting trying to figure it out, she doesn't feel normal emotion, but isn't a sociopath. She thinks she knows right from wrong, but what she's really feeling is a need for structure and order. Structure and order is right to her and anything else is wrong. When her sister started to tell the truth about Ginny's "peculiarities" and how they affected the family, that disrupted what Ginny knew about the structure and order of her whole life. I think it was intolerable to her, and that was the catalyst for her deciding to kill Vivien.






_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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readerbynight
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎09-07-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today



bookhunter wrote:


readerbynight wrote:
Apparently I misunderstood what I was supposed to be doing with this book, and have not been in this discussion at all. Instead I read the whole book and wrote a review. Now I'm unsure what I should do about it...

Readerbynight! Jump in--the water is fine! You are not too late at all to chime in. I think you are right that a review needs to not give away "spoilers." What is nice about participating at this point is that in this thread we have all finished the book and there is nothing to spoil.
So what do you think of Ginny? Did she kill Maud? Did she push Vivi off the bell tower? Why do you think Vivi came back? Did you like all the "moth talk?" These are the burning questions!
Karen will probably start a folder soon for us to post our reviews, so hang on to yours until then.
Ann, bookhunter





What do I think of Ginny? The story was told from Ginny's mind almost entirely and her perhaps faulty memory. She possibly is a savant, possibly autistic but there seems to be more. She is unable to articulate whatever emotions she may have. A telling sentence is in Chapter 2. Maude hysterically says "It's all my fault. I thought we could be a normal family." This would tend to make me wonder if she believes Ginny pushed her sister. But that is followed by "Her sister's dying... She's not even crying... She stood there staring at the shrubs." Now, this could change what I think, because we already are beginning to learn that Ginny is incapable of showing emotion. So though everyone gives the reader the feeling that she may have pushed Vivi from the tower, my thought was always that she hadn't. Trying to recapture a piece of toast is not something that Vivi would be trying to do if she had been pushed, but could easily by accident not realize at first that she is falling. However, it is not certain either way.
Did she kill Maud? I think she may have left the door unlocked, possibly even slightly open, but it is not the type of action I would expect from her. I would expect something more in keeping with poison in her drink because it would connect more with her work with the moths which, though in early apprenticeship, she had watched her father working with for years. Perhaps though she did use poison, perhaps over a period of time. At that point, leaving the door unlocked would be a backup to an expected overdose. On the other hand, Maude had changed so vastly, and destructively, I can see Clive taking advantage of an opportunity to protect his protege daughter. Again, not certain enough. Why did Vivi come back? I think she wanted a connection with her mother, even if it is just through familiar things. I find this one of the more puzzling aspects of the book. I'm also not convinced that Vivi didn't also have mental problems, but not the same as Ginny. Something was different about her, too, although we get that mostly from Ginny's thoughts. I think the "searching" aspect was still related to trying to find her mother emotionally. But in the end I think Vivi had all the answers and Ginny realized it. Did I like all the moth talk? Well, I think it was important to the story, especially how the larvae and moths were treated, I think it's the basis of what Ginny is all about. Actually, though I've never given thought to moths except to keep them out of my house, I found a lot of it interesting. But it was also important in what happened to Maude who virtually lived alone in the house with two other occupants who weren't there for her.
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
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Re: Tuesday and Today

This may be an unfair. and probably unanswerable, question, but if so, so be it. I think I read that The Sister was one of this editor's first books to select and edit to press. If this is the case, I wonder whether, if she had had ten years more experience under her belt, she would have selected this book to edit and publish.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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LeftBrainer
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today

When I finished the bood a week ago, I was disappointed in the ending, so many questions went unanswered.  My opinion has mellowed in the last week.  The cannibal catepillar is the theme I like now.  I am looking forward to hearing /reading Ms Adams responses to our questions.
Nancy
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paula_02912
Posts: 492
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today

BethD wrote: "But not purposely harming others.  But maybe that's the point - the bulbous caterpillar is just existing, not recognizing the destruction it causes, and neither does Ginny - she is just being herself.  Her family did seem to be protecting her, given the difference in treatment of Vivi and Ginny by their parents, and Vivi's comments later in the book.  However, I would have liked a little more about why Maud felt Ginny ruined her life, as she would accuse during her drunken rages. 
 
Maybe Michael was an ant, supplying Ginny-the-caterpillar's basic food and shelter needs."
 
