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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ravenna


Shadowwolf36 wrote:

I think the house is somehow making Ravenna pay for saving Meridia's life. Meridia by all accounts was born dead and it feels like Ravenna made a deal with the devil to bring her daughter to life. To that end, she has been deprived of happiness and the ability to care and love her daughter the way she should.  I think that all the cooking is her way of providing for her child and her husband.  Gabriel may have had to make the same deal although less willingly.  I find it interesting though that Gabriel and Ravenna are never in the same room together with Meridia...almost like one would not exist if the other is there -- two halves of the same person perhaps...


This is an interesting concept.  I hadn't thought of Meridia being " born dead ".  

 

MG

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floreader
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎09-15-2008

Re: Ravenna


DSaff wrote:

Ravenna appears to be a cold-hearted woman, but I think that is a shell to protect her heart. She cooks out of frustration and because it is expected. I wonder what plans she might have had for her own life before Gabriel and Meridia. Did she want a career, or was she culture one where she was expected to become a wife and mother? Cooking is a catharsis for her, a time when she can sputter about her problems and get some relief. It was regimented (breakfast for Gabriel) and a way to get a point across. This was her only real connection to Gabriel, which is so very sad.

 

Her relationship with Meridia is confusing to me. I think she loves her, but seems to think that Meridia should know things without being taught. She should understand and follow simply because that is the way it is. There aren't any mother-daughter chats, no special times for them. 

 

Ravenna's relationship with Gabriel is stormy and robotic. I think she loves him and misses their relationship, but doesn't know how to fight for him. She fights the mist expending all of her strength, but loses. How can she fight the past? the silence? Ravenna needs to do her part to fix the marriage, but doesn't seem to have the tools to do that. Maybe that is why her relationship with Meridia is so odd. Maybe Ravenna was never taught what to do; how to fight.

 

Everything goes back to Meridia's dream. Something major was broken then. Will anyone be able to fix it? Time to read on. <grin>

 


 

I agree with many of your observations.  Ravenna is probably acting cold to protect her wounded heart.  Cooking is therapeutic for Ravenna and it's a way for her to relieve her stress and unhappiness.

I also agree with you that Meridia's dream is the key to everyone's strange behavior.  I wonder if this mystery will be cleared up soon or will the plot veer off toward Daniel's family dynamics and we won't find out about Meridia's dream until the end, if at all.  What I don't care for is the many hints and metaphors that are a little too confusing.  Hopefully, things will be a little clearer as the story continues.

 

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floreader
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎09-15-2008
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Re: Ravenna

Very interesting observation.  It never occurred to me that Meridia may have been "born dead".  I just thought there was a mystical curse put on the family and house due to Gabriel's over-the-top bragging to visitors and townspeople how wonderful his daughter was and how lucky they were that she survived.

Shadowwolf36 wrote:

rkubie wrote:

Please describe your impressions of this extraordinary woman. Why does she cook more than her family can possibly eat? Cooking is often a sign of great domesticity--is this so for Ravenna?

 

What do you make of her relationship with her daughter? How do you see their relationship changing (if at all)?

 

What is her relationship with Gabriel like?

 

What is Ravenna's relationship with the house?

 


I think the house is somehow making Ravenna pay for saving Meridia's life. Meridia by all accounts was born dead and it feels like Ravenna made a deal with the devil to bring her daughter to life. To that end, she has been deprived of happiness and the ability to care and love her daughter the way she should.  I think that all the cooking is her way of providing for her child and her husband.  Gabriel may have had to make the same deal although less willingly.  I find it interesting though that Gabriel and Ravenna are never in the same room together with Meridia...almost like one would not exist if the other is there -- two halves of the same person perhaps...


