Reply
Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Magic

As you read, keep a list of the various magical elements you encounter in the book. What is the significance of each? How do they help tell the story, or deepen your understanding of the characters?

Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Magic

There is a general lack of harmony. Things are moving - staircases for instance. Mirrors reveal or don't reveal as they please. No sound of footsteps.The mists transports and/or hides. There is a chill over everything.

"Failing to stop the chill where his (Gabriel's) shadow had touched her, she wondered if all fathers were cruel and all mothers forgetful."

 

 Meridia can't rely on ordinary signs one would normally rely on and learn from as a child. She can't estimate the length of the staircase, for instance, which means that she must have a feeling of perpetual disorientation when walking around in her own home. And since all three of them are never in the same room, there really is no family life.

 

And then, for contrast, we have the "magic land of love" on page 34 when Meridia learns that "they lived in the only part of the world where snow fell but never chilled, where the sun blazed with tropical intensity but never scorched. The rain came only when needed, and glorious bursts of summer punctuated even the coldest of winter."


rkubie wrote:

As you read, keep a list of the various magical elements you encounter in the book. What is the significance of each? How do they help tell the story, or deepen your understanding of the characters?


 

Distinguished Correspondent
Shadowwolf36
Posts: 76
Registered: ‎09-16-2008

Re: Magic


rkubie wrote:

As you read, keep a list of the various magical elements you encounter in the book. What is the significance of each? How do they help tell the story, or deepen your understanding of the characters?


 

I think the mirrors are quite significant. To me they reveal everything (the good and the bad) about the person looking into them...like the inner beauty and/or inner ugliness of a person.  The mists obviously are a very signicant magical element in the story and how Meridia describes them carrying her father off to his mistress and back into the home is interesting.
Inspired Contributor
fifenhorn
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-26-2009

Re: Magic

there have been SO many magical elements in this story. At first, I wondered what this book was truly about...I was not sure what genre it fell into. I love the moving staircases, the mirrors, the mist, the bees...every little thing. But I think that a lot of these "magical" things are mind tricks that the characters experience, instead of reality or real magic.
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,827
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Magic


rkubie wrote:

As you read, keep a list of the various magical elements you encounter in the book. What is the significance of each? How do they help tell the story, or deepen your understanding of the characters?


That's a great idea Rachel, I guess that's why they pay you the big bucks huh. 

 

Correspondent
bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Magic


fifenhorn wrote:
there have been SO many magical elements in this story. At first, I wondered what this book was truly about...I was not sure what genre it fell into. I love the moving staircases, the mirrors, the mist, the bees...every little thing. But I think that a lot of these "magical" things are mind tricks that the characters experience, instead of reality or real magic.

 

Excellent observation.  As I keep reading, I also wonder if the magical occurrences are really mind tricks and emotional projections.
Frequent Contributor
hookedonbooks09
Posts: 128
Registered: ‎02-04-2009

Re: Magic


bookowlie wrote:

fifenhorn wrote:
there have been SO many magical elements in this story. At first, I wondered what this book was truly about...I was not sure what genre it fell into. I love the moving staircases, the mirrors, the mist, the bees...every little thing. But I think that a lot of these "magical" things are mind tricks that the characters experience, instead of reality or real magic.

 

Excellent observation.  As I keep reading, I also wonder if the magical occurrences are really mind tricks and emotional projections.

I agree, as well.  And I think that the characters may experience these as ways to cope or understand things in their life.  Sort of like their subconscious mind putting things out there to help them to comprehend or deal with their challenges.

 

Barb

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. ~Groucho Marx
Distinguished Correspondent
emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Magic

Excellent question! There are many magical elements at work in this story. I will make a list as I read and give you my interpertations as I continue reading the story.
Inspired Wordsmith
CathyB
Posts: 271
Registered: ‎12-30-2006

Re: Magic


staircase - changes shape at whim - let's us know that things aren't always as they appear to be.

 

mirror - allows things to be seen or not - distortion of reality

 

mists - protects, hides, transports

 

sound, sight - footsteps not heard, handprints dissapear - does she exist or is she or all ghosts? reminds me of that movie with with Nicole Kidman - The Others.

 

the herbs growing off of someone's shest was a bit weird.

 

The festival does not count as it was intended to be magical.