Beth, I like your explanation supporting your theory that Ginny didn't purposely harm people...it makes a lot of sense, because, you are right, she doesn't seem to recognize her own actions, even trying to rationalize how she is NOT a murderer...great reading here...I would also like to know more about why Maud felt that Ginny ruined her life...I wish that Ms. Adams fleshed that storyline out some more...I would also like to have learned a little more about why Maud lamented the fact that she thought they "could be a normal family."
 
Nice answer to my question about Michael's purpose in the entire story...I like the fact that he can be representative of the ant, who is scrambling to supply food and build a nest for the bulbous caterpillar...unwittingly? I asked Ms. Adams this question...we will see if your reading is the right one...it makes a lot of sense though...
Peace and love,
Paula R.

"Adversity causes some people to break, but causes others to break records."

Author Unknown
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momgee
Posts: 584
Registered: ‎07-24-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today



Everyman wrote:
This may be an unfair. and probably unanswerable, question, but if so, so be it. I think I read that The Sister was one of this editor's first books to select and edit to press. If this is the case, I wonder whether, if she had had ten years more experience under her belt, she would have selected this book to edit and publish.

  Doesn't sound like she is a newbie unless this is yet another Carole Baron
  Carole Baron Joins Bookspan as Senior Vice President and Publishing Director

    NEW YORK, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Carole Baron, former president of G.P.
Putnam's Sons and Dutton, is joining Bookspan as Senior Vice President and
Publishing Director, a new position. Ms. Baron is scheduled to join Bookspan,
the premiere direct marketer of general interest and specialty book clubs, on
April 4th and will report to Markus Wilhelm, Bookspan Chief Executive Officer
and President. She will also be a member of Bookspan's Senior Management
Group.
    In her role, Ms. Baron will maintain and build Bookspan's strong
relationships within the publishing community, have a significant role with
club editors in many major negotiations for book club rights, and strengthen
Bookspan's editorial strategy, specifically address new approaches to
promoting books and improving cross-club usage.
    Bookspan, a partnership of Bertelsmann AG and Time Warner Inc., operates
over 30 book clubs, including Book-of-the-Month Club, the Literary Guild,
Doubleday Book Club and the Quality Paperback Book Club as well as niche
clubs, including Mosaico, the Mystery Guild, Good Cook and Black Expressions.
Bookspan is a division of Bertelsmann's DirectGroup.
    Ms. Baron has more than 25 years of publishing and senior management
experience and has one of the most impressive lists of best-selling authors,
some of whom she has edited personally. These authors include John Grisham,
Danielle Steel, Thomas Harris, Harlan Coben, Judy Blume, Tracy Chevalier, John
Lescroart, Nicolas Evans, Maeve Binchy and Elmore Leonard.
   "Carole and I have gotten to know each other over years of negotiating
countless book deals and I have enormous respect for her," said Mr. Wilhelm.
"She is a valued executive in the publishing community and will help us
enormously in working with editors, sub rights directors, agents and, most
important, authors."
    She was an early supporter of the DirectGroup's successful initiative, the
International Book of the Month, which was launched in 2003 with Harlan
Coben's "No Second Chance," which became a best seller.
    Ms. Baron joined Penguin Group in 1999 as President of Dutton. She has
been President and Publisher of Dell/Delacorte Publishing, now a division of
Bertelsmann's Random House, since 1987. Prior to joining Dell in 1981, Ms.
Baron held positions at Holt, Dutton, Pocket Books and Crown.
    Ms. Baron said, "I have long considered my role in publishing as a broker
between reader and writer. In these changing times, we have to think of new
ways to reach the reader and by joining Bookspan I will be able to combine its
approach to reaching the book buyer and my publishing experience to do just
that."
    Ms. Baron joins Bookspan as the company moved its New York offices to the
Flatiron district. The new offices are located at 15 East 26th Street, New
York, N.Y. 10010 and the new main number is 212-651-7400.

                             

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today

Mmmmm, are you saying you didn't care for The Sister :smileywink: I think it really is a new sort of style we are contending with here.  I can tell you that when I first read The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen or Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Foer I felt so old reading them and I'm just in my early 40's!  I actually stopped on chapter 2 in The Corrections but Everything is Illuminated was a terrific read.  Young authors certainly bring something fresh with them and just like the classics one has to weed out the ones they prefer. 

 

Everyman wrote:
This may be an unfair. and probably unanswerable, question, but if so, so be it. I think I read that The Sister was one of this editor's first books to select and edit to press. If this is the case, I wonder whether, if she had had ten years more experience under her belt, she would have selected this book to edit and publish.


