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Rachel-K
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Chungamunga Girls

 

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

 

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

 

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?

 

How is Mary a Chungamunga girl?

 

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

 

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?

 

What do you make of Wally?

 

 

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ambika22
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

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?

 

When Codd meets Myrtle i think its when the reader really starts to realise how special those girls are and how they are related to Mary. Even most of them dont have a very promising future they all are optimistic and try to enjoy the present, always keeping in mind they have limitations. I also think that people that have an illness like this one have to be stronger than the rest of the people to not surrender to the desease.

 

 

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spyderfly
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎11-03-2009

Re: Chungamunga Girls

The Chungamunga Girls.  "They are eternal on the river."  Great stuff.

 

I love the thoughfulness that goes into their invitation.  Diagnoses can be cold, factual and impersonal.  The invitation into the "secret society" of the Chungamunga Girls brings them into a circle of support in a way that fits each girl to let them know that they are not their disease, but still an individual separate from it.

 

They are eternal on the water because no matter how long they live, or what they do later in life, or after death, there will always be another Chungamunga Girl to follow.  They will always be there, in spirit and then some.  If gives them a sense of being a part of something bigger, a tradition. 

 

I agree with Mary.  I think that Wally used to be a bear.

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melisndav
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Registered: ‎06-16-2009

Re: Chungamunga Girls

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

 

I really liked the whole Chungamunga experience that was given to these girls.  It gives these girls a chance not to think about their illnesses and be a "normal" girl for a little while.

 

How is the singular and mysterious nature of the invitation contrasted with the diagnosis each of the girls has received?  I believe that the way the invitations go out, they take each individaul case in stride and make it a special invitation for each girl.

 

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?    Myrtle has accepted the hand that has been dealt to her.  She knows that she is terminally ill and that she knows about her condition unlike Mary.  Mary knows that she may or may not have her disease but she does not want to know as it will affect her style of living.

 

How is Mary a Chungamunga girl?  Mary has Huntingdon's disease and she is one that has been accepted into the program due to her health issues.

 

What is your understanding of what they mean when the girls say "I am eternal on this water?"  The girls understand that their time is limited and that since they were a Chungamunga girl, their memory will be forever remembered.

 

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?  No, they don't appear sick.  You don't even know that they are until Wally informs Cobb that they have medical issues.

 

What do you make of Wally?  I believe that Wally may have been a Chungamunga girl but she may have gotten better.  She seems to genuinely care about all the Chungamunga girls, especially Mary.

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

 

Rachel-K wrote:

 

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

 

The experience of being a Chungamunga Girls is like that of coming of age. It is an exciting first taste of independence, freedom, separation from home and family. It is the creation of an alternate family from a group of strangers with whom you suddenly share your life with in a strange and possibly unnerving setting. Come to think of it, isn't that what Mary and Cobb do? They are two strangers making a new life in an unexpected, unknown environment through their shared experiences? Their relationship is certainly romantic, as well.

 

I thought what young girl wouldn't want to try it, especially a young girl who might not have all the time in the world to contemplate her life? Then I remembered the time that my mom offered me the opportunity to go to Girl Scout Camp for a week or two which was all we could afford...I said EEOOW, not a chance...there was no indoor plumbing, or so I thought. :smileyvery-happy:

 

 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

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

At first blush, I thought the invitation presented the chosen girls with an opportunity to pass through a doorway which would expose them to the exciting prospects of a rich and full life and all it had to offer them. When I learned of the reason for the invitation, I realized that the doorway might not remain open and might very well close, unbidden and unexpectedly thus, cloaking the invitation with an overtone of sadness.

 

 

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dhaupt
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Chungamunga Girls

[ Edited ]

I never thought of the being a Chungamunga Girl as a privilege, but a unique way of celebrating who each girl is without focusing on her particular illness.

And I love the invitation process, how they make each girl into sort of a princess by making such a big deal not only of the invitation but also of the delivering of the girls to the camp.

Wally is truly an inspired soul, a free spirit and deeply cares for each of "her" girls.

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momoftwinsMM
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎06-11-2009

Re: Chungamunga Girls

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

 

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

 

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

 

The romance of being a Chungamunga Girl comes from the exclusivity, the fairy tale manner in which they are invited and the idea that their spirit will live forever on the waters although their body will only last a short while. The diagnosis these young girls receive shorten their lives, it may bring an end to the possibility of romance, careers, husbands, children (depending on the gravity of the disease); whereas the invitation provides a release, hope and enjoyment if only for a short while. The invitation is inclusive whereas the diagnosis is exclusive. They discover that they are not alone and that life can be beautiful through friendship.

 

I believe that eternal on this water entails that they will live on through the differences they make through relationships during their time on the water and through each new Chungamunga girl that will participate in the future. 

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Zia01
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

How is Mary a Chungamunga girl? The threat of having Hunington's is what it was in the beginning. Now everything about her makes her one. She's seems at home on the river and with the scenery around her.

 

What is your understanding of what they mean when the girls say "I am eternal on this water?" I think it means wherever they may end up in life, their time on the river has imprinted them forever there. I think the saying is very beautiful and touching.

