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Inspired Contributor
dclement04
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎09-30-2008

Re: Chungamunga Girls

What is your impression of the romance of being a "Chungamunga Girl?"

 

This secret society almost reminds me of the "Make a Wish Foundation". It seems like the board members and alumni of this group are trying to make the most out of a bad situation and I think its great. Knowing that these girls will face a terrible end it just seems like the right thing to do and to ensure that they have wonderful memories. It gives them something to look forward to and it gives them a sense of being someone and being involved in a "project". Plus people always tell me that fresh air never hurt anyone.

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Buffie24
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎11-03-2009

Re: Chungamunga Girls

My impression on the romance of being a "Chumgamunga Girl" means that no matter what illness the girl has and no matter if she is currently presenting symptoms or will later have symptoms, this allows each girl to be 'normal' and carefree.  They are able to have several weeks of living life without having to think of their own mortality.  And the fact that each girl gets invited in very unique ways makes them feel special and loved.  And maybe lets them realize that even though they are experiencing things that no child should go through and maybe they are feeling that the world is so unfair because they have this illness, that there is still some good.

 

 


How is the singular and mysterious nature of the invitation contrasted with the diagnosis each of the girls has received?

 

I think the seriousness of the disease and maybe the limitations that the girls would have do to it, might have to do on how they are invited. 

 


 

When Cobb asks Myrtle if she'd like to be a minister, she answers, "I won't live long enough to be anything. Today I am whatever I will be." What is your impression of the level of understanding that these girls have about their own conditions? How do you think Mary's attitude about the possibility of her condition is similar to or different than Myrtles?

 

I believe that all the girls have a very good understanding of their own conditions.  I think it is one of the reasons they were picked. 

 

I'm not too sure about Mary's attitude about the possibility of her condition is similar or different than Myrtles.  I mean, I think she does know that they are similar.  But I think that Myrtle's might be different in that Myrtle might not live as long as Mary.

 


 

How is Mary a Chungamunga girl?

Mary is a Chungamunga girl because she has Huntington's Disease.

 


 

What is your understanding of what they mean when the girls say "I am eternal on this water?"

From what I think, the girls are there.  They are living their lives for that moment on the water, as if they were not sick.  They are imprinting their souls there, happy and carefree, and when they pass, will always be connected to there. 

 


 

Is it apparent that each of the girls is sick, from what we've read so far? How are the girls "ordinary girl" and how do they seem different?

It is not apparent that all the girls are sick.  But from what Mary said, some of them are not sick and will get sick later down the road.  I think so far, they seem 'ordinary girls' because they are living life as if they were not sick.  But they do some different, because they are Chungamunga Girls.  And we know that they have a serious illness.

 

 

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msw888
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎12-01-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

Yes, I almost forgot about that. I understand that they had to leave the medications behind. It was a reminder of their disease.   When one is dying, 1-2 weeks of not taking medications does not make a difference. For me, the medications were for pallitive reasons and the river replaced their medications.

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Bedelia
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎10-20-2007
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

  Being surrounded in secret rituals and special out-of-ordinary activities makes one feel special too and to be a chungamungs girls provides that to these gravely ill girls.  With chungamunga camp they feel part of something wonderful and mysterious and they can forget their medical tests and diseases for a while and be a different, but fun kind of "special" for a change.  Nature is a great healer, bringing peace to troubled hearts and minds.  Being outdoors and learning about nature is a great change for anybody and the rewards are welcome.  When camp is over - the knowledge, the memories, the new friendships and rituals can be recalled  by each girl as she faces procedures, bad times, even death and bring peace. 

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Sherry_Young
Posts: 48
Registered: ‎09-02-2009

Re: Chungamunga Girls

What is your impression of the romance of being a "Chungamunga Girl?"

I love the Chungamunga Girls! When we first meet them, we aren't aware of each girls situation. Are they a bunch of little rich girl brats or girls who spend every summer traveling this route. Once I learned of the medical situations of every girl and that each one only gets the opportunity to make the trip once in a lifetime provided the "romance" of it all.


When Cobb asks Myrtle if she'd like to be a minister, she answers, "I won't live long enough to be anything. Today I am whatever I will be." What is your impression of the level of understanding that these girls have about their own conditions? How do you think Mary's attitude about the possibility of her condition is similar to or different than Myrtles?

These girls have lived with the condition or the knowledge of the condition for a long time. So many kids facing this shorter life span often seem wiser than their years. Living for today is the only way Mary and Myrtle feel that life can have meaning for them.

 

How is Mary a Chungamunga girl?