Lynda

"I think of literature.....as a vast country to the far borders of which I am journeying but will never reach."
The Uncommon Reader


"You've been running around naked in the stacks again, haven't you?"
"Um, maybe."
The Time Traveler's Wife

It is with books as with men; a very small number play a great part.
Voltaire
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today



HannibalCat wrote:


Thayer wrote:
Am I the only one who felt that the relationship between Ginny and Michael wasn't quite developed enough throughout the book for it to be "the saddest day" of Ginny's life when she had to "leave Michael and the house?" The house, I understand, but I felt there wasn't enough basis for this strong of an emotion for Michael here.   Am anxious to hear your thoughts.  Dawn





I don't think the relationship had to be developed because I don't think it really existed. Just more of Ginny's unreality. It seems to me that throughout the book she perceived unreal relationships. Look at her perception of Vivi's and her relationship. I think we see that Vivi did not see things in the same way that Ginny did, and think that her perception of Michael was the same. Why, all of a sudden, would she think they were close when she only spoke of him as someone who had bought parts of the estate and was making a good living? It doesn't make sense that they were close. I don't think she was close to anyone. She wasn't even close to Clive, even though she was his apprentice. They were both lacking in personal relationship skills and their interest in moths was the only thing they had to keep them in each other's company.

I think her strong emotions were more about the house than Michael. Or am I too cynical?

I think you're exactly right -- she exaggerates her relationship with Michael and perceives a closeness that isn't really there. No doubt he has looked in on her from time to time, but Ginny simply does not seem capable of having the kind of close relationship with anyone that she claims she shares with Michael. She feels they share a deep connection but I feels trongly this would be a surprise to him. That's why it seems underdeveloped -- because it's in her head!
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KxBurns
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Re: Tuesday and Today



DSaff wrote:


Tasses wrote:
Herein lies another issue with the story. Perhaps nothing Ginny told us was correct. Perhaps there was no arrangement between the sisters to surrogate a baby. Perhaps Ginny had an affair with Vivi's husband or perhaps she had an incestuous relationship with her father. Perhaps there never was a baby.... See where this is headed?

If we are to believe Ginny capable of distorting the truth to the degree we see from the final chapters, then we must also assume that everything else she told us is unreliable.

Then ... we must assume the whole tale a convoluted mess of nothing. It's one thing for an author to take on an unreliable narrator, but there's usually a voice of reason somehow located within the telling to balance what's really happening. At the end of The Sister, we're left not knowing anything at all. And that makes a reader's investment in the story worthless.

I didn't find my investment in the story worthless. No, we don't know how much of the story is correct because it is from Ginny's POV. But, I like a book that keeps me guessing. Ginny was born, lived with her family until all left the house in one way or another, lived in the house alone for about 50 years, and was in confinement at the end. She was closed up without real human contact for so long that she would believe her own story. As I read the end, I felt that Ginny was telling me how she got to the point where she needed to be confined (either a mental hospital or prison). I think she knew she was crazy but didn't know how to "fix" it. It is too bad that murdering her sister is what finally set her free from that house.

 


I agree, Donna.
 
And as far as the narrative technique of having Ginny address the reader directly, I think it speaks to the fact that she clearly does want to be remembered for something, in spite of what she said about the pointlessness of a family legacy and in spite of her difficulty dealing with people and emotions. This desire for attention and recognition is supported by her eagerness to have the reader know of her fame as a lepidopterist. In my opinion, Ginny is using her time in whatever kind of facility she now resides to record her story for some imaginary audience (which then becomes us, the readers).
 
But we should ask Poppy about this, if someone hasn't already! 
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FrankieD
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I think that Ginny is much happier "Today" since she has everything she needs in one place and less responibilities. At home she had much of the house closed off and lived her life in a minimal amount of space, and never bothered with the unused areas...now she had only a single room to deal with...and she had "servants" to do the work...not a bad
" The longer I live...the more beautiful life becomes."
- Frank Lloyd Wright
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KxBurns
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Re: Tuesday and Today



pa1822 wrote:
I don't necessarily agree that Ginny is an unsatisfactory narrator.  Maybe instead we are only meant to witness events as filtered through the mind of someone with some kind of mental deficiency.  We aren't told what the deficiency is, or other facts we would like to know, because Ginny herself doesn't know, or ackowledge them. 
To me, it is interesting trying to figure it out, she doesn't feel normal emotion, but isn't a sociopath.  She thinks she knows right from wrong, but what she's really feeling is a need for structure and order.  Structure and order is right to her and anything else is wrong.  When her sister started to tell the truth about Ginny's "peculiarities" and how they affected the family, that disrupted what Ginny knew about the structure and order of her whole life.  I think it was intolerable to her, and that was the catalyst for her deciding to kill Vivien.  