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

 

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 thought Mrytle's response was that of someone far beyond her numerical age but then people who face such disheartening odds are often far more realistic than those of us who don't. In order to face everyday, you would have to come to terms with your situation or you would have no life at all.

I had a cousin whose ten year old son suffered from a brain tumor which eventually took his life. He used to frequently comfort his parents and his siblings, telling them not to worry, everything would be all right. He was more mature than a child and somehow understood there was nothing he could do about his situation. Perhaps also, in his youth, he did not quite fully understand what he was facing so he could cope with it.

All of us, I think, in spite of the odds, we always have some hope in the back of our minds. I think that is part of the human condition...optimism

Mary went through the Chungamunga program so we know that she, too, is also facing some daunting issue in her life. Myrtle's illness has already developed and has put a limit on her lifespan. Mary's illness has not yet developed and there is a possibility that it won't. Myrtle has undeniably accepted her fate while Mary is tempting it.
Myrtle has faced her particular problem and seems resigned to it, perhaps, with little hope, Mary flies in the face of it, trying to ignore it, giving her the hope that it will never appear. Perhaps she is in denial, on the surface. However, although she may seemingly refuse to deal with it, she has made life changes because of it which indicate that she recognizes it is a constant danger that hangs over her. She just doesn't want it to rule her life and be the overarching concern. She wants to live as if she is normal as long as she can, Myrtle may be too young to make that choice, her parents make it for her. Knowing that she won't reach an age where she is able to make choices for her future she, or they, may be resigned to it.

 

 


 


 

 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

 

Rachel-K wrote:

 

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

No matter what life brings, as the river will go on forever, so will they. They too can be eternal. It is hope. It signifies that their memories will last even after they are gone. They are part of the river. Their lives had meaning.

 

 


 

 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

 


Rachel-K wrote:

 

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?

We know that the reason for the invitation is because of some life threatening problem each of the girls will face. They are just like children, because that is what they are...they giggle and laugh, feel fear and joy, all the normal emotions...but they also know they may not always feel this way so they seem more sensitive than young girls their age.

What do you make of Wally?

I love Wally. She is like an all embracing angel, hovering and watching over everyone. She is also "different", certainly, being outsized for a female and not very feminine, so she knows what it is to feel "outside" the norm. She has found her calling in life because the maternal instinct thrives within her.

 


 

 

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maxcat
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

I am impressed with this book so far, kudos to the author.

When cobb finds out trough Wally about the Cungamunga foundation, he was fascinated and asked a lot of questions. All the girls have something wrong with them but is it the same disease or is everyone different? That I couldn't understand as Mary got an invitation and that's how the Chungamunga foundation works. Myrtle, I guess, was the one that made Cobb inquisitive about these girls. They seem to do a lot for the girls especially if the disease is terminal, which seems to be the case. Eternal on the water is explained in conjunction with the Chungamunga girls. They return every year at the same time  and they kayak or canoe down the Allagash River to a sacred spot. Wally acts as cook but she is the only full time emplyee for the foundation. With the girls returning every year, they are forever eternal on the water. It makes sense in a way.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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emmagrace
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

I love the idea of the Chungamunga girls. How amazing is it to give hope to girls who may have had no hope!

 

I think that " I am eternal on this water" means that if/when the girls pass away, their spirits will forever live on on that river.

 

I really love Wally's character! I believe that Wally is a former Chungamunga. Either way, I think it is great that she takes part in the river experience with those girls!

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fordmg
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

The Romance of being a Chungamunga Girl:

It is somewhat romantic.  The girls belong to a private club.  It is not open to the public, they have to be recommended, they don't have to share their experiences with the outside world, but the experience of going down the river is a life changing experience.  Their experience is "Outside the Box" and not comparable to most of their friends at school, neighborhood.  That also makes them special.

The level of understanding each girl has of her condition:

I was impressed with how mature they were for pre-teen.  Using Myrtel as an example to show this works well in the story. 

How is Mary A Chungamunga Girl:

Mary learned early in life that she was a carrier of Huntington Disease.  She seems to have accepted her fate well.  It did not stop her from getting an advanced degree in science and passing on her knowledge to young people.  Also she seems to go back to the river every year to lecture to the new crop of girls coming down the river.  It is very important to Mary to be in this close knit group of "special" people.

MG

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DSaff
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Chungamunga Girls

I absolutely love the idea of the Chunqamunqa Girls! It seems like Make-A-Wish without the girl realizing what her wish is. The diagnosis, or possibility of diagnosis, of a life-threatening disease is something they all share, yet none of these girls lets it stop her from enjoying her time on the river. The extravagance and elegance of the invitation makes each feel special, something everyone should feel, and lifts them up to a place where they can enjoy the experience. The bond created during their time together is life-long, and extends to all women who have ever been in their shoes.

 

I think the saying "being eternal on the water" relates to being something other than sick during their time together. They aren't treated as dying girls, instead as vibrant, alive young women with all the potential in the world. This is their time. The river brings them all together, through all the years, and enables them to remain part of that group forever. They are "eternal."