 

Distinguished Correspondent
PiperMurphy
Posts: 174
Registered: ‎09-19-2008

Re: Ravenna

Ravenna is really a puzzle to me. I haven't figured her out yet. I think that she cooks so much because it is the one thing that she can control. She has a bad marriage and has no control over her husband, but she can get to him with her cooking. Their agreement was that he would eat what she prepared no matter what she put in it like poison or ground glass. (Kind of an odd agreement when you think about it. Hopefully we will find out what it means.) Finally in chapter 8, she used her cooking to symbolize all of her hurt and frustration. I don't think that she could have picked a more effective way to make her point with Gabriel.
"When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes."
~Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus~
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jclay26
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ravenna

Ravenna is a very interesting woman. I cannot tell if her condition is from grief or from some form of punishment. I go back and forth between it being Gabriel who hurt Ravenna or Ravenna who hurt Gabriel. I love that I cannot figure it out. It seems that she uses cooking as a way to vent or release the intense feelings that she is experiencing. She doesn't have any other outlet. We don't see her outside the home very often except at night fighting the mist and the mysterious mistress. She is trapped and uses the cooking as a way to cope. I have not really figured out what her relationship is with Meridia. She was supportive of the marriage and even forced Gabriel's hand to allow Meridia to marry, though I don't know at this point whether that was a wise thing to do. The relationship between Ravenna and Gabriel is just mind boggling. There is immense hatred, yet I cannot figure out where it began - quite the mystery!

What you have to do...is trust your own story. Get the hell out of the way and let it tell itself. - Tim O'Brien; The Things They Carried
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BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
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Re: Ravenna


LoBugs wrote:

 

I think she loved him so much, that she now hates him for what has become of them.


I tend to agree with this observation.  From the maid's description of their former happy, passionate life together, Ravenna has lost a great deal while Gabriel finds solace with another woman.   If Ravenna was once a glittering hostess, and now there are no guests and no husband to appreciate her talents (of many kinds), she acts out in the kitchen and it takes the form of a frenzy.  She does love her daughter but cannot find a peaceful spot in her heart full of tormented emotions to show the kind of gentle love a child needs. 

Contributor
Em18966
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎04-08-2009

Re: Ravenna

Please describe your impressions of this extraordinary woman. Why does she cook more than her family can possibly eat? Cooking is often a sign of great domesticity--is this so for Ravenna?

 

Cooking is her therapy.  It is her one hold on sanity and reality. 

 

What do you make of her relationship with her daughter? How do you see their relationship changing (if at all)?

 

I think her relationship is as confused as her mind.  She loves her daughter, but lacks the capacity to reconcile that love with the negativity she feels over the state of her marriage.  I think as her daughter ages, Ravenna will begin to recognize her more as a person and less as the the baby that initiated the crumbling of her marriage.  I think Ravenna will do anything to ensure that her daughter's life doesn't turn into a duplicate of her own.

 

What is her relationship with Gabriel like?

 

Tumultuous.  She hates him the way you can only hate someone that you love and who broke your heart.

 

What is Ravenna's relationship with the house?

 

She is like it's battery, it's life force. 

els
Contributor
els
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎05-06-2009

Re: Ravenna

Why does she cook more than her family can possibly eat? Cooking is often a sign of great domesticity--is this so for Ravenna?

 

Cooking is an outlet for Ravenna.  As she is so emotionally drained and almost incapable of showing some emotions, her cooking is the only part she probably believes she can still do to fulfill her duties as a mother and as a wife. 

 

 

What do you make of her relationship with her daughter? How do you see their relationship changing (if at all)?

 

 Ravenna is so much wrapped in her own emotional turmoils that she has no more space left in her heart for her daughter.  She has no time and space to build a relationship with her daughter.  However, this changes with Daniel coming into the picture.  I believe Ravenna captured right away the spark of first love in her daughter's eyes.  She's probably reminded of her past - of what it was like to be in love and this brings out whatever best is still left in her.

 

 

What is her relationship with Gabriel like?

 

Conflicting relationship.  I believe Ravenna hates Gabriel as much as she loves him.  The daily breakfast routine is I think that small link that Ravenna as well as Gabriel keeps to remind them they once loved each other.   

 

 

What is Ravenna's relationship with the house?

 

She owns the house.  I think the house is so much a part of her, so much like her.  The house imposes such beauty and elegance like Ravenna but it looks dim and without life.