I think this is really insightful.
 
To me, the success of a narrator isn't predicated so much by how many loose ends they can tie up for me, but how effectively they can draw me into the story and into their own world, how fully they can allow me to see things from their persepctive. Since in my opinion, by this measure, Ginny was a successful narrator, unfortunately that means I don't get all the answers to some of my questions because as you rightfully point out, Ginny herself is not privy to them. 
 
However, as someone else stated (sorry for not crediting the proper person, I can't find the comment now) we have the intuition that Ginny lacks, and we can use it to draw logical conclusions in regard to some of the mysteries within.  
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KxBurns
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Re: Tuesday and Today



Everyman wrote:
Maybe the problem is that we old fuddy-duddies were brogut up to believe that a story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and that it should make sense.

In a way, this book seems sort of half way to Ulysses, a book that you aren't supposed to understand, but just to experience. Except that I know Ulysses, and sorry, Ms. Baron, but this book is no Ulysses.


jakeyc wrote:
I definitely agree with you Beth. I was also very disappointed in the book because there were too many ambiguities. The characters and the story just did not flow smoothly and were very confusing at times. Halfway through the book I was ready to put it down, but I wanted to see how it ended. I would definitely not recommend this book to anyone.





I think this an unfair comparison -- nobody said it was Ulysses! And, frankly, most books would suffer by such a comparison.  :smileyhappy:
CAG
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CAG
Posts: 218
Registered: ‎01-15-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I think Ginny is in a mental hospital but locked on a ward for the criminally insane. I think we are left wondering if she is tried for murder, maybe she spaced out some events that followed Vivi's death. Anyway, I liked the ending.  For me it fit with the whole novel.

bookhunter wrote:


Everyman wrote:
I'm unclear why Ginny was apparently put into a mental ward and not tried for murder. Based on what we've seen, she certainly doesn't seem to me to meet the legal standard of not guilty by reason of insanity.



Everyman (or someone else), what are prisons like in England?  The description at the beginning of the chapter says there are bars on the window.  She doesn't have a bathroom.  I thought she probably WAS in a prison  (we don't know how much time has passed from Monday until "Today"), but one that has special care for her. 
 
Ann, bookhunter



CAG
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LeftBrainer
Posts: 55
Registered: ‎10-27-2006
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Re: Tuesday and Today



BethD wrote:
I wanted to like this book, but felt very dissatisfied after I finished.  For me, there were too many loose ends and ambiguities.  I don't understand fully why Vivi hadn't been in touch for so many years (she said initially she thought that Ginny had pushed their mother and Clive was covering up, then that Clive pushed her and that GInny was covering up, but what changed so she came home at this point and not years before?); why she came home; what she was looking for; the role of the dead baby - is this simply further evidence of Ginny's emotional disconnect?  Of Vivi's lack of caring?; whether Ginny had a specific disorder - I'm assuming she did, if her parents tried to protect her and if the police knew her as "that sister"; why the fluorescence (sp?) race went nowhere - was that simply a means to explain why Clive and Ginny neglected Maud?  I still would have liked that story thread concluded somehow, especially since I felt the two moths on the cover were the two types of moths with the particular fluorescene the race was about.  Given that that whole story thread went nowhere, I feel in retrospect that the whole "he put his hand on my bum" sequence was pointless and gratuious.  What's Eileen's role?  I don't get much from Michael either.  I was irritated by Ginny's retreating into her own head when Vivi was telling her the truth about herself (Ginny's self).  I do think Clive pushed Maud down the stairs, and that the vial he was carrying into the kitchen when Maud was attacking Ginny was nothing more than a prop.  What was the true relationship between Ginny and Arthur?  If she was so mentally unwell, I'm surprised that didn't show up in their relationship.  Re: Ginny's reputation as the "Moth Woman", I felt this was likely a derogatory appellation, not the title of respect she felt it was.  I feel like there are a lot of good ideas in this book, but that they really needed to be further developed.  Very disappointed.



What she said.
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KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
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Re: Tuesday and Today



FrankieD wrote:
I think that Ginny is much happier "Today" since she has everything she needs in one place and less responibilities. At home she had much of the house closed off and lived her life in a minimal amount of space, and never bothered with the unused areas...now she had only a single room to deal with...and she had "servants" to do the work...not a bad


Your comment brings me back to the idea of consequences and whether or not we believe each of the main characters deserved the fate they met. What do you all think?
 
