Reply
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Karla

[ Edited ]
Karla's journey over the course of The Believers is especially moving, as she goes from believing primarily in the opinions of others to gaining some belief in her own worth.

 

How are the changes in Karla reflected in the evolution of her relationships with others -- Mike, Khaled, Audrey, even Mrs. Mee? What do you think drew Karla to Mike and how does Khaled fulfill a very different need? What gives Karla the strength to make the choice she makes as the novel ends?

 

How is it true that, as Karla reflects, "...sin had made her a better person" (p. 295)?

 

What were some significant moments for Karla?

Message Edited by KxBurns on 11-10-2008 12:50 AM
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,832
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Karla

To me Karla is the one person in this novel that makes the greatest change in themselves. She goes from a mouse to not exactly a lion but something with teeth. I think she always had ideas about where she wanted her life to go and what to do to get there, but she was very in tuned to what others wanted more than what she did as a reference when she wanted to be a lawyer when she was younger and her parents said she was a nurturing person and should look into something along those lines. Maybe it was her father's illness that made her see the light or maybe she just had enough. I also think that her relationship with Khaled was very good for her, it let her see that she could be the center of someone's universe and not the other way around. I think she chose Mike as a spouse because she thought he would fit the mold that her parents would approve of. I'm not sure what the final straw was to give her the strength to walk away from Mike and to Khaled I'm not even sure it was a final straw but an awakening for her that life is too short to waste any more of.
Inspired Contributor
katknit
Posts: 347
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Karla

She certainly seems to be the most courageous of the "tribe", as she was so fearful and so lacking in self confidence, yet somehow managed to take that first step at last.  I was touched by the final encounter in the hospital when Audrey and Karla were talking in the middle of the night. It was the first genuine interaction that they shared since the book began, and I think it broke a personal restraining bond for Karla. The end of this novel is absolutely brilliant.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
Moderator
KxBurns
Posts: 1,006
Registered: ‎09-06-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Karla

I agree with both of your comments. The Karla of the earlier chapters is so afraid to makes waves or to not fulfill the role that's been imposed on her by others. She thinks, at one point, about how she took on the role of the compassionate one in the family and stopped even questioning it a long time ago, but really she feels rage at being stuck in this position.

 

I wonder if, by the end, she has decided not to emulate her parents -- not to smother her anger and desires like Audrey, or sneak around like Joel?

 

Karla has an interesting take on Joel's adultery, which she expresses in the chapter in which she and Rosa visit Berenice (Chap. 20). Is her sympathetic view of her father's affair informed by her own situation? Or her forgiving nature?...

Correspondent
PinkPanther
Posts: 52
Registered: ‎10-26-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Karla

Karla, in my opinion, was the most interesting character. I do not like tha fact that she was cheating on her husband, but I do love how she probably ended up with the person that she loved. I did notice, that she is a bit of a perfectionist. Two times in the book she commented that the water pressure in the shower was "not quite right" when she heard Khaled in the shower, and her husband in the shower. Her infidelity was basically the only fact that gave this book its suspense because it left me wanting to know what came next.
"I ought, therefore I can"
-Immanuel Kant
Frequent Contributor
nedrey
Posts: 41
Registered: ‎09-24-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Karla

As someone that both parents neglected, Karla grew up with no self esteem and when she told her parents that she wanted to go into law, instead of encouraging her, they shot her down.  Always trying to please her parents, she changed her focus to social work.  Instead of rebelling like Rosa and Lenny did, she internalized her hurt by trying to please everyone, no matter the emotional/ esteem cost to herself.  Even in her "marriage" with Mike she never stood up to him eventhough she did not want to have a child.  With Khaled, she did not have to pretend she was someone else since he was attracted to her just the way she is.