 

Inspired Contributor
fifenhorn
Posts: 36
Registered: ‎01-26-2009

Re: Ravenna

Ravenna....my, she's an odd duck.

 

Her cooking is not for culinary purposes. I know a lot of people in my life who use cooking as a stress-relieving tool. And that's sort of what we see here. For Ravenna, cooking is a constant in her life; it's solace...it's where she can try to rid herself of all the anger...it's where she came up with her language. She can relieve her frustration...and SEE concrete evidence of the release.

 

It's strange how the parents are SO protective of their child, yet they do not spend any time with her...I often wonder about the relationship between Ravenna and her child. Since we don't yet know the story behind Meridia's recurring dream (at least not at the beginning), this relationship seems stilted, yet the loyalty of the family is visible.

 

I think that Ravenna is the one who completely controls the house and all its magical elements.  She brought on the mist, the staircases, the cold, the mirrors...

Frequent Contributor
RNLana
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎03-12-2009

Re: Ravenna

In my opinion, Ravenna is a remarkably strong woman, dedicated to her family.  Because of the bragging, arrogance of Gabriel, the townspeople opted to curse the house.  Ravenna may have made some sort of bargain to bring life to her stillborn child, Meridia, also contributing to the curse.  Gabriel did not stray from the house until it started becoming cold, the wind entered one night, waking only Ravenna, who tried her best to thwart the wind.  Her withdrawl is forseen by her when she begs the nurse to remember her as she was, not as she would become.  The final straw, or breaking of her heart occurs when Ravenna confronts Gabriel about his infidelity. 

 

It is after this, that Ravenna seeks refuge in the kitchen.  She doesn't cook for her family prior to this.  When creating the special evening to entice Gabriel, she "ordered dinner from the cook".  Perhaps cooking is the only way she can bring some warmth to the house.  Thus the unspoken agreement for Gabriel to come home each morning and eat privately with Ravenna.

 

By trying to preserve her family, and save her daughter, Ravenna is emotionally separated from them, paying the ultimate price.  By ensuring Meridia could marry Daniel, Ravenna was giving her daughter the ultimate gift... an exit from the cold house and her invisibility.  Once again, Ravenna was taking care of her daughter, at her own expense. 

 

Ravenna loves Gabriel and hates him with all her being for breaking her heart.  There is a mystery in the breakfasts they share alone each day, and the fact they are never seen together.

 

Ravenna is tied to the house, its coldness and the mists.  They are a reflection of each other, inexplicably tied together.

It will definitely be interesting to read on and unravel these mysteries! 

 

Lana

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Sassy398
Posts: 56
Registered: ‎11-03-2008
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Re: Ravenna

Ravenna uses cooking as therapy, she onced knew how to love,but it changed just

shortly after Meridia was born. I, too have to agree she made a pact with some evil

spirit so that her daughter could live. Basically, that's a reason why Gabreil and Ravenna's

marriage went south.  When that wind came into the house, that's when the laughter and

happiness left the house.  Ravenna shows Meridia affection in different ways than most

people do.

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AshALee
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎10-22-2008
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Re: Ravenna

I think Ravenna cooks the way she does as a means to hold on to one part of her past life.  She's lost Gabriel to the mist, and her daughter to Ravenna's retreat into anger and sadness that her husband let himself stray after he promised her patience.  Before all of this happened, she and Gabriel were happy, and the talk of the town with their exorbitant dinner parties and fancy dishes.  I think that's the one part of her life she feels she has any control over anymore.

 

I don't think Ravenna is cold hearted at all.  Just isolated inside her sadness, and doesn't know how to fight for her daughter when she's been overpowered by the mist every time she tries to fight for her husband. 

www.bellasnovella.com
Contributor
TrishNYC
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎09-16-2008

Re: Ravenna

My feelings on Ravenna are complicated. I feel badly for her husband's infidelity and how this must affect her sense of self worth but I also think that in her own way she is as neglectful of her child as is Gabriel. Though Gabriel's neglect is mean spirited, Ravenna's is much more "innocent" in its essentials. I think she does love her daughter as evidenced by different interactions chief among them her defence of Meridia when she wants to get married.But most human beings require more than just occasional incidents of affection.