 

CathyB

 

 

 

 

Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Magic

Hi fifenhorn,

 

Since this is my first book in the genre I wonder if you could explain the difference between real magic and mind tricks. It took me a while to suspend disbelief and I guess I am still confused about the magic unless I just dump it in the general melting pot of experiences.


fifenhorn wrote:
there have been SO many magical elements in this story. At first, I wondered what this book was truly about...I was not sure what genre it fell into. I love the moving staircases, the mirrors, the mist, the bees...every little thing. But I think that a lot of these "magical" things are mind tricks that the characters experience, instead of reality or real magic.


 

Frequent Contributor
booksJT
Posts: 108
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Magic

The staircase would  never end when Meridia would touch the banister. On page 16 when she is trying to escape her father's ridicule,"the second her hand touched the banister, the treacherous thing lengthened interminably."

 

The mirror in  Meridia's room was another  magical element. The first time she encountered the ghost was on her way to school. In chapter two,"It was old, ravaged,and female.... Meridia did not become alarmed until the ghost grimaced like an old friend."

 

The mists were another magical element. It only surrounded the perimeter of the house. The different colors represented the comings and goings of her father.

 

 

The sounds of footsteps are not heard through out the house. Everything that is touched or stepped on seems to disappear. This is kind of strange but this is a fantasy so anything is possible.

 

They help tell the story because each magical event is tied to the characters personality.   

Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Magic

[ Edited ]

1-Meridia's birth itself was a magical moment since she was presumed dead until Ravenna held her and whispered life into her. This event sets the stage.

2-The seer's eyes changing color from milky white to green as he performed his spell which ultimately brought Daniel and Meridia together again.

3-The sound of the bees emanating from Eva's mouth when she was complaining to Elias seem to indicate that the bees and Eva are going to be powerful magical players.

4-The dog losing its bark without evidence of any foul play although Elias comes home visibly worse for wear is another magical event which occurs without much explanation and makes me wonder whether it was Elias' doing or Elias working under Eva's spell.

5-Ravenna's scent is suddenly in the room when the nurse is trying to tell Meridia some secrets which leads to her dismissal. I suppose a more logical explanation was that Ravenna might have been listening at the door and possibly overheard the conversation but because of the atmosphere in the Monarch St. house, I felt as if Ravenna was there in spirit  rather than being there in person at the door.

I wonder if all of the characters will eventually prove to have magical qualities or will it be a skill only some possess.

Message Edited by thewanderingjew on 06-01-2009 06:18 PM
New User
lauriet
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎03-24-2009

Re: Magic

I think the magic mirror actually reflected how Ravina was feeling about herself. the ghost in the mirror was how Ravina felt living in that house . Like a ghost, someone who really did not exsist. the floors that echoed no footsteps represented to me a house with really no life in it . the staircase? not to sure about that one. It all represents the turmoil and unhappiness of each character in the house.
Contributor
PirateColey13
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎03-12-2009

Re: Magic (SPOILER)

[ Edited ]

 ***SPOILER ALERT****

 


fifenhorn wrote:
there have been SO many magical elements in this story. At first, I wondered what this book was truly about...I was not sure what genre it fell into. I love the moving staircases, the mirrors, the mist, the bees...every little thing. But I think that a lot of these "magical" things are mind tricks that the characters experience, instead of reality or real magic.

 

 

That was my biggest problem at the onset of this book as well- it didn't seem to fit into a single genre and I like things to be easily catagorized. I had the same trouble when I first read Octavia Butler's "Kindred".

 

At any rate- once I put to the side I quickly was pulled into the world. If you take the magic out of this story, it becomes the same tired story we've all read time and time again... Girl has strange and oppresive parents, girl meets boy, boys mother is controlling,  fallout, reconsiliation... And yes,there are some tried and true plotsthat work time and time again... but most don't stand out from the crowd. What "Of Bees & Mist"does is infuse the common story with the uncommon- the element of magic that is both unexpected and strange. I think that's what propells the plot, as we keep reading to find out what mysterious occurance will happen next. At times the elements can seem a little out of place and confusing (such as when we first see the bees, but I think that's probably how Meridia feels. She's not the easiest character to relate to in the begining, and I think it's the way she strives to find out about the mist that connects the reader with her- because we too are striving to find out about the magic.

Message Edited by rkubie on 06-01-2009 11:37 PM
Distinguished Wordsmith
Carmenere_lady
Posts: 529
Registered: ‎11-05-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Magic

It was the mirror at the beauty parlor on p.39 that told Meridia "was embracing nothing but air".
Shadowwolf36 wrote:

rkubie wrote:

As you read, keep a list of the various magical elements you encounter in the book. What is the significance of each? How do they help tell the story, or deepen your understanding of the characters?