After reflecting on the book as a whole, I now wonder if Mary was given the opportunity because her mother already had the test results and knew that Mary was destined to the same dreadful end as her father.

 

What is your understanding of what they mean when the girls say "I am eternal on this water?"

Remember that the rules for the girls include no discussion of the medical problems they face. Therefore, as long as they are on the water they don't have these problems. They can live eternally on the water as this free spirit. The end of the book returns Mary to the water where she leaves her broken shell of a body to the land and her spirit takes flight eternally on the water.

 

What do you make of Wally?

Wally has this rough exterior, but she may be one of the most compassionate characters in the book. She is the strength and the guide of all the girls.

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.
— Judy Blume
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nicole21WA
Posts: 79
Registered: ‎03-22-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

 


nicole21WA wrote:

I wonder why Mary was selected.  My understanding is that all the girls have terminal illnesses, not just the potential to have one.  It makes me wonder if Mary's mother had her tested for Huntington's without telling her.  And if alums are keeping the camp going, do some have really great insurance plans that eliminate the insane medical costs that must go along with their illnesses?  Because otherwise how are they providing funding?  When I try to be logical about the Chungamunga Girls, I get a bit frustrated.


 

I posted the above when we'd only read the Maine section.  Now having read Indonesia, I must give Joseph Monninger a "well done," in regards to why Mary was selected.  I'm glad Mary's mother had her tested back then since it gave her the opportunity to be a Chungamunga Girl.  I wonder though if Mary really does know she has Huntington's but chooses to deny the knowledge in order to not become depressed about what the future holds.  Surely she had the same thoughts that I did about her selection for the Chungamunga Girls.

 

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gte510i
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Registered: ‎12-02-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

What is your impression of the romance of being a "Chungamunga Girl?"


When I first started reading about the Chungamunga girls, I couldn't help but be excited. To be apart of this secret sorority, that is so much larger than summer camp, I couldn't imagine a better way to spend a summer.  That would provide me almost a lifetime of 'scope for the imagination'. I googled them to see if they were, by chance, real.  When you consider that litle girls are forced to grow up so early in our  society, that they lose out on a magical childhood where there are talking animals in a 100-acre wood, where they are out in the magnificence of creation learning both the science and mythology of wildlife the concept of this camp sounded perfect, and I was envious.

 

Then I read about it being for girls, most probably, facing mortal or debilitating illness.  At first the light dimmed a bit, then I just imagined the experience.  Knowing you could be facing death, and instead of lamenting yourself, having the opportunity to truly LIVE inspite of it, and have a magical adventure.  And that would be the true point of the chungamunga.  It is far more than make-a-wish, which is well-intentioned charity that makes a dying child happy for a day.   The  Chungamunga experience teachers the girls to LIVE to the fullest and forget that death may be lurking nearby (or at least spit in death's eye).

 

And more than possibly having Huntington disease, that is what makes Mary a Chungumunga girl to her core.  She embraced the philosophy of living as if there were no more tomorrow, but not dwelling on it.  Who knows what she would have been like if she had not gotten the invite.  If she were not a chungamunga girl, would she have been as equipped to follow her passions?

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DarcyO
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎08-31-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

What is your understanding of what they mean when the girls say "I am eternal on this water?"

 

The Chungamunga girls over time are eternal on the water. There will always be girls invited to join this glorious group to have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.  

 

Is it apparent that each of the girls is sick, from what we've read so far? How are the girls "ordinary girl" and how do they seem different?

 

They are ordinary girls, yet may need help in getting around. The girls are wise beyond their years as we see in little Mrytle. It's amazing the way they face their diagnosis and still remain like any other young girls -- singing, laughing, enjoying nature.  

 

What do you make of Wally?

 

I love Wally! She's the best -- like a mama bear protecting her young.

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sarah_in_ca
Posts: 42
Registered: ‎09-28-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

Being a Chungamunga girl is very spiritual and romantic.  These girls know they have a shorter time on earth than most.  They've endured doctors and hospitals for much of their lives and understand what is to come.  Most dream of love, marriage, and families, knowing none of these thing will happen to them.  Then along comes a special invitation to a very special sisterhood and these girls come alive during their time on the river.  It's all quite spirtual and romantic-even if it's Mary's and Cobb's romance.  The Chungamunga girls take their vows seriously as they know there will always be more of them and that they will never be forgotten, just as the river flows forever, eternally.

