04-10-2009 04:07 PM
I had a similar thought at page 56 when he touched Deliverance's knee & he realized the gravity of the situation.
As an aside, I find it interesting that his concern was that Petford "not be found guilty".
04-10-2009 06:03 PM
04-10-2009 09:22 PM
The transition between the two times is actually what hooked me into the story the most. The switches were seamless and they left me thinking about how these two stories were going to relate to each other.
The author does a fantastic job of foreshadowing. I can't shake the feeling that Chilton is up to something, but it could also be stress over his Colonial presentation. His incessant talk of finding a "new source" comes off like he knows something.
04-10-2009 11:50 PM
The effect of shifting from the sickroom to the oral examination is one of compare and contrast. It effectively shines the spotlight on the tension Deliverance is feeling to that of Connie who is not sure of passing her test. It also ups the tension in the oral exam because what we were feeling for Deliverance we transfer to Connie.
On the first read, I would say the oral exam caught my attention most because I was so focused on Connie's answers and learning from them. But on answering these questions it is the sickroom where my heart lies because I feel such worry over the child.
There was real tension because Connie was in a chair facing a buch of her "betters". She was going over in her mind who was on her side and who had nothing to lose in grading her. Any question could come out of their mouths. Did she remember all she was taught? Was this the end of her dreams? By Connie thinking these things it makes the chapter real and not just words on a page.
I am not having any trouble compartmentalizing the two stories. It is just different threads that make the whole garment, so to speak for you knitters out there. It will all work out in the end (I keep telling myself).
I am a little behind getting to this board, but your words really spoke to me. Very well said...thanks for sharing!
04-11-2009 11:58 PM
We open briefly on the scene of a child's sickbed in early Salem, and her exhausted, frightened father, who is turning to stranger for help.
We then move quickly from this to Connie's qualifying exams, 300 years later! A very different room!
What is the effect of this shift in scenes? Which captures your imagination most? How does the scene of an academic exam manage to capture real tension?
How comfortable are you moving back and forth in time between the 1680s and the 1990s?
Are you finding any similarities between these two worlds?
So many times when an author moves between two periods of time (or even locales), it is difficult for the reader to transition; however, because the times are so monumentally different in this book, it is easy to keep them separate.
The tension of the academic exam was intense and I, who gets nervous when I have to renew my driver's license, really admired the academic Connie as she struggled to find the answers in the file drawers of her mind.
04-13-2009 09:23 AM
04-20-2009 07:22 AM
05-03-2009 10:55 PM
05-11-2009 02:52 AM
Deaver, your mention of the beam of sunlight slowly disappearing through Connie's exams made me think of something. I may be way off track here, but did anyone else see a parallel between the sun beam slowly disappearing in Connie's exam room and the eventual death of Martha? It seemed to me that after the last bit of sunlight disappered from the exam room that we discover (in the next Interlude) that Deliverance was unable to cure Martha, resulting in the child's death. The sunlight vanishing and the child dying ended with the same result. Both being extinguished. Who knows? Just something to think about.
The first things that srike me in this novel and especially with the opening chapters is katherines use of imagery, foreshadowing, and the mood and tone.
We know something witchy is brewing in the pot that is boiling over the fire with its ingredients of peas and 'applewood'. The mood is dark and mysterious...very anxious and grevious. The lady comes in yet she has an 'open' face a 'white' coif and she has a dog lapping around her...hardly seeming of a harmless type.
Then we move to chapter one and the mood is also somewhat anxious, dark and quiet. The sunbeam, follow it through the first chapter if you will as it grows more dim then goes out. We get introduced to Chilton and his 'Brahman' accent. So old New England. And then we see Katherine outside the room releasing some of that tension from the exam while lounging on the couch. She sees a mouse run behind a plant and (doesn't get grossed out?) she begins to think of this 'hidden' world under the walls and pipes of Harvard but is this foreshadowing of the somewhat 'hidden' world of witchcraft that even the Harvard scholars have never yet really considered. And this sunbeam to me seemed to filter this hidden world into the present world of Connie Goodwin. Though the sunbeam can have other meanings and I would like to hear anyone elses take on the foreshadowing and symbols that Howe uses.
I do agree with the sunbeams extinguishing. Very good observation. I did not think of it so clearly, but with both symbols I got the feeling of oh, no, here "It" comes. "It" being the aftermath of an event. The morning after the storm when everyone walks outside and looks at their house and wonders how they will ever repair/rebuild and no clue how they will get there.This feeling is true for those who feel successful in making it through the storm and for those who have paid dearly. New beginnings.