 

I think that her skill in the kitchen and the expansive amounts of food that she cooks are all reflections of the domesticity that she aspires to if she had a normal relationship with her husband and child. In a later scene, she demonstrates the unspoken agreement between her and Gabriel on the issue of food and how his reliance on her for his nutrition. It is also obvious that her food benefits from her anger and the aggression that she feels towards Gabriel and his mistress. She pours all of that vitriol into her meals and ends up with gourmet meals. I wonder if she would be such a good cook if she somehow found happiness. 

 

Her relationship with Gabriel is adverserial and very sad. Its obvious they at one time loved each other but that is now past only to return in odd flashes. To be honest, I am not entirely sure what caused their tension. I read why but am not entirely sure what it all means.

 

Ravenna's relationship with the house is pretty analogous to her relationship with Gabriel, complicated, unhappy and mysterious.

Distinguished Correspondent
Thayer
Posts: 195
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Ravenna

Maybe within all of the seemingly maniacal preparation of meals, Ravenna is somehow through these recipes, trying to perfect or create something that she feels out of her control.

 

The relationship between Meridia and her mother tends to be strictly matter of fact. There seems to be no intimacy or feeling from Ravenna toward her daughter. Even when Meridia was born dead, it was as if Ravenna took for granted that her daughter would live just because she willed it so.

~~Dawn
Live the life you love ~ Love the life you live.
Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007

Re: Ravenna, SPOILER ALERT

Ravenna is associated with the scent of lemon verbena. I discovered that another name for it is lemon beebrush. It prefers full sun, a lot of water, a light loam soil, and is sensitive to the cold.
The house on Monarch Street is always cold and dreary. It does not seem to be a friend of Ravenna's but rather her enemy.
I found it even more interesting that it is also called beebrush since Eva is associated with bees too.
Lemon beebrush is described as having a relaxing scent. The buzzing bees associated with Eva create tension, to say the least.
I wonder if the difference in the association of the word bee will prove to also be the difference in the two women's personalities. Ravenna seems to be able to to help Meridia while Eva tries to hurt her in subtle ways.

rkubie wrote:
What is Ravenna's relationship with the house?

 


 

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

Re: Ravenna, SPOILER ALERT

Ravenna's scent of lemon verbena is associated with love and purification.

Eva's symbol, the bees, is sometimes associated with tragedy and death.

 

Wordsmith
BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007
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Re: Ravenna, SPOILER ALERT


thewanderingjew wrote:

Ravenna's scent of lemon verbena is associated with love and purification.

Eva's symbol, the bees, is sometimes associated with tragedy and death.

 


 

Oh, I love this kind of telling little factoid!  It's a word version of the clever little figures hidden in the cover illustration.  Thanks for sharing.  
Inspired Wordsmith
Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Ravenna, SPOILER ALERT

 In Chinese culture bees contain the souls of the dead.

 http://http://jeweldreamwitchesthegoddessunitesus25441.yuku.com/topic/6680

The Lucky Mojo Curio Co. sells Lemon Verbena to "magically break up or cause discord and strife between two people."


thewanderingjew wrote:

Ravenna's scent of lemon verbena is associated with love and purification.

Eva's symbol, the bees, is sometimes associated with tragedy and death.

 


 

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

Re: Ravenna, SPOILER ALERT

Additionally- Lotus street

The lotus is a sacred flower in Buddhist thought. Dreaming of this
beautiful flower symbolizes the promise of
enlightenment from ignorance and should encourage you to strive for the best
within yourself. The white lotus
symbolizes mental purity and spiritual perfection. The red lotus represents
love.

... and willow street

In Chinese mythology, the I weeping willow is the tree of the goddess
Quan-Yin, who sprinkles the waters of life with a willow branch. The willow was
thought to connect heaven and Earth through its branches and roots. To dream
of a willow tree is a good omen, indicating you are in good luck

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

I find it interesting that the name Ravenna has its origins in Raven .. which is a black bird ... thus perhaps the connection between Ravenna's black hair