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mrsareads
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎12-02-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

The concept of the Chungamunga Girls is my favorite aspect of the book. At first, I wanted to be a Chungamunga girl - then realized the 'cost' of being one and wasn't as sure. But my fascination with the concept is still with me - and I finished the book over a week ago! I would love a book just about the Girls, Wally, the traditions, and the invitations. The invitations are the part I would like to know more about. Why did one girl get one type and another a different one - how did the girls become known to the benfactors? I should probably go back and re-read the section about the invitations. But another book just about the Chungamunga Girls would be wonderful! I want to know more about who Wally is and how she came to be the guiding spirit of these girls

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Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

What is your impression of the romance of being a "Chungamunga Girl?"

 

I feel the way the girls are called upon to join the group is a call to action.  Yes, they have a life threatening disease but instead of sitting around waiting for the end to come these girls are given an alternative lifestyle.  They are invited to experience the natural, beautiful world where there souls will live among the animals, the river, the trees forever.  This is what makes them immortal, eternally alive as the river is alive and seething with life and the continuation of life.  As the water flows over the rocks and down the falls the chungamunga's flow gracefully into another world.

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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jhills
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎12-06-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

I'm not sure I'll be adding anything new here, but I did want to comment on the idea of being "eternal on the water". Besides the wonderful imagery evoked by those words, I thought it was a great way to connect various elements of the story (including Freddy and Francis). But in terms of the Chungamunga girls, I keep coming back to several ideas - forgive me if I get a little philosophical here...

 

The first layer involves the idea of the historical presence of the Chungamunga girls. The fact that this is a revered tradition is an important message to the girls that they are part of the history of the river. I particularly loved the whole myth that meeting the girls along the river was good luck.

 

The second layer seems to be that of the inspirational impact. Knowing that others have come before them, on the same journey, may give them hope. And, realizing that others who have beaten their illness return to help, reinforces the idea of the girls being eternal on the water.

 

The third layer is more spiritual, and probably the most noted. The spirits of each girl, and each one that has come and gone before her, are tied to the river. The possibly short-lived happiness that they experience as Chungamunga girls gives them a sort of "ownership" of the river.

 

The final layer is that of the metaphorical journey of the river - life. Unfortunately, for many of these girls, the journey is short. As a Chungamunga girl, their trip down the river is perhaps one of the most exciting times of their life, which gives them a more meaningful journey.

 

The author may not have intended all of these - and I have a tendency to pick apart the books that I read - but I was fascinated by the idea of being "eternal on the water". I like to think that I may have a little Chungamunga within me, too.

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literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chungamunga Girls


jhills wrote:

I'm not sure I'll be adding anything new here, but I did want to comment on the idea of being "eternal on the water". Besides the wonderful imagery evoked by those words, I thought it was a great way to connect various elements of the story (including Freddy and Francis). But in terms of the Chungamunga girls, I keep coming back to several ideas - forgive me if I get a little philosophical here...

 

The first layer involves the idea of the historical presence of the Chungamunga girls. The fact that this is a revered tradition is an important message to the girls that they are part of the history of the river. I particularly loved the whole myth that meeting the girls along the river was good luck.

 

The second layer seems to be that of the inspirational impact. Knowing that others have come before them, on the same journey, may give them hope. And, realizing that others who have beaten their illness return to help, reinforces the idea of the girls being eternal on the water.

 

The third layer is more spiritual, and probably the most noted. The spirits of each girl, and each one that has come and gone before her, are tied to the river. The possibly short-lived happiness that they experience as Chungamunga girls gives them a sort of "ownership" of the river.

 

The final layer is that of the metaphorical journey of the river - life. Unfortunately, for many of these girls, the journey is short. As a Chungamunga girl, their trip down the river is perhaps one of the most exciting times of their life, which gives them a more meaningful journey.

 

The author may not have intended all of these - and I have a tendency to pick apart the books that I read - but I was fascinated by the idea of being "eternal on the water". I like to think that I may have a little Chungamunga within me, too.


I think you summed it up very nicely.

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boadiccea
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎09-03-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

 


 

How is the singular and mysterious nature of the invitation contrasted with the diagnosis each of the girls has received?

 

 

It takes them out of the "real world" and into something fantastical and magical, which is an experience I think every child hopes to have at some point.  It really is a well-thought out process...

 

 

When Cobb asks Myrtle if she'd like to be a minister, she answers, "I won't live long enough to be anything. Today I am whatever I will be." What is your impression of the level of understanding that these girls have about their own conditions? How do you think Mary's attitude about the possibility of her condition is similar to or different than Myrtles?