I'm just wondering because, to me, Clive's fate seems particularly fitting. In life, he neglected his family and went about his research sort of blissfully, and at all but the most crucial times, willfully unaware of them. And in the end he suffered from dementia and truly did lose the ability to know what was going on around him. I actually think this is more sad than just. But do you see any other parallels between each character's failings and their fate?
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LeftBrainer
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Re: Tuesday and Today

Me too I wanted to know the answer. 
CAG
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CAG
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I am still wondering if Michael really existed except in Ginny's mind. Perhaps the whole idea of calling it "the saddest day" of her life (leaving Michael and the house) is to show just how detached Ginny is from reality. I also wondered if Michael isn't some ghost from her past, was alive and now dead &/or gone.  

Thayer wrote:
Am I the only one who felt that the relationship between Ginny and Michael wasn't quite developed enough throughout the book for it to be "the saddest day" of Ginny's life when she had to "leave Michael and the house?" The house, I understand, but I felt there wasn't enough basis for this strong of an emotion for Michael here.   Am anxious to hear your thoughts.  Dawn



CAG
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Jennd1
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Registered: ‎01-28-2008
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I think Ginny is glad to be free of her home and the memories it evokes for her. I think in this sense she is freed , and because the staff of the hospital understand her illness they are able to help her deal with it. I don't think anyone in the family did not understand her illness although in their own way they all tried. I don't think Ginny pushed vivi off the tower, when they were children they were very close and I think at that point Ginny truly loved vivi and would not have done or wished her harm. I think Clive and Maude made the best (or tried to ) out of what life gave them. Clive never got the recognition he hoped for on a professional level and I think Maude married more to appease pressure from her family (to find someone to take over for her father) than for love.
CAG
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CAG
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Re: Tuesday and Today

I really do agree with you. I thought the same thing throughout the book which is what made it interesting to me. I

pa1822 wrote:
I don't necessarily agree that Ginny is an unsatisfactory narrator.  Maybe instead we are only meant to witness events as filtered through the mind of someone with some kind of mental deficiency.  We aren't told what the deficiency is, or other facts we would like to know, because Ginny herself doesn't know, or ackowledge them. 
To me, it is interesting trying to figure it out, she doesn't feel normal emotion, but isn't a sociopath.  She thinks she knows right from wrong, but what she's really feeling is a need for structure and order.  Structure and order is right to her and anything else is wrong.  When her sister started to tell the truth about Ginny's "peculiarities" and how they affected the family, that disrupted what Ginny knew about the structure and order of her whole life.  I think it was intolerable to her, and that was the catalyst for her deciding to kill Vivien.  



CAG
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pheath
Posts: 82
Registered: ‎02-01-2007
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Re: Tuesday and Today


KxBurns wrote:

We're a little bit ahead of schedule but I think it's time to discuss the remainder of the book.




Chapter 23: Intuition



-what do you make of Ginny's statement that this is her most "naturally emotional moment" (p. 270), being taken away from her house and Michael, her only friend. What does this tell us about Ginny?



-is Ginny's connection with Michael all in her head? We get just a small snippet of his behavior during this encounter – do you feel it indicates the same depth of feeling between them that Ginny claims?




Today



-we find that in captivity, Ginny feels she has actually been released and freed from the imprisonment of Bulburrow Court (and her memories?). I think it's fitting that we don't have a chapter name or number and we can't tell how long ago the events of the book took place; it's as if time as ceased to matter beyond just the minutes on the clock, which Ginny monitors as vigilantly as ever.



So is Ginny better off, having been relieved of all choice, all freedom, but with her delusions in tact and her obsessions apparently humored? She certainly seems happier!



-do you think Ginny got what she deserved in the end? What about Vivi, Maud, and Clive? Was this whole family made up of cannibals, or was Ginny the maggot that devoured the rest from the inside out?



Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!



Message Edited by KxBurns on 03-14-2008 12:54 PM




I think that leaving the house for good was the true "coming out of the cocoon". Now as a "moth" she is actually capable of emotions.

You last question makes me hearken back to a line between Gandalf and Frodo from The Fellowship of the Ring:

"Many who deserve death go on living, and some who deserve life, die. Can you give it to them Frodo? Don't be too quick to deal in death and judgment."

For Vivi, I would clearly say no, she did not get what she deserved. I don't think Maud did either. It goes without saying that Maud was guilty of terrible things, but at the same time I think that there was ample opportunity for someone to have handled things more by the book. Get Maud help, or at least notify the authorities.

You could say that Clive's end was self inflicted, but at the same time to say that he got what he deserved is more of a thought of revenge than justice.
-Philip
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