 

Myrtle grabbed my heart right away. To know that a disease is going to take your life early must be horrible. But, she moves on in her life, loving her mother and enjoying her time on the water. She is wise and doesn't seem to want pity. She is what she is and will make the most of the time she has. (We should all do that especially since we don't know how much time we have.) Myrtle is a realist. We don't know why she learned that she was sick, but it was probably through treatments. Mary hasn't been sick and doesn't want to know if the illness is hiding within her. She wants to live her life to the fullest each day instead of being hampered by knowledge. Myrtle and Mary are alike in that they live fully each moment and don't seem to cling to the thought of dying.

 

Wally is a character, and as the girls say, she may be a bear. <grin> Having only read through Ch. 8, I don't know her background, but she impresses me as someone who cares deeply for these girls/women. She has probably seen many pass on, yet she continues to make the experience (food, "payment," etc.) the absolute best it can be for these girls. Her love for her work it apparent.

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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sifu-hotman
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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?"

 

I see it as saying: even though I will die soon, my soul, through this experience will forever remain here, on earth, on this water. The Friendships and the love that were formed here will always remain. 

 

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?

 

I didn't suspect anything when first reading about them, they were just lively ordinary girls, energized by nature. I still don't see anything different about their behavior,  they each know they're sick and they all have that inner sadness, like Myrtle exhibited, but on the outside they all act as ordinary as possible.

 

What do you make of Wally?

 

I think it's good that she's there with the girls. She makes a great role model. 

HBT
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HBT
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Registered: ‎10-26-2009

Re: Chungamunga Girls

[ Edited ]

 

"What is your impression of the romance of being a "Chungamunga Girl?"
I think the romance of being a "Chungamunga Girl" is that it's like a secret society. They all have to be invited and each invitation is different. The fact that each invitation is different makes the child feel special and "chosen".  Being a Chungamunga Girl also gives each child a chance to live like any other healthy child, a chance to get away from the illness they live with.
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 almost cried when I read that part. So far nothing else in the book has pulled at my heart strings. I felt that these children know and understand that they have a shorter life than a lot of other children. Making every day count is important. I think Mary's outlook is similar to Myrtles because they both feel they are living life to the fullest yet they are limiting themselves because of their illness. Mary states that Myrtle will live into her 20's. This might be too young to be a minister but that is old enough to become something more than what she already is. Not to mention that she could live longer than that. I do not know what Myrtles condition is at the moment but medical advances are made every day and something might be made to help her. It is all  about hope. At this point Mary does not even know if she has HD and yet she is avoiding having a relationship with any man longer than what I call a fling. Don't get me wrong, I understand why but that does not mean she is not limiting herself.
What do you make of Wally?
I think Wally is fun and protective. I think those are reasons Mary can add to the reasons why she thinks Wally is a bear that refuses to go back to the woods. 
What is your understanding of what they mean when the girls say "I am eternal on this water?
They will always be thinking of the time the spent there. I am not sure how much of this I believe in, but I have been told that when one dies the soul returns to the place they were the most happy and that they would be back there meeting their friends and meeting others that were there before them. Another reason they are eternal on the water is that if they grow up most volunteer their time for the trips on the river. 
 

 

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Frostbacksgirl
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Re: Chungamunga Girls

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

I love the experience that was given to the girls. They are able to be "normal" and not think about what is wrong with them.

 

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

They are in a group together where they can get support. It allows them to know they are still individuals and not the disease itself.

 

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?

She's accepted the hand that has been dealt and will live her life to the fullest. Unlike Mary, Myrtle knows about her condition and has accepted it. Mary doesn't want to know, because she knows it'll change her lifestyle.

 

How is Mary a Chungamunga girl?

She has Huntingdon's disease and was accepted into the program due to her health reasons.

 

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

The girls life on Earth is limited, since they are dying, being a Chungamunga girl they will always be remembered even after they are gone.

 

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 do not appear sick.

 

What do you make of Wally?

A loving caring person who really cares for her "girls".

~Sara~
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PB684
Posts: 182
Registered: ‎08-03-2007

Re: Chungamunga Girls


Rachel-K wrote:

 

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

 

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

 


I have so many thoughts about the Chungamunga Girls but I want to answer this question while it is clear in my mind. 

When someone, especially a child, gets a bad diagnosis regarding their health it is devastating.  It can make a child feel alienated from their friends and they might worry that others will not understand what they are going through. I think we all know how children dislike being "different" from their peers. When they get their special invitation to become a Chungamunga Girl it is a beacon for them, something that makes them feel special...almost enabling them to wear their disease as a badge of honor perhaps. Also, finding themselves among others who are sick gives them a camaraderie with each other. Maybe their time on the river is also a way to escape from thinking about their disease for a while. It's a chance to let girls be girls and find that there is power in that.

I find this aspect of the story very interesting and I am wondering if The Chungamungas really exist. I guess we'll have to wait to ask the author when he joins us. I also like the other questions posted in this thread and will have to give them some thought before answering.

Paula

PB684