 

I think the mirrors are quite significant. To me they reveal everything (the good and the bad) about the person looking into them...like the inner beauty and/or inner ugliness of a person.  The mists obviously are a very signicant magical element in the story and how Meridia describes them carrying her father off to his mistress and back into the home is interesting.

 

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
Inspired Contributor
LISA-BRYAN
Posts: 88
Registered: ‎12-16-2008

Re: Magic (SPOILER)

[ Edited ]

****SPOILER ALERT**** 

 

 

As you read, keep a list of the various magical elements you encounter in the book. What is the significance of each? How do they help tell the story, or deepen your understanding of the characters?

 

This is the first book of this genre and my understanding of "magic" is somewhat limited. Some of the "magic" or weird occurrences are as follows:

 

  • The mist that hides and protects and transport
  • the bees stirring up trouble - Eva is likened to the queen bee and all of her family members are likened to drones or worker bees
  • the cold and icy temperatures at 24 Monarch Street
  • the imaginary friend - Hannah appearing at the precise moments when Meridia needs her the most
  • the festival of spirits (or what I may call the festival of freaks)
  • the fawn in the coffin
  • the marigolds taking over the roses
  • the stench - that inhabits 70 Magnolia Avenue
  • the mirrors and the ghostly apparition
Message Edited by rkubie on 06-01-2009 11:38 PM
Moderator
Rachel-K
Posts: 1,495
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Magic

[ Edited ]

dhaupt wrote:

rkubie wrote:

As you read, keep a list of the various magical elements you encounter in the book. What is the significance of each? How do they help tell the story, or deepen your understanding of the characters?


That's a great idea Rachel, I guess that's why they pay you the big bucks huh. 

 


 

Isn't this an awesome question?! This one was the publisher's suggestions, and as much fun to think through as the "casting call" question! I've written the other Qs in this particular round, but this one is by far the coolest.

Message Edited by rkubie on 06-01-2009 11:49 PM
Inspired Contributor
dclement04
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎09-30-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Magic

will someone please explain to me the whole purpose of this mist? i am so confused about why it is even around...the crazy things that happen like when the mom was outside kicking and stamping at the stairs and Meridia couldnt get to her because the mist held her back...what is that?!

 

I love this book so far but unlike everyone else im finding this a little bit confusing, but i like books that challenge me to think

 

so if someone could please explain the purpose of the mists and the glass mirrors in the story i would appreciate it.

Contributor
Calendula
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎04-30-2009

Re: Magic

The idea that these occurances were "magic" is interesting to me. I'm curious to hear what the author has to say about this. 

 

When I first began reading the book - that is how I thought of them, but after sitting with the idea for a while, I began to think of them, rather, as symbolic. 

 

I can think of people who speak with bees, for example. They don't stop, until someone just can't stand it any longer, and they do something just to get peace.

 

Stairs can seem to go on forever, in real life.  

 

Magic would have been a powerful force in the story, but I think that symbolism serves an even larger purpose. Symbolism speaks to us on a different level. Symbolism makes the story something that we can relate to.

 

SunItCloud asked what is the difference between "real magic" and "mind tricks" - and I think my answer is: does it matter? What speaks to you? If it is too hard to suspend your disbelief in "real magic" can you relate to or believe in "mind tricks"? Or if "mind tricks" don't hold your interest - maybe magic does!

Contributor
jholcomb
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎02-03-2008

Re: Magic


dclement04 wrote:

will someone please explain to me the whole purpose of this mist? i am so confused about why it is even around...the crazy things that happen like when the mom was outside kicking and stamping at the stairs and Meridia couldnt get to her because the mist held her back...what is that?!

 

I love this book so far but unlike everyone else im finding this a little bit confusing, but i like books that challenge me to think

 

so if someone could please explain the purpose of the mists and the glass mirrors in the story i would appreciate it.


 

To me, the simplest answer to "what are the mists" is that they are a representation (real or imaginary) of an emotional state. It's against these emotions that Ravenna is struggling, and these emotions that keep Meridia from being able to reach her mother.

 

Like the other magical elements, the mists are of questionable reality. Clearly, Meridia is not the only one who can see them or employ them, but equally clearly, not everyone is aware of them. Perhaps the gift Meridia and her mother share is the ability to be physically aware of emotional, psychological, and magical forces, some of which seem, like the mists, to exist independently (no one created them on purpose; each is a natural consequence of an emotional state) while others (like the bees) are created and manipulated by a particular person.