 

I think the girls are realistic.  Myrtle sure was.  I really admired her ability to just accept what will be and live life.  Mary seems to be similar in some ways to Myrtle.  She accepts that she may have the condition, and is whatever she is that day, without letting the disease define her.  However, she is different from Myrtle in that she doesn't truly know her end. Myrtle has a diagnosis; Mary doesn't, and therefore despite her best efforts, there is always a spectre of the disease around Mary. Every time she does something slightly off, she assumes it's the disease starting to present.  That says, she does still live her life to the fullest without really allowing for the disease, and in that way, she is similar to Myrtle.

 

 

 

What is your understanding of what they mean when the girls say "I am eternal on this water?"

 

I took it as a sense of never ending, of passing down their legacy despite their shortened lives.  There is no beginning and no end to the Chungamunga Girls.  They always ARE. And that is pretty magical.

 

My hand is reacting badly to typing again so I'll have to keep this short. I hope to get back to the rest of these questions soon....

 

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Megtall
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎12-10-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

What is your impression of the romance of being a "Chungamunga Girl?"

 

It's like they are in an exclusive club that makes each girl feel unique and special.  They are not their disease or illness, but a member of something special that any person off the street could join.  I can see that the romance in that is that truly feel a part of a group that accepts them and doesn't just identify them as their medical diagnosis.  They don't seem to feel as much pity for themselves as others might.  Cool concept, although, overall, I did have a hard time reading this book.  Maybe it was just too emotional for me.  I will be passing this book along to a good friend who reads primarily this type of book.  Thank you very much for the opportunity.

Namaste.
Meg
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nfmgirl
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎04-20-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

I adored Myrtle! So wise, so diminutive and yet a powerful presence and confidence. Her condition is simply a fact that cannot be altered, so it is accepted. And she realizes that her condition is not who she is.

 

I feel that being "eternal on this water" is just a way of living forever-- of being more than what you are at this moment, more than the shell that is your body. You are a part of something bigger than yourself.


Heather
http://cerebralgirl.blogspot.com/
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emers0207
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Registered: ‎07-29-2009
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

How is the singular and mysterious nature of the invitation contrasted with the diagnosis each of the girls has received?

 

I think the diagnosis they each receive seem very certain, very real and can often make them feel like just another statistic.  The invitation gives them back the specialness, uniqueness, etc, it recognizes them as a person not just as a disease.  It brings backs the thrill of mystery whereas a disease often makes the mysterious appear frightening.

 

When Cobb asks Myrtle if she'd like to be a minister, she answers, "I won't live long enough to be anything. Today I am whatever I will be." What is your impression of the level of understanding that these girls have about their own conditions? How do you think Mary's attitude about the possibility of her condition is similar to or different than Myrtles?

 

I think it shows just how realistic and knowledgeable these girls are abour their conditions.  It also shows a certain level of acceptance.

 

How is Mary a Chungamunga girl?

 

Like the others mary's future is her disease, whatever happens from now on will be marked by that disease, even if it is only the knowledge of it.  all decisions will be made through the prism of that knowledge and those limitations.  It is intimately a part of who she is.

 

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starie_nite
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-23-2008
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

In the "real world," a girl with a diagnosis as each of the Chungamunga girls is given would be surrounded by sympathy, friends who would eventually stop calling, doctors, hospitals, and on and on.  On the water, they are allowed to be free from all of this.  They are allowed to set this aside for a brief time and just be together.  I can't say that I think the invitation would actually contrast with the diagnosis.  This would imply that being given the invitation is open to every one.  The invitation is as individual and special as the diagnoses that each girl is given. 

 

I don't think that it is apparent that each girl is sick.  Normally, if there is an illness present, then the lives of each would be inundated with their illness and each would cease to be the individual people that they are.  So, they don't necessarily seem different, this just seems to be running in the background.  But, each girl lives each moment fully, but I am not sure if this is a result of their youth or their understanding that their lives are changed irrevocably by their diseases.

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SallyRose
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Registered: ‎12-11-2008
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

Being a Chungamunga girl is to  be taken out of an ordinary conflicted existence and to move to an extraordinary life  being able to coincide with simple nature on a very basic level.

'Eternal on the water' means leaving ones mark on the living.

Wally is one of a rare person that has compassion without dripping sympathy

 

 

SallyRose
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marciliogq
Posts: 244
Registered: ‎02-22-2008

Re: Chungamunga Girls

Humans are more than 70% water, so water is a symbol of life and life a symbol of eternity. I think there's a fascination from Chungamunga Girls for water as a desire for life knowing they have a short time of life. As a way